Nabadwip Dham Parikrama and Dol Festival
Nabadwip Dham consists of nine 'dwip' or islands where Sri Chaitanya Mahapravu and His associates performed Their transcendental pastimes. Later Vaishnava Acaryas – Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad, Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaj, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj and others spent several years of their lives here discussing the pastimes of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Every island is separated by a tributary of river Ganga.
Sri Dham Mayapura or Antardvipa’s central point, the Maha-Yogapitha, is the appearance-place of the Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This Antardvipa consists of Ballala-dighi (Prithu-kunda), a portion of Vamana-pukura, Shrinathapura, Ganga-nagara and other places. Shri Jagannatha Mishra’s house is within the present Vamana-pukura. Although Shriman Mahaprabhu eternally performs pastimes here, only fortunate souls can witness them.
Nabadwip Dham Parikram is a 7 days program of about visiting and going around each of island or 'Dwip'. Devotees listen to the legends of each place and get a feel of pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates. Sri Nabadwip Dham Parikrama during Dol festival begins at Gaura Dashami.
Day 1: Sankalp or Oath Ceremony Devotees of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti assembles at Trigunatit Samadi Mandir located on the bank of river Ganga at about 5:30 in the morning. Senior Sansyasis and brahmacharis perform Kirtans and deliver lectures describing the importance of 'Nabadwip Dham Parikram, its history, legends and pastimes of various legendary Vaishanavas. Thereafter, breakfast is served.
Day 2: First Parikrama Parikrama of Sri Godrumadwip and Madhyadwip, Sri Surabhi Kunja, Suvarna Bihar Math, Sri Nrisimha Palli, Sri Harihara Ksetra, and other places.
Day 3: Second Parikrama Parikrama of Samudra Garh, Champa Haati, Gaur Gadadhar Mandir, Sri Koladwip, and other places.
Day 4: Third Parikrama Gaura Ekadasi. Parikrama of Praudha Maya, Vriddha Shiva, Sri Vishnu Priya's Deity of Sri Gauranga, Sri Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj's Samadhi Mandir, Sri Koladwip, and other places.
Day 5: Fourth Parikrama Parikrama of Sri Koladwip, Sri Ritudwip, Sri Jahnudwip, Sri Modadrumadwip, Old Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhar Mandir, Vidya Nagar Sarvabhauma Gaudiya Math, Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur's appearance place, and the Deity served by Sri Saranga Murari and Vasudev Datta Thakur.
Day 6: Fifth Parikrama Parikrama of Sri Ishodyan, Sri Yoga Pith (Sriman Mahaprabhu's appearance place), Srivas Angan, Sri Nrisimha Mandir, Sri Advaita Bhavan, Murari Gupta Bhavan, Sri Chaitanya Math, the Temple of Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari and Sriman Mahaprabhu surrounded by the Acharyas of the four Vaishnava sampradayas, Srila Prabhupad's Samadhi Mandir, Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj's Samadhi, Sri Kazi Samadhi, Sharadanga Sri Jagannath Mandir, Sridhar Angan, and Sri Antardwip.
Day 7: Gaur Jayanti Festival Sri Gaura Purnima. Divine appearance of Sri Gauranga. Total fast until moonrise, then no grains. Grand festival at Sri Devanand Gaudiya Math. Vasantotsav and Dol Yatra of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.
Sri Krishna Janmastami is one of the major festivals celebrated annually in Sri Devananda Gaudiya Math and centers of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. It is celebrated on Krishna-Ashtami Tithi in the month of Bhadra, usually August in English calendar.
Devotees observe fasting to commemorate this day. The day starts with Mangal Aarati followed by Tulasi Parikram, Harinam Sankirtan, whole day class on Srimad Bhagwatam and Bhog Aarati at noon. In the evening Padavali kirtan followed by discourse on Krishna Leela and then Sandhya Aarati followed by Tulasi Parikram. Special Kirtan and Srimad Bhagwatam class continues till midnight.
Preparation for this occasion starts couple days in advance. Temples were decorated with flowers, coloured flags, Banana plants, pots, etc. Entire Math is decorated with fancy lights. Flower decoration of the deities beholds the eyes of the devotees. The temple is lighted up in the evening.
Varieties of sweets, food items and special recipes are prepared with love and devotion and served to the almighty God "Shri Krishna' throughout the day as well as at midnight when Sri Krishna was born.
At 12 o'clock midnight, the time when Sri Krishna was born, a Special Abhishekam is performed and special food items are served to the deities. Special Aarati is performed well. Prashad (only fruits and vegetables) is served thereafter to all.
This auspicious occasion is followed by the Nanda-Ustav festival the next day. Mahaprashad is served to all devotees at noon to culminate such a great event. Mangal Arati, Bhog Aarati and Sandhya Aarati followed by temple and Tulasi Parikram, Harinam Sankirtan and discourse of Srimad Bhagwatam in which a discussion on Krishna Leela completes day and the festival.
The Jhulan Yatra Festival
Jhulan Yatra is celebrated in the month of Shravana, starting on the second Ekadashi and ending on Baladev Purnima or Rakhi Purnima. That is month of August in English Calendar.
In Sri Devananda Gaudiya Math, devotees make arrangements for a swing on a Kadamba tree. They prepare a gorgeous flowery 'Jhula' or swing hanging from the high branches of a tall Kadamba tree. The long ropes are beautifully entwined with Madhavi creepers and various fragrant flowers. The swing is surrounded by Astasakhis performing different types of services, small grasses and shurbs behold the eyes of the viewers. The whole environment appears like spiritual garden.
The deities are beautifully dressed and swung on the swing or Jhulan. Flower and Tulasi garlands are offered to the deities. Devotees prepare various delicious food offering for the deities and Aarati is performed while the deities are comfortably seated on the Jhulan. Devotees come one by one to swing the Jhulan, meanwhile kirtan is carried out continuously which is highly pleasurable to everyone out there.
The Jhulan Yatra Festival is the biggest and spectacular display of decorated swings, songs and dances for the delightment of Radha Govinda.
Rath Yatra Festival
Devananda Gaudiya Math and many of its branches celebrates their annual Rath Yatra Festival on Ashadha Shukla paksha Dwitiya as per Puri Rath Yatra Festival. It's a procession of Lord Jagannath and His siblings towards Sundarachal or Vrindavan or Gundicha temple. The nine days long festival is marked with various rituals and traditions. Before the festival starts, the chariot is cleaned and decorated with flowers. On the day of the occasion senior sanyashis take Lord Jagannath in their lap and raise the deity to the Rath followed by kirtana and vandana. It is considered very auspicious to have a glimpse of the Lord Jagannath in the Rath.
Pujari offers different flower and Tulasi garlands and variety of sweets to the deity. After the Aarati, the Rath is pulled by the devotees through various roads before reaching Gundicha temple. Devotees and people are overwhelmed with joy and herald Jai Jagannath with loud voice. Throughout the journey loud conch sounds takes the atmosphere with joy and exultation.
Lord Jagannath is served with sweets and different types of offerings. Everyday Lord is served 5 times and devotees around enjoy the prasadam. In the evening lectures on Lord Jagannath are given which is followed by Sandya Aariti.
On the fifth day, Hera Panchami is celebrated with Kirtans and discourses from Chaitanya Charitamrita. On the ninth day Lord Jagannath is drawn back to the main temple with same hue and colour.
Sri Radha Astami
Radha Astami is celebrated on the Sukla Paksha Astami on the month Bhadra (August-September month in English calendar). Srimati Radharani appeared on this day and hence devotees celebrate this day with lot of fanfare. In Devananda Gaudiya Math, the entire Math gets into the festival mood. Sri Radha Vinoda Bihari is decorated in a splendid dress and decorated with fragrant flowers. Devotees observe fasting till afternoon, special Abhishekam is followed by constant Bahajn and Kirtana glorifying Srimati Radharani till 12 PM, the birth time of Sri Radharani. Shri Radha Vinod Bihari is offered palatable countless recipes and a sumptuous Mahaprashad (feast) is served to the devotees. In the evening, again Kirtan starts at late afternoon followed by discourse on Radha Tatva and then Sandhya Aarati and Mandir Parikrama completes the day
Srila Gurudeva Vyas Puja and Tirobhava Tithi
Vyas Puja is celebrated on the appearance day Sril Gurudev. Whereas Tirobhava Tithi is celebrated on the disappearance day of Srila Gurudev. These days marked with different devotional activities throughout the day.
The preparation starts couple days in advance. The entire Math is decorated with flowers, banana plants, coloured falgs, etc.
The celebration day starts before dawn with Mangal Aarati followed by Sri Mandir and Tulasi Parikrama. In the early morning, Kirtans starts with Guru-Astakam recitation and other Kirtans followed by Harikatha. Thereafter, Abhishekh of Sril Gurudev followed by Special Aarati of Sril Gurudev is performed and then all devotees offer their Pushpanjali. Just after Pushpanjali light Prashad is distributed to everyone.
A special conference or Adhiveshan is organized in which senior devotees give lecture on Srila Gurudev or Guru-Tatva.
At noon, Bhog Aarati is attended by all and Mahaprashad is distributed to thousands of devotees.
Afternoon starts with Sandhya Kirtans followed by a special conference or Second Adhiveshan on Srila Gurudev or Guru-Tatva
The day ends with special Sandhya Aarati followed by Sri Mandir and Tulasi Parikrama. Thousands of devotees attend this festival.