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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Gaura Govinda Swami > Gopil Jiu > Chapter One > Early Years

Early Years


The village of Gadeigiri is situated in the Jagatsinghpur District of east central Orissa. It is a quiet place much like other small villages in India, consisting mostly of mud huts with thatched roofs. The residents take their daily bath in the local pond, keep cows, and cook over cow dung fires in the same way their ancestors have done for thousands of years. The main source of livelihood is rice cultivation and the selling of brass utensils. In front of almost every house one will find a shrine for the sacred fw/asf plant, and it is common to hear the sound of the maha-mantra: "hare krsna hare krsna krsna krma hare hare hare rama hare ratna rama ratna hare hare" being sung. The residents of Gadeigiri are very devoted to Gopal. The long-standing tradition in the village is that the first fruit or flower that appears in any garden must be offered to the Gopal deity, and it is understood that by doing this those trees and shrubs will thus give their fruits and flowers abundantly.The sacred Alaka River is of great importance to the area. The businessmen of ancient Kalinga,modern day Orissa, would travel via the Alaka to the Mahanadi River, and then via the Bay of Bengal to the southeast Asian islands of Bali, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. By this trading they were able to earn substantial wealth and gradually establish the culture of Orissa in those foreign lands.To this day there are people living in Bali who are addressed as "kling", a contracted form of the word "Kalinga". This ancient trade connection with Bali can still be seen in various place names of the district, such as Balikuda and Balisahi, and in the annual celebration of the "Bali-yatra" festival, which means, "travelling to Bali"With the wealth earned through this lucrative trading, the Kalinga merchants built numerous temples for different deities on both sides of the Alaka. Later, devotees and sadhus also established numerous temples and mathas in the Alaka basin. The temple of Sri Radha Gopal Jiu is one of them.