Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu longed to visit Vrindavan for a long time but was unable to do so due to Ramananda Raya’s tricks. The devotees wanted to hold the Lord with them at Jagannath Puri. However, the Lord’s desire to visit Vrindavan increased with time, and finally, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya relented. When King Pratap Rudra came to know of Lord Chaitanya’s desire, He made all the necessary arrangements for the Lord’s travel. He ordered his officers to set up shelters, store ample food, and arrange for the Lord’s transport. Lord Chaitanya wanted to reach Vrindavan journeying through Bengal. He stated that He had two shelters in Bengal – Mother Saci and mother Ganges, and he wished to pay both of them a visit.
Gadadhar Pandita wanted to accompany Lord Chaitanya to Vrindavan
However, when Gadadhar Pandita heard of the Lord’s plans, he decided to accompany the Lord to Vrindavan. Lord Chaitanya forbade Gadadhar Pandita and instructed him to stay back at Jagannath Puri as he had the vow of Kshetra sannyasa (where a sannyasi must not leave his holy dham). However, Gadadhar Pandit refused to obey as his love for Lord Chaitanya far outweighed the consequences of breaking any vows. Although Lord Chaitanya asked him, again and again, to stay back, Gadadhar refused. Gadadhar Pandita and Lord Chaitanya conversed as follows –
pandita kahe – “yahan tumi, sei nilacala
kshetra-sannyasa mora yauka rasatala”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 16.131)
Gadadhar Pandita said, “O Lord ! Wherever you go, that place transforms into Nilacala Kshetra. (I shall accompany You) Let my vow of Kshetra sannyasa go to hell”.
prabhu kahe, – “inha kara gopinatha sevana”
pandita kahe, — “koti-seva tvat-pada-darsana”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 16.132)
Lord Chaitanya asked Gadadhara, “Stay here and serve Tota Gopinath”. Gadadhar replied, “One renders service to Gopinatha millions of times simply by seeing Your lotus feet”.
When Sri Chaitanya pointed out that it would be His fault if Gadadhar’s vows got broken, Gadadhara Pandita explained that he would take all responsibilities and blame for his actions. Thus Gadadhar Pandita accompanied Chaitanya Mahaprabhu till Cuttack. However, at Cuttack, Lord Chaitanya called up Gadadhar once again and asked him to return to Puri. The Lord asserted that Gadadhar had already broken his vows by coming as far as Cuttack. He added that Gadadhar should return to Puri if he wanted the Lord to be happy. Speaking thus, Lord Chaitanya boarded a boat and departed. Unable to bear separation from his worshipable Lord, Gadadhar Pandita immediately fell unconscious.
eta bali Mahaprabhu naukate chadila
murcchita hanya pandita tathai padila
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 16.142)
Saying this, Lord Chaitanya boarded onto a boat and Gadadhar Pandita immediately fell unconscious at that place.
On Sri Chaitanya’s instructions, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya pacified Gadadhar Pandita and took care of him. Then both of them, very much grief stricken, returned to Jagannath Puri.
Commemorating this ancient pastime with lord Chaitanya’s lotus footprints :
When we, from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’, visited the exact place where this wonderful pastime happened, we discovered that a small deity of Lord Chaitanya had been established on the river bank to commemorate this wonderful pastime. We also found a small temple, a few meters away, surrounded by river water. The temple is not accessible during the rainy season. The original footprints of Lord Chaitanya are preserved in this temple.
How to Reach :
We had a bit of difficulty in locating this holy place as there are no major landmarks nearby. The small deity of Lord Chaitanya which stands on the roadside (adjoining the river) is also easy to miss. The place lies near IndraniPatna at Choudwar, in Cuttack. If you travel from Chasapada to the Pumping Station reservoir, you will find the site on your way. One shall encounter the site while driving through VIP road in the Similihanda locality.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Cuttack.
Nearest Railway station – Cuttack junction
Nearest major airport – Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar.