With the famous annual Gaura Purnima festival at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal running from February 17th to March 11th, and thousands of devotees and pilgrims pouring into the spiritual city, there’s now an alternative, more peaceful way to get there from Kolkata airport.
Avoiding the bumpy, risky roads and pollution, travelers can instead book the Jaladuta boat service organized by the Mayapur Tourism department and enjoy a relaxing cruise down the river Ganga.
The boat leaves from Vivada Jetty at Millennium Park 2, twenty minutes’ drive from ISKCON Kolkata. It then passes by villages and beautiful scenic countryside, before reaching Prabhupada Ghat in Mayapur, just ten minutes’ walk from the ISKCON temple.
On board, there are comfortable reclining seats, two washrooms, and extra seats in the front gallery so that passengers can stretch and move around. Breakfast prasadam is served, and Krishna conscious entertainment is provided.
“Passengers can feel the nice, cool, fresh breeze of the Ganga, and can chant their japa in the association of Ganga Devi, who is filled with Krishna Prema by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s touch,” says Gopijana Vallabha Das of Mayapur Tourism. “There’s a sattvik mood on board with kirtan playing, and devotional videos showing. It is a unique way to travel, and captures the mood of Mayapur throughout your journey.”
Jayapataka Swami adds: “Srila Prabhupada wanted us to have a regular boat service between Kolkata and Mayapur. We hope that devotees will utilize this facility. I cannot explain how beautiful it is. Compared to the road ride, it is very beautiful, stress-free and refreshing. Even though it takes a little time, it is well worth it.”
An ideal way, then, to get to the Gaura Purnima festival, which this year will include a four-day Kirtan Mela, a Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama in which devotees will visit the holy places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, Ganga Puja, the Shantipur festival, a boat festival, an elephant procession, a Jagannath Rathayatra, and of course Gaura Purnima itself on March 9th. Throughout there will also be stage performances, daily feasts, and more.
For Jaladuta Cruise inquiries and bookings, write to [email protected]