From the 1st - 11th of August, a group of fifteen international devotees gathered in Pula, Croatia, with the aim to spread the holy name throughout the touristic cities of Istria. The tour was organized by Yamuna dasi and Tridasha Roy das, a married couple from Croatia.
Besides the devotees from Croatia and Bosnia that attended the tour, special devotee guests were invited from Czech Rebublic, as well as Vraja Krishna das and Vishnujan das, both dedicated to preaching and harinams world-wide.
The participant devotees stayed at the Pula temple and visited four major touristic cities in Istria with a harinam party every night. And during the day, the devotees would come together at the local beach area and sing the holy names while hundreds of tourists would participate by clapping and dancing either in water or on land.
The Pula Arena is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world.
The highlight of the tour was our walking harinam in Pula. It was the peak of the tourist season, and we gathered in front of the antique Roman amphitheater, also known as the Pula Arena. The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. It was constructed in 27 BC - 68 AD and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world. Gladiators used to fight in this Arena and it is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia.
Devotees singing surrounded by captivated tourists
From the Arena the devotees started their harinam to the center of the city. Many different street musicians played with them, and the thousands of tourists were captivated by the sounds of the mridangas, colorful outfits and smiling faces of the devotees. Many of them could not resist the harinam party, so they danced or sang along.
The harinam ended around midnight in front of the amphitheater. Surprising the devotees, Tridasha Roy arranged that the harinam party could enter the Arena for free. They ran inside and used the chance to sing the holy names and dance for the pleasure of Krishna. It was the first time devotees had a harinam in that gladiator arena.
The harinama ended around midnight
The devotees felt that it was like a reward for their efforts they gave during the tour. Upon exiting the amphitheater, they looked at each other, feeling very happy and grateful. That night was a true spiritual adventure and they felt Srila Prabhupada would be pleased with their service.
The ancient arena hosts a different type of "circus" -- one without violence and full of bliss
As one of the devotees said: "We have built so many different things in our movement to support our devotees and our preaching efforts, and all of them are very important. Yet, we should never forget to do harinam sankirtan - we should never forget that singing the holy names of Krishna loudly together with other devotees for the benefit of ourselves and others is the most merciful way to wake up all sleeping souls."
The joyful spiritual gladiators after a winning day
Plans for next year's summer harinam tour are already being made. To see all the pictures of the tour you can visit the Holy Name Tour facebook page.[ croatia ] [ harinama ]