The Ganges river at Mayapur
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||91 3472|
Mayapur is located on the banks of the Ganges river, at the point of its confluence with the Jalangi, near Navadvip, West Bengal, India, 130 km north of Kolkata (Calcutta). The headquarters of ISKCON are situated in Mayapur and it is considered a holy place by a number of other traditions within Hinduism, but is of special significance to followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, regarded as a special incarnation of Krishna in the mood of Radha. It is visited by over a million pilgrims annually.
Chaitanya's birthplace Yogapith
In 1886 a leading Gaudiya Vaisnava reformer Bhaktivinoda Thakur attempted to retire from his government service and move to Vrindavan to pursue his devotional life there. However, he saw a dream in which Caitanya ordered him to go to Nabadwip instead. After some difficulty , in 1887 Bhaktivinoda was transferred to Krishnanagar, a district center twenty-five kilometers away from Nabadwip, famous as the birth place of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Despite poor health, Bhaktivinoda finally managed to start regularly visiting Nabadwip to research places connected with Caitanya. Soon he came to a conclusion that the site purported by the local brahmanas to be Caitanya's birthplace could not possibly be genuine. Determined to find the actual place of Caitanya's pastimes but frustrated by the lack of reliable evidence and clues, one night he saw a mystical vision:
|“||By 10 o'clock the night was very dark and cloudy. Across the Ganges in a northern direction I suddenly saw a large building flooded with golden light. I asked Kamala if he could see the building and he said that he could. But my friend Kerani Babu could see nothing. I was amazed. What could it be? In the morning I went back to the roof and looked carefully back across the Ganges. I saw that in the place where I had seen the building was a stand of palm trees. Inquiring about this area I was told that it was the remains of Lakshman Sen's fort at Ballaldighi.||”|
Taking this as a clue, Bhaktivinoda conducted a thorough, painstaking investigation of the site, by consulting old geographical maps matched against scriptural and verbal accounts, and eventually came to a conclusion that the village of Ballaldighi was formerly known as Mayapur, confirmed in Bhakti-ratnakara as the actual birth site of Caitanya. He soon acquired a property in Surabhi-kunj near Mayapur to oversee the temple construction at Yogapith, Caitanya's birthplace. For this purpose he organized, via Sajjana-tosani and special festivals, as well as personal acquaintances, a massive and hugely successful fundraising effort among the people of Bengal and beyond. Noted Bengali journalist Sisir Kumar Ghosh (1840-1911) commended Bhaktivinoda for the discovery and hailed him as "the seventh goswami" – a reference to the Six Goswamis, renowned medieval Gaudiya Vaisnava ascetics and close associates of Caitanya who had authored many of the school's texts and discovered places of Krishna's pastimes in Vrindavan.
Mayapur can be reached by boat, and more commonly by train or bus. ISKCON Kolkata operates regular bus service from Kolkata to Mayapur. Frequent train service is available to Krishnanagar, Nadia from Kolkata's Sealdah Station, then 18 km by auto or cycle rickshaw to Mayapur. During the visit one can see "the huge headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)" and "a long stream of saffron-robed devotees chanting" the Hare Krishna mantra.
A main attraction in Mayapur is Srila Prabhupada's Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, a memorial to ISKCON's founder. The main shrine is surrounded by a museum depicting Srila Prabhupada's life, using fiberglass exhibits. In 2002, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness was planning to construct a garden in memory of George Harrison.
The headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been located in Mayapur since the 1970s. In addition, there are a number of other Gaudiya Vaishnava organisations in Mayapur, such as the Gaudiya Math. The town is heavily centered around this particular Vaishnava religious tradition, officially known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya, with temples devoted to Radha and Krishna or Gaura-Nitai throughout; however, there is a sizable Muslim population in the historical center, previously called Miyapur.
- Dasa 1999, pp. 100-101.
- Dasa 1999, p. 101.
- Dasa 1999, pp. 102-103.
- Dasa 1999, pp. 103-105.
- Dasa 1999, p. 104.
- Fuller 2005, p. 209.
- Dasa 1999, p. 105.
- Dasa 1999, p. 108.
- Fuller 2005, pp. 243-250.
- Dasa 1999, pp. 106-107.
- Krishnanagar Nadia to Mayapur, Google Maps
- GLASSMAN, ROSSLYN (2008-12-21). "Personal Journeys - Along the Banks of a River, the India of Old". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
- "In Brief: Nickelback, Slayer: Nickelback : Rolling Stone". rollingstone.com March 29, 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
- Dasa, Shukavak N. (1999), Hindu Encounter with Modernity: Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinoda, Vaiṣṇava Theologian (revised, illustrated ed.), Los Angeles, CA: Sanskrit Religions Institute, ISBN 1-889756-30-X, retrieved 31 January 2014
- Fuller, Jason Dale (2005). Bhaktivinode Thakur and the transformation of religious authority among the Gauḍīya Vaisṣṇavas In nineteenth-century Bengal (Ph.D.). University of Pennsylvania. UMI Microform 3179733. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mayapur.|
- Yoga-Pitha - Holy birthplace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
- Mayapur in photos & video clips
- Sri Mayapur Dham, ISKCON Mayapur main site
- ISKCON Mayapur Design Archive
- Murtis in ISKCON Mayapur
- Mayapur travel guide from Wikivoyage