Residents of New Vrindaban in West Virginia – ISKCON’s very first farm community – are inviting devotees around the world to make New Vrindaban their summer destination.
“We’d like devotees in all the city temples in North America and beyond to consider New Vrindaban their country home, a place where they can recuperate and regenerate physically and spiritually,” says ISKCON New Vrindaban communications director Anuradha Dasi.
New Vrindaban is full of stunning nature hikes to recreated places of pilgrimage
New Vrindaban is a one-stop destination with activities for both children and adults. Families can spend a weekend, a week, or more, centering their visits around one of the colorful festivals that happen at Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra’s temple every summer.
There’s the famous 24-Hour Kirtan, which will run from June 15th to 16tht his year and feature a veritable who’s who of the best next generation chanters – like Gaura Vani, Amala Harinama, Nadiya Mani, Amala Kirtan, Tulasi Harrison, and Hari Kirtan.
Krishna House students excited for the 24 hour kirtan
There’s Rathayatra (Festival of India) on July 13th, in which Lord Jagannath will ride His chariot through the local City of Wheeling. Fun spiritual activities and entertainment for all the family will follow at the beautiful Heritage Port Park on the waterfront, including kirtan and cultural performances, how to tie a sari and write your name in Sanskrit, ask a monk, a community garbha dance, yoga classes every hour, and a free prasadam feast.
From July 18th to 21st will be the New adVentures Kids Camp, a farm-based bhakti experience for children aged 6 to 13. Kids will get to learn how to make walking sticks, milk cows, make fresh butter, buttermilk and sandesh, do archery, harvest wheat, and grind grain. They’ll also get their own mini kids’ versions of New Vrindaban’s most beloved festivals – decorating and pulling their own small Rathayatra chariot, for instance.
Kids at the New Vrindaban summer camp hold their own blissful Rathayatra festival
On August 10th there will be a Pushpa Abhiseka, in which Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra will be bathed in 10,000 flowers from New Vrindaban’s own gardens.
And every Saturday night from June 15th to September 21st, there will be a Swan Boat Festival, where replicas of Radha Vrindabanchandra will ride a large, beautifully lit swan boat across the waters of the ghat, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Devotees make their way there carrying fire torches in a lively kirtan procession that has to be experienced to be believed.
The torchlit boat festival every Saturday night
“Sacinandana Swami said that it felt like he was part of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtan party, when He marched to the Chand Kazi’s,” Anuradha says.
During the downtime around these festivals, there are a myriad of other activities. Visitors can take their children on a self-led adventure peacock walk around Kusum Sarovara lake. They can go on parikrama to several recreated pilgrimage spots from the original Vrindavana, India, such as Govardhana Hill, Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda, and Govindaji Mandir. And they can visit the world-famous Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold.
Children play in the newly built playground
Another special experience is a reflective hike to the many places of Prabhupada’s pastimes, such as the Old Vrindaban Farmhouse where Srila Prabhupada stayed during his first visit in May 1969; the hill overlooking Bahulaban where Prabhupada gave his Bhagavat Dharma discourses in September 1972; and the tree opposite Madhuban forest under which he would teach his disciples. To further deepen the experience, New Vrindaban is home to many Prabhupada disciples who are always happy to share their memories of these times.
Feeding the cows
Meanwhile visitors can also visit New Vrindaban’s cows every morning and evening, and help the cowherds brush and milk them. They can take four yoga classes a week taught by certified yoga teacher Nikunja Vilasini Dasi at the gorgeous new yogashala overlooking Kusum Sarovara. And they can discover their inner photographer – every step in New Vrindaban is an incredible photo opportunity. Children can also play on the newly-built playground, and have fun eating out at Govinda’s restaurant or snack bar.
Yoga at the yogashala on the lake
All this while staying at the recently renovated Palace Lodge, with its comfortable motel-style rooms – or the just renovated guestwing rooms at the temple, with their own attached bathrooms. Even better, the stay comes with a prasadam breakfast and lunch provided, cooked with dairy from New Vrindaban’s protected cows.
“Adults will be able to relax and take a break while soaking in the devotional atmosphere; children will have a wholesome experience close to the cows and with plenty of activities to keep them off their devices and occupy their head, heart and hands,” says Anuradha. “So please come visit us and make New Vrindaban your country summer home!”
The gorgeous temple room at New Vrindaban
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For more information, visit http://www.newvrindaban.com/
To book your stay, visit http://www.palacelodge.com/[ new-vrindaban ] [ tourism ] [ west-virginia ]