Millions of devotees are absorbed in parikrama and the Purushottam Maas festivals being celebrated in the temples of Braj.
In addition to the pilgrims who are undertaking parikrama of Govardhan, Vrindavan or the whole of Braj, hundreds are volunteering their services to pilgrims and organizing their own distributions of water, rose-water, Prasad and even biscuits.
Devotees happily accept the offerings, especially of water. Unfortunately, plastics cups line the parikrama route as many people drink while walking and throw the cup on the way. One has to wonder why people think it is okay to throw their jhutha (dirty) cup on the Parikrama Marg. Most of the distributors keep a garbage bin next to their stall but are seemingly unwilling to pay a little extra for paper cups.
These days, people are becoming more aware of the need to dispose of garbage responsibly and, food sellers such as mobile icecream vendors, have been warned that they must keep a rubbish bin on their trolley and instruct people to use it.
The maximum number of devotees were seen yesterday, as Purushottam Maas Ekadasi is the most auspicious time for austerity, fasting and all devotional and charitable activities. There is one more Ekadasi in Purushottam Maas, and it happens to fall on Sunday (10th June).
While most locals manage either Vrindavan or Govardhan parikrama during this auspicious time, there are those who are determined to spend the whole month on parikrama. One such person is 80 year old Lilavati who is doing parikrama with her son, Rajveer. Lilavati uses a stick to walk, but she is not about to be told that she is too old for Braj Mandal parikrama.
Swept up in the fervour of devotion, people often forget physical discomforts. There is a benefit in this, as anyone who has been through a Vrindavan summer will tell you that surviving the heat takes a lot of mind-over-matter, however, caution is recommended.
Dehydration and heat stroke are serious health issues and can result in death. During this hot weather, the senses become dulled and we move more slowly and this increases the risk of accidents. Yesterday, two women were killed when they were run over by a car on the Yamuna Expressway. The women were crossing the expressway while on Braj Mandal Parikrama.