Topic: Holy places

Reading Complexity: Easy
Garlands, incense, elephants, jostling crowds, thousands of cheering voices: pada-yatra—a walking tour of holy India—arrives in the land of Lord Chaitanya. Nearly as much as France differs from Italy, Germany, or Greece, Orissa differs from the other states of India. It has its own language, its own food, its own customs—and its own way of receiving the pada-yatra. In the state of Kerala, South...
Reading Complexity: Easy
To the casual visitor, this holy land is much like the rest of rural India. To the devotee of Lord Chaitanya it is a transcendental paradise. First a long and tedious flight. Then retrieving baggage and waiting in long lines to clear Indian immigration and customs. Then four hours on a bus bumping through Calcutta’s teeming streets and on through dozens of timeless, dusty villages. Finally the...
Reading Complexity: Easy
A Land of Krishna Conscious Culture On the far side of the barbed wire that marks the parking lot from the airfield, an Army guard, turbaned Sikh, looks on patiently, rifle in hand. A drought is on. This is mid March, supposedly a season of rain showers, but the last rain was in February, and that gave only a little. But, drought aside, today is the second day of the festivities for Holi. A group...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Nestled ninety miles southeast of Delhi near a curve of the winding Yamuna River, Vrindavana is for Hindus what Jerusalem is for Jews and Mecca is for Mohammedans. En masse the pilgrims come—especially on the holy days—by train, bus, ricksha, taxi, horse-drawn tanga,and even on foot. Carrying their children and luggage, looking wide- eyed and innocent, they come to see the holy tirtha, to touch...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Pilgrimages can enhance our devotion to the Lord, provided we go to authorized holy places, and in the proper mood. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—Krishna Himself in the role of His own devotee—was present on earth five hundred years ago, He sometimes traveled to holy places, or tirthas. Not only did He tour South India, but He traveled to Vrindavana, Lord Krishna’s eternal abode on earth. When...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In Jaipur, the capital of “the Land of Kings,” Lord Krishna is the center of devotion. While visiting Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan (“the Land of Kings”), I have the good fortune to stay two houses away from the city’s most famous Krishna temple, the Govindaji Temple. I can easily walk to mangala-arati, the early-morning worship, without having to look for a ricksha. At 4:...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Once Lord Brahma, the empowered creator of the universe, desired to have a place on earth dedicated to him, so he threw three lotus petals toward the earth. When the petals landed, three holy lakes sprung up. Because the lakes had been created from the flower (pushpa) thrown from Brahma’s hand (kara), the area became known as Pushkara. The three lakes became known as Jyeshtha Pushkara (“senior...
Reading Complexity: Medium
On a field near Govardhana Hill, in the twilight, the demon Arishtasura had assumed the form of a bull and, at King Kamsa’s order, had tried to kill Lord Krishna. Instead, the Lord had slain him. Just prior to his attack, Krishna had been chatting with His girlfriends, the gopis of Vrindavana, who had become quite frightened by the demon’s angry bellowing. Krishna strolled over to them, expecting...