Monthly Archives: November 2021

Gundicha temple, Jagannath Puri

gundicha temple

Gundicha temple is situated at the end of Badadanda or Grand Road, to the northeast of the main Jagannath temple. It is at a distance of around two kilometers from the Jagannath temple. Within the Gundicha Temple, there is a ‘Mahavedi’ where the deities of Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra had appeared in Satya Yuga during the time of King Indradyumna. The Gundicha temple is identified as the birthplace of Lord Jagannath and is named after King Indradyumna’s wife, Gundicha Maharani. It was in this area that King Indradyumna had performed a thousand Ashwamedha Yajnas. Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra along with Sudarshan, leave Jagannatha Mandira for nine days. They travel to the Gundicha on the Ratha Yatra day, reside there for seven days, and then on the ninth day, they return to the main temple.

This Journey is also known as Gundicha Yatra, Nava Dina Yatra (nine days Journey), or Ghosa Yatra. It is very auspicious to attain the darshan of Jagannatha during this time. Darshan of Jagannatha during His stay at Gundicha temple is known as ‘Adapa Darshan’. It is mentioned in the scriptures that the darshan of Lord Jagannatha at Gundicha is ten times more spiritually beneficial than taking His darshan at the main Nilachala temple (main temple).

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Gambhira, Jagannath Puri – Residence of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

gambhira jagannath puri chaitanya

Gambhira is the house of Kasi Misra where Lord Chaitanya resided for the last twelve years of His manifested pastime. Gambhira is situated at Balisahi, to the southeast of Jagannath temple in Puri. The place has also come to be referred to as the ‘Radha Kanta Math’ because ‘Radha Kanta’, a beautiful deity of Sri Krishna, is also worshiped at this place. After accepting His sannyasa, Lord Chaitanya shifted from Bengal to Jagannath Puri. He initially stayed at the residence of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. But later, after He returned from His tour of South India, He accepted the Gambhira, the house of Kasi Misra, as His residence. It is described in Chaitanya Charitamrita, how the house of Kasi Misra became the residence for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya requested the King for a nice, peaceful and solitary place for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that would also not be far from the Jagannath temple, King Pratap Rudra deva considered and replied that Kasi Misra’s house would be the ideal place for the Lord’s stay.

raja kahe – aiche kasi misrera bhavana
thakurera nikata, haya parama nirjana
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 10.21)

The King replied, ‘Kasi Mira’s house is exactly what you require. It is adjacent to the Jagannath temple and also secluded, quiet, and serene’.

When Kasi Misra heard of the King’s desire, he considered himself to be very fortunate and was thrilled that Lord Chaitanya, the master of all devotees, would reside at his home. Lord Chaitanya was very pleased to see the residential quarters of Gambhira, in which all His necessities were taken care of. When Kasi Misra fell at the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and surrendered himself, Lord Chaitanya embraced him and revealed to him His four-armed form.

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Tota Gopinath temple, Jagannath Puri

tota gopinath

After Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had taken His Sannyasa, He shifted from Bengal to Jagannatha Puri. Sri Gadadhar Pandita accompanied the Lord to Puri as well and engaged Himself in the service of Tota Gopinatha. Sri Tota Gopinatha is an exquisitely beautiful Deity of Lord Krishna. Tota Gopinatha is also the most unique as He is the only deity of Krishna who manifests the posture of sitting down. This enchanting deity of Tota Gopinatha jiu was unearthed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when He started digging the ground one day, feeling intense separation from Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Crying out “Where is my Prananath? ” Lord Gauranga started digging the ground in divine ecstasy and in the process discovered this enchanting deity. Sri Gadadhar had dedicated Himself unto the service of this deity ever since. Mahaprabhu named the Deity Gopinath, and because the deity appeared in a garden (garden is called ‘tota’ in Oriya) the devotees refer to Him as Tota Gopinath. Sri Vrindavana das Thakura mentions in Chaitanya Bhagavata, that the heart of even the most demoniac atheist would soften upon taking darsana of this mesmerizing deity of Tota Gopinatha. Every day, at the temple of Tota Gopinatha, Sri Gadadhar Pandita would recite Srimad Bhagavatam and Lord Chaitanya, along with His associates, would often visit to relish the nectar.

gadadhar bhavane mohana Gopinatha
achene, ye hena nanda-kumara saksat
apane Chaitanya tare kariyachena kole
ati pasandi-o se vigraha dekhe bhule
dekhi sri-murali mukha angera bhangima
nityananda ananda asrura nahi sima
(Sri Chaitanya-Bhagavat, Antya, chapter 7)

In the house of Gadadhar Pandita was worshiped the most enchanting Gopinath jiu. He is none other than the son of Nanda Maharaj. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had Himself danced with this deity of Gopinath placing it on His lap. Even the heart of the most demoniac atheist would soften upon taking the darsana of Gopinatha jiu. Beholding Gopinath jiu’s posture and the way He holds His flute, Lord Nityananda had shed incessant tears.

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Siddha Bakul – Haridas Thakur’s bhajan Kutir, Jagannath Puri

siddha bakul

After Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had accepted His sannyasa, and shifted to Jagannatha Puri, Srila Haridas Thakur followed Him as well. Despite being a stalwart Vaishnava, Srila Haridas had always considered himself to be low-born and exceedingly abominable. Hence, out of his sheer humility, he never entered the premises of the Jagannatha Puri temple. At Puri, Lord Chaitanya had arranged a place for Haridas’s stay, positioned just behind His own residence at Gambhira. The residence of Srila Haridas is renowned today as ‘Siddha Bakula’ (Siddha means perfect). The sacred place has derived its name from a Bakula tree that grows over here. This fortunate tree is over 500 years old and it used to provide its cooling shade under which the Thakur chanted his rounds peacefully. Lord Chaitanya had personally planted a used tooth-stick of Lord Jagannatha into the ground at this place, which immediately grew up and blossomed into this Siddha Bakul tree. To this day, anyone visiting this place can take darsana of this sacred Bakula tree. The tree looks like it has exploded or it appears to be completely dead. The tree has no marrows but only survives through its skin.  Yet it is wonderfully thriving with lush green leaves and fragrant flowers.

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Haridas Thakur Samadhi, Swargadwar, Jagannath Puri

haridas thakur samadhi

About 500 years ago, namacharya Srila Haridas Thakur breathed his last and wrapped up his earthly pastimes at Siddha Bakul in Jagannath Puri. He yearned to pass away while beholding the moonlike face of Lord Gauranga. Lord Gauranga, the Supreme Lord, granted the wish of Haridas, His beloved servant. Holding the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya upon his heart and drinking the nectar of the Lord’s moon-like face, Haridas incessantly chanted the holy name of Sri Krishna Chaitanya in ecstasy. While chanting thus, he left his body, entering the eternal abode of the Supreme Lord. Witnessing the wonderful passing away of Haridas, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhishma on the battlefield of Kurukshetra who also left his body at will. Raising the body of Haridas Thakur with His own hands, Lord Chaitanya began dancing in divine ecstasy. There was a tumultuous roar and all the devotees joined in the Harinama sankirtana. The Vaishnavas are never too morose when a fellow devotee passes away. They realize that the devotee who had passed away must have achieved the Supreme spiritual destination and reunited with his beloved Lord. Besides, it is of no use crying over a dead body when the soul has already left it. The knowledge of matter, spirit, and the controller of both (Supreme Lord) is the key to interpreting the emotions and actions of a Vaishnava.

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