Several thousand parikrama-goers from Navadvipa, Bengal, India and the world have arrived on the transcendental island of Koladvipa, to join the first Bhakti Trust International Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama. March 19, 2005 was the first official day of parikrama. Srila Narayana Maharaja and the devotees have their base at the brand new Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha there in Koladvipa, at Kolerdanga Lane in the sacred area of Haritala. The temple, which will soon be as grand as Srila Narayana Maharaja's magnificent, new palacial temple in Govardhana, is presently only a combination bamboo rods and pandal tarps, canvas and plastic tarps, wires, a few grasshut-like rooms, lights and fans; although the temporary altar, stage area, and a few other small areas are a little more solid. Still, thousands of Bengali devotees are happy to live there on the tarped earth floors, and even many Western devotees live there in tents. International devotees have happily given up their modern facilities to come there, hear classes there and attend aratis, bhajanas and kirtanas there, and walk barefoot from there for several hours a day, to reach the holy places of Lord Caitanya's pastimes. They are happy to touch the dust of those places, breathe the air there, see and touch the trees there, and hear the glories of those places from the lips of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's personal associate, Srila Narayana Maharaja, and his preacher-disciples.
On March 16th, under the pandal-roof of the temple-under-construction, Srila Narayana Maharaja gave a basic lecture about how there is no happiness in this material world, because sense gratification can never make the soul happy. He mentioned that it was laudible that many people in the audience had come there from all over the world and are following regulative principles, whereas it was shameful that so many people who resided in Navadvipa, the land where Lord Caitanya had performed His divine pastimes, are selling and eating fish. He urged those local residents to take up devotional life and follow Sriman Mahaprabhu's instructions and example.
Srila Maharaja speaks mostly in Bengali in his classes, and he calls on Sripad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Aranya Maharaja and others to translate intermittently into English. Many devotees have headsets, and that enables simultaneous translations to also take place, in English, Russian and other languages. On March 17th, Srila Maharaja discussed the glory of Navadvipa-dhama, explaining how, just as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is non-different from Lord Sri Krsna of Vrndavana, Navadvipa is non-different from Vrndavana. He explained how it is superior to Jagannatha Puri and Godavari for that reason. Seated on his vyasasana, he greeted and lovingly embraced several respectable Bengali devotees who had rendered serveces in past years and were now helping with this year's festival as well. His class of March 18th was on the evening before the first official parikrama day. It was the evening of the day he took all the pilgrims to the bank of the Ganges River at Triveni in order to perform sankalpa (making vows, reciting mantras and offering prayers for the parikrama's success), and the day they all went to Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha and visited the samadhis of Srila Maharaja's diksa-guru, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and his god-brother, Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, to receive their blessings. During that evening class Srila Maharaja touched on the glories of his siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, explaining how he spread Krsna consciousness all over the world and inspired so many Western and Eastern people to become devotees and worship the land of Navadvipa.
On March 19th, the first official parikrama day, Srila Maharaja and the Deities Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai led the pilgrims to the divine island of Godrumadvipa. There they visited Surabhi-kunja, Svananda-sukhada kunja, Suvarna-bihara and Nrsmha-palli, and sang appropriate bhajanas and kirtanas to invoke blessings at each place. At Surabhi-kunja Srila Maharaja and his representatives spoke about King Indra's offence and then his taking shelter of Krsna's Surabhu cow to be excused and blessed by Him, and then they discussed Markendeya Rsi's revelation of Navadvipa and Mahaprabhu by the grace of Surabhi. At Svananda-sukhada-kunja, the residence and bhajana place of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the bhajana-kutira of Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, they mostly discussed the glory of the Thakura and described how he discovered the actual birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. At Suvarna-vihara they discussed the materialistic King Suvarnasen's becoming a pure devotee of Mahaprabhu by the instructions and mercy of the sage Narada. At Nrsmhapalli they glorified Sri Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsmhadeva, and many fortunate devotees bathed in the lake in which Lord Nrsmhadeva washed his hands after killing the demon HIranyakasipu. After harikatha and kirtana, brahmacaries and sannyasis distributed 15,000 kgs of kiccari prepared by the cooks, who had also used 2,000 liters of milk to prepare the great amount of sweetrice distributed. Over 10,000 parikrama pilgrims and local residents honored the prasada, prepared in honor of Lord Nrsmhadeva.
Circumambulating Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's and Srila Gaurakisora dasa babaji Maharaja''s bhajana kutiras