Vrindavan : The whole of Vrindavan has been filled with a sense of Radha’s presence as the townspeople, temples and ashrams all prepare for Radhashtami. The faithful are gathering from far and near to celebrate the auspicious day. The call of Radha’s names is heard more loudly than usual on the streets of Vrindavan.
Temples are being decorated for the festivities giving a wonderful appearance to the entire town. In every house, the women are cooking special feast preparations to mark the occasion.
On Wednesday morning, at the Radhavallabha temple in particular, Radharani’s abhishek will take place on Wednesday morning. At 7, there will be a special celebratory mangal arati, and at 10, the dadhi-kandha ritual will take place. Dadhi-kandha is a celebratory ritual that is also done at Janmashtami; it involves Brajavasis throwing yogurt mixed with turmeric on each other. Then at noon, the Goswamis of the Radha-vallabhi family will have their own dadhikandha festival.
Other temples and ashrams that will have special events are the Surdas Ashram, the Priya Vallabha temple in Chipi Gali, the Bara Rasa Mandal in Govinda Ghat, Seva Kunj temple, Radhika Vallabha temple, Hit Ashram, Radharani mandira, etc. In particular the Surdas Ashram and Banke Bihari temple will have processions in the evening.
It is to be noted that the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, Bhadra Shukla Ashtami, is also the birthday of Swami Haridas, the founder of the Banke Bihari temple and Haridasi sampradaya, one of Vrindavan’s noted rasika Vaishnava traditions. This is being celebrated by both the renounced sadhus and the Banke Bihari goswamis at the Tatiya Sthan, which is the place that Swami Haridas did his bhajan.
Barsana (DJ)à¥¤ Even the weather has become clement in order to fete the Queen of Vrindavan, the daughter of Vrishabhanu, Shrimati Radharani. Pleasant temperatures are helping increase the ardor of the pilgrims, who are flocking to the holy town. For the occasion, devotees have come from every corner of India, and elaborate security measures for their protection have been put in place.
Overflowing with expectation, they await the moment of Radharani’s birth to get her darshan. Traditionally, Radha’s birth takes place just before dawn in Barsana.
Barsana’s Ladili Mandir has been cleaned and decorated specially for the festivities, and huge crowds are gathering there. Many groups of devotees are engaged in bhajans and kirtan as they wait anxiously. Radharani’s sakhis have arrived from every major city to offer her congratulations on her birthday and spent most of the night singing and dancing in celebration, for which they will be rewarded.
As the needles of the clock advanced through the night, the temple grounds became increasingly filled. Goswamis from both Nandagaon and Barsana came together to sing the special songs glorifying Radharani’s birth. Besides this, the Kripalu Dham temple and Man Mandir also conducted their own preparations for the festivities.
To insure that no pilgrims should encounter any difficulties, a large number of police are on duty. They are keeping everyone informed of what is going on. One measure of the enthusiasm is to see chartered buses chock full of pilgrims shouting Radharani’s names plying toward Barsana.