Report on Inauguration of Sāraswat Dhām, Haridwār
Dr. Chaitanya Gulvāḍy
Our Sāraswat brethren of Rājasthān had long often dreamt of having their own accommodation space in the Holy Ks̲h̲etra of Haridwār, especially for the elderly pilgrims going on the Chār Dhām Tīrtha Yātrā. Soon their dreams came to fruition, through the efforts of a team led by Gaṇpat Pappujī Sāraswat, which spared no efforts to collect the necessary funds & refurbish a 3-storied building, in the centre of Haridwār, into a beautiful rest house for Sāraswat pilgrims.
An invitation was extended to the Mat̲h̲ādhipati of Shrī Chitrāpur Mat̲h̲, Shrīmat Sadyojāt Shaṅkarā shram Swāmījī to grace the occasion & inaugurate the Sāraswat Dhām in Haridwār. H.H. Swāmījī graciously accepted their humble invitation and arrived at Haridwār on the 2nd of June’2022. Special accommodation arrangements had been made for Swāmījī & His retinue in the nearby Nakalank Dhām, where a 4-day Shivir had also been planned. Every morning H.H. Swāmījī conducted a Swādhyāya on the 12th chapter (Bhakti Yoga) of the Bhagawadgītā , with a special emphasis on Upāsanā. Large crowds of Sāraswat-s assembled in the large air-conditioned hall in the premises. Their beaming faces reflected their joy of having found a Sāraswat Guru, who they could follow in the future for their spiritual needs. The afternoon sessions saw a “Nāni Bāī kā Mayrā” performance by the famous Kanakalathā Dīdī. There were night “Jāgaraṇ” Bhajana sessions which included the recitation of the Sundarakāṇḍ of the holy Tulasī Rāmāyaṇa.
On Friday, the 3rd evening, devotees assembled in the Hall, to have darshana of Lord Bhavānīshaṅkar and watch H.H. Swāmījī perform the Devī Pūjana. Their joy knew no bounds as they chanted the shloka-s & participated in the worship and adoration of the Mother. The next evening was the introductory session where each one of the Sāraswat-s from distant regions of Mahāras̲h̲ṭra, Rājasthān, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Ḍelhī NCR, etc gave brief self-introductions to H.H. Swāmījī, who had desired to know them personally. This was followed by a Garbā by all the devotees to three Bhajana-s sung by H.H. Swāmījī Himself.
On Sunday morning, the Sāraswat-s were introduced to the salient features of the Shrī Chitrāpur Mat̲h̲ & its activities by Dr. Chaitanya Gulvāḍy through a Power-Point presentation. The entire assembly of around 600 devotees were daily treated to Rājasthānī delicacies and sumptuous meals throughout the day.
The final day dawned on Monday, the 6th of June, as colorfully and traditionally dressed lady devotees with Kalasha-s on their heads assembled outside the gates of Nakalank Dhām. H.H. Swāmījī was then escorted in a quaint horse-drawn Buggy and the procession, accompanied by a musical band, slowly winded through the lanes to the chanting of Jaijaikāra-s, towards the shāmiānā outside the to-be-inaugurated, beautifully decorated Sāraswat Dhām. H.H. Swāmījī was welcomed at the Sāraswat Dhām to showers of rose petals amidst Vedic chants. Swāmījī inaugurated and blessed the Sāraswat Dhām by unveiling the plaque at the entrance. Swāmījī was then escorted through the entire premises and this was followed by a Yajña & other Vedic rituals. After refreshments, Swāmījī returned to the camp at Nakalank Dhām.
In the afternoon at the Dharma Sabhā, which commenced with Sabhā Prārambha Prārthanā by Dr. Rām Sāraswat, who also spoke glowingly about his experiences with the Chitrāpur Sāraswat Samāj through his interactions with Swāmījī & the Satsaṅga programme. Shrī KaḍῙe Praveeṇmām in his address welcomed the Sāraswat samāja to Shrī Chitrāpur Mat̲h̲, Shirālī & the Kārlā Durgāparameshwarī temple. H.H. Swāmījī in His Āshīrvachana appreciated the efforts of Shrī Gaṇpat Pappujī Sāraswat and his team which had worked selflessly into bringing this Sāraswat Dhām to fruition. He expressed His happiness to witness the love and eagerness of the Rājasthānī Sāraswat Samāja to join the Chitrāpur Sāraswat-s in the endeavor for a united Sāraswat samāja.
This was followed by a felicitation ceremony of all the large and small donors, the volunteers and the committee members who were honoured with a shawl, a traditional Rājasthānī turban, a plaque & a necklace, in the auspicious presence of H.H. Swāmījī.
On the 7th morning, devotees thronged the venue to bid a tearful goodbye to H.H. Swāmījī and the retinue as they departed from Nakalank Dhām, Haridwār to the next destination of Ghāziabād, near Ḍelhī.