"Krishna has saved me" said Avadhuta-priya devi dasi, a devotee of Lord Krishna, referring to her incredible escape from a series of terrorist bomb blasts that tore through crowded shopping areas of Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan in India's north.
Police report that on the night of Tuesday, May 13th , eight bombs exploded in the crowded market bazaars of the ancient Indian city, killing 63 people and wounding 216. At least three children are reported to be amongst the dead. Two of the bombs were placed near temples dedicated to Hanuman. It is believed they were timed to coincide with the weekly gathering of devotees.
"Right now the city is under curfew," Avadhuta-priya dasi said in her Internet blog. "Raja Park, where I live, is almost all shut down. Yesterday I missed the blast in the city by 12 minutes." In the late afternoon Avadhuta-priya was conducting an interview in Johari Bazaar for her academic research. "Then I moved on to Hawa Mahal where I left my scooter," she said. One of the bombs was planted exactly where she had parked.
A.S.Gill, director-general of Rajasthan's police force, said the bombs had been planted in plastic bags which were attached to new bicycles. These bicycles were then placed with the aim of causing "maximum damage." Police have detained a dozen people for questioning in relation to the blasts. They have identified where the bicycles used in the attacks were bought and have a description of the buyer.
"I went to visit one temple across the road and then went to Govindaji Mandir," Avadhuta-priya continued. "Krishna has saved me by making me to go for Govindadevji's darsan at 7pm instead of 6.15pm." First I was planning to see Govindadev at 6.15pm." Her original plan to attend darshan at 6.15pm would have placed Avadhuta-priya directly at the site of one of the blasts at the time of detonation. "I would be well gone," she said, "since the route I always take is where the bombs were."
"While I was sitting in the temple yesterday night and looking at Govindadev I felt an inspiration to chant extra rounds and Gayatri. That made me stay longer in the temple than I was expecting. It was Krishna's mercy, otherwise I wouldn't be here. On my way out from the temple I could see that things were not right." People were hurriedly rushing away and many police were arriving. The streets were being closed off and the shops all shut. "I looked up at Radha Damodar Mandir, the temple was also shut and then I knew that something awful must have happened since it was an aratik time for them," she said. Seeing police vans, ambulances and riot police confirmed her fears.
This was the first terrorist attack in Jaipur, a city which attracts many tourists due to its cultural and architectural heritage. One of the bombs exploded near the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Wind built in the 18th century, another at the Johri Bazaar, packed with shoppers and shopkeepers. The explosions were created with chemicals including ammonium nitrate and were filled with ball bearings. Three extra bombs had not exploded, these were discovered and defused by police.
Although many would say Avadhuta-priya devi dasi is lucky to be alive, she believes luck had nothing to do with it. She sees that Krishna drew her to His temple away from the bombs and inspired her to chant extra rounds keeping her safe until after the blasts tore through the unsuspecting crowds causing injuries and death.
Delhi, India's capital city, was placed on high alert. Security was increased at sensitive points in the city, including Metro stations and crowded market places. "An extra security cover has been extended to all the religious places, including the Jama Masjid, Akshardham and ISKCON temples," a spokesman for Delhi police said.