Vrindavan, 2019.08.25 (VT): First class lighting, security and crowd control arrangements were made across Braj for hordes of enthusiastic devotees who came here for the celebration of the Birth of Lord Krishna. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was scheduled to be in Braj for the festival, however, due to the death of senior BJP leader and former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the CM deemed it appropriate to go to Delhi instead.
CM Yogi was to attend several functions and opening ceremonies including the Aarti at Mathura’s Shri Krishna Janma Bhoomi (birthplace), the inauguration of Vrindavan’s Tourist Facilitation Centre and a cultural program at Ramlila Maidan.
Among those who were the most disappointed at the CM’s cancellation were the artists who were set to perform before him. The lineup of artists for the cultural program included: Children of Bhayam Singh Group of Imphal, Manipur, who were to perform Shankhvadan; Prince Group of Odisha’s Shrikrishnavatar, Manish Yadav of Madhya Pradesh performing Baredi Dance; Srishtidhar Mahato of Jharkhand, Chhau Dance; Nitin Dave of Gujarat, Dandiya Rasa; S. Venkatesh and Pavitra Mahapatra of Odisha, Sankhanad dance.
The program went on as planned, with some locals commenting that the private event management company hired to organize the event seemed to favour outside artists, denying local artists the opportunity to showcase their artistic accomplishment and promote Braj art.
When other officials got the information about the CM’s change of plans, they also departed for Delhi, with Commissioner Anil Kumar, IG A.A, departing from the Vrindavan Helipad.
Mathura representative, Hema Malini was also affected by Jaitley passing away. She tweeted to her followers: “Arun ji is no more. A party stalwart, pillar of the BJP, intelligent politician, excellent orator & my wonderful friend & mentor. He always encouraged me & was the reason behind my joining politics. He was a Bollywood film buff & had watched my movies avidly. Will really miss him”
Cabinet Minister for Mathura, Shrikant Sharma presided over the morning Abhishek in Lord Srikeshava Dev Ji Temple in Janma Bhoomi. Among those accompanying him were: Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Nyas president Nritya Gopal Das, Guru Sharanand Maharaj, Kapil Sharma and Gopeshwar Nath Chaturvedi, Secretary of Shri Krishna Janmasthana Seva Sansthan.
The two gems of Vrindavan, Shri Radharaman and Shri Gokulananda Temple also held Abhishek ceremonies on the morning of 24th.
The crowds were huge in Vrindavan, Mathura, Nandagaon and Barsana, as was expected, however adequate security arrangements and traffic control measures were arranged due to the expected visit of the CM.
Mostly all those who came to Vrindavan from other towns and cities crowded into Banke Bihari temple, with many feeling blessed to attend Bihariji’s once-in-a-year-only Mangal Aarti on Janmashtami.
Another highlight was the lighting with temples and institutions like Vrindavan’s Tourist Facilitation Centre beautifully lit up with colourful lights.
Visitors to Rangji temple were delighted to have Darshan of Shri Ranganath’s chariot, as the doors of the Rathghar were kept open.
Visitors and those who watched the event on tv, enjoyed Devkinandan Maharaj performing Abhishek in Priyakantju temple, while Mathura devotees flocked to witness the festivities at Dwarkadhish temple.
The reopening of Keshav Vatika, a 3.5 acre garden, at Janma Bhoomi was another cause for celebration, with the most fortunate devotees catching the first glimpses of the garden which has been locked up since 1995 due to a decision by the previous administration in light of security issues.
The garden was beautifully lit for the occasion and will now be another venue where cultural programs and kirtan can be held.