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Ashram Moods

ashram panorama

The ashram looks wonderful in wet weather. The tiles shine, the marble glows and the grass filters dewy light over the vast lawn. Rain is not so rare in Texas, but the hotter it gets the more it is appreciated.  The rushing stream of Kalindi flows over the footbridge and into Kali Dah. The wildflowers soak in the moisture and become bigger than apples. The air takes on a heavy, romantic bouquet, smelling of wind and water, a gentle, loving pressure.

When the sun is shining with only a few clouds in the sky, Radha Madhav Dham turns into a bejeweled paradise. The shikar becomes like a pillar of pure, golden light. The waters of Prem Sarovar and Radha Kunda sparkle like vast sapphires. The peacocks radiant dance seems to shimmer like a desert mirage. And the bright colors of the temple building, the yellow of Krishna’s peetambar and the pink of Radha’s choonari, the colors are the crowning glories of the summer season.

In fall these colors change, taking the ashram from heights of wild joy into a breezier mood. Leaves pile up everywhere – the front lawn, the rolling land beyond the temple, on the paths and by the river – waiting for children to jump in them. The sky takes on a broader view at sunset, clouds dotting the landscape like lilies in a pond. It is the perfect time for long walks by the old orchard, small campfires and simple pleasures.

Radha Madhav Dham in winter is like a frosty picture. The world feels so calm, so still. The breeze of fall has come and gone, leaving crisp, clean winter air in its wake. There is rarely any snow, and only a little ice, but the ashram takes on a subdued feeling nonetheless, surrendering to the elements. It is this time of year that the temple looks best from above. Climbing to the heights of Barsana Hill, I look down and see the most beautiful place in the world: a Hindu temple against the landscape, perfectly framed, looking warm and settled in the midst of the mild Texas winter. There are a few cars in the parking lot, a few hikers in coats wandering the grounds, but for the most part it looks empty and serene, the season making a wintry snapshot of a perfect place.

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