“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
The Lord proclaims in Bhagavad Gita, that one who understands the transcendental nature of His appearance and activities, does not upon leaving the body, take birth again in this material world (janma karma ca me divyam…)
Travelling north from Iskcon Mayapur, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ reached the sacred island of Simantadvipa.It is a remote portion of Navadvipa dham, where Simantini devi (Maya devi) was once upon a time blessed by Lord Caitanya. The island embodies the devotional mellows of Sravanam or hearing the glories of the Lord. Within this island, at a place called Rajapur, is worshipped the enchanting deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani. This ancient temple is presently managed by Iskcon.The daily worship of the deities, and the temple management , is very nicely taken care of by the devotees serving the dham. We seek blessings of the Lord and His devotees, so that we are able to pen a few lines in their glorification.
Lord Jagannatha arrives from Puri – Seventh century :
Lord Jagannatha at Rajapur, is non different than Lord Jagannatha at Puri. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura re-establishes this fact by citing the history of this temple of Rajapur in his book ‘Sri Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya’. Long ago, in the seventh century, there appeared one demoniac king in Orissa, named Raktabahu, who desecrated temples, and terrorized the hearts of the pious. The devotees at Jagannatha puri became exceedingly afraid of the king’s evil intentions and they took shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. That night the master of Nilachala, Lord Jagannatha Deva, appeared in the dream of the head priest, and assured him that there was no one in the entire creation, who could harm His divine form or His temple.Just by His mere will , He could keep the miscreants away from that place.Hence the priest need not worry. Yet, The lord wished to reciprocate with the feelings of His beloved devotees so as to increase their love for Him manifold.So He asked the priest to inform all the devotees to remove the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani, the very next morning and carry them to Bengal. The Lord also informed the priest that the deities should be carried taking the path through the jungle.The main road should be avoided, as Raktabahu was on his way taking that route.
Upon hearing this, the sabara devotees, who serve by carrying the Lord during the various festivals like Rathayatra, snana-yatra,etc, immediately started making the necessary arrangements for the Lord’s journey.Carrying the Lord, they travelled through the day before the night set in.On their way they offered unto the Lordships whatever fruits, flowers and leaves they could obtain from the forest.They journeyed like this for twelve continuous days before they reached Simantadvipa. That night, The Lord appeared in the dream of the Sabara leader, and expressed His desire to settle down at that very place. Understanding the Lord’s will, the sabara devotees made appropriate arrangements for the Lord to be established at Rajapur. These Sabara devotees went onto serve their beloved Lord at Rajapur ,for generations to come and all of them achieved the perfection of their lives. There is a place in Simantadvipa ,known as Sabara-danga, that exists even today. It is believed that these Sabaras had settled down in this very village during the seventh century. In course of time, centuries after this pastime had taken place, the deities and the temple gradually disappeared from the common sight. However, Lord Jagannatha never left Rajapur.
The Lord Re-appears at Rajapur – Sixteenth century :
About 500 years ago,during the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there lived a great devotee by the name Jagadisa Ganguly.He resided at a small village near the present day Mayapur.Inspite of being old, Jagadisa would travel by foot, undertaking a journey of about 900 Kms, in order to take darsana of Lord Caitanya and his beloved Jagannatha ,Baladeva, Subhadra at Puri. He would stay there for four months, participate in the Rathayatra festival and then return to his home in Bengal. This was his schedule every single year.
But unfortunately, one day, Jagadisa was ruined of his great happiness. He contracted a serious disease that left him completely blind.His friends considered that it would be too dangerous to carry a blind man along , to a place as distant as Puri. Hence Jagadisa was left with no option but to stay back at Navadvipa, and live in constant lamentation and separation from his beloved lord.
Then one day, Lord Jagannatha appeared in his dream and informed him that the very next morning ,while bathing in the Ganges, a log of wood would touch his head. By the mercy of this wood, Jagadisa would regain his vision.The merciful Lord told Jagadisa, that he should then take this wood to a nearby village where a devotee carpenter used to live.The Lord explained that it was His wish that this carpenter would carve His blissful form out of this wood.The Lord explained that the carpenter would initially refuse, as his hands were deformed due to leprosy, but Jagadisa would have to keep insisting and finally convince the carpenter to do this work.The Lord assured Jagadisa, that as soon as the carving was complete, the carpenter’s leprosy would also vanish.
The next day, a log of wood indeed came floating down the ganges and touched Jagadish on his head, imparting him with his lost vision.As per the Lord’s instructions, Jagadish, searched for the leper carpenter and requested him to carve the form of Lord Jagannatha out of that wood. Though he refused initially, Jagadish kept insisting and ultimately the carpenter agreed. The carpenter began his work amidst intense pain as blood and pus oozed from his infected fingers.To the surprise of all, the carpenter was indeed cured of his leprosy once the carving was complete. After Lord Jagannatha was carved out of that wood, the two blissful deities of Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani were also carved out of some Neem tree. The Lord thereafter instructed Jagadisa Ganguly to install the three enchanting deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra at Rajapur.
Lord Jagannatha is very merciful towards His devotees. There is a very similar pastime that we have observed elsewhere at Mahesh, where Lord Jagannatha has bestowed His causeless mercy upon His dear devotee ,Dhruvananda, and subsequently manifested His beautiful deity form.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered this pastime in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Jagannatha Temple of Mahesh, Serampore’
Legend has it, that after Sri Jagadisha Ganguly had passed away, the worship of Lord Jagannatha was utterly neglected. The Lord was very dissatisfied with the state of affairs, and decided to end His manifest pastimes at Rajapur for the time being. There was a sudden outbreak of cholera in the region. The localites assembled around the temple of Jagannatha at Rajapur and prayed for His mercy.Jagannatha deva appeared in the priest’s dream that night and informed him that one of the housewives of the Ganguly family, who was characterless, had dishonored the Lord.As a result, the members of the Ganguly family and the entire village would die, if they didn’t abandon the village immediately. The next morning, the villagers indeed found the members of the Ganguly family dead, and seeing this they all deserted the village.
Since there was no more worship at the temple, Lord Jagannatha of Rajapur was almost forgotten.In course of time, the temple collapsed and was soon covered by the surrounding jungle.
The Lord Re-appears at Rajapur – 1958 AD :
Centuries had passed since the demise of the Ganguly family.The villagers noticed a unique beautiful blue flower growing at the top of the snake infested ruin that was once the Jagannatha temple. They could hear strange voices coming from the ruins ,of someone claiming to be very thirsty and requesting for water. Though the people felt very curious, yet they didn’t dare go near for the fear of the poisonous snakes.
Then one evening ,in the year 1958 AD, an amazing incident occurred. A young man, named Jamini Ghosh, a resident of the nearby Bahadurpur village, was crossing over the ruins of Rajapur. Suddenly a bamboo tree crashed across his path.Fearing it to be the work of some ghost, he did not step over the tree. Being gripped by fear, he crouched to the ground and lost his external consciousness.He woke up hearing the voices of Lord Jagannatha, who assured him that all was fine. The Lord identified Himself as Jamini’s friend, and explained that He had saved him from the impending danger.The Lord then helped Jamini cross over the jungle and ultimately reach his uncle’s house at Navadvipa safely.
The next day, Jamini revealed his mystical experience to Phatik Chatterjee, the owner of that land ,here in Rajapur. Phatik,along with the villagers and his son-in-law Ram, then began clearing away the jungle, and digging out the deities who had been residing here for centuries, in the middle of a termite hill. But surprisingly, inspite of being within a termite infested area, the deities were practically intact and suffered very little damages.A sculptor then repaired a few parts of the Baladeva and Subhadra deities with some Neem wood. Subsequently a small temple was constructed for the Lordships and Phatik chatterjee took up the responsibility of worshipping them. In the year 1979, Phatik Chatterjee, understood that he would not be able to continue with the worship much longer, due to his advanced age. The Lord then appeared in his dreams and gave him appropriate instructions. Accordingly, Phatik babu, donated the temple, and the property to ISKCON. (Please also read our visit to ISKCON mayapur in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Temple – ISKCON, Mayapur , Navadvipa’). These enchanting deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani, are residing here at Rajapur ,for atleast 500 years now. A very nice temple has been constructed by ISKCON, enabling the devotees from all around the world to come and attain their blissful darsana.
A few amazing pastimes:
There are innumerable pastimes that Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani of Rajapur have manifested over the years. During the years of the riot in 1971, Phatik chatterjee, the then priest, abandoned the area,along with his family, and moved over to Katwa. The area at Rajapur was primarily a muslim area and Phatik babu feared for the security of his family. But then a Muslim gentleman from Rajapur went over to his place at Katwa and requested him to please return. He revealed that they have been hearing voices coming from inside the temple – ‘why isn’t anyone coming anymore ? why is no one feeding us ?’ The gentleman expressed that they were all very afraid, and if Phatik Chatterjee did come back, they would provide him with twenty-four hours protection.So then he agreed to return, and the villagers gave him all the required protection.
On another occasion, Lord Jagannatha protected the family of Phatik Chatterjee, while his daughter was getting married. The thieves and dacoits, disguising themselves as guests, turned up at the event, with the intention of robbing the family of all their wealth. However, surprisingly, the marriage went about as normal and no mishap took place.One of the dacoits later came back on some other day and begged forgiveness from Phatik babu.He then revealed that on the night of the marriage, they saw a strange blue light, that had come from the Jagannatha temple, and hovered over Phatik’s head.Understanding the interference of the divine, the thieves had then dropped their notorious plans.
There was once a very serious epidemic in the area, and as a result the people were dying in large numbers. Lord Jagannatha instructed the Pujari, in his dream, about a medicine that would cure the disease. Accordingly, the pujari gathered the villagers the next morning and informed them of the ingredients required to create the medicine. But,unfortunately, the villagers could gather all but one ingredient. Later that day, a small boy, whom none could recognise, came and handed over to the Pujari’s wife with a branch of that missing ingredient. The medicine was thus created and it subsequently cured the epidemic.
There was a local muslim girl who had once disrespected Lord Jagannatha by intentionally showing Him her feet. The girl very soon contracted infection in her legs and could not walk properly anymore.She is grown woman now, and can still be seen around the village, moving upon her knees. Lord Jagannatha similarly chastised a thief who had been regularly stealing bricks and marbles from the temple premises. Lord Jagannatha rebuked him heavily in his dream.The thief subsequently returned to the temple, all the materials that he had stolen.By Lord Jagannatha’s causeless mercy, a local muslim girl ,who could not see properly,had regained her eyesight. There was another little girl, Hemlata,whose anaemia was cured by means of honoring the Lord’s mahaprasadam.We can go on and on describing the innumerable amazing pastimes of their lordships at Rajapur, but we are inhibited considering the length of this article.
What to See :
- Enchanting deities of Lord Jagannatha , Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani
- The deities of Simantini devi meditating upon Lord Gaurahari
- On the far right of the property, one could still find the place where the old temple used to be once situated. Here one can pray to Kshetra pala Shiva and the kalpa-vriksha (wish-fulfilling) tree.
During the Rathayatra festival at Navadvipa, Lord Jagannatha , Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani of Rajapur are beautifully decorated with attractive ornaments and fragrant flower garlands. Amidst a roaring kirtana, they are pompously seated upon chariots and brought to the Iskcon Mayapur Chandrodaya temple, where they reside and shower their blessings for the next seven days.After seven days of celebration, the Lordships then return back to Rajapur on the ulta-Ratha day.
We worship the lotus feet of our spiritual master ,whose causeless mercy has empowered us ineligible fools ,to gain entrance and take up service in this sacred land of Rajapur.We seek shelter of this holy abode, and pray that its glories remain forever imprinted in our heart.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ offers millions of obeisances and humbly prays to Sri Jagannatha , Baladeva and Subhadra Maharani that we advance in our Krishna consciousness, and are able to serve Sri Guru & Vaishnavas, by our honest and sincere efforts. We seek blessings and compassion of the lordships, in successfully rendering this humble service of reciting the pastimes and revealing the pastime places of the Lord and His beloved associates.We shall consider ourselves greatly fortunate and our existence meaningful if Lord Gaurahari and our dear spiritual master are kindly pleased with our endeavours.
How To Reach:
One travelling from kolkata is advised to board a Krishnanagar local train from the Sealdah station. On reaching Krishnanagar, one can book a toto (auto) to take him to the Krishnanagar Ghat. From the Krishnanagar Ghat(bank) one can avail a five minutes ferry ride to reach the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. From the mayapur Ghat one can take a toto/auto/rickshaw to directly reach the Jagannatha temple at Rajapur.
The temple at Rajapur, is located in the island of Simantadvipa, which embodies the devotional mellows of Sravanam or hearing the glories of the Lord. Maa Parvati had once performed severe austerities at this place, with an intense desire to have darsana and mercy of Lord Gaurahari.Finally, on receiving His darsana, she became overwhelmed with ecstasy, and smeared the dust of the Lord’s lotus feet upon her simanta (the center parting line of her hair). As a result this island came to be known as Simantadvipa.
Accommodation – One can choose to avail the good facilities of Iskcon Mayapur where one can honour nice prasadam as well.Please make sure to book your rooms well in advance.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Navadvipa / Krishnanagar
(Please note that we neither necessarily recommend these hotels/accommodation centers mentioned above nor do we guarantee that they will provide the required facilities/services to the visiting pilgrims. We are not in any way related to the governance of these hotels/accommodation centers. The visiting pilgrim is advised to choose an accommodation as per his own discretion)
To Learn more about the exalted pastimes and pastime places of Nadia and Kalna , purchase this below book from our bookstore. Click on the Image below :