By Pranav das and Bhaktin Stella, Los Angeles, USA
When we visited New Jayapur Dham, the Prabhupadanuga farm community near Savusavu, in Vanua Levu Island, on the Northern side of Fiji, in September 2013, we were very impressed with what we saw and spent a wonderful three days there with the devotees.
We were greeted in true Vaishnava fashion, and were made to feel very much at home. Everything there was first class. We were given a nice room to sleep in, in their huge brand new ashram. The devotees there – Nityananda das, his wife, Sridevi dasi, and their adorable kids, 12 year old daughter Saradia, Shyam, who is ten, and little Sri Govinda, eight, the young sons. Also, the only native Fijian Prabhupadanuga in all of Fiji, Vrinda devi. All nice humble Vaishnavas.
We were also very fortunate to be in New Jayapur for Radhashtami. To be with the devotees in their beautiful temple room was just heavenly. The little devotees doing the offering at mangala artik so well. Nityananda Prabhu has trained his children very well.
New Jayapur consists of approximately 850 acres of Fiji forest and flat lands, with a few rivers running through it providing much fresh water. The favorable weather is good for growing coconut, bananas, papaya, pineapple, taro, cassava and much more, and Nityananda Prabhu has been working very hard planting thousands of trees and vegetables. There is an orchard with all kinds of fruits, so everything is growing beautifully, and all the prasad we ate was all organically home grown.
The main house is huge, with six bedrooms and four bathrooms, plus living room, kitchen and a large temple room wherein you will find the beautiful marble deities of Sri Sri Radha Govinda. Together with a very nice full sized murti of Srila Prabhupada.
Nityananda Prabhu is building five cottages for prospective members. The rule is that they give one fifth of what they grow, to the Deity. The cottages are located not far from the main house, and also near the proposed new temple complex to be situated atop the hill behind the house.
The thing that impressed me most was the Museum around the back of the main house. There, you can see Srila Prabhupada’s personal Mercedes car, the one that took him to and from the airport and other locations in and around Southern California in the seventies. Nityananda Prabhu has collected a mass of Srila Prabhupada memorabilia, comprising papers, photos, magazines, press cuttings, travel documents, passports, signed books, clothing, paintings and even Srila Prabhupada’s old 1950’s typewriter.
The weather was just beautiful. Fresh sea breezes, as New Jayapur is overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which was just a pretty sight from any part of the house. We saw a thunderstorm one morning during Guru puja, the lashing rain almost drowning out our singing, then, later on, white puffy clouds populated the sky, and at night, because of the absence of street lighting, countless stars twinkled in the night sky, shining brilliantly.
So, if you get the chance to visit Fiji, stay at the holy dhama in Savusavu with Nityananda Prabhu and his family. You’ll love it. Hope to see you all there.