The heat is rising and we are almost at summer temperatures in the high 40’s. With news that this year is setting out to be the hottest in history at a rate of increase as yet unseen, it is hard not to feel a bit intimidated. With the coming of summer people do many things to get a bit of relief from the heat.
In Braj, Kamada Ekadashi is known as Fuldol (“flower swing”) Ekadashi. It falls on the bright fortnight of Chaitra month, but the “flower palaces” will go on being built throughout the hot season until Shravan Amavasya, also known as Hariyali Amavasya, which this year falls on August 2nd. The Utsav is thus celebrated for exactly 108 days.
The atmosphere was electric with the eagerness to see Banke Bihari in the first flower dress and decoration of the year. There was no beating the crowds, for this is one of the most coveted darshans of the year. When the doors finally opened, the people rushed in and the temple became packed so quickly that it was just as difficult to get out as it had been to get in.
Thakurji is adorned with leaves and flowers, and especially banyan leaves are included in the garlands and other types of flower ornaments. Swami Haridas, who manifested Bankebihariji to the world, served him through the method of spontaneous love. In the chilliest part of the winter, he would provide his beloved Lord with warm clothes and a charcoal fire to protect him from the cold, and similarly to give him relief in the summertime, he would bring leaves and flowers and create a cooling environment and a flower swing to enjoy the refreshing breeze.
Those who celebrate this day in a special way start by doing the Panchkosi Parikrama around the holy city and then go for darshan to the different temples. But to finally fulfill their heart’s desire and get darshan of Bihariji seated on a flowered throne, they have to wait until evening time. Phool Bangla is the decorated home to seat Lord Bihariji. Phool Bangla is a very beautiful festive occasion as every devotee wants to see at least once in their lifetime.