Jagannath Vallabh Garden, situated on the south of Narendra Sarovara, is considered to be as ancient as the temple of Lord Jagannath. This large garden, full of coconut trees and a cooling pond, is very dear (vallabha) to Lord Jagannath because it grows a variety of flowers and fruits that are engaged in His service. Lord Jagannath’s ‘utsava murti’ (festival Deity) is also brought here on numerous auspicious occasions for Him to relish the various festivities that are conducted here. On the left entrance is situated Jagannath Vallabh Math, which is believed to have been established by the devotees of Sri Vishnuswami sampradaya. This garden is very significant for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had enacted many of His wonderful pastimes here at this place.
Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes at Jagannath Vallabh Garden :
Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja mentions in Chaitanya Charitamrita that Sri Jagannath Vallabh Garden was adorned with fully blossomed trees and creepers exactly like those in Vrindavan. Bumblebees and birds like the suka, sari, and pika spoke to each other in this garden. All six seasons, especially spring, appeared to be present at this place simultaneously. The beauty and the enchantment of the garden delighted Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Visiting this garden one full moon night in the month of Vaisakha (April-May), Lord Chaitanya made His associates sing the verse from Gita Govinda beginning with the words – ‘Lalita Lavanga Lata’ as He danced about in the garden.
While wandering thus, Sri Chaitanya suddenly saw Krishna underneath an Ashoka tree. As soon as Lord Chaitanya ran towards Him, Krishna smiled and disappeared from His sight. Having found and then lost Krishna, Lord Chaitanya became disheartened and fell unconscious. The whole place was filled with Krishna’s fragrance which further maddened Lord Chaitanya who craved to relish it. In a fit of divine ecstasy, Sri Chaitanya recited the verse that was once spoken by Srimati Radharani describing how She hankers for the transcendental scent of Krishna’s body.
kuranga mada jid vapuh parimalormi kristanganah
svakanga nalinastake sasi yutabja gandha prathah
madenduvara candanaguru sugandhi carcarcitah
sa me madana mohanah sakhi tanoti nasa spriham
(Govinda Lilamrita 8.6)
The scent of Krishna’s transcendental body excels the aromatic smell of musk and captivates the minds of the Gopis. The eight lotus-like parts of His body diffuse the fragrance of lotuses mixed with that of camphor. His body is smeared with aromatic substances like musk, camphor, sandalwood, and aguru. O My dear friend, Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, also known as the enchanter of Cupid, always enhances the desire of My nostrils.
On the occasion of the Ratha yatra, it was here at the Jagannath Vallabh Garden that Lord Chaitanya had rested after dancing ecstatically.
nritya parisrame prabhura dehe ghana gharma
sugandhi sitala vayu karena sevana
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 13.203)
Lord Chaitanya was very much fatigued from intense dancing, and there was perspiration all over His body. He, therefore, enjoyed the aromatic, cool breeze of the garden (Jagannath Vallabh Garden).
It was here at Jagannath Vallabh Garden that Lord Chaitanya bestowed His causeless mercy upon King Pratap Rudra who had forsaken his royal robes and approached the Lord dressed as a Vaishnava. It was here at the Jagannath Vallabh garden that the King messaged the legs of Lord Chaitanya and recited verses from Srimad Bhagavatam. This pleased Lord Chaitanya beyond limits and he urged the king to go on reciting. Finally, Lord Chaitanya bestowed His mercy by embracing the King and displaying to him His divine opulence.
purva seva dekhi’ tanre kripa upajila
anusandhana vina kripa prasada karila
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 14.15)
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy was aroused because of the King’s prior service. Therefore, without even asking who he was, the Lord immediately awarded His mercy upon the King.
After the Rathayatra when Their Lordships Sri Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra rested at the Gundicha Temple, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu stayed here for nine days. Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu also used to meet Sri Ramananda Raya who was His very dear and confidential associate, here at the Jagannath Vallabh garden. Hence this sacred place is a witness to exalted Gaudiya Vaishnava pastimes.
What to See :
- The enchanting Jagannath Vallabh Garden
- The beautiful deities of Jagannath Vallabh Math.
How to Reach :
This place is a few hundred meters walk up the Grand Road towards the Jagannath temple. The Garden has a distinctive dark red boundary wall. It is situated on the opposite side of the well-known landmark of Municipal Market.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Jagannath Puri.
Nearest Railway station – Jagannath Puri Railway Station
Nearest major airport – Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar.
At the time of writing this article, there is another airport presently being constructed at Jagannath Puri. However, this airport at Puri has not yet become operational.