Chandan Yatra in Mayapur

By Subroto Biswas - 1.5 2017

The devotees of ISKCON Mayapur celebrated 21 day long Chandan Yatra festival starting on 29th April at the Sridam Mayapur Chandradaya Temple. It also marked the most auspicious day of Akshay Tritia as per the Vedic calendar.

Candan Yatra starts on the third lunar day of the waxing moon of Vaisakha month. It is believed in Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy that almost 700 years ago Krishna in Vrindavan instructed His devotee Madhvendra Puri to fetch Malaya Chandan or sandalwood from Odisha, make paste of it and smear it over the Deity of Gopal to get relief from the heat. Since then every year during the month of Vaisakha this festival is held. The cooling effect of the sandalwood is very pleasing to the body of the Lord and for devotees it is an act of rendering devotional service.

At ISKCON Mayapur , devotees turned up in large numbers from various parts of India and abroad, braving the inclement summer heat to get an opportunity to grind the sandalwood ( chandan) which is used as a paste to smear over the body of Radha Madhav . For next 21 days every evening a large procession, carrying the resplendent deities on a palanquin will be taken out within the campus where thousands of devotees will sing and dance ecstatically. Then the deities will be placed on a nicely decorated boat and will be taken out for a ride in the pond so that They can enjoy the evening breeze. During this time various pastimes of Krishna – Rasa Leela, Govardhan Leela, Aghasura Vad, Gajendra Uddhara and many more will be depicted in the temple. Every day large quantities of delicious prasadam like different varieties of cakes, sweet rice, laddoos, halua, pakoras will be distributed . At the ancient ISKCON Jagannath Temple Rajapur too devotees celebrated the festival by smearing sandalwood paste on the deities of Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra and it will be done regularly for 3 weeks.