- Sunday, 19 August 2007
- Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2007
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Photo Tour Report
THE AUSPICIOUS OPENING OF
SRI SRI RADHA-MADHAVA GAUDIYA MATH
Haridwar, India: August 18 and 19, 2007
After the busy summer tour, and the very successful Guru-purnima festival at the beginning of August, Srila Narayana Maharaja traveled to Rishikesa, a city at the base of the Himalaya for a few weeks of resting and writing. From his place of devotional services and meditation, situated in a hotel on the banks of the holy river Ganges, he could hear the refreshing sound of the celestial water, flowing fast due to the heavy monsoon rains higher up in the mountains. All the devotees respected his resting time, giving him full opportunity to focus on his translation work on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
On August 16th Srila Narayana Maharaja went to Haridwar, a city of spiritual significance, situated one hour south of Rishikesa. There, the Hare Krsna Hare Rama Seva Trust, founded by Mr. Somnath and his three brothers and his wife Poonam, had constructed a guesthouse called Madhavi-kunja. They offered this facility to Srila Narayana Maharaja, who kindly accepted it as his new temple and renamed it Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Gaudiya Math. The temple was officially opened at a two-day ceremony, August 18th -19th, at which time Srila Narayana Maharaja installed the new temple Deities. About a hundred-fifty devotees from Mathura, Vrndavana and Delhi were present to take part in the festivities.
Early in the morning on the 18th, the devotees began preparing for the official temple opening. They cleaned, cooked, decorated, made garlands, and set up all the paraphernalia for the fire sacrifice. Around 10am, the ceremonies began under the guidance of Srila Narayana Maharaja and performed by Sripad Tirtha Maharaja. The devotees enjoyed a sumptuous prasadam feast at lunchtime, and in the late afternoon Srila Maharaja sent them out for nagara-sankirtana through the streets of Haridwar. Headed by a local band, the devotees danced from the temple to the city center, and up to the main bathing ghata, known as Harikipauri, where large groups of people gather throughout the day to bathe in the Ganges. The sankirtana party did not return until 7pm, and therefore Srila Maharaja did not give class that night.
Preparing for the festival ladies from Mathura and Vrndavana making garlands.
Sripad Tirtha Maharaja begins the fire sacrifice, while workers complete the altar room for the next days Deity installation.
Just after mangala-arati (the early morning ceremony that glorifies the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and thus invokes and auspicious day) on the next day, the thunderous sound of drums announced the arrival of the local band, waiting to accompany the devotees in a parade to the Ganges, to collect water for the ceremony of bathing the new temple Deities.
After that it was time for noon-arati,
at which time Sri Sri Radha-Madhava and Mahaprabhu gave their darsana to all