25th of December, 2004 - 6:31
Meeting Govardhan
24th of December, 2004 - 16:27
Festival of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaja
23rd of December, 2004 - 17:36
22nd of December, 2004 - 20:08
A foggy day at Yamuna
21st of December, 2004 - 20:21
The garden of rasa
20th of December, 2004 - 17:25
Siddha Madhusudan Das Baba's festival at Surya-kunda
19th of December, 2004 - 18:38
The lake of Sri Chaitanya
18th of December, 2004 - 18:44
In Vrindavan
17th of December, 2004 - 16:58
At Radha-Roman's house
16th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Today Delhi going
15th of December, 2004 - 17:30
Inquiries on bhajana
14th of December, 2004 - 20:01
A crash and Radha-Krishna katha
13th of December, 2004 - 18:14
A fairly uneventful day
12th of December, 2004 - 19:31
Publicity in the whole universe
11th of December, 2004 - 18:05
On bad deeds and good character
10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Disappearances and instructions
9th of December, 2004 - 16:59
8th of December, 2004 - 17:49
Festival of Narahari Sarakara
7th of December, 2004 - 17:54
Back to Radha-kunda
6th of December, 2004 - 21:42
Visiting Vrindavan
6th of December, 2004 - 15:49
Half-way around Govardhan
5th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Electric outage
5th of December, 2004 - 15:04
Vrindavan Art
4th of December, 2004 - 17:17
Thoughts on our bhajana-marga
3rd of December, 2004 - 17:32
Meeting friends all day long
2nd of December, 2004 - 23:51
The second day in Vraja
2nd of December, 2004 - 17:39
Meeting Baba
2nd of December, 2004 - 0:20
From New Delhi to Vraja
1st of December, 2004 - 19:33
Giridhari's flute busted!
1st of December, 2004 - 7:30

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Visiting Vrindavan
Posted: 6th of December, 2004 - 15:49

A view of Loi Bazaar
Early in the morning, we leave for Vrindavan with Yugal and Roman, our next door neighbor from Sweden. We share a jeep from the tempo stand, reaching Raman Reti in a bit over a half an hour. A comfortable ride compared to a tempo. After purchasing spices from a store nearby, we continue on rickshaw towards Loi Bazaar. Today's pilgrimage will be rather bazaar-oriented, we still need to gather some supplies before we are all set.

First, a brief visit to Rasbihari Lal & Sons to check out any new books that might have come out during the previous year. Actually, our main interest right now is in books covering the fauna and flora of Northern India, we are working on identifying and collecting pictures of all the varieties of plants and animals mentioned in works such as Govinda-lilamritam, Krishna-bhavanamritam and Vraja-riti-cintamani. Sadly the selection at RBL isn't all that good, I suppose we'll have to check out some better equipped Delhi bookstores to get some reference material for the project.

All of a sudden an old acquaintance of ours, Sachinandan Swami from Germany, pops in.

At Dinesh. The younger brother in the picture.
He is as surprised to meet us as we are to meet him. He's been staying in Vraja for the past month, and only has two more days left in the dham. He has been engaged in a nama-vrata in Unchagaon, he says. Unchagaon is the village of Lalita-sakhi near Varshana. Maharaja says he feels that we have entered an era in which the walls between the various Gaudiya Vaishnava groups are coming down. We exchange some brief thoughts on a number of topics, then giving him peace with his book project. The bookstore-wallah seems to have made a loyal customer out of him, judging by the stack of books that is piled up before him.

First stop at Dinesh, shopping some basic clothes and a woolen chaddar. We generally purchase our clothes at Dinesh's, reasonable prices and very friendly and helpful service. They have now expanded the range of their services, they also exchange currency, convey Western Union payments and give credit card withdrawals. There is no fee charged if you purchase from the shop with a credit card, otherwise if you only take cash they charge a 4% commission. Reasonable enough, a year or so back there was only one shop there where this was possible, and they charged a whooping 15% commission.

At Kishora Vana - the pot and plate wallahs.
Please bear with me if this seems like a commercial break. I assure you we are not working for these people. We are actually working on compiling a guide booklet to useful shops with Yugal to help people spend less time with purchasing the stuff they need, and more doing bhajan and parikrama — which is what they came here to do to begin with. One would hope so, anyway! Especially Mathura is a labyrinth if you need to purchase some practical stuff — heaters, boxes and what not.

Next stop at the pot-wallah. Thakurji has no good offering plates, and we also need a couple of bowls for soups and the such. As the picture shows, they have a good selection, and more in the backroom. The owner of the shop is very friendly and helpful. The shop is around mid-way through Loi Bazaar next to a big deity paraphernalia store. The sign says "Kishora Vana", though I'm unsure whether that's the name of the store or something completely different. Monkeys seem to like to hang around the place.

After the crossroads of Loi Bazaar and Bhankandi Mahadev Bazaar we get stuck in a traffic jam. A bug bull has also been caught in the jam and stands still with a puzzled face. See the views-section for a good view of him. Looking from a Western perspective, the roads are just about wide enough for one car to go to one direction. However, there is regular two-way traffic there. Jams generally occur when five cars, seven bicycles and two cows try to go to three directions.

At Sri Ji cloth store
Bhankandi Mahadev Bazaar is a good place for purchasing deity cloths. Here, too, we have our favorite shop. A small one, with a great selection and a friendly old man taking care of the shop with his son. This time we only need some simple cloth under our altar. He has already spread out some of the novelties. We promise to come back later for more. Thakurji has probably ten times as much clothes as we do, but more they need nevertheless. This is the shop where I sit down and chant.

We were supposed to meet with Yugal and Roman to share a ride back to Radha-kunda, but didn't agree on a time yet. We were supposed to call for the specific time, but Yugal's phone was out of order. Since downtown Vrindavan is a bit short on places to sit down, we headed for Krishna-Balaram to sit down and relax for a while, hoping for Yugal to turn his phone on.
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