2009 Iskcon Bhubaneswar Padyatra
Bhubaneswar Devotees Maintain the Orissa Padayātrā
In an interview in 1993 and 1994, Śrī Garbha prabhu (Sukadeva Mallik), a disciple of Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami, said that Padayātrā had actually evolved from the Gītā-yajña programme of 1973.
A Suitable Speaker was Found
In 1973, Sukadeva Mallik had a friend, a Bābājī that wanted to organise a Gītā-yajña and Sukadeva Mallik was assigned the task of finding a suitable speaker. After a good deal of searching he arrived at a high school and found who he was looking for sitting on the floor. Sukadeva Mallik had heard that Brajabandhu Manik, a senior school teacher, could speak very nicely on the Gītā. Brajabandhu (as our beloved Gurudeva was then known) went to meet the Bābājī in his āśrama and they arranged that he would speak that evening and for the next three days, morning 6.00-9.00 am, and evening 3.00-9.00 pm. The audiences were inspired by the Gītā-yajña and appreciated Brajabandhu Manik talks on the Gītā.
A Sannyāsī Living in a Small Thatched Hut
Sukadeva Mallik lost track of Brajabandhu Manik for a few years until one day, in 1977, when he visited the ISKCON land in Nayapalli, he met Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami, his old friend who had now taken sannyāsa, living in a small thatched hut out in the middle of nowhere.
Gītā-yajña Become the Padayātrā
Sukadeva Mallick reminded Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami of the Gītā-yajña years before and convinced him they could do it again. It was from that time that the Gītā-yajña become the Padayātrā as it is today. Every year Śrī Garbha prabhu took charge of arranging and collecting for the Padayātrā.
Government Officials Visited Padayātrā
The Padayātrā of 1979 was a major event. One hundred government cars came with senior officials from the Orissa [now Odisha] State Government to attend the inaugural program for Padayātra. Śrī Garbha prabhu recalled how Laguḍī prabhu was chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, spinning around on one leg, playing karatālas, and distributing books all at the same time.
Padayātrā was Very Dear to Gurudeva
The Orissa Padayātrā has a great and long tradition continuing to the present day. Padayātrā was especially dear to His Divine Grace, Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami. He organized his schedule so that he could leave the temple and go out on Padayātrā for one month to six weeks every year. He preached in whichever town and village the Padayātrā stopped, all over the state of Orissa. He inspired everyone by his amazing hari-kathā.
Information for this article taken from interviews and the book Krsnalingita-vigraha the authorised biography of His Divine Grace Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami.