Advent place of Śrī Nityānada Prabhu, the deliverer of fallen souls
Ekacakrā Dhāma is situated in the district of Bīrbhūm. One can come to this Ekacakrā Dhāma- By train from Bandel or from Bardhamān to Rāmapurhāṭa or Sāṅithiyā. From there by bus to Vīracandrapura market, Or - By bus from Baharampur to Rāmapurhāṭa via Kāṅdī and then to Vīracandrapura, Or - By bus from Krishnanagar to Tārāpīṭha and then to Vīracandrapura.
Vīracandrapura is thirteen kilometers away from Rāmapurhāṭa and five kilometers away from the famous Tārāpīṭha.
This Dhāma is the place where Nityānanda Prabhu appeared. This place is presently named as Vīracandrapura following the name of Nityānanda Prabhu's son Vīracandra.
The following are the important places to visit in Ekacakrā Dhāma or Vīracandrapura:
- Garbhavāsa Mandira (the temple of ‘living in mother’s womb’),
- Ṣaṣṭhītalā (a place of a female deity presiding over children’s welfare),
- Mālātalā (a place where Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gifted His own garland to a banyan tree),
- Padmāvatī Dīghi (a Lake named Padmāvatī),
- Bakulatalā or Nāḍipoṅtā (a place of bakula tree or a place where the navel-nerve of Nityānanda Prabhu connected with His mother at the time of birth was buried),
- Hāṅṭugāḍā ( a place where Baṅkimadeva Himself puts His knees),
- Guesthouse of Gauḍīya Maṭha,
- Pāṇḍavatalā (a place where the Pāṇḍavas stayed during their incognito),
- Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Gaura temple of ISKCON,
- Kadambakhaṇḍi Ghāṭa (a place where
Baṅkimarāya was found in Yamunā river),
- Viśrāmatalā (a place where Nityānanda Prabhu took rest while leaving His house),
- Temple of Bāṅkārāya,
- Temple of Jagannātha,
- Bhāṇḍārībaṭa etc.
Garbhavāsa Mandira: This is the birth place of Nityānanda Prabhu. People say as Garbhavāsa Mandira. Nityānanda Prabhu appeared here on 13th. day of waxing moon in the Bengali month of Māgha (End January) in the year 1395 Śakābda. He appeared by taking shelter of Hāḍāi Paṇḍita as His father and Padmāvatī as His mother. It is described in Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Ādi-khaṇḍa, 2/128-131)-
īśvara-ājñāya āge śrī-ananta-dhāma
rāḍhe avatīrṇa hailā nityānanda-rāma
māgha-māse śuklā-trayodaśī śubha-dine
padmāvatī-garbhe ekacākā-nāma grāme
hāḍāi-paṇḍita nāme śuddha-vipra-rāja
mule sarva-pitā tāne kare pitā-vyāja
kṛpā-sindhu bhakti-dātā prabhu balarāma
avatīrṇa hailā dhari' nityānanda-nāma
Śrī Nityānanda Rāma who is non-different from Ananta appeared first in Rāḍha-deśa by the order of the Lord. He appeared on the 13th. day of the waxing moon in the Bengali month of Māgha from the womb of Padmāvatī in Ekacakrā village. The Lord, the original father of everyone, accepted Hāḍāi Paṇḍita, the king of the brāhmaṇas, as His father. Lord Balarāma who is an ocean of mercy and the giver of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, appeared as Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.
Nityānanda Prabhu performed His pastime for twelve years in this Ekacakrā village. In the main temple the installed Deities are Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu and Mahāprabhu. According to the Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇava dictionary, Rāghava Gosvāmī, resident of Govardhana came to this Ekacakrā village and installed these three Deities in the birth place of Nityānanda Prabhu. In another room attached herewith is installed the Deity of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu. Adjacent to this is the house of Hāḍāi Paṇḍita and adjacent to this is situated a beautiful temple of Nityānanda Prabhu where He appeared.
A new big temple is being constructed now by the present devotees of this place at the northern side of the main temple.
Ṣaṣṭhītalā: By the side of Garbhavāsa Mandira is situated Ṣaṣṭhītalā. On the sixth day of Nityānanda Prabhu's birth, mother Ṣaṣṭhī was worshiped under a big beautiful banyan tree having many offshoots hanging from the branches.
Mālātalā: At the south of Ṣaṣṭhītalā there is a beautiful banyan tree which is called Mālātalā. There is a hearsay about this place that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to Ekacakrā during His travel to Rāḍhadeśa and gave His own worn garland to this tree. He asked the tree where He can find Kṛṣṇa. Thus, this place is named as Mālātalā. The elder brother of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Viśvarūpa named Śaṅkarāraṇya came here after taking sannyāsa as a traveling mendicant and took rest here. Thus, this place is also called Viśvarūpatalā or Sannyāsatalā.
Padmāvatī Dīghi: Towards the north of Garbhavāsa Mandira is situated Padmāvatī Dīghi. The father of Padmāvatī was a famous zamindar of Mayureśvara. He dug a huge lake for the use of his daughter. People say that on the 11th. day of Nityānanda Prabhu's birth mother Padmāvatī performed her rituals by taking bath here.
Bakulatalā or Nāḍipoṅtā: Little far towards east of the Garbhavāsa Mandira is situated Bakulatalā. One can reach this place by walk. There was a huge bakula tree here before. The branches of the tree looked like the hood of snakes. Due to this, the Vaiṣṇavas used to say this tree is the incarnation of Anantadeva. 35 to 40 years ago that tree disappeared. The devotees of this place planted another bakula tree here. It is still there. Underneath this bakula tree, the navel-nerve (nāḍi) of Nityānanda Prabhu was buried. Thus, this place is also called as Nāḍipoṅtā. There was a small temple towards the north of this bakula tree where Śrī Śrī Rādhākānta Jīu were worshiped. Around this temple was full of various trees. The devotees would call this place as Hidden-vṛndāvana. Whatever may be the reason, 15/20 years before, the worshiper of this temple handed over the worship of Śrī Śrī Rādhākānta Jīu to the present worshiper of Garbhavāsa. They are worshiping Śrī Śrī Rādhākānta Jīu by keeping Them in the room next to the temple of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi. The old temple was broken down. Nityānanda Prabhu lived here for twelve years and in this place He performed many pastimes with the boys of same age by acting in dramas e.g. pastime of Kṛṣṇa, pastime of Rāma, etc. This place is famous amongst the people by the name Bakulatalā. Presently, this place has been kept unprotected. The worshipable Deities of this place were taken to Garbhavāsa for worshiping there and the main temple was broken down. It is indeed a very painful situation.
Hāṅṭugāḍā: Little far from this Bakulatalā towards east is situated a place called Hāṅṭugāḍā. It is heard that this Hāṅṭugāḍā was occupying a total land measuring four acres before. Baṅkimadeva Himself put His knees (Hāṅṭu) here. There was a small temple at the middle of this Hāṅṭugāḍā. Due to lack of proper maintenance this temple went inside the earth. Two years before, this place was cleaned and the temple came out of the covdering. Presently, this Hāṅṭugāḍā looks very beautiful due to nicely concreting the landing place of the pond.
Guesthouse of Gauḍīya Maṭha: Kolerḍāṅgā Gauḍīya Maṭha of Navadvīpa has built a huge guesthouse at the road-side which is situated in the middle of Hāṅṭugāḍā and Bakulatalā. It is hoped that they will install Nitāi-Gaura Deities here in a temple and will start worshiping Them.
Pāṇḍavatalā: From Bakulatalā, by walking through the paddy fields, towards south is situated Pāṇḍavatalā. In the Dvāpara yuga, the Pāṇḍavas, escaping from the lac-house, were traveling incognito. At that time, they stayed here in the house of a brāhmaṇa. During their stay, Bhīmasena killed a demon named Vaka. It is described in Bhakti Ratnākara (11/317-318)-
ekacakrā grāma-nāma bahukāla haite
vanavāse pāṇḍavādi chilena ethāte
e pradeśe chila duṣṭa rākṣasa asura
se sabhe pāṇḍava pāṭhāila yamapura
Since long, there was a village named Ekacakrā, where the Pāṇḍavas lived incognito. There was a wicked demon in this province that was killed by Bhīmasena.
Later, they went to a different province. Till now this place is nicely protected. Here many renounced vaiṣṇavas used to perform their bhajana. For some time there was nobody staying here. Again some vaiṣṇavas are now performing their bhajana in the huts and keeping this place very neat and clean. In this place, various trees standing since ancient time are seen e.g. Golakacāṅpā, Kelikadamba, Nimba etc.
Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Gaura temple of ISKCON: On the way to Garbhavāsa from the Vīracandrapura bus stand is situated the ISKCON temple on the left side of the road. It takes five minutes to walk from the bus stand. On the bank of the Yamunā, ISKCON acquired some land and established this temple. There is a nice guesthouse here. The construction of a new temple of Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Gaura is under progress. It is hoped that the temple will be completed very soon and the worship of Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Gaura will be performed very nicely. There is an arrangement for fooding and lodging in the guesthouse. It will be better to book before over phone.
Kadambakhaṇḍi Ghāṭa: The landing place (Ghāṭa) of Yamunā River where Baṅkimarāya was found is called Kadambakhaṇḍi Ghāṭa. Other side of the Yamunā River on the right of ISKCON temple is situated this Kadambakhaṇḍi Ghāṭa where Nityānanda Prabhu got Baṅkimarāya while He was taking bath. Presently, Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Gaura is worshiped at Kadambakhaṇḍi.
Viśrāmatalā: Little south from Kadambakhaṇḍi Ghāṭa, there is a huge banyan tree which is called as Viśrāmatalā. It is learnt from the local devotees that Nityānanda Prabhu took rest (viśrāma) here while leaving the house of Hāḍāi Paṇḍita accompanying the sannyāsī. Thus, this place is called Viśrāmatalā.
Bāṅkārāya Temple: This temple is situated in the middle of Vīracandrapura village on the western side of the macadamized road. Many years had passed after Nityānanda Prabhu got this Deity from Kadamba- khaṇḍi. Then Vīracandra Gosvāmī and mother Jāhṇavā came to Ekacakrā village and built a big temple along with a nice portico. They installed Bāṅkārāya there. On the west of Ekacakrā village, there is a village named Gaḍḍāpura where Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was worshiped under a tree. She was called by the general public as Lakṣmīdevī. She was brought over here by the order of Baṅkimadeva given in a dream and she was installed on the left of Baṅkimrāya. Thus, till now the people call this Rādhārāṇī as the queen (ṭhākurāṇī) of Gaḍḍāpura. Afterwards, the Deity of Jāhṇvā Mātā was installed on the right side of Bāṅkārāya. Vīracandra Gosvāmī made a special arrangement for worshiping Bāṅkārāya. Everyday seventeen sera (one sera is little less than a kilo) of rice is cooked along with other items like veg- etables, cereals etc and offered as the mid-day meal.
Few years ago, the temple and the portico were in a very bad condition. Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust, Māyāpur, Nadia (Founder-His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda) renovated this temple and the portico.
Jagannātha Temple: A little far towards the north of Baṅkimadeva temple, the Jagannātha temple is situated. Jagannātha is worshiped here. On the side of this temple, a huge ancient banyan tree is standing, which is called as Bhāṇḍārīvata. There is an altar on top of this. Bāṅkārāya is brought at this altar on the day of Gopāṣṭamī in the month of Kārtika (October- November) and the pastime of Gopāṣṭamī is performed. There is an ancient Śivaliṅga temple on the side of this Bhāṇḍārīvata. It is said by the local people that Hāḍāi Paṇḍita used to worship this Śivaliṅga.