Table of Contents
It was 30th August, 2021 at around 9:40 am when he left us for heavenly abode to reunite with Ima, his late wife and my dearest grandmother and herein started our journey to Nabadwip to fulfill his last wish to be immersed in the river Ganges. Nabadwip, which is made up of two words- Naba meaning new and Dwip meaning island. It is in the eastern side of West Bengal and is 122 km (about 75.81 mi) from Kolkata.
How it started!
My Grandpa, being an ardent follower of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was born here, wanted to attach himself to this holy land to attain Moksha. On the 7th of Sept, my family and I started to pack off our luggage laden not solely with clothes but also with the grief of letting his remnants away from us. The following day, at the crack of dawn, we boarded the train and we embarked on our pilgrimage to Nabadwip. After a tiring trip of straight 8 hours we reached the station named Nabadwip Dham. Then, at around 6:45 am we got into our stay which was an Ashram: The Shri Govinda Mandir. We were not charged a penny during the entire stay yet we had to pay for the Prasadam I.e. lunch and dinner. On 8th Sept, we went to take a holy dip/bath in the river Ganges which was around 1-1.5 km from our ashram.
Ride of Tuk-Tuk
We booked two of the Tuk-Tuk or rickshaws to reach there which cost us around 50 rupees each. The Ganges looked filthy and muddy as though it had been polluted by human activities, which made us reconsider our decision again yet to our utter surprise neither did we get dirty, nor did the water feel as muddy as it seemed. With every dip we took we felt some sort of spiritual rejuvenation.
On 9th September, my father and my uncle completed their Mundan or the ritual of shaving off the hair which is done to purify, honor and respect the deceased’s soul. On our way back, we relished some roadside Puri and Soya curry. Again to our utter surprise P, my maternal aunt who is a chronic gastritis patient did not have any aftereffects of consuming the roadside junk which she usually falls prey to. She cried, “Harekrishna prabhu! Every grain is prasadam, every drop of water is Amrit and every single living being is your child in this mystic land of yours”
On 10th September, the real thrill and excitement of unravelling the trails and arteries of this sacred land started as we set out to visit the Iskcon temple, Mayapur. My father, who is a connoisseur of knowledge, pointed us at the confluence of the Jalangi River and the Bhagirathi River which is a tributary of the Ganges. We could also spot the Vedic planetarium which is supposed to be the World’s largest Vedic temple and was under construction. We reached Mayapur first by taking a ferry from Hular ghat followed by a 5 min ride via a local rickshaw. We were welcomed by a few devotees who charged a few pennies after putting chandan tilak on our foreheads which felt a bit forced and non-consensual yet we sympathized with them for it was their only way to earn for their hungry stomach.
Visit to Pushpa Samadhi Temple
The ambience at Iskcon left us astounded as we saw kids were busy taking their Vedic classes while some others were engrossed in devotional activities. Those devotees not only included Indians but also NRI’s from various parts of the world. The inclusion of these diverse cultures was a sheer testament to how warm and embracing our Indian culture is. We also paid a visit to the Pushpa Samadhi Temple which was a museum cum temple built in the honor of Srila Prabhupada and that which depicted the trajectory of his entire life. Then, at 7:00 pm since it was pouring heavily, we resorted to revert back to the Ashram.
On the very morning of 11th of September which was also the 10th day of Baba’s demise, we carried forward with the Dasah Kriya as well as the Asthi Visarjan wherein both my father and uncle had an emotional encounter while immersing Baba’s ashes into the holy Ganges. After the completion of all the rituals since it was our last day of stay , we decided to visit a few other renowned and pious temples such as the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (birthplace of Shri Chaitanya), Sonar Gauranga Mandir, Poramatala and the Radharani temple which were astoundingly preserved all in their pristine form. On the very next day i.e. on 12th of September, we headed back to our hometown, Guwahati and with this our 5 day pilgrimage which was more than any other journey came to an end. This had a transforming effect in my life as I felt a spiritual energy calling upon me as if to reestablish a long lost connection with God.