On the day of Ashadhi Ekadashi (a day which is considered very auspicious by all vaishnavas and varakari community) the 70th birthday of HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj was celebrated at a holy place of Pandharpur with great enthusiasm witnessing many disciples, well-wishers and devotees.
For this celebration, about 170 devotees from Nagpur, 7000 devotees across India and around 250 from outside India were gathered together at Pandharpur.
On this occasion, the inauguration ceremony of Prabhupada Ghat (structure made of stairs on the bank of river felicitating bathing and similar activities ), built on the banks of the Chandrabhaga river, was held in the presence of senior Saints, sannyasis and devotees of ISKCON. After receiving 3 acres of land from the Government of Maharashtra on lease, and completing all legal formalities, ISKCON raised the fund of Rs 15 crores from donors and well-wishers and built this huge facility in the service of all devotees coming to Pandharpur.
It has 16 large rooms built and will never be locked. In these rooms, Warkari and other pilgrims can stay without any permission. Likewise they can protect against rain or heat. Apart from this, separate arrangements have been made for changing the clothes for women and men.
In this inauguration program, the Board Director of Prabhupad Ghat, GBC minister, Devakinandan Das, carried the Paduka of Nityanand Mahaprabhu and All india Padayatra deities Gaur Nitai, on his head from the Radha Pandharinath temple to Prabhupad ghat in the ecstatic chantings of mahamntra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”
Then, in the presence of HG Yashmoti Nandan Das, HH Prabhavananda Swami Maharaj, HH Siddhartha Swami Maharaj, ISKCON Tirupati President- Revtiraman Das, Bhaktrup Das, HH Vrindavan Chandra Swami Maharaj, HH Shukadev Swami Maharaj, ISKCON Chamorshi (Gadchiroli) President Parameshwar Das, ISKCON Nagpur President Gaur Sundar Das, Paramatma Das, Ashari Ekadashi Vyas Puja Fetival Committee Chairman HH Ramgovind Swami Maharaj, Vice President Sachidananda Prabhu, Festival Coordinator Krishna Bhakta Prabhu, ISKCON Pandharpur President Prahlad Prabhu, Vice President Chakradhar Prabhu, ISKCON Jhansi President Braj Bhumi Das, Mayapur’s Ishtadev Prabhu and other devotees, along with HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj inaugurated the Prabhupad Ghat by cutting ribbon. HH Loknath Swami maharaj showered flowers on all the devotees.
The host of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Chandrabhaga temple Anil Hanumant Ghosalkar and Aparna Anil Ghosalkar (Kadavai, Dist. Ratnagiri) offered final obligations to fire sacrifice (Yadnya), offered water at the lotus feet of Lord Vithhal Rukhmini and then performed abhishek of three feet marble deity of Chandrabhaga Devi. HH Loknath Swami Maharaj, Devkinandan Das, Revatirman Das, Bhakti Purushottam Maharaj started the arti of Chandrabhaga river by simultaneous blowing of 5 conches. At that time the entire area was occupied with by the conch sound and Hare Krishna Mahamantra chantings.. After the Aarti, fireworks were performed and on the occasion of 70th vyaspuja of HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj devotees performed the arati with 7000 lamps.
Program ended with heart touching drama performed on the life of Saint Tukaram Maharaj. The director, writer and lead actor of this drama was Sanjay Bhosale. It was choreographed by Mayur Vaidya, music was given by Ashok Patki and singers were Suresh Wadkar, Anand Bhate and Devki Pandit. It was produced by Dr. Janardan Chitode. “70 artists participated in this drama and none of them did take any remuneration for this performance” reported the Dr. Shyamsundar Sharma, Spokesman, ISKCON
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