There are a number of other sacred places of Hindus which are visited by large number of pilgrims. With better means of transport and communication, more people undertake pilgrimages these days. The most popular places of pilgrimage to-day are described as under:
a) Navadwipadham: The place has become famous all over the world due to its association with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. A part of district Nadia of the West Bengal, it is 130 k.m. north of Calcutta, on the bank of Ganga river. Across the river is Sridham Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The followers of Chaitanya come here every year from all over the world, on the holy appearance day of Sri Chaitanya. The worldwide Hare Krishna movement started from here 500 years ago.
Mayapur is a spiritual city consisting mainly of several temples and ashrams. The birthplace of Chaitanya is at Yogapitha, where a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vishnu priya and Lakshmipriya Devi is standing tall.
Navadwipa consists of nine islands (nava dwipa) which are like an eight plated lotus flower. The area is divided into nine islands, with Mayapur as the central island. At Mayapur, Chaitanya appaeared at the Yoga pitha underneath a Neem tree. To mark the birthplace there is a small house with deities of Lord Chaitanya’s father, Jagannath Misra; His mother, Sacidevi; and baby Nimai, which was Lord Chaitanya’s name as a boy. He appeared on the evening of the full moon of the month of Phalguna (Feb/March) 1486.
SRI SRIVASA ANGAN: This place is also called Khol Bhanga Danga—Where the mrdanga was broken. When you enter the gate, in front and slighlty to the right is a temple marking where Srivasa Thakur’s house was located. On the left altar are Deities of Radha-Krishna. There is also Lord Chaitanya with His arms raised in the air. Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda are on the right altar.
SRI CHAITANYA MATH:
If you enter the main gate (the second gate of the Math when coming from the ISKCON temple ) fifty feet ahead and to your right there is a temple dedicated to Radha-Govinda. On the altar to the right of Radha-Govinda are two Lord Chaitanya Deities, with Their right arms raised. When you walk around the Deities you will see four altars, one for each of the Vaisnavas acaryas—Sri Madhvacarya, Acarya Vishnuswami, Sri Nimbarka, and then Sri Ramanujacarya.
MURARI GUPTA’S HOUSE: This temple is located just behind the Chaitanya Math, near the bank of Ballal Dighi and east of Yogapitha. To get there you walk out the exit by Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja’s samadhi, and then walk about ten minutes through the rice fields on the left. You could ask the devotees at the Chaitanya Math how to get there. There is a small temple here with Deities of Sita, Rama, and Hanuman, said to have been worshiped by Murari Gupta. There is also a Narayana Deity, which was found when the temple was excavated, on the right side of Sita and Rama.
CHAND KAZI’S SAMADHI (Tomb): Chand Kazi was the cheif magistratre of Navadvipa during the time of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After initially trying to impede the Lord’s sankirtana movement, he was converted and vowed that neither he nor his descendants would obstruct the chanting of Hare Krishna again. A champaka tree has sprung up from his tomb which is said to be around 500 years old. It grows along with a neem tree. This place is situated in Simantadvipa, the island of hearing, sravanam. It is a located about two kilometres past Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace on the left side of the road, in the middle of a small village.
JAGANNATH MANDIR (Sabara Danga): There are beautiful Deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra situated in this temple which is about four kilometres from the main ISKCON Temple. When you enter the beautifully painted gate there are a series of dioramas (clay figures) that depict the pastimes of how these Deities were made. Lord Jagannath daily receives a large food offering called Chapana Bhoga (56 preparations).
SRIDHAR ANGAN: The former home of Kolaveca Sridhara is located just behind the ISKCON Jagannath Temple, in a field past the mango grove.
NANDANA ACARYA’S HOUSE: This is Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda first met. There is a temple that marks the spot where the house used to be, on the way from the ISKCON Temple to the Navadvipa boat ghat.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s House: While staying here Bhaktivinoda wrote the Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, which describes the glories of Navadvipa Dhama. Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s samadhi and Gaura Kishor Das Babaji’s bhajana kutir are also here.
Sri Chaitanya CHANDRADOYA MANDIR: This is the international headquarters of ISKCON. Plans are underway for construction of the largest temple built in India in the last 200 years, at a cost of over 100 million dollars. Surrounded by a Vedic city, the temple will include a Vedic planetarium. At the present time there is a temple, various guest house facilities, Srila Prabhupada’s Puspa Samadhi, the rooms where Srila prabhupada stayed, a gurukula school, a goshala (dairy), and beautiful gardens.
The main Deities are Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. The Deities are larger than life size. There are also eight gopis, four on each side of Radha-Madhava. They are, from left to right, Srimati Tungavidya Devi, Srimati Chitra Devi, Srimati Champaklata Devi, Srimati Lalita Devi, Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Srimati Visakha Devi, Srimati Indulekha Devi, Srimati Rangadevi, Srimati Sudevi. Also on the main altar is a small set of Radha-Krishna Deities.
On the left altar are Deities of the Panca-tattva-Advaita Acarya, Lord Nityananda, Lord Chaitanya, Gadadhara, and Srivasa Thakur. To the left of this altar is another altar with an impressive Deity of Lord Narasimha.
DEVANANDA GAUDIYA MATH: This is where Sri Chaitanya forgave Devananda Pandit for his offences. Whoever comes here becomes free of all offences. The Radha-Krishna Deities on the altar are named Radha-Vinod Bihari. There is a Varaha Deity on the left.
In Satya-Yuga, Lord Varaha appeared before Vasudeva, one of His devotees, who lived in Navadvipa. He told him now He would advent Himself in Kali-yuga as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Chaitanya also showed His Varaha form in this area.
This temple is on the island of Koladvipa, which is the place where all offences are forgiven. Devananda Pandit was a professional Bhagavatam reciter who offended Srivasa Thakur, but was later blessed by the Lord when he surrendered to Him and rendered service to Srivasa. To get here one first have to get to Navadvipa.
KULIYA DHARAMSHALA: This is also called Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Ka Bhajana Sthala. To avoid disturbances to his worship of the Lord, Gaura Kishor Das Babaji took up residence in an old toilet just behind Kuliya Dharamshala.
RASAPUR: This is a village on the outskirts of Vidyanagar where Nimai studied in the ashram of Ganga Das, who is nondifferent from Sandipani Muni.
PRITHU KUND (Ballal Dighi):
Prithu Maharaja had a lake dug here. Later the Sena dynasty had their capital here. King Laksman Sena had his Kund dug out and enlarged. He then renamed the Kund after his father, King Ballal Sena.
NARASIMHA PALLI (Deva Palli):
This is where Lord Narasimha rested after killing Hiranyakasipu. There is a lake here where Lord Narasimha washed Hiranyakasipu’s blood off His Hands.
There is a very ancient Deity of Narasimhadeva here, said to date back to Satya-yuga, with a decapitated Hiranyakasipu. Prahlada Maharaja is taking shelter directly under the foot of the Lord Narasimha. Lord Chaitanya and His associates used to come to this place.
HARI-HARA KSETRA AND AREA: There is a Deity here who is half Vishnu and half Siva. The Lord manifested Himself in this form to show how dear Lord Siva is to Him. It is on the bank of the Gandaki River.
SUVARNABIHAR: This is the site of the palace of Survarna Sena, a fabulously wealthy king who lived during the Satya-Yuga. During Chaitanya-lila he took birth here as Buddimanta Khan. It is in the island of Godrumadvipa.
HAMSA VAHANA SIVA TEMPLE: At Hamsa Vahana in Madhyadvipa, the island of remembering (smaranam), there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Siva. The deity comes here only three days in a year. The rest of the time Lord Siva is kept underwater in a nearby lake to cool down his fiery anger. The name Hamsa Vahana refers to Lord Brahma’s swan carrier.
BELAPUKUR: There is aDeity of Krishna here which was worshiped by Nilambhara Cakravarti Thakur, Lord Chaitanya’s maternal grandfather.
At that time of the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by King Yudhisthira, a devotee king named Samudra Sena lived here. He refused to pay his taxes and fought Bhima in order to oblige Krishna to appear here. The Lord fulfilled his desire and also showed him His form as Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
This palce is named after the campaka trees that grow profusely in this area. There is a temple here dedicated to Gaura Gadadhara. These Deities were worshipped by Vaninath Pandit, Gadadhara Pandit’s brother. The Deities of Lord Chaitanya and Gadadhara are very large, and both of Them stand with palms outstretched.
Jayadeva Gosvami wrote Gita govinda nearby.
VRINDAVANA DAS THAKUR’S HOUSE: He lived and wrote the Chaitanya bhagavata here. His personal Deities of Gauranga and Jagannath are worshipped here.
VIDYA NAGARA: Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya took birth here and lived here when he was young. Since the Vedas, which contain all vidya, or knowledge, were brought here during the universal devastation, this place is called Vidya Nagara.
EKACAKRA: This is the birthplace of Lord Nityananda. Ekacakra is located about 165 km from Mayapur. From Mayapur it takes about four and a half hours by car or bus. Lord Nityananda’s father name is Hadai Pandit, and His mother’s name is Padmavati. Another name for Lord Nityananda is Nitai.
The number of pilgrims averages to fifty thousand per day with six thousand temple staff.