The day we arrived a baby cow, a calf, was born in the temple. I’ve heard (a few times now) that it is a good sign. It was clearly a good start for our epic adventure, and perhaps, the best way to start the new year.
Vrindavan is considered one of the holiest places. It is where Lord Krishna spent much of his time and played with the gopis. Spending time here, especially in the temple, feels peaceful and joyous. There is constant chanting and singing throughout the day as well as foods blessed by the gods (yes, it tastes as delicious as it sounds). Sadhu Maharaj, who I call fufaji (he is my uncle) stays in the temple and says that all tensions go away when you stay here.
We were lucky enough to have Vinod Bhaiya take us to a number of temples in the afternoon. We weren’t sure we would have the time but apparently, it was on our side. As we came to each temple, the doors seemed to open and prayers were just beginning. Our final stop was a private tour of Prem Mandir, the new temple that took 12 years to build. The entire building lights up in the evening and rolls through seven different colors over and over. Amazingly Vinod Bhaiya had been a disciple of Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj and was able to give us an inside glimpse of the entire temple, including the carvings on the walls where each deity was kept. The private tour made all the difference as we bypassed the hords of visitors bustling there way through.