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Ekachakra is a small village, located 20 km away from the town of Rampurhat in the Birbhum District of West Bengal. Within Hindu tradition, the five Pandavas from the epic, Mahabharata are described as staying in Ekachakra during their years in exile. It is also famous as the birthplace of Nityananda Rama (b 1474 CE), a principal religious figure in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.
The village extends north and south for an area of about eight miles. Other villages, namely Viracandra-pura and Virabhadra-pura, are situated within the area of the village of Ekacakra. In honor of Virabhadra Goswami (the son of Nityananda), these places are renowned as Viracandra-pura and Virabhadra-pura.
The origin of the name Ekachakra is associated with the legend of the Pandavas. In the battle of Kurukshetra when Krishna broke his vow of not taking any sides in the war to save his devotee Arjuna, he has rushed with a wheel to hit Bhishmadeva who had been fighting with Arjuna. When Bhishmadeva satisfied him with many beautiful prayers, Krishna lost his anger and tossed aside the wheel. The wheel fell on this tract of land and therefore got the name Ekachakra. Eka means one, and chakra means wheel.. In the Mahabharata, it is also believed to be the place where Demon Bakasura lived who was later slain by Bhima
This is said to be the actual birthplace of Nityananda. In the Janmasthan Mandir there is a deity of Nitai (Nityananda) worshipped by a local brahmin family. Hadai Pandita Bhavan is the site of the original house of Nityananda’s father. The small white temple next to Nitai Kund marks the exact spot where Nityananda was born. There are two banyan trees by this temple that are said to have existed since the time of Nityananda.
In the center of the main altar of the temple is a deity of Lord Nityananda. To his left, with his hands raised, is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. On Nityananda’s right is Advaita Acharya. The side altar has deities of Radha-Radhakanta and Radha-Srikanta, a large dancing Gouranga in the center, and ten brass sakhis at the bottom. The temple was constructed by Prasannakumara Karapharma.
There is an old Pippala tree here called 'Mala Tala'. Just before Nityananda departed the village in his youth, Hadai Pandita came here and chanted japa under this tree. Mala means “japa beads” and tala means “tree.” When Nitai was about to depart Hadai Pandita left his japa beads here due to anxiety.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Ekacakra many years after Nityananda left. It is said that at that time Chaitanya left his flower garland on a branch of this tree. Mala also means “garland.” Therefore also for this reason this tree was called Mala Tala.
(Also known as Jahnu Kund) It is said that Nitai brought all the sacred waters from all the holy places to this kunda to save the local residents from having to journey to the Ganges to take a sacred bath. It is named Hantugada because Nityananda Prabhu used to perform the Dadhi-cida festival of distributing chipped rice with yogurt prasadam here and He would take the prasada while kneeling down.
This place is a five minute walk (400m) into the fields, southeast of Nityananda’s birthplace. It is surrounded by a group of Keli-kadamba trees. The Pandavas are said to have lived here with their mother, Kunti, when they were exiled to the forest.
Bankima Raya Mandira
The current deity within the Bankima Raya temple was found by Nityananda himself, within the Yamuna river of Ekachakra. The deity was then installed in a temple that is now submerged within Jahnu kunda. Nityananda is believed to have merged within this deity at the time of his disappearance. The present temple of Bankima Raya is also an old one. The deity of Jahnava Mata (Nityananda's wife) was placed beside him. In this temple there is also a small samadhi of Virachandra Goswami.
- Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila,13.61, purport
- O’Malley, L.S.S., ICS, Birbhum, Bengal District Gazetteers, p. 128, first published 1910, 1996 reprint, Government of West Bengal
- Ekchakradham, Birth place of Nityananda Prabhu
- A Three Day Pilgrimage to Ekachakra
- Nityananda Janmasthan
- A young girl's account of Ekachakra