A state-of-the-art new goshala facility has been built at the New Govardhana farm in Australia, setting up a bright future for cow protection in the community.
The goshala will open on March 18thwith a fire yajna, kirtan, guided tour and prasadam.
Cow protection has been going on at the thousand-acre farm in some form since its establishment in 1977.
Currently there are seventy-eight cows, divided into three categories. Retired cows are cared for by Gita Govinda Dasi and kept at a goshala built in the nineties. Working bullocks are cared for by Krishna Kirtan Das, who recently built a separate goshala to train them. And the milking cows and breeding herd are taken care of by Karunamayi Dasi, who took over from Prabhupada disciple Venu Gopal Das when he passed away last year.
“Venu Gopal Prabhu was the one who had the idea for the new goshala, and designed it along with builder Maha-Mantra Prabhu,” says Karunamayi.
The new goshala for the milking cows will allow New Govardhana to expand its cow protection project and increase milking capacity to provide milk for the Deities, farm, satellite restaurants on the Gold Coast, and Brisbane temple two hours away.
Malcolm and Tom milking the cows
It will also provide better facilities and care for twenty-one cows and calves, and will increase preaching by having a more attractive venue for guests who want to come visit them.
“We have a lot of guests coming here because of Krishna Village, our volunteer and retreat center where many WWOOFers stay,” Karunamayi says.
Entering into the new goshala, guests will come into a reception area decorated with photos of cowherds and visitors interacting with the cows, showing that they have personalities, can be our friends, and can work alongside us. There will also be informative posters explaining what cow protection is and what New Govardhana is doing about it, allowing guests to be able to visit and learn when no guides are available.
Past the reception, there will be a large viewing area where people will be able to watch milkings, and meet the calves and cows. Further on there will be a commercial kitchen where milk sweets and other natural milk products will be prepared.
Meanwhile the milking area consists of milking “bails” or stations made from locally sourced wood rather than metal so that they are comfortable and won’t clang and frighten the cows. Near it there will be a very large cow shelter area with high ceilings, lights so that the cows will be able to see who is milking them and will feel safer, and rubber matting on the floor to protect the cows from the joint problems concrete can cause.
Marley puts a tilak sign up at the new Goshala
An outside veranda will provide more space for the cows, while a “standing stock” will hold them while they are being given medical treatment.
The goshala will also include a dedicated shed for tools, fencing supplies, and feed, and a bathroom and shower facility for cowherds.
Finally, upstairs there will be a conference room with incredible views of the surrounding countryside, projector facilities, and seating for up to one hundred people.
It will be used for outreach, youth programs and seminars, beginning with the ISKCON Ministry for Cow Protection and Agriculture’s first Australian Farm Conference. Organized by local devotees along with Ministry director Kalakantha Das, the Conference will run from November 17thto 19ththis year and is open to all.
The goshala will also be used for other events and activities, such as Gopastami celebrations, and kids’ clubs on Saturdays, where children will be able to interact with and learn about the cows.
“After two years of persisting through so many local council regulations and requests for changes, it is so exciting to be opening this new goshala,” says Karunamayi. “It really shows the level of dedication that New Govardhana has to cow protection. Because some places might have given up.”
She adds, “The opportunities for preaching are also exciting. So many guests and visitors will want to come and see the nice new facility, and many ask questions such as ‘why do you like cows so much?’ And that leads further and further, and really starts to turn a light on in people’s heads.”
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