One of the most interesting places I have visited is the ISKCON at Mayapur. The vibes and the mood of that place was something that can only be felt rather than described. I visited this beautiful place a few years ago and it had devotees from all around the world, mostly westerners. The aarti that was conducted at the temple transported the devotees to a different universe.
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Formerly known as Miyapur, Mayapur is located at the confluence of two rivers, River Jalangi and River Bhagirathi. It is a spiritual place that is the birth place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and hence projects his ideologies. The word Mayapur is derived from the word Miyapur, translating as a village inhabited by Muslims, especially for Muslim fishermen. But in the 20th century, the place was proclaimed as Mayapur.
The best time to visit Mayapur is during the winter season (between the months of November and February) as the weather is pleasant. But be prepared for large crowd as there are many devotees that visit Mayapur from all around the world. Especially avoid Mayapur during Navadwipa Mandala Parikrama as many devotees start their parikrama (religious) journey from Mayapur.
How to get to Mayapur?
Mayapur is located about 130 kilometres from Kolkata (towards north) and by road, the journey takes around 4 hours. The route includes toll roads and ferry ride.
One can take an outstation taxi from Kolkata as a return journey so to cover Mayapur in one day for INR 8000.
- Bus – There are frequent buses that run between Madhyamgram Chowrasta in Kolkata and Mayapur. The buses are operated by West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC). By bus, the journey takes around 4 hours and the fare is less than INR 50 for one way.
- Train – The Krishnagar City Junction is the closest railway station for Mayapur. The railway station is around 18 kilometres from the temple and the taxi usually costs about INR 500 one way. Up to date information on trains can be found on the IRCTC website.
Iskcon at Mayapur
ISKCON Mayapur is one of the holiest places in India. The main attraction is the Chandrodaya temple, that is dedicated to Pancatattva, Lord Nrisingha Dev, Srila Prabhupada and Radha-Madhav with the other gopis. The Chandrodaya temple was the first shrine that was established by ISKCON.
The temple is open everyday between 9 AM and 7 PM. And the best time to visit the temple is either in the morning or in the evening during the aarti.
As it is also believed that the avatar of Lord Krishna (who was again an avatar of Lord Vishnu), Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in 1486 AD, the place is famous among the devotees of Lord Vishnu called Vaishnavites. According to the local and religious beliefs, Lord Krishna appeared with his brother Balarama as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. They appeared for the fallen souls of this Kaliyuga to bestow them the greatest blessings and teachings of Bhagvad Gita and Shrimad Bhagvata Purana.
The temple sits at 425000 square feet and is 340 feet tall. The complex is surrounded by lodges, residences, shops, educational centres and gardens. It also has a planetarium that is based on Vedic cosmology and has exhibits showcasing Vedic art, sciences and culture that is described in Srimad Bhagavata Purana.
Stay at Mayapur
There are many stay options at Mayapur. Ranging from hotels to guest houses, the stay options provide basic amenities and comfortable stay for devotees. Some of the good stay hotels are Kailash Hotel, and Hotel Plaza.
I loved visiting Mayapur and it was truly one of the most beautiful religious places I have seen in India. I highly recommend visiting this as at least a day tour from Kolkata. If you are a religious person, then try to stay there for at least one or two nights.
Have you visited Mayapur? What did you like about the place? Let me know in the comments below.
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