The spiritual grandeur of Mayapur and Nabadwip dham is unlimited and unfathomable. It is said that even the likes of Brahma are powerless to effectively reach its ends (Nabadwip mandalera mahima apara brahma adi nahi jane varne sadhya kara). It is for this reason that Nabadwip Mandala, at whose center shines Sri Dham Mayapur, is gloried as the essence of all holy abodes (‘sarva Dhama sar’). One who understands the transcendental nature of this holy dham, achieves the highest spiritual perfection (‘Sri-Gauda-mandala-bhumi yeba jane chintamani ,tara haya vraja-bhume vasa’). We have covered the details and discussed at great lengths about the numerous ancient holy sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham and their great significance in two of our books – Sri Nabadwip Bhava Taranga – Waves of ecstatic moods in Nabadwip & An ecstatic ride across ancient spiritual Bengal – Part 3: Nadia & Kalna Archives. In this article, we are going to try and summarize some of the more prominent and easily accessible spiritual sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham. One who yearns to discover more details about these holy sites and relish their transcendental wealth, however, is herein advised to go through the above books.
“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Nabadwip ” –
Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya
This is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead ,had mercifully appeared here at Yogpeeth (in Mayapur) about 500 years ago, to bless us with the most wonderful,deep and ecstatic pastimes of Gaura lila. The word ‘Yoga’ means ‘connection’ and the term ‘Yogpith’ represents the place where the Supreme Lord connects with or descends into this material world. The Lord appeared from the womb of mother Saci, on the full moon night of Phalguna (Feb-March) in the year 1486 AD.
Nabadwip madhye mayapura name sthan
Yathaya janmilen gauracandra bhagavan
In the center of nabadwip, there is a place called Mayapura. It was here at Mayapura that the Supreme Lord Gaurachandra took His birth.
What to See :
- The Neem Tree under which Lord Gaurahari had appeared in this world.
- Deities of Gauranga, Vishnupriya and Lakshmipriya
- Deities of Jagannatha Misra and Saci mata with little Nimai in her lap
- While digging the foundation of this temple, an ancient deity of Adhokshaja Vishnu was uncovered, who is worshipped here till this day. It is in all probability the worshipable household deity of sri Jagannatha Misra.
- Behind the temple, on the other side ,are worshipped the deities of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and Sri Gaura-Gadadhara
- The Pushpa samadhi of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, at the entrance of the temple.
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. This place is renowned as Yogpith and is not very far from the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. From the mayapur Ghat one can take a toto/auto/rickshaw to directly reach Yogpith.
A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon, had established the headquarters of Iskcon (International society for Krishna Consciousness) here at Mayapur in the year 1972. Though Mayapur was just a minute obscure village of Bengal back then, Prabhupada envisioned that a day would come when this place would become well connected by waterways, roads, bridges, trains and even air, making it more accessible to all. He entrusted the Mayapur development project into the hands of his disciples and ordered- “I have given you the kingdom of God.Now take it, develop it and enjoy it”.
Staying inside a small hut within the temple premises at that time, Prabhupada foretold that the city would gradually grow to a population of fifty thousand in days to come and would serve as a model city for all of humanity. Today ISKCON Mayapur houses several posh guesthouses in order to serve the devotees who arrive from all over the world, to take darsana of its enchanting deities and seek shelter of this cintamani (spiritual) dham. The opulence and grandeur of the Iskcon Mayapur project has been successful in highlighting to the entire world the significance of this exalted abode and the gravity of the Krishna consciousness movement. As more and more people ,from different backgrounds and nationalities are being attracted to Mayapur and are accepting Krishna consciousness as a way of their life, the more the timeless prediction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu comes to be fulfilled -’In every town and village, the chanting of my holy name will be heard’ (prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarbatra prachara haibe mora naam).
What to Experience (within the temple premises):
- Mesmerizing deities of Radha Madhava and the asta sakhis.
- Enchanting deities of Pancha Tattva – Lord Chaitanya & His associates
- Heart rendering Darsana of Lord Narasimhadeva.
- A request to attend the blissful mangala Aratika darsana of the Lord (4.30 am in the morning). Please don’t miss it.
- Srila Prabhupada Pushpa samadhi
- Samadhi of Prabhupada disciples
- The Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP).
- Request to feast on the delicious Krishna Prasadam from the Gada Bhavan or Gita Bhavan. The lunch starts getting served at 1 pm. Hence please book your coupons atleast a few hours in advance.
- Please buy atleast a small book from any of the various available book stalls. This shall surely help you advance in your krishna consciousness.
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 Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Temple.
According to Sri Gaura Gannoddesha Dipika, Srivasa Pandita is none other than the incarnation of Narada Muni, who had appeared to assist Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enact the heart melting pastimes of Nabadwip.
Srivasa Angan, or the house of Srivasa Pandita, is a stone’s throw from Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace at Yogpith. Every evening,the devotees congregated at Srivasa pandita’s house and completely immersed themselves in ecstatic dance and Harinama sankirtana.Srivasa Angan is one of the places where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifests His enchanting pastimes eternally.
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. This place is renowned as Yogpith and is not very far from the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. From the mayapur Ghat one can take a toto/auto/rickshaw to directly reach Srivasa Angan.
Situated east of Yogpeeth,on the banks of Ballal Dighi, lies the house of Sri Murari Gupta. He was born at Srihatta (Sylhet, presently situated in Bangladesh) ,the hometown of Jagannatha Misra, but moved over to Nabadwip while he was a very young boy. The residence of Murari Gupta is a stone’s throw from Srivasa Angan (house of Srivasa Pandita) and is situated hardly a kilometer from the Iskcon Mayapur temple. He was a contemporary of Lord Chaitanya and used to study in the same toll (school) as Mahaprabhu. Although he was a scholar and senior to Mahaprabhu ,yet he could not defeat Him in debates and logical arguments.
Lord Chaitanya used to tease Murari by raising different topics of discussion and subsequently defeating him in them. Sri Murari Gupta was an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu. He was the incarnation Hanumana. At Murari Gupta’s house ,are presently worshipped the beautiful deities of Sri Ram, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman.
Sri Murari Gupta was an Ayurvedic doctor (vaidya) by profession, but it has been mentioned in the revealed scriptures that such was the nature of his treatment, that his patients would be benefitted not only materially but spiritually as well. Sri Murari would prescribe medicines not only for the patient’s ailing body but bestow Krishna prema for his suffering soul. Sri Murari Gupta had recorded in his diary (known as ‘karcha’) the pastimes enacted by Lord Visvambhara in Nadiya.These detailed records in Murari Gupta’s karacha formed the very basis of the content of the Lord’s early pastimes (adi Lila) in the other renowned biographies such as – Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta, Chaitanya Bhagavata and Chaitanya Mangala.Sri Murari Gupta has also blessed us with an amazingly enchanting composition of his own ,known as Sri Chaitanya Carita Maha Kavya, which narrates the ecstatic pastimes of Lord Gaurahari in Nabadwip.
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 residence of Sri Murari Gupta.
About 500 years ago, the state of Bengal was ruled by Nawab Hussain Shah. Nawab Hussain Shah was the incarnation of King Jarasandha, who had conspired and fought numerous wars against Krishna in Dwapara yuga.The magistrate unto whom the administration of Nabadwip was then entrusted ,was known as Chand Kazi (Kazi translates to magistrate in english). Chand Kazi was the incarnation of King Kamsa (Krishna’s maternal uncle) .The residence of Chand kazi was not very far from Srivasa Pandita’s house. Srivasa Pandita was an intimate associate of Lord Chaitanya.
When Chand Kazi objected to Harinama Sankirtana and tried to discourage devotees by breaking Mridanga and Kartala at Srivasa pandita’s house, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu grew enraged. The Lord announced that He would organize a massive sankirtana that evening and take it all over Mayapur Nabadwip dham. On His orders ,lakhs of people came with their torches and assembled outside the residence of Lord Chaitanya at Yogpith. Words are not enough to describe that mystical sight. Never before had such a unique mass sankirtana been organized. The Lord and His devotees began dancing, soaring to newer and newer heights of ecstasy. As the sankirtana progressed, more and more people left their houses and joined in.The rhythmic dance was well complimented by the thousands of torches which also moved in an animated fashion.The street was strewn with puffed rice and coins which the delighted citizens had showered upon the passing procession. The procession gradually moved from Mahaprabhu ghat (near His house, where He used to daily bathe)-> Madhai ghat -> barakona Ghat -> Nagariya Ghat ->Simulia -> Kazi’s house.On reaching the kazi’s house, Lord Chaitanya madly searched for the kazi, and demanded that he be brought outside. Meanwhile the spies of kazi had already informed him of the arriving mass sankirtana party. Being very afraid the kazi sat trembling at one corner of his house.The devotees brought the kazi out of his home. Calming down, Lord Chaitanya began conversing with him. After a long conversation, the kazi was finally defeated. At the end of their discussion, the Kazi touched the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and humbly prayed that his consciousness be forever fixed upon Him. He also loudly proclaimed that henceforward neither the kazi nor any member of his family or any of his future descendants shall ever be an obstacle to the Lord’s sankirtana movement. Infact if any of his descendants ever disobeyed his orders then they shall be disinherited from his family.
What to See:
The samadhi of Chand Kazi – The Champaka tree that shelters the samadhi of Chand kazi is more than 500 years old. Though this tree is hollow from inside, yet strangely it produces and showers nice flowers upon the samadhi.
How to Reach:
Chand Kazi Samadhi is a five minutes ride from the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. The nearest landmark to this place is the Bamunpukur bus stand.
Sri Chandrasekhara Acharya, or Acharya Ratna as he was sometimes referred to ,was the great second branch of Lord Chaitanya’s desire tree of devotional service.He was Lord Chaitanya’s maternal uncle, the husband of Sarvajaya, Saci Mata’s sister. He, like Jagannatha Mishra was originally a resident of Sylhet. He was one of the five devotees who had accompanied Lord Chaitanya to witness His sannyasa initiation at Katwa. According to Gaura Ganoddesha dipika, Sri Chandrasekhara was the incarnation of the Moon God. Needless to say, he was an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu.
Later Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, the founder of the worldwide Gaudiya Mathas (temples), had established one of his main branches here, at the house of Chandrasekhara. He had named it as Vrajapattana, or the place where Vrindavana, the highest spiritual realm, had become manifest. Vrajapattana or Sri Chaitanya Math, as it came to be later known as, was the first temple established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Lord Chaitanya had enacted a beautiful play revealing the pastimes of Vrindavana, here at Chandrasekhara Bhavan, that enchanted the hearts of all the devotees.This episode of Mahaprabhu enacting this play at house of Chandrasekhara has been described vividly by Srila Vrindavana das Thakura in his Chaitanya Bhagavata.
What to see:
- Darsana of beautiful deities – Sri Radha-Gandharvika-Giridhari jiu .They are the worshipable deities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.
- Samadhi of Srila Gaura Kishor das Babaji Maharaj.
- Samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
- Sri Syama kunda ,Sri Radha Kunda and Giri Govardhan- these are non different from the same in Vrindavana.
- The vigrahas of the 4 Vaishnava sampradaya acharyas – Sri Madhvacharya (Madhva sampradaya), Ramanujacharya (Sri sampradaya) ,Vishnuswami (Rudra sampradaya) and Nimbarkacharya (Kumara sampradaya)
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 Sri Chaitanya Math.
Ballal Dhipi, Bamunpukur (Near Mayapur)
In the satya yuga, there lived a pious King named ‘Prithu’ who was a saktyavesha avatara of the Lord (empowered incarnation). Prithu Maharaj once undertook this great initiative to level the rough portions of the earth. When his workers came to level this particular place in Mayapur, they saw a bright effulgence, illuminating all four directions. When they reported it to Prithu Maharaj, he meditated upon the place and could understand that the sacred land was Mayapur Nabadwip dham. In order to conceal the glories of the place (as everyone would be able to guess its exalted status beholding its effulgence), Prithu Maharaj ordered a delightful pond to be created here. This pond came to be renowned as Prithu Kunda and its pure waters provided immense pleasure to those who drank it.
Later, in the age of Kali, King Lakshmana Sena had enlarged and deepened the pond. He named it after Ballal Sena, one of his forefathers. This pond hence came to be subsequently known as Ballal Dighi. Today, the palace of the Sena King lies in ruins at this place. The Archaeological survey of India has unearthed ancient relics from this place that date back to 12th century AD.
How to reach :
Ballal Dighi or Prithu Kunda is located near ‘Bamunpukur bazar’, situated only a few hundred meters down the road from Yogpeeth in Mayapur. Rickshaws and autos are readily available for transport.
Lord Jagannatha at Rajapur, is non different than Lord Jagannatha at Puri (in Orissa). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura re-establishes this fact by citing the history of this temple of Rajapur in his book ‘Sri Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya’. It is recorded that long ago the deities of Jagannatha Puri were brought to Bengal, here at Rajapur, to protect them from a demoniac king named Raktabahu.
There is a place nearby, which is known as Sabara-danga, that exists even today. It is believed that these Sabara devotees of Lord Jagannatha had settled down in this very village during the seventh century, after carrying the deities from Orissa to Bengal. 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.
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.
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 beautiful neem deity of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that is worshipped today at Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple in Koladvipa (one of the nine islands of Nabadwip), was once personally worshipped by Srimati Vishnupriya Devi Herself. Along with this beautiful deity, She also used to worship a footwear (paduka) of Mahaprabhu, which was personally gifted to Her by the Lord. This paduka is also worshipped today at the Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.Having received suitable instructions in Her dream, Vishnupriya Devi had this beautiful Neem deity of Lord Gaurasundara carved by the famous sculptor Nabinananda Acharya. Srimati Vishnupriya devi is the eternal consort of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika, Srimati Vishnupriya devi is the incarnation of the Lord’s Bhu-sakti, who is the mother of the entire universe.
After Vishnupriya Devi had passed away, this enchanting deity and the footwear of the Lord, were shifted to this place at Koladvipa by Vamsivadana Thakura, who had established their worship here.Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple is located within the ancient residential compound of Sri Sanatana Misra (Vishnupriya devi’s father). His descendants currently take care of the temple maintenance and the daily worship of the deities.
What to See:
- The enchanting deity of Lord Chaitanya, which was once worshipped by His consort Srimati Vishnupriya.
- The footwear (paduka) of Lord Chaitanya is preserved in this temple. This paduka was also once worshipped by Vishnupriya Devi.
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. Arriving at the ghat, one can avail a ferry to reach Nabadwip. Reaching Nabadwip, one can book an autorickshaw to reach Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.
Alternatively, one can board a train from the Howrah station and get down at the Nabadwip station itself. On reaching Nabadwip, one can book an autorickshaw to directly reach Sri Dhameswar Mahaprabhu temple.
Porama tala and Vriddha Shiva, Nabadwip
“To the south west, rivers yamuna and Ganga reflect upon their great fortunes. Flowing like serpents they serve Lord Gauranga, the jewel of the twice borns (brahmanas). On the bank of the Ganges, there lies many ghats (stairways to reach the water), temples, wherein also rest the deities of Praudhamaya and Vriddha Shiva. There also exist several beautiful groves and gardens.” – Navadvipa Bhava Taranga
Sri Vriddha Shiva and his wife Prauddha Maya are the eternal protectors of Nabadwip Mandala. Initially, they were worshipped on the eastern bank of the Ganges. However after the disappearance of Mahaprabhu, as per earlier predictions, Mayapur was covered by the Ganges for about a hundred years. At this time, some devotees began worshiping Vriddha Shiva and Prauddha Maya on the western side of the Ganges (on Koladvipa). The place where the deities of Prauddha maya and Vriddha Shiva are worshipped today, has since come to be known as Porama-tola and Buro Shiva tola respectively.
Prauddha Maya is Yoga-Maya and she protects the dham by veiling its transcendental features and not allowing the non-devotees to enter this holy abode. Even if some non-believers enter this transcendental place, they are not able to experience the glories of the dham.
How to Reach :
Take a ferry from Hulor ghat (mayapur) and cross over the Ganges to reach Nabadwip ghat. From there you can take an auto rickshaw to directly reach the temple of Prauddha maya located at the center of Poramatala bazar (market). The deity of Prauddha Maya is worshipped inside a huge banyan tree. The deity of Lord Shiva (Vriddha Shiva) is worshipped at a place called ‘Buro shiva Tola’, which is not very far from Poramatala bazar.
Sri Narasimha palli is the residence of Sri Narasimhadeva, the half man ,half lion incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Located on the southern boundaries of Nabadwip Dham (Godrumadvipa) , this ancient deity of Lord Narasimhadeva at Narasimha palli ,is said to be worshipped here since Satya Yuga. Sri Narasimhadeva is the incarnation of the Lord who mercifully provides protection to His devotees. It was here at Narasimha Palli, in the waters of the Mandakini river, that Lord Narasimhadeva had washed His hands stained with Hiranyakashipu’s blood. He also drank some water from this river in order to refresh Himself. The Mandakini river is reduced to a small lake today, and still exists adjacent to this ancient temple. Knowing that Lord Narasimhadeva had come to take rest here, all the demigods headed by Brahma, came over here and set up their residences, and engaged themselves in service of the Lord. Hence this place also came to be known as Devapalli or the neighbourhood of the Devas (demigods).
Viswakarma had then himself constructed thousands of houses out of stone, serving as the residences of these demigods. In course of time, the Mandakini river shifted its course and the houses were all destroyed. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to often come over here at Narasimha Palli, to discuss the glories of Lord Narasimhadeva.The temple had been later reconstructed and restored to its present health by Maharaja Kshitish Candra in 1896 AD.
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 cab to directly reach this ancient site at Devapalli. This place is located in the Godruma island of Nabadwip. The localites sometimes refer to this area as ‘De para’. This place is not very far from the Krishnanagar Railway station.