By Acarya dasa, All-India Padayatra leader
On March 26, 2021, the All-India Padayatra reached Kathwada village in Gujarat, situated alongside Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Ring Road about 15km east of the city. Kathwada is the location of the large ISKCON Kathwada Farm temple and goshala, the first ISKCON temple in which the cow is worshipped along with Jagannath Baladev and Subhadra.
Padayatra arrived in time to celebrate Sri Gaura-purnima, the appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, also known as Gauranga due to His golden complexion, and the beginning of a new year for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. This year the festival was observed on March 28 and was the 535th anniversary of Mahaprabhu’s appearance. At 8am on Gaura-purnima day the padayatris and several temple devotees went on nagar sankirtan around Kathwada for about four hours – an auspicious occasion on which to spread the mercy of the holy name.
Their Lordships and the chariot were beautifully decorated for that evening’s programme which featured a combined abhishek of the AIP’s Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar and the Kathwada temple’s Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. The deities were first bathed with panchamrta and then with panchagavya followed by various fruit juices. The padayatris also were invited to perform abhishek of Their Lordships. Devotees chanted prayers from the Brahma-samhita glorifying the Lord followed by a grand arati to the accompaniment of the Gaura Arati song composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The Mayapur devotees then performed a sankirtan that filled the atmosphere with spiritual happiness and as more than 3000 devotees joined in, the Hare Krishna maha mantra resounded in every corner of the temple. Fifty-six bhoga were offered to Their Lordships followed by maha prasadam distribution, the culmination of a wonderful celebration.
Gaura-purnima mahotsava, ki jai.
Srila Prabhupada, ki jai.