Our padayatris


By Anita Chougule (ISKCON Pandharpur)

Under the guidance of the RadhaPandharinath temple vice president, Dhanurdhar Arjun dasa,ISKCONPandharpurmatajis held their first one-day Vaishnavi padayatra on May 4, 2024.

All of us know that this year we are celebrating our beloved Param Pujya Guru Lokanath Maharaja’s seventy-fifthVyasa-puja. For this auspicious occasion, Greater Noida conducted a one-day Vaishnavi padayatra on April 27. One of my siksha gurus, Tulsi Puja devi dasi, told me to also plan the same in my area.Then I started working on this. I had a telephoneconversation with Greater Noida’sP urnanandi devi dasi  both of whom guided me very nicely. They also introduced me to Amravati’s Jayabhadra devi dasi who is planning to completeseventy-fiveVaishnavi padayatras by Guru Maharaja’sVyasa-puja. Jayabhadra also gave us valuable advice.

We initially had a meetingwith Dhanurdhar Arjun and he agreed to support us by providing all the essentials for Pandharpur’sVaishnavi padayatra. We then beganorganizing the walk at a meeting of all matajis on May 1 and the date for padayatra was fixed for May 4. It was quite challenging that we had to plan and executepadayatra within three days, during which Lila priya devi dasi,Raghunath priya devi dasi, Chandravali devi dasi, Ashvini Kalekar mataji and Antaranga devi dasi all played an important role.

Padayatra startedfrom the RadhaPandharinathtemple on the east bank of the Chandrabhaga River withsixty to seventy devotees offeringarati to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaur and Srila Prabhupada,followed by a puja and arati ceremonyperformed by varishta Vaishnavi and Maharaja’s sister Sita Rani  mataji. We then prayed to Gaur-Nitai that our padayatra would be successfully completed without any obstacles. After that everyone gathered at Namdev Payari (first step of Sant Namdev) at theSri Vitthal Rukmini temple on the opposite side of the river where we were joined by our special guest, Nirmala Manohar Kokate, Sansthapak of Mahila Adhar (Bahudeshiya Sanstha), along with the notable presence ofISKCON Kirtan Ministry’s  Dinanukampa devi dasi from South Africa who felicitatedNirmala mataji with a garland.We then walked from Namdev Payari with our banner in front displaying the Hare Krishna mahamantra,doing kirtan and dancing as we went. Our padayatra thus began very enthusiastically.

The padayatra route took us from Namdev Payari along PradakshinaRoad to the Krishna mandir, then to Namdev Payari-Mahadvar ghat and Prabhupadaghat before returning to the RadhaPandharinath temple.

As this was Pandharpur’s first Vaishnavi padayatra, so it was memorable to all of us.Padayatra means to walk and preach, spread the holy name and then give true love of the Lord to all the people. And as it was a Vaishnavi padayatra all the seva,from carrying Gaur-Nitai on the head, performing harinama sankirtan, playing mridanga-kartal, controlling the crowd and everything else,was done by the Vaishnavis only and with full enthusiasm. It had become everyone’s event.

Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai
Vaishnavis doing kirtan
Devotees dancing on kirtan
Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai at the Vitthal Rukmini temple

At Mahadvar ghat to the Chandrabhaga RiverPrasadam for Vaishnavis at theISKCON temple


  • Chandrabhaga devi dasi: Hare Krishna. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada. All Glories to Guru Maharaja. It was a pleasure to attend Pandharpur’s first Vaishnavi padayatra.As Srila Prabhupada went to New York to spread Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message of Krishna consciousness all over the world, following his teachings we arranged this Vaishnavi padayatra dedicated to Guru Maharaja’s seventy-fifth Vyasa-puja.

All Vaishnavis were united for the padayatrawhich was organized for the happiness of Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaja. Under the guidance of senior Vaishnavis, all the matajis and girls worked so hard to complete their respective sevas. As all the seva was done only by matajis their enthusiasm level was so high performing it: from decorating Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai, holding Them on the head, holding banners, doing kirtan and dancing, to doing our traditional nritya fugadi enjoyed by matajis. Some devotees are comparing this padayatra to the small Wari or dindi to Pandharpur. This is our small contribution in spreading Krishna consciousness in our local area and we wish the same Vaishnavi padayatra should be planned every month.

  • Raghunath Priya devi dasi:Hare Krishna! This wasthe first Vaishnavi padayatra at Pandharpur Dham.AllVaishnavis took part in it and all were very excited and happy while doing it, especially as Gaur-Nitai and Srila Prabhupada were with us and looking so beautiful.At the start I prayed to Their Lordships,for when They are with us, we have no worries aboutthe successful completion ofthis padayatra.First, we performed arati and puja of Gaur-Nitai at the Radha Pandharinath temple and this was done by varishta Vaishnavi Sita mataji, the sister of our spiritual master Lokanatha Maharaja. We feel very glad by taking her blessings for our padayatra.When we completed our padayatra route and returned to the temple all the Vaishnavis had a very nice prasadam.

One thing I realized is that we have to do more preparations while planning padayatra, as this time we had only three days to plan and execute it. But with little time and no experience we did it by the guidance of Jayabhadra devi dasi and she made it possible for us.

Jai Srila Prabhupada. Jai Gurudev. Jai Radha Pandharinath. Jai Pandharpur Dham ki.


  • Lila Priya devi dasi: Hare Krishna. As we started working on planning the padayatra, while returning on the path we decided to go to the Radha Pandharinath temple by the bridge, but at the last moment the Vaishnavis changed the route to go via the Chandrabhaga River to Prabhupadaghat and then to the RadhaPandharinath temple. As it was quite difficult to walk on sand, both Anita Chougule mataji and I were worried how it would be possible as in that area sufficient light is not available at night and some portion of the river is dark at 8pm.

But as the water level was low and with the wish of all the Vaishnavis we decided to go via the river and this was very advent. I started remembering the Vraja-mandalaParikrama via the Narmada River. It was feeling very nice, but we devotees were fully dependent on Radha Pandharinath, Vitthal Rukmini and Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai and we crossed the river safely.

I personally wish this type of padayatra should happen once in every month for the happiness of Srila Prabhupada and Param Pujya Guru Maharaja and to increase our devotion for bhakti.

Jai Gurudev. Jai Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai.


  • Ashvini Kalekar mataji: Hare Krishna. We all are very happy that we organized such Vaishnavi padayatra at Pandharpur Dham. We feltthe presence of senior Vaishnavis like Dinanukampa devi dasi and Ramlila mataji. Their presence increased our motivation. When we all gatheredatNamdev Payari atthe Vitthal Rukmini temple, we started kirtan ofHare Krishna and started dancing on it, playing mridanga and kartal. The environment was fully spiritual and we realized that one street dog was sitting in front of us listening to all this very carefully.

We all felt good to see that not only every person present was a devotee, even the non-devotees started taking blessings from Gaur-Nitai and Srila Prabhupada by touching their feet.What we had expected to happen, it happenedmore and so we were very happy.Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai were looking beautiful, also SrilaPrabhupada’s vigraha was looking so happy. I felt blessed.

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai.Anant koti Vaishnav vrind ki jai.

  • Payal Gaikwad mataji:As I joined the ISKCON Pandharpur temple just a few months ago, it was a very nice experience joining this Vaishnavi padayatra.I’m very thankful for giving me the sevaof makingrangoli. I enjoyed the kirtan and dancing. I hope this harinama kirtan will help me to move on the spiritual path of bhakti. I wish this type of Vaishnavi padayatra should be arranged every month so that we will be part of it. Hare Krishna.


  • Maina Kale mataji:I feel very nice taking part in padayatra,it gives us spiritual happiness in a Krishna consciousness environment.Padayatra gives us the feel of Pandharichi Vari. It gives us the path to increase our bhakti. We wish such padayatra is organized on a regular basisto increase our devotion towards Krishna consciousness.Hare Krishna.


  • Anita Chougule mataji: Hare Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Guru Maharaja.

When I started to plan this Vaishnavi padayatra,I was not sure how I would execute this because I had no experience of it and there was only three days to plan it. But then when we started planning all the Vaishnavis co-operated with me and the fruit of that is we successfully completed our first Vaishnavi padayatra at Pandharpur Dham.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu travelled six years and that was the padayatra.He travelled to spread the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra and establish the superiority of Krishna bhakti. Srila Prabhupada inspired his devotees for the same and appointed our beloved Guru Maharaja, Lokanath Swami, for conducting padayatra to bring Krishna consciousness to the villages. Maharaja did the padayatra to serve Srila Prabhupada.

As we know in the Pandharpur Dham Vari(padayatra), this tradition is more than 700 years old. It is undertaken by Varkaries in honour of Lord Vithoba(Krishna only).It involves carrying the padukas of the saints in a palkhi from their respective place (Dyaneshvar Maharaja from Alandi and Tukaram Maharaja from Dehu). After walking 250km they reach Pandharpur on Ashadi Ekadashi and everyyear we celebrate the Vyasa-puja ofbeloved Guru Maharaja on the same ekadashi. This Vaishnavipadayatra was undertaken in honour of Guru Maharaja’s seventy-fifthVyasa-puja.

After the successful completion of this padayatra there was a devotional satisfaction on the faces ofall the Vaishnavis. Firstly, they were a part of it and secondly, they did all the seva themselves. Padayatra teaches us that in any condition we should have faith in the Lord by fully depending on Him.For our spiritual progress we should be always engaged in the seva of Krishna, by taking harinama only it is possible for us.If we want to spread harinama to all the people we have to get inspired and do more padayatras.

Jai Radha Pandharinath.

Jai Vitthal Rakhumai.

Jai Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Srila Gurudev.