Goverdhan Parikrama : The Sights (1)
Walking through the quiet foothills of Goverdhan, chanting the maha mantra, gazing at the holy hill every now and then, fresh air…something I had been waiting to do for over a year now.
I should have stopped and sat under one of these trees for a while. But I didn’t. Just walked past them. Aren’t they beautiful? I was thinking…they are not just trees and plants…but souls, due to their previous pious deeds got a chance to carpet the holy tract of land and provide shelter to wandering pilgrims. Thousands of years ago, this is where Krishna enjoyed many childhood pastimes surrounded by His intimate associates – the beautiful milk maids and cowherd boys of Vrindhavana.
O Goverdhana, O king of Mountains,
O hill whose nectarian name – the best of Hari’s servants –
flows from the moonlike mouth of Sri Radha,
O hill that the Vedas declare to be the tilaka marking of Vraja,
please grant me a residence near to you.
– Stavai by Ragunatha Dasa Gosvami
Goverdhana Hill is acknowledged throughout the Vedic scriptures as the most sacred mountain not only in the whole of India but in all the three worlds. It is therefore no wonder that when Goverdhan Hill appeared, all the great mountains of the universe came and worshipped him as their King. They also declared that Goverdhana had descended from Goloka Vrindhava in the spiritual world and is the crown jewel of Vraja.
– from the “Color Guide to Goverdhana Hill” by Rajasekhara dasa Brahmacari
This is the map that I have used over the last 3 trips to ensure that I circle the hill without getting lost. Its found in the book that I mentioned above and I recommend it highly. Whenever I stop and study this guide, the locals gather around to spot their known locations.
He was there again. The grave looking fruit seller. This is how I always remember seeing him. Seated on his fruits-on-wheels shop, he looks around to shoo the monkeys away. The fruits are meant to be bought by the pilgrims who in turn uses it to feed the monkeys. As usual, I didn’t buy anything from him. I just wanted to continue with my walk. If I stop to feed the monkeys, not only will I lose precious time but they won’t leave me for a long distance. In the photo, you can see some horses as well as few members of the deer family. There were plenty of peacocks around, “cooing” away. Not only on the ground, but I spotted a few on the trees above and even one that flew over a large distance. Never seen a peacock fly before!
I am not sure if its a good idea to lay a brick path. One of the most wonderful part of the Goverdhan parikrama is feeling the cool sand underneath ones feet. So, I am not sure why the above artificial path is being laid? Is this an initiative from the government or the local forest department? Or is it a donation, an act of service by a devotee? Don’t know. But I personally don’t favour it.
I passed through the many samadhis at Jetipura area, which can be seen at the foothills of Goverdhan, just before you reach the Jetipura village. Jetipura was named after Srila Madhavendra Puri, who stayed here during the time he was worshipping the Gopala deity. Soon, we reached “Mukharavinda Sila”, or the lotus mouth of Goverdhana. There were plenty of pilgrims here pouring milk over the large sila. After paying my obeisances, I quickly went over to the place that has the danadavat-sila.
In the guide, it is mentioned that, “anyone who circumbulates this Goverdhan-sila seven times and offers full dandavats will be relieved of all offenses that may have been inadvertently committed while doing Goverdhan parikrama“. And like a good student, carried out the ritual with much sincerity.
After having a fun chat with the above 2 caretakers of the temple, who also happen to be great fans of the Hare Krishnas, and after making a little donation, I continued my journey.
To be continued….