Saturday, August 24

State joins hands with Iskcon, takes video route to promote Mayapur as tourism hub

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Though just three hours away, Mayapur, the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), has not developed as a popular tourist hub, feel the state tourism department officials. And hence, it is now partnering with Iskcon to promote Mayapur as a popular spot. A five-minute video has been shot showcasing the attractions of Mayapur, which has started playing on the internet from Saturday. Soon a shorter capsule will be made that will be shown on selected TV channels as well.

The video focuses mainly on Gaur Purnima or the day of advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Bhakti Movement, which challenged the tyrannies of Brahminism in the 15th century Bengal. This is the biggest festival at Mayapur and brings devotees from across the globe to this Nadia town. However, the state tourism department is looking at a round the year response from not just Iskcon devotees, but common people as well.

Mayapur was chosen by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of Iskcon, because it is one of the nine islands around Nabadwip where Sri Chaitanya was born and grew up. In the course of the past 50 odd years, the number of temples has grown inside the complex, along with boarding and lodging facilities. The spotlight at the moment is on the Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), which is being built from devotees’ donations that are pouring in from across the globe. The TOVP is being touted as one of the tallest religious structures in the world and there are some architectural innovations that have been brought in.

The uniqueness of Iskcon is that despite being a take-off from Hinduism, it allows people of all faiths to induct themselves as devotees. Since Prabhupada founded the order in the US, it is natural that Iskcon had a large number of foreign devotees during his lifetime, which has spread manifold. They are even allowed to cook and offer ‘prasad’ following traditions of their countries.

“The video has been shot inside Mayapur and the script was written here. Gaur Purnima is the biggest festival here, which sees the advent of at least 1.5 lakh devotees on campus. Right from the unique bathing traditions of the deities to the special cooking of world cuisine as ‘prasad’ and 24-hour ‘Bhakti Keertan’, the celebrations have been captured in the video,” said Subrata Biswas, Iskcon spokesperson at Mayapur, who has coordinated with the state tourism department for the video.

State tourism secretary, Atri Bhattacharya, said:“The video takes you through a journey inside Mayapur and focuses not only on the built sights but also on the ecstasy of the ‘Bhakti’ cult that once swept Bengal.”

Source: Times Of India

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