Sarcelles – Abode of The Lord

Loud chants of “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” in the Fashion Capital of the World – Paris.

Doesn’t it sound amazing?

But yes. It is true.

For “Sarcelles” a northern suburb of Paris, Loud Chants of the above Mahamantra accompanied by Mridanga and Harmonium is not new. On a one calm, peaceful weekend between two busy weeks during my official visit to Paris, I and my colleague Rohan had an opportunity to visit this heaven on the earth called “ISKCON – Radha Krishna Temple”.

It was Sunday. Business unusualJ. From our Hotel “Suite Novotel” in Velizy, we reached “Gare du Nord” station via “Pont_de_Sèvres” using excellent Metro network of Paris. From “Gare du Nord” we took Line-H RER to reach Sarcelles. The whole journey lasting over one and half hours.

Being Sunday, roads wore a deserted look while shops had their shutters down. Luckily one Cake Shop was open and even more luckily the shopkeeper understood English. With the help of the shopkeeper and one more localite, we reached the temple entrance.

So beautiful was Temple’s look that we were relieved of our fatigue at its sight.

On entering the premises we could see one French person wearing Dhoti Kurta discussing something with two fellow countrymen. He was “Nitai Gaurasundara Das” – The Temple President of ISKCON Paris.

We were welcomed in to the guest room of the temple by a temple bhakta where we took some rest after having Prasadam and Tulasi Water. We had an opportunity to speak with the temple president for half an hour.

We got a lot of information about the temple as well as devotees who visit it.

There is a sizable Indian community in Paris which visits this temple. Many from Bengal. Not just Indians but even French people also visit this temple to get true solace.

The temple is a neat looking multi-storied bungalow with a sprawling garden in front. Even the outer looks of the temple are so pleasing that one cannot resist entering the inner corridors which lead to the deities of The Lord.

A guesthouse for those who come to visit the temple is just 20 meters apart. “Charles de Gaulle Airport” is a 15 minute drive while Paris Center is 11 minutes by subway from this temple. Nearest Subway Station is just a 4 minutes walk while 3 bus stops are within 200m of the Guesthouse. One gets more details about how to reach the temple by browsing .

Although we reached the temple at around 3 O’clock in the afternoon, we had to wait for Lord’s darshan for an hour. Finally the moment we were eagerly waiting for arrived. The curtains were raised and Lord gave us the Darshan.

The temple houses deities of Lord Krishna along with Radha, Lord Jagannath-Subhadra-Balabhadra, Lord Chaitanya – Lord Nityananda and Photo of Lord Nrsimha. I along with ten other fellow Bhaktas engrossed ourselves into Bhajan and Sankirtana of Lord’s names. And we did not know how time flew by.

There we also met Mr. Arun Kumar Dey a software engineer working with “Orange” in Paris originally hailing from Bengal. He was so pleased to meet us that he gave us a Rose Flower offered to the Lord as a parting gift. I took it as a blessing of the Lord and with a heavy heart said good bye to Sarcelles with a prayer to the Lord for an opportunity to visit his temple in Sarcelles again.

Just a day prior I visited Disneyland of Paris located in “Marne La Valle” where I enjoyed two hilarious rides. One where the lift is dropped from 10 storied tower called “Hollywood Tower” in a matter of few seconds and second where a train criss-crosses the park like an aeroplane. I also had an opportunity to see half an hour documentary film on Cinema creation as well as a 15 minute cartoon show. “Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic” is also worth a ride. The show culminates with a magical parade of Joy.

This was my second visit to Paris. But this was a special one. Reasons aplenty - New assignment, different type of work, interaction with senior people of DS,  A Shake Hand with “Bernard Charles”  during a DS Campus Party, visit to Disneyland on weekend and last but not the least visit to ISKCON temple in Sarcelles.

Still after two weeks of stay on foreign soil, I remembered a Sanskrit verse – “Janani Janma Bhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi”. And I returned back by an Air France Flight with sweet memories of this exuberating experience

- by Nikhil SAPRE
   Poona, India