Vrindavan, 2019.04.16 (VT): Phul Dol Ekadasi, which was celebrated in most temples on Monday. The beautiful flower decorations and benefits gained from Ekadasi gave devotees an extra incentive to take Darshan of some of Vrindavan’s most beautiful Deities.
Phul Dol Ekadasi marks the beginning of the ‘Phul Bangala’ season – the summer months with plentiful flowers, which are taken full advantage of by temples and devotees who provide elaborate flower ‘palace’ constructions for the pleasure of Shriji.
The word ‘bangla’ usually means a single storey house with a pyramid-shaped roof covered with leaves and flowers and that is how the name originates as phul bangla means house (or palace) of flowers. At some of the prominent temples like Shri Banke Bihari ji, Shri Radharaman ji and Shri Radhavallabh Lal ji, these flower bungalows are often made up of two or three storey structures completely covered in various colourful and exotic flowers.
Shri Radharamanji was seated on a silver throne, the sides of which were wrapped with strings of flowers. Visitors to Shri Radharaman temple also enjoy the elaborate carvings made daily from fresh stems of the Banana. During the summer months, Shri Radharamanji comes out from the inner sanctum, so, as well as enjoying the flower bangalow decorations, devotees can also enjoy a closer Darshan of Shriji.
Shri Radhavallabh looked resplendent in pink and purple cloth, the beauty of which was accentuated by the mauve flower garlands and white mogra lattices that decorated the altar.
Many also took the opportunity view the phul bangala (flower bungalow) in Banke Bihari temple, which also included flower ‘chandeliers’ that hung above the crowds. At the back of the altar was a lattice that covered the entire wall. The latticework was made up of strings of sweet-smelling Mogra (jasmine flowers).
Flowers have a magical quality – the power to entrance with their seemingly impossible softness and otherworldly smell. The flowers give off their fragrance in the hot and humid air of the temples in summer, adding greatly to the atmosphere and helping devotees to imagine why Shri Krishna enjoys all seasons, including summer.
Radha Shyamasundar and Radha Damodar both wore white silk with embroidered flower designs. Each of the sets of Deities at Radha Damodar temple wore several flower garlands, and also donned tulsi garlands. The temple’s Govardhan Shila, with the imprint of Shri Krishna’s footprint was also beautifully decorated with garlands.
Devotees took the opportunity to get the benefit of Ekadasi Parikrama at the temple, which includes Parikrama of the samadhis of many Gaudiya Vaishnav Acaryas and the Govardhan Shila that Shri Krishna Himself gave to Shri Sanatan Goswami.
During the ‘phul bangla season’, a separate area called the phul ghar is designated for the construction of the flower lattices. Here the sewayats or artisans work day-in day-out to construct these magnificent structures. Many devotees also take the opportunity to offer extra flowers at home or sponsor one day of flower seva in a temple.