Kolkata is close to some of the most unique spiritual and cultural destinations in India. Mayapur is one such town, which has grown because of its association with two great spiritual movements. It is an important centre of pilgrimage and is visited by close to ten lakh visitors every year. Mayapur is the birthplace of ChaitanyaMahaprabhu. It is the headquarters of ISKCON and also an important site for a Hindu sect – the practitioners of GaudiyaVaishnavism.
The town of Mayapur is nestled on the banks of the holy Ganges, close to the confluence with the river Jalangi. It is a 129-km drive north from Kolkata, along the NH12. There are many Kolkata to Mayapur cabs available. One can also hire a Kolkata Airport Taxi and head off to Mayapur directly.
Landmarks of Mayapur
One of the important landmarks in this holy city of West Bengal is the temple at Yogapith, where ChaitanyaMahaprabhu was born. Another important site to visit in Mayapur is the memorial dedicated to the founder of ISKCON, the SrilaPrabhupada’sPushpa Samadhi Mandir. The MayapurChandrodayaMandir is also another world-famous landmark, with three altars dedicated to the great saints and deities of Vaishnavism. The domes are almost Roman-like and the building is located with the backdrop of the river Hooghly. Mayapur is also famous for being the site where one of the most celebrated followers of ISKCON, the late George Harrison of the Beatles, came and spent time to learn about the movement.
Mayapur is the site to many other temples sacred to the GaudiyaVaishnavism sect. The GaudiyaMath is one of them. There are also temples dedicated to Radha and Krishna, and Nityananda – another saint and friend of ChaitanyaMahaprabhu.
To understand Mayapur, one also has to learn a bit about the two spiritual movements that have breathed life into this corner of West Bengal.
The ISKCON Movement
International Society for Krishna Consciousness is more commonly referred to by its short-form, ISKCON. It was founded in New York in 1966, but its spiritual home is the ancient Vedic cultures of India – most notably the holy book Bhagwad Gita.
ChaitanyaMahaprabhu was a Hindu saint who was active in the first half of the 16th century and he founded a religious movement that was inspired by the worship of Krishna and scriptures like the Bhagwad Gita and the BhagavataPurana, much like the ISKCON movement that was to follow more than 400 years later.
Travelling around Bengal’s countryside will lead to a lot of discoveries. The farmlands and old towns hide layers of history, which upon closer inspection will reward you with many untold stories and curious local facts. Informed travelers are choosing car rentals as an option to travel. With a rented car, you can enjoy more privacy and an extra space too. Getting reliable transport is the key to having a hassle-free and memorable journey – with companies like Savaari you can get the most comfortable ride at rates that are easy on your pocket.