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Gaudiya Discussions Archive » HEALTH, TRAVEL, ENVIRONMENT
Health, travel, environment and other related topics. Tips and tricks for keeping your body in shape for spiritual life. Taking care of your health while traveling in India.

Cost & Safety of Living in Vrindaban? -

greed is good? - Sun, 28 Jul 2002 20:25:13 +0530
If a devotee wishes to live in Vrindavan, for six months or longer, how much should he expect this to cost?

Are there ashrams associated with the Goswamis and/or babajis where a Westerner can live affordably yet safely?  I have heard enough stories of Westerners being attacked and even killed for their presumed "wealth" that I am hesitant to venture outside the "safe" realm of the ISKCON compound.  Yet I would be a hypocrite staying there, as I do not share their beliefs.  

So I am hoping that someone here can offer practical guidance:  can a Westerner live SAFELY in Vrindavan without being under ISKCON's shelter?  If so, how much will it cost, and can it be sustained for the long-term (months or years)?
Radhapada - Mon, 29 Jul 2002 02:43:12 +0530
If one flaunts ones wealth around, then it is possible to be target for theives. There is a saying, 'when in Rome act as the Romans'. I would say the same for living in Vraja dhama. Dress simple. Don't wear fancy silk kurtas and doties and have a big shiny gold watch glistenning or gold neck chain. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas who are not babajis generally wear white kurta, or short sleeve shirt and doti without a fancy border. They don't wear the assorted colored kurtas from Ganga Prasad's cloth shop, or the fancy colored bead bags, Harinama kurtas, etc. Look the part as a simple devotee and you won't draw attention. Don't dress like a babaji either, as some people might do trying to look renounce. A male who is not a babaji must have a tail in his doti. No longi.

There are many western devotees who live in Vrndavan and Radha Kunda who are not under the shelter of ISKCON. Practically all the western devotees in Radha Kunda are initiated in traditional Gaudiya sampradaya. Many are staying in a building called the Radharani Seva Asrama. Others have simple rooms around. Cost per day for a room could be from 30 to 50 RPS a day, depending on the condition and the time of year. Kartik is a busy time. In Radha Kunda itself you will generally have no problem, unless you travel on the main road from Radha Kunda to Vrndavan in the middle of the night, which no sane taxi driver would do anyway. In Vrndavan you would have to keep alert especially when you shop as to not show in public a fat purse of rupee or dollar notes. I lived there for three years with my wife and never had a problem. I know someone who was just there a few days and got ripped off because he wasn't careful. It doesn't matter if you stay even in MVT, somebody can still rip you off if your not careful. Don't act paranoid either. It's not good spiritually or materially. Always say 'Jaya Radhe!' And you'll be accepted. If you cook yourself, you'll save a heck of a lot of money. In Ananta Das Baba's place in Radha Kunda you can take prasad there till you get yourself together. Just give a donation.

You asked about how long can you stetch your dollars in living in Vraja? I know western devotees in Radha Kunda that are living by the mercy of Sri Radha year after year. They have a place to stay, prasad, bhajan, they are doing fine. How they do it? Sri Radha's krpa. You ask them though how do they do it. If I think of something else I'll add it. Look at the tips for India here in the website. In general you will have no problem, if you are careful.
Mina - Mon, 29 Jul 2002 23:40:45 +0530
I was wondering about conditions and accommodations at the village of Barshana.  Anyone have any info.?
Radhapada - Tue, 30 Jul 2002 01:45:47 +0530
The best locks for your door are these big, heavy, circular locks. You  can get them in town. Always close your windows shut when you leave, if they don't have a wooden doors, then cover the windows with a curtain so that no one can see inside.
theman - Thu, 15 Aug 2002 23:21:14 +0530
How does one get from Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi to Vrindavan?  
Are there taxis waiting at the arrival area outside that will drive you all the way to Vrindavan (it is a 3 hour drive i believe)?
Madhava - Thu, 15 Aug 2002 23:28:10 +0530
QUOTE(theman @ Aug. 15 2002,12:51)
How does one get from Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi to Vrindavan? 
Are there taxis waiting at the arrival area outside that will drive you all the way to Vrindavan (it is a 3 hour drive i believe)?

There are pre-paid taxi counters inside the airport, they generally charge around 2100 rs for the taxi. If you are a little bit patient, you can go outside and you'll probably get your taxi a few hundred rupees cheaper. We usually get our taxi for around 1600-1800 rs It used to be cheaper, or perhaps we had more energy for quarreling with the taxiwallahs a few years back.

Yes, the ride is around three hours. Sometimes the taxi drivers ask for money on the way to fill up the gas tank. This is no problem, just make sure you make it clear that this is deducted from the final price. Sometimes they stop on the way for a cup of coffee or for a meal, this is almost a standard thing. And in the end they'll wait for a tip, generally it takes between 50-100 rs until they are happy about it, depending on the driver. Some are real pushy, don't feel obliged to obey their demands if it gets outrageous.