|I wrote this last Saturday morning (November 10th) whilst sitting in my room at the Birla Guest House on the beach road in Jagannath Puri, Orissa, under a ceiling fan turned on to maximum. The mosquitos were being blown hither and thither by the strong currents of air, yet some seemed to get through the strong defence system, doing what mosquitos do best.
The rest of the team were out on parikrama, or visiting the various sacred sites of Puri. I took the morning off to bring you all up to date with my tour. But first things first. Before I narrate our journey from West Bengal to Orissa, I’d like to share my last photos of Mayapur, lest we lose our sense of time sequence. Here they are, in no particular order:
When I first arrived I took this shot of the daily rubbish collection in the vast grounds of Sri Mayapur. The bulls love to work, especially doing devotional service.
When it was built some years ago, this was the longest building in Bengal. I think it still is. Known affectionately as (you guessed it) ‘The Long Building’, it offers profuse accomodation facilities.
This is a nice aerial view of the Memorial Temple (Samadhi Mandir) to Srila Prabhupada. It really is a massive building.
Under the mosaic-lined main dome is the actual memorial tomb of Srila Prabhupada, as shown below. The gorgeous marble and onyx main hall can hold up to 4000 people.
Back in the main temple building, we have some vision of an inner sanctum, the ancient abode of Lord Nrisimhadeva, where regular worship is performed at certain times of the day.
This is the wonderful arati ceremony where cauldron-like flaming camphor lamps are offered accompanied by joyful singing and music, and the chanting of millenias-old Sanskrit hymns.
Here is is one of the many sacred sites around Sri Mayapur, an ancient lake that’s been extant for millenia.
Here’s a good shot of the main courtyard of the Sri Mayapur main Temple. The 3-spired roof marks the entrance to the main temple complex. The single spire marks the place where the main altar is situated. Note the security framework on the right under the grass-roofed area. As is common in most large Indian temples these days, security guards check each entrant for potential terrorist breaches.
Each morning the devotees gather at the far end of the main temple to offer respects, flowers and sacred items to our founder/acharya Srila Prabhupada, in a ceremony known as guru-puja.
Each devotee present offers handfuls of marigold petals from the temple garden. Here’s a scene of the temple gardens.
And another shot of the gorgeous lotus-petal fountain.
This photo definitely does not do justice to the gigantic size and awesome beauty of the Deities of the five sacred forms of Panca Tattva, newly installed a couple of years ago in one of the massive temple halls.
Here’s a couple of photos of just a small fragment of the 4800 devotees sitting attentively in a morning and evening classes held in a massive temporary pandal (decorative Indian festival tent) built on a large stretch of lawn at Sri Mayapur.
These tents are a special wonder of Indian construction ingenuity, and come with comfortable cushioned floor seating and electricity. Some are built to house 30,000 in one sitting. This small one was tailored for 5000.
This is the lotus-eyed beauty of Sri Lalita, one of the divine cowherd girls that constantly offer service to Radha and Krishna.
And here’s two more gorgeous gopi servants of Krishna.
There are numerous places to eat in Sri Mayapur, including seated, restaurant-style dining. If you want to eat in a traditional way, the Gada building offers daily fare for those who want to partake cross-legged. Here’s a small view of the massive prasadam (sacred food) hall that seats 1000 at a sitting. That’s Kesava on the right, the group leader from Melbourne.
The banana leaf plate is there, with the customary wedge of lime, salt and water. Lunch is on the way!
To be continued…
Posted by Kurma on 17/11/07; 1:38:21 PM