Millions of years ago during Satya-yuga, King Indradyumna had performed ashvamedha-yajna (horse sacrifice) here at Indradyumna Sarovar. At that time he honored the assembled Brahmins by donating thousands of cows. While all those cows were standing here, their hooves made a deep depression upon the earth; creating a large lake. This Lake subsequently became filled with water and cow urine. Since then it has become a tirtha, a purifying place of pilgrimage. Skanda Purana says that this is the best of all tirthas. Chandana Yatra and Sitala-sthali festival are pompously celebrated here. There are 3 main temples here: Indradyumna Maharaja’s temple on the left side near the tank, a large Saksi Gopala temple on right side and Nilakantesvara Mahadeva Shiva temple mid-way down the stairs leading to Indradyumna sarovar.
Indradyumna Sarovar is half a kilometer away from the Gundicha temple. Lord Chaitanya had used water from Indradyumna Sarovar to cleanse the Gundicha temple and the Nrsimhadeva temple in Puri, a day before the Rath Yatra festival. The Lord and His associates had also performed their sporting water pastimes here at Indradyumna Sarovar.
Cleansing of Gundicha (Gundicha Marjana Leela) :
Gundicha Marjana is the exercise of cleansing of the Gundicha temple to welcome Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra who would stay there for the next seven days. Gundicha Marjana takes place a day before the Rath Yatra festival commences. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had Himself taken part in cleaning the Gundicha temple during His stay in Jagannath Puri. While cleaning the Gundicha temple, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu incessantly chanted the names of Krishna and shed tears of love. At times He cleansed the temple with His tears. His entire body became covered with dust and in this way, He appeared transcendentally beautiful. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gathered all the straws, dust, and grains, collected them in His cloth, and threw them outside the temple premises. All the other devotees who cleaned the temple would follow His example. Through Gundicha Marjana, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed us on how to welcome Lord Krishna in our hearts. If we are desiring to see Krishna seated within our hearts, we should begin by cleansing our hearts of all abominations.
Even though all the devotees assembled their dirt in a single pile, the dirt gathered by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was much larger. After cleaning the temple of its dirt, Sri Chaitanya personally washed the Gundicha temple with hundreds of waterpots that were filled from Indradyumna Sarovar. One fortunate devotee, who stayed hidden, had the immense fortune of drinking the water that had washed the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya. After the rooms were washed, the water was let out through an outlet, and it then flowed and filled the yard outside. The Lord mopped the rooms and polished the throne with His own clothes. In this way, all the rooms were cleansed with a hundred waterpots. The minds of the devotees also became as clean as the rooms. Hundreds were engaged in bringing in the water and taking away empty pots to fill them up with water again. There was no place left to stand on the bank of the lake. Consequently, devotees began drawing water from a well as well. It appeared as though Lord Chaitanya was cleansing and washing the Gundicha temple with hundreds of hands. He praised the devotees who were engaged in cleaning nicely while chastising those who were not serving to His satisfaction. Thus everyone began working with great concentration. There was another devotee from Bengal, who approached the Lord during this time and washed His feet. Thereafter He drank that charanamrita himself. Lord Chaitanya became outwardly angry and rebuked the devotee. Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara caught the devotee and made him stay outside the Gundicha temple. All the quarters of the Gundicha temple became spotless after cleaning. Outside the temple, all the roads were also cleansed, and no one could explain exactly how this was done. Lord Chaitanya then also cleaned the Nrsimha deva temple. After resting for a few minutes, the Lord began dancing.
When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced, the divine symptoms of perspiration, shivering, fading, tears, triumph and roaring manifested in His body. His tears, that poured like rains in monsoon, washed His body and the bodies of those around Him. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then ordered Gopal, Sri Advaita Acharya’s son to dance. While dancing in ecstatic love, Gopal fainted and fell unconscious. When Gopal did not wake up, all the devotees became agitated. Seeing that he was not breathing, Advaita Acharya began to cry. Then Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu placed His hands on the chest of Gopal and loudly exclaimed, ‘Gopal, stand up!’ As soon as Gopala heard the voice of Sri Chaitanya, he immediately returned to his senses. All the devotees then began to dance, chanting the holy name of Hari. Thereafter all the devotees bathed and sat down to honor Maha-prasadam.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s water Pastimes at Indradyumna Sarovar :
nanodyane bhakta sange vrindavana lila
‘indradyumna’ sarovare kare jala khela
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 14.75)
There were many gardens near the Gundicha temple, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers used to perform the pastimes of Vrindavana in each of them. In the lake named Indradyumna, He performed water pastimes.
Lord Chaitanya jovially engaged with His followers splashing water at each other. Occasionally the devotees would form many circles in the lake, play cymbals, and imitate the croaking of frogs. There would be water wars where devotees would toss water at one another. Such sporting wars took place between Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu, for instance, where Advaita Thakur was defeated. Svarupa Damodara, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Murari Gupta, Vasudeva Datta, Srivasa Thakura, Gadadhara Pandita, Raghava Pandita, Vakreswar Pandita would all engage in such friendly water fights.
Seeing Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Pundarika Vidyanidhi engrossed in childlike water sports, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Gopinath Acharya to convey to them to halt their childish plays as it did not suit grave learned scholars like them. Gopinath Acharya replied that a drop of Lord Chaitanya’s mercy, which can even drown the likes of Mount Sumeru and Mandara mountains, has swelled upon and overwhelmed these grave personalities. He added that Sarvabhauma who had passed his entire life eating the dry cake of impersonal logic has now tasted the nectar of the Lord’s transcendental pastimes. It was the mercy of Lord Chaitanya that had transformed him. Thereafter Lord Chaitanya called upon Advaita Acharya and made Him act like Ananta Sesha. Lying down on Advaita Acharya who was floating upon the water, Lord Chaitanya demonstrated the pastime of Lord Vishnu who lies on Shesha Naga. After sporting at Indradyumna Lake for some time, Lord Chaitanya returned to Aitota accompanied by His devotees.
How to Reach :
Indradyuma Sarovar is spread over five acres of land near the Gundicha temple in Puri. It is located behind the Nrsimha deva temple. Indradyuma Sarovar is quite renowned and one can avail cabs to reach here directly.
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.