The grimad-Bhagavatam and other authorized scriptures laud Bharata-, bhumi (India) as the most important land in the universe for making progress toward the ultimate goal of life, namely attaining pure devotion to the lotus feet of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Among the many unique facilities that Bharata offers for cultivation of spiritual life, her holy plates are prominent.
The articles collected herein first appeared in Back to Godhead, the magazine of the Hare KT-gm Movement. Sometime in 1992 His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami, then editor of Back to Godhead, asked me for articles on holy places. My mind turned toward India's innumerable sanctified areas, from little known shrines to pilgrimage hubs frequented by millions. For Gaudiya Vaistl avas, the followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, most important are Mayapur, Vrndavana, and Puri. Yet as these had been frequently featured in Back to Godhead, I decided to head for lesser known locations connected with the worship of Lord Vishnu.
First stop was Nathdwara. Although among the most popular pilgrimage towns of India, it was at that time largely unknown to ISKCON devotees. Over the next few years, I visited several holy places with my camera-toting companion Mah5-Vistm Prabhu, in an effort to transmit something of the atmosphere of these ancient sacred sites to Back to Godhead readers throughout the world. That Lord Km;la blessed our endeavors seems apparent from the highly positive response we received. Better still, these articles have inspired many devotees to journey to these pristine spots, and thus ISKCON devotees are now often seen and welcomed in hitherto obscure localities such as Karauli. These articles are presented as they appeared in Back to Godhead, with just a few corrections and revisions.
Here, then, is a little tour of sacred India that may be undertaken from the comfort of an armchair. It is not exhaustive or systematic. Nor is it a complete collection of such articles from Back to Godhead, for many have been penned by others. Yet it is another small contribution from a small soul in service to his great and glorious master. May Srila Prabhupada be pleased with this effort.
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