Written on: February 25, 2009
The itinerary of a trip to India (West Bengal only) and Bangladesh during January 24 – February 22, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009 – Visited Chakladham and Kochua Gram (Baba Lokenath’s Birthplace and childhood neighborhoods)
Friday, January 30, 2009 – Visited Mahaudhdharan Math in Kolkata and met Sri Jajgattaran Das Brahmachari, Thereafter attended a Naam Sankirtan and Bhogarati dedicated to SriSri Prabhusundar at Uttar Neelachal (near Birati) arranged and conducted by Dr. Ujjwala Kundu
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - Crossed over to the Bangladesh border from Haridaspur/Petrapole and took a Comfort Bus (Faridpur/Barisal bound) and visited Faridpur Sri-Angan under the arranagements by Sri Bandhupritam Brahmachari of Faridpur Sri-Angan. Visited Brahmankanda (Prabhu’s Lilabhumi of boyhood days) with Bandhupritam Brahmachari and met Resident and In-Charge Sri Mrinalbandhu Brahmachari there. Stayed overnight at Faridpur Sri-Angan and attended the Spectacular Evening and Mangalarati events at Faridpur Sri-Angan.
Thursday, February 5, 2009 – Sri Mrinalbandhuji accompanied me to Brahmankanda once again and we had an extensive tour of famous premises of Brahmankanda Angina I also visited a privately built and owned Radha Krishna Temple by Banerjee Family (in memory of Late Tapan Banerjee) in the remote village of Brahmankanda with Mrinalbandhu Brahmachari and thereafter we visited Bakchar Angina (Prabhu’s childhood Lilabhumi) by an auto and had a comprehensive tour of the extended neighborhoods of Bakchar Sri-Angan sanctified by Prabhusundar’s Childhood Lila, including the beautiful backdrop of magnificent natural settings all around. Attended the famous river named “Kaveri” by Prabhusundar Himself.
In the afternoon Mrinalbandhuji and me took the bus to Bajitpur in Madaripur District (1 ½ hour bus ride from Faridpur Sri-Angan) and reached SriSri Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj’s Birth and Tirodhan Place ‘Pranavananda Math” in Bajitpur. Bharat Sevashram Sangha’s All-India, Bangladesh and International Maghi Purnima festival was to be held at the time. We had been fortunate enough to personally meet (1) Swami Mahananda,(2) Swami Akshayanandaji Maharaj (the senior most Brahmachari who accompanied Swami Pranabanada Maharaj live) of Bharat Sevashram Sangha of 211 Rash Behari Avenue. Kolkata) and (3) Swami Digvijayananada, In-charge of Sri Sri Pranab Math, Dhaka.
We stayed overnight at the 5-storey “Atithi Bhaban” in the Pranav Math premises of Bajit pur and attended Spectacular Evening and Mangalarati events at the Math.
Friday, February 6, 2009 – Finally I left Bajitpur Pranav Math with Mrinalbandhu around 12 noon and took a bus to Gopalganj (Bangabandhu Mujibur Rahman’s birthplace). Reached Gopalganj in about 1 ½ hours. Then met Sri Bandhu Smaran Brahmachari, in-charge of Phulbadina SriSri Sishuraj Mahendrabandhu Angan and visited SriSri Prabhu Jagdabndhu Temple of Gopalganj (founded just 3 years ago). Then crossed over the river Madhumati from Chapail Ghat by a motorized boat and reached the land of Narail, Jessore. Finally we took another bus from across Chapail Ghat towards Phulbadina SriSri Sishuraj Mahendrabandhu Angan and reached the arena in about 45 minutes. It was the holy day of Nityananda Trayodashi (also the birthdaty of Sripad Mahendraji!) The Phulbadina Mahendrabandhu Angan encompasses an area of 5 acres and resembles a Tapoban (a place to meditate and attain salvation/nirvana) very closely with its unparalleled natural beauty and picturesque surroundings with tall and densely leafy trees and the songs sung by the birds. Stayed overnight at Phulbadina Angan with Bandhu Smaran Brahmachari.
Saturday, February 7, 2009 - Udayasta Kirtan (Maghi Purnima) started at 6 a.m. with Mangalarati by Bandhu Smaran Brahmachari. Had several tours in the arena since the previous day. The “Garva Mandir” is being reconstructed with a Govt. Grant adjacent to the existing “Nat Mandir”. After midday Bhogarati, I left Phulbandina Angan with Bandhu Smaran for Dhaka Mahaprakash Math. From Phulbadina Angan we took a van and rode quite a distance to reach another Madhumati River ghat to cross over to get the long distance bus for Dhaka around 3:30 p.m. The boat this time was a ply boat, since here the width of Madhumati River was slimmer. We reached Gabtali Bus Stand in New Dhaka area and reached Dhaka Mahaprakash Math around 10:30 p.m. We had to cross river Padma earlier and get another bus from the other side of the river. Met Sri Niladribandhu Brahmachari and Sri Kantibandhu Maharajji at Dhaka Mahaprakash Math around 10:30 p.m. Niladribandhuji arranged for our nightly Bhog Prasad around 11 p.m. Stayed overnight at Mahaprakash Math guest house on the third floor with a resident student. Bandhu Smaran stayed in a different room with another student.
Sunday, February 8, 2009 – Attended Mangalarati at 5:30 a.m. at Dhaka Mahaprakash Math. Accompanied Niladribandhu and Bandhu Smaran Brahmacharis to Baradi, Narayanganj by an auto 11:30 -1:00 p.m. crossing the Bridge on Sitalakshya River. Baradi is the Lilabhumi and Tirodhan Place of Baba Lokenath during his ages 124-160 = 36 years. Visited Baradi Baba Lokenath premises for about 1 ½ hours. Baba’s Samadhi Temple and the Temple of his worships are the highlights of Baradi. The premises have a large and spectacular ‘Nat Mandir’, a Kali Temple, one multi-storied Guest House and a couple more are in the process of being completed, an ancient Banyan tree in-between the Samadhi and Baba’s Worship Temples and a cemented container for “Raja” (soil) of Baba’s Baradi Dham. The quaint and countryside beauty of Baradi Dham is spoiled by the presence of the sellers of worship items in front of the entrance arch of Baradi Dham at this time.
Accompanied Niladribandhuji to Siddheswari Kali Temple and Ma Anandamayi Temple in Dhaka Rosebag area.
Finally, took the Luxury Syamali Paribahan Bus at 9:30 p.m. from the bus stand near (but not too near) Dhaka Mahaprakash Math and reached Benapole Border at 5 a.m. Had to cross Padma River during 1:30 – 2:00 a.m. with the Bus in the Ferry/Barge.
Monday, February 3, 2009 – After customs and immigration first at Benapole and then Petrapole, I boarded another Syamali Paribahan Bus at Petrapole and got off at the Taxi Stand near Birati overpass to Dakshineswar.
Friday, February 13, 2009 – Took “Hazar Duari Express” on this last day of the first week of “Inaugural Run” from newly built Kolkata Station at 6:20 a.m. Reached Murshidabad Railway Station at 12.30 (1 hour late). Took 2 rickshaw vans to Ichhajaganj (or Prabhu Jagadbandhu Ashram) Ferry ghat and crossed the Bhagirathi (Ganges) River by motorized boat. The same 2 vans took us to Dahapara Prabhu Jagadbandhu Dham. Arranged for a shelter for one night (no mattress or box springs, no pillows, only enough warm blankets for placing on the floor and using to cover up bodies) in the Bhaktabash on the second floor Room. No. 6 through Sri Sankarbandhu Brahmachari in-charge (in the absence of Sri Naraharidas Brahmachari). Visited the temples and Nat Mandir and the premises everywhere.
In the evening we took 2 rickshaws to visit the famous Kiriteshwari Temple of Dahapara. Visited both the old and new Kiriteshwari Temples adjacent to each other and some of the ruins of the original temples.
Attended Evening Arati and Kirtan.
Saturday, February 14, 2009 – Udayasta Kirtan of Saturday started early morning. We attended on time. I walked to the shore of the Ganges from Dahapara Temple premises where Prabhusundar’s parents used to bathe through the village trails (about 12-15 minutes walk) and collected a bottle of the holy water of the Ganges to carry home. After balyabhog we left Dahapara Dham and crossed the Ganges Ghat by a motorized ferry to Ichhaganj Ghat on the Murshidabad side and rented 3 rickshaws. to visit the historic sites of Murshidabad including Kathgola Garden, House Jagat Seth, Toombs of Mirzafar and others, and finally Hazarduari to a very limited extent, since down Lalgola Passenger was due at 2:40 p.m. Boarded the overcrowded train. It was overcrowded all the way and was also significantly late because of unexplained detention at Barrackpore Junction station.
I took 400 pictures of the places of pilgrimage only. I’ll try to put as many pictures as possible in our web site in the days ahead.
JAI JAGADBANDHU HARI!