“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” – Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
One of the sweetest spiritual sites that ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has come across during its vast journey across Bengal is the maternal home of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Located at a place called Belpukur within the precincts of Simantadvipa (one of the nine islands constituting Navadvipa) , this is where Sri Nilambar Chakravarti, Mahaprabhu’s maternal grandfather, used to reside along with his family 500 years ago.Sri Madana Gopala, the worshipable deity of Sri Nilambar, has been carefully preserved at this holy place and continues to accept our humble service till this day. The beautiful deities of Sri Nilambar Chakravarti and his daughter Srimati Saci devi is also worshipped over here.The temple priest ,Sri Nimai Krishna das Prabhuji, who lives and serves here, is a direct descendant of Nilambar Chakravarti, and has been subsequently initiated into the Gaudiya Sampradaya by HH Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaj.
Being His maternal home, this place is very dear to Sri Gaurahari. Infact all of us have a very special place in our hearts towards our maternal homes, and the Supreme Lord ,being a person, is also no different.In fact, a lot of His balya lilas (childhood pastimes) have taken place here at Belpukur. The dust of this holy place is thus sanctified with the lotus footprints of Little Nimai.
Kavi Karnapura reveals in Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika that Sri Nilambar Chakravarti was the incarnation of Garga Muni, who had been the family priest of the Yadus.His nephew ,Sri Jagannath Chakravarti, also renowned as Mamu Thakura, went onto become the priest of the Tota Gopinatha temple in puri.Srimati Saci devi, Nilambar’s daughter, was the combined incarnation of the potencies of Devaki, Yashoda, Aditi and Kaushalya.Sri Nilambar Chakravarti was a renowned astrologer in his days, and had correctly predicted that his daughter, Saci devi, would give birth to the Supreme Lord, in the thirteenth month of her pregnancy, when all the planets had arranged themselves in the most auspicious position.So when the Lord finally arrived, there was a total lunar eclipse in Mayapur.Some say, that the Lord had actually appeared after the moon had regained its lustre ,after it had been devoured and thoroughly cleansed by rahu.Although Sri Caitanya Caritamrta explains that the real reason for the lunar eclipse, was that there was no need for a contaminated moon with spots all over its body to be visible at a time when the spotless Supreme Lord , had Himself mercifully appeared to give His darsana.
A-kalanka Gauracandra dila darshana
Sa-kalanka candre ara kon proyojona
(Caitanya caritamrta, Adi – 13.91)
‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the appearance pastimes of Lord Caitanya in a separate article entitled – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’. When we reached Belpukur, it was almost the time for sunset. We saw the rays of the sun glide and fall upon the temple floors and offer their humble obeisances unto the magnanimous Lord and His maternal grandfather. It is very difficult to express in mere words the mesmerizing beauty and simplicity of this exalted site.Sri Nimai Krishna Prabhu explained to us how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura, had himself confirmed that this deity of Sri Madana Gopala jiu, that is worshipped over here, is atleast 1700 years old. The sophisticated wooden architecture of this deity, is as if the work of Viswakarma himself. Just beside Madan Gopala jiu are kept the deities of Sri Nilambara Chakravarti and Saci Mata, who are also worshipped here with due reverence.The temple has been recently renovated and restored to its health, with the help of donations from the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust.
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 transcendental abode of Belpukur.We seek shelter of this holy land, 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 Nilambar Chakravarti that we advance in our Krishna consciousness,develop attachment unto the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga and are able to serve Sri Guru & Vaishnavas, by our honest and sincere efforts. We seek his blessings and compassion , in successfully rendering this humble service of reciting the pastimes and revealing the pastime places of the Supreme 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.
Sri Nilambar Chakravarti’s residence is located at Belpukur ,in Simantadvipa and is about an hour’s journey from Mayapur. The ancient temple is situated just beside the ‘Belpukur sadharan library’.However, if one is not well acquainted with these places, he is advised to book a cab from ‘Gauranga Travels’ (office within Iskcon Mayapur temple premises) and ask them to bring him over to this ancient site.
This area was previously known as Bilvapaksha, where a few brahmana devotees had once worshipped Lord shiva by offering him his favorite bilva leaves (bael) for a fortnight. Being very happy ,Lord Shiva had imparted upon them Krishna Bhakti. From then on, this place came to be known as Belpukur or belphukuriya and is non-different from Bilva-vana of Vrindavana.