By Sundar Gopal Dasa
From the 1st to the 5th August, a team of French devotees, headed by Devarshi Dasa and myself organized a padayatra around the New Mayapur farm in honor of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary celebration. The theme of our padayatra was ‘Walk for Peace’. The first four days a group of about 20 devotees led by Janananda Goswami inundated the main cities around New Mayapur with the bliss of harinama. Each day, we left the temple in the morning at around 9:30 and came back in the evening.
In the first village we expected to find many tourists, but we found the place almost completely deserted, as can be seen from some of the pictures. Keeping in mind Lord Caitanya’s and padayatra’s motto, we kept chanting there and even met a few friendly souls who were very much appreciative of the fact that we came to such a ‘dead’ place. Fortunately, the remaining cities we walked through were very busy and we even had difficulties getting through the crowded market places.
On the last day, padayatris walked -or rather danced- the 8 kilometers from the neighboring village of Luçay-le-Mâle, to the farm, accompanied by Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Srila Prabhupada deities riding on a beautiful oxcart driven by Jaladuta Dasa, the caretaker of the oxen and cows in New Mayapur.
During this five day event, devotees distributed 190 books, 90 of the ’50th anniversary’ magazines and hundreds of flyers inviting the public to a special evening program concluding the walk. The program attended with around thirty guests providing a reception for the walkers, arati in the temple room, a slide show on the history of ISKCON by Janananda Goswami, and finally a delicious prasadam feast. It was very blissful ! Devotees unanimously agreed that from now on such a padayatra should take place every year around New Mayapur.