On Akshay Tratiya, I was invited by Haridas Sharanji, a young Nimbarki Brahmin whose family has lived in Bankhandi Mahadev for at least eight generations. They have a gem of a small temple dedicated to Radha Venu Gopal. It is easy to recognize as it has been repainted recently in bright colors. The courtyard is small, perhaps 35 sq. meters, but large enough for the kind of intimate devotional activities that are the lifeblood of a temple.
Haridas Sharan, who is a disciple of Nimbark Peethadhishwar Sri Sri Radha Sarveshwar Sharan Shriji Maharaj, is carrying on the family tradition with great nistha, even though he has taken almost the entire responsibility of the Thakurji’s seva on his own shoulders.
Akshay Tritiya is the day many years ago when the Deities were installed. On this occasion, in all the temples of Vrindavan, there is a phool bangle and plenty of chandan, the spraying of scented water and other ways of protecting people in the heat of summer.
Haridas Sharanji is also a close friend of Lalit Dixit, one of Vrindavan’s up and coming bhajan singers. Damodar Shastri, another noted singer and interpreter of Braj bhajans was also present. Haridas himself sang the famous bhajan from Mahavani, Jai Radhe Jai Radhe Radhe, Jai Radhe Jai Sri Radhe! Lalitji sang songs from Kelimal by Swami Haridas and other well-known bhajans.
The whole event transpired in a jovial and family atmosphere. The only thing that marred the occasion was the noise coming from almost every direction that made it difficult to fully enjoy the beautiful voices of the singers.