ISKCON Goura Vrindavana
ISKCON Goura Vrindavana
(21) 9777 7379, PO Box 74862 – Paraty – RJ – Cep 23970-000
The official website of Goura Vrindavana Eco village located in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The goal of Goura Vrindavana is to transform that piece of land into a wildlife sanctuary as well as a spiritual sanctuary. The idea is to build a model radiating transducer and a sustainable community, environmental, charitable and God-conscious.
Presiding Deities: Small deities of Pancha Tattva, Gaura Nitai, and Radha Krishna, as well as salagrama silas and govardhana silas. Large deities of Radha Vrindavana Chandra and Gaura Nitai will be installed in 2011.
President: Achyutananda Dasa.
Temple Style: Established in: 1983. Current temple is a room used for worship in the community’s ashram. A new temple, stone-built with an oriental roof, will open in 2011.
Location: An 800-hectare farm in the middle of the Atlantic Rainforest, the largest forest reserve in Brazil. Since it extends all the way to the ocean, it is richer in plant life than the Amazon Rainforest. The ISKCON community is in Paraty, located between Brazil’s two largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and three-and-a-half hours’ drive from each.
Number of residents: Twenty.
Number of visitors: Around seventy people visit to attend retreats every month.
Goura Vrindavana was born back in 1983, when two devotee brothers, Setukara Dasa and Arcana Marya Dasa, bought a piece of land in Paraty. Other devotees began to move to the location and buy neighboring plots, adding to the original one. The community grew. But it wasn’t until 1998, when Purushatraya Swami joined the project, that it began to develop into a major ISKCON project. Using his years of experience running other farms in Brazil and India, he divided the project into different departments and assigned each devotee a responsibility. His vision was for the farm to be financially sustainable on its own, rather than relying on donations or any outside source. Only once major progress had been made in that area did he plan to build a temple and worship Deities.
Goura-Vrindavana has become financially self-sufficient through two ingenious initiatives: a guesthouse, and its very own dried banana factory.
“We have a banana plantation, and we grow, collect and dry the bananas ourselves,” explains president Achyutananda Dasa. “We then sell them to many stores in Rio de Janeiro and other cities, and they distribute them.
“Our guest house, Dharmashala, also brings us income, as people interested in eco-villages come and rent a room for some time, while they learn about simple-living and explore the beautiful forest and waterfalls. We also have a yoga studio which different yoga instructors from all over the country rent for retreats. Many of the people attending these are very receptive to Krishna consciousness—they go to the temple, listen to the classes and kirtan, and eat sanctified vegetarian food.”
Until now, the community has been worshipping very small, uninstalled deities of Radha Krishna, Pancha-Tattva, and Gaura Nitai. But with this steady foundation of self-sufficiency in place, devotees began building a new temple in 2007. They plan to inaugurate it, with large installed deities of Radha Vrindavana-chandra and Gaura Nitai, in 2011. “Goura Vrindavan is a spiritual and ecological sanctuary—a place where you can experience peace and quiet, go deep into spiritual practice, and explore the raw nature and beautiful waterfalls,” Achyutanda says. “And of course, it’s the only ISKCON temple right in the middle of the rainforest!”
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