The Story Behind Parikrama
In July 2017, we (few devotees of ISKCON Bangalore and and Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir) organised a short yatra to Jaipur called a ‘Sampoorna Darshan Yatra’. The purpose of this yatra is to pay obeisance to deities of Radha Madan Mohan in Karauli, Radha Govind and Radha Gopinath .The completion of all these Darshans is called Sampooran Darshan which means complete vision.
The history of this darshan dates back to 5000 years ago after Lord Krishna completed his past times and went back to the spiritual world. Lord Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabh wanted to install the deities or the forms of Lord Krishna in the holy place of Vrindavan commemorating the significance of Lord Krishna's past times in this holy place and around it. Vajranabh requested Devaki who is the mother of Lord Krishna to describe the form of Krishna, when she started giving the descriptions Vajranabh started making the forms in black stones.
The lower portion of Radha Madan Mohan― the lotus feet exactly resembles the feet of Lord Krishna that is the reason the first Darshan is to the deity Radha Madan Mohan temple. The second Darshan is to the deity Radha Govind as the body portion from the waist to the neck resembles Lord Krishna’s original body.The third Darshan is to the deity Radha Gopinath as the face resembles Lord Krishna’s face.
In ancient history, there were multiple invasions in North India so all the deities were shifted to different parts of Rajasthan, as the kings and queens were feeling insecure that the deities were being attacked in Vrindavan and Agra. The original deities from Vrindavan had been shifted to a place in Karauli, around 120 km from Jaipur.
Jaipur became a Gupth Vrindavan as the real deities were all shifted to Karauli in Rajasthan. So, worshipping these three temples on the same day offers you Sampooran Darshan.
Around the same time the devotees of the Sampooran Darshan Yatra organized another yatra in Balaram Jayanthi which was a two-day-yatra to visit the Krishna Balram temple with about 30 to 40 devotees, donors and well-wishers. This yatra helped us to gather people for knowledge sharing and spiritual sessions. Most of our yatris asked us to organise more such trips to other places as they felt rejuvenated and enlightened. This positive feedback from the yatris gave us confidence and hope to organise more yatras. This yatra to Krishna Balaram Temple really inspired us a lot.
Encouraged by the success of the earlier yatras, we organised a yatra in the month of October 2017 to Mayapur and Jagannath Puri, where we received overwhelming responses from the 70 people who were part of the yatra. The four days yatra was very vibrant with Kirtans, classes and exploration of the places. Mayapur is known as the birth place of Lord Chaitanya and there is a new ISKCON temple coming up there. This was a very inspiring yatra and a spiritually guided tour with devotees accompanying and explaining every place. Earlier people must have gone to these places but with nobody to guide them properly, they just went there and came back as it was more of an excursion or a trip.
But travelling with devotees offers you a lot of advantages in each yatra one got the wonderful experience of understanding the whole place, its culture and heritage, history and spiritual significance. Apart from it, the devotees who follow certain spiritual principles guide them to adopt those principles in their lives as well.
Generally people worry about getting good food and accommodation whenever and wherever they travel. In the yatra we offer we take care of all these aspects from travel to accommodation and of food. Basically any yatra we offered is a complete package with all the above accounted for.
Later on, we organised a yatra to Dwarka in February 2018 with about 70 to 75 people and it was also quite a successful one. About 20 to 25% of our yatris who attended this yatra were yatris who were part of our other yatras. It was like connecting again with our own people, who knows about our philosophy very well.
During these yatras, people also suggested us to organise overseas yatras as well. We had a discussionwith Chanchalapathi Prabhu who told us that Srila Prabhupada started his ISKCON movement in America. He also shared “It would be a wonderful concept to visit those temples which Srila Prabhupada started, explain to people how the movement started and how things shaped in America and Europe.” That was inspiration for us to plan US East Coast Yatra and Parikrama Europe Yatra in exploring the Krishna temples established there and to experience the culture and the history of the place.
There were many such ISKCON temples in the West which talks about so much history where Srila Prabhupada travelled extensively and established the Krishna temples. The devoted followers are practising our principles and the Vedic culture.
We organized the first International Yatra to US in June 2018 this yatra was more of an rejuvenating experience for most of our yatris . We then organized the Parikrama Europe Yatra in August 2018 with about 35 to 40 people.
Meanwhile, we had launched the Darshan Dham Yatra to cover places like Madurai, Rameshwaram along with the Bangalore Brahmotsava for 4 to 5 days. We also had organised a Chota Char Dham Yatra in May, a sojourn to the Badrinath and Kedarnath. We organised the Ratha Yatra during the Jagannath Puri Yatra- a three days yatra and the US West Coast Yatra in 2018.
With the initial successes of these yatras, we took a more formal, structured and organised path and we called this initiative as ‘Parikrama’. Parikrama is a Sanskrit word literally meaning"the path surrounding something” and is also known as Pradakshina representing circumambulation. In Hinduism and Buddhism this word means it is the action or ritual of moving clockwise round an object of devotion as an indication of worship.
Parikrama means a spiritual yatra that will guide one through the journey of life and is not about one time journey. It is a journey of life transformation about the way of thinking, perception and understanding that takes shape with the purpose of life and one’s own spiritual growth which one should be knowing as an individual.
Our tagline― ‘from places to purposes’, means every place people visit there is a purpose. Any person joining Parikrama for the yatras will not only be part of the spiritual yatras but also will be ever associated closely with us.
The objective of Parikrama is all about understanding the place, history, culture, heritage, knowledge sharing, building a stronger community, mentorship and giving people spiritual talks.
We are focusing in providing an authentic travel experience of the historical, cultural and spiritual sites in India and around the world, to inspire people and broaden the world-view through travel ,to facilitate the growth of spiritual travel in every individual through pilgrimages and personal transformation.