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By Jada Bharata Dasa
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Everyone needs a visa for Bangladesh. The fees are different depending on what country you are from. It can be up to US$50. For Indian citizens they are free.
India to Bangladesh
You can take a very crowded local train from Sealdah station to Bangaon, which is the last station before the Bangladesh border. This train ride takes about two hours and cost about Rs 20. From the Bangaon station you take a auto-rickshaw to the border which cost Rs 15 a person for a 30 minute bumpy ride. They don't go all the way to the border, so you have to carry your luggage or hire someone to carry your bags. You can also get a taxi from Calcutta to Bangaon for about Rs 900 to Rs 1100. The cost of the taxi is calculated by a km rate and takes about three hours. There is the basic Matri Mandir Hotel, Jessore Road, in Bongaon.
Warning! If you are staying in India and have registered you are supposed to get a no objection to leave India notice from the place where you are registered. If you do not have this paper you will not be able to cross the border.
Virabhadra Prabhu, the son of Nityananda Prabhu, went here and met the Muslim ruler. Virabhadra requested the Muslim ruler to give him a beautiful gem that was on the upper dome of the palace. The Muslim ruler agreed and gave him this gem. The Deity of Syamasundara manifested from this gem. Virab-hadra Prabhu preached the message of Lord Chaitanya extensively in this area.
This is where Jagannatha Dasa, a follower of Gadadhara Pan-dita resided. He established a temple of Yasomadhava. In Krishna-lila he was an assistant of Citra Devi gopi named Tilakini. According to Sakha-nirnaya Jagannatha Dasa preached in the state of Tripura. Sadipuriya Gopala, a celebrated preacher of Krishna consciousness is from here. He was a follower of Gadadhara Pan-dita.
This is where Narottama Dasa Thakur was from and where he grew up. There is a temple here which has a large rectangular stone which is said to have been the sitting place of Narottama Dasa Thakur. It is said that Narottama sat on the left and Lokanatha Gosvami sat on the right. There are several Deities in this temple and some shalagram-shilas. There is also a black Narayana Deity that is said to have been worshiped by King Krishnananda Datta, Narottama Dasa Thakur's father. Near this place are Narottama's toothbrush and a tamarind tree. There are several temples here which were established by Narottama Dasa. Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda are also here. There is also a place called Prematali, which is where Lord Chaitanya met Nityananda Prabhu. This took place before Narottama Dasa Thakur was born. This place is called Prematali because it is said that Lord Chaitanya left previa (marked by a tamal tree) which was exclusively for Narottama Dasa Thakur. Narottama Dasa Thakur organized a famous festival in Kheturi to honor Gaura Purnima, the birth of Lord Chaitanya. At this time Narottama installed six Deities at Kheturi: Shri Braja Mohana, Shri Krishna, Shri Radha Kanta, Shri Radha Mohana, Vallabhi Kanti, and Gauranga-deva. Hundreds of devotees came to this festival. Many of them were disciples of Lord Chaitanya, direct disciples of Nityananda Prabhu and direct disciples of Advaita Acarya. At this time there were some differences about the interpretations of the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy. Jahnava Devi, the wife of Nityananda Prabhu presided over a meeting of the Vaishnavas to resolve their different conclusions into one consistent Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy.
How To Get There Kheturi is 12 miles from Rajshahi. To get there you can get a steamboat to Prematali on the Padma River (a branch of the Ganges). From where the boat lets you off, it is about a two mile rickshaw ride to Kheturi. From Benapola you can take a bus to Jessore for Rs 12 (40 minute ride). From Jessore you take a bus to Rajshahi (Rs 85) which depart around noon time and in the evening. You can also take a train from Jessore to Rajshahi (Rs 65). From Rajshahi you take a bus that goes to Chapai Nagarganj and Prematala (15 km, Rs 6). You can take a taxi from Benapola here for Rs 4,000 and keep the taxi overnight.
Where To Stay There are simple rooms here at the Gauranga Mandir. There are many places to stay at in Rajshahi.
This is where Haridasa Thakur would chant 300,000 names of the Lord each day. At this place Ramacandra Khan paid a prostitute to go to Haridasa Thakur and distract him from this vow. She was beautiful and expert at attracting men. For three nights she came to get him to stop his bhajana. Each night Haridasa would tell her he would deal with her as soon as he finished his prescribed number of rounds. By dawn he would not finish and she would leave. Due to hearing Haridasa Thakur chant the prostitute became purified and became a Vaishnava. She bowed before Haridasa and asked him to forgive her. He then instructed her to donate her wealth to charity. He had her built a small hut on the bank of the Ganges to do her bhajana. She became famous and many Vaishnavas would visit her.
Where To Stay There is the Haridas Patwari Ashram here. There is also a very basic guest house. It is better to stay in Jessore, which is about an hour east.
How To Get There This place is in Jessore district. When you enter Bangladesh from India, this is the border town.
This is where Ramacandra Khan lived. Because he was envious of Haridasa Thakur he had a beautiful prostitute named Hera try to disturb Haridasa Thakur's bhajan. After hearing Haridasa chanting of the holy names of Krishna, Hera became purified and became a great Vaishnava devotee. Her devotion attracted many people to this place to have her darshan. Later, Shri Nityananda Prabhu stopped in this village. Ram-achandra Khan disrespected Him, so He left this place. Because of this great offense, the Muslims attacked this village the next day and killed Ramacandra Khan and his entire family. Also the Muslims did further activities to contaminate the entire village. How To Get There This place is in a village near Denapur.
This is where Kanu Thakura lived. It is said that the family of Kanu Thakura worshiped a Radha-Krishna Deity named Pranavallabha long before the appearance of Lord Chaitanya. The descendants of the family still worship this Deity. The descendants of Kanu Thakura know him as Nagara Pu-rusottama. In Krishna-lila he was the cowherd boy named Dama. It is said that he took birth on the Rathayatra day. It is said that after his birth, his mother died. Shri Nityananda Prabhu then took him when he was 12 days old to His home in Khadadaha. Nityananda Prabhu gave him the name Sisu Krishnadasa because he was a great devotee of Lord Krishna from birth. When he was five years old he went to Vrindavana with Jahnava Mata. He went to the Kheturi-utsava festival. One of Kanu Thakura's family members, Madhvacarya, married Gangadevi, the daughter of Nityananda Prabhu.
How To Get There To get here you have to go by boat from the Jhikaragacha Ghata station for 2lA miles.
This is the birthplace of Haridasa Thakur. Later Thakur Haridasa lived in the village of Phulia near Santipur. He would go from there to meet Advaita Acarya. How To Get There This place is six km north of Benapola. It is near Sataksira.
This is where Shri Sundarananda Thakura lived. He was one of the chief associates of Shri Nityananda Prabhu. The old house of Sundarananda still exists. There are Deities of Radhavallabha and Radharaman in Mahesapura. The Deity of Radhavallabha was established by Sundarananda. In the Chaitanya Bhagavata it is stated that Sundarananda was an ocean of love of Godhead and the chief associate of Shri Nityananda Prabhu. In Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika he is stated to have been Sudama in Krishna-lila. He is one of the 12 cowherd boys who descended with Bala-rama when he descended as Nityananda Prabhu. Sundarananda Prabhu was a naisthika brahmacari and he never married. His personal Deity of Radha Kalachandji is worshiped in the Govin-daji Temple in Vrindavana.
The anniversary of Sundarananda's disappearance is regularly celebrated here on the full moon day of the month of Magha
(Jan-Feb) How To Get There Mahesapura is 14 miles east of the Majadiya railway station, which is on the eastern railway. This place is within the district of Jessore.
This is the birthplace of Lokanatha Gosvami. Later he moved to Vrindavana. He instructed Krishna Dasa Kaviraja to not include his name in Chaitanya Cantamnta. He had only one disciple, Narottama Dasa Thakur. He was a great friend of Bhugarbha Gosvami.
How To Get There This place is 12 miles north of Jessore in the district of Yasohara.
This is the birthplace of Jagannatha Misra and his father Upendra Misra. Lord Chaitanya came here to see his paternal grandmother. This place is known as hidden Vrindavana. How To Get There This place is in northeast Bangladesh, near Sylhet.
This is where Candrasekhara Acarya was born. He was also called Acarya Ratna. He was married to the sister of Sacidevi, the mother of Lord Chaitanya. Therefore he was considered to be the uncle of Lord Chaitanya..
How To Get There This place is in northeast Bangladesh, Near Sylhet
This place is the birthplace of Advaita Acarya. It is close to Sii Ilalta. He was bum in the yeai 14GG in die month of Magh.
This is where the original house of Pundarika Vidyanidhi was located. There is an old temple here which was constructed by Pundarika Vidyanidhi which is very old. There is also another temple about 200m south of this one which some people say is the real temple constructed by Pundarika Vidyanidhi. This temple is about 2 miles from Annapurnara Ghata. How To Get There This place is in the district of Chattagrama. It is near a place called Hatahajari. You can reach this place by boat (steamer). The steamer station is known as Annapurnara Ghata. It is 12 miles north of Chattagrama, in southeast Bangladesh.
Chattagram is the birthplace of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Caitanya Vallabha and other associates of Lord Chaitanya.Pundarika Vidyanidhi was born in a brahmana family. In Krishna-lila he was King Vrishabhanu, the father of Shrimati Radharani. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore treated him as His father. He was a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. He had good relations with Madhava Misra, the father of Gadadhara Pandita and was a good friend of Svarupa Damodara. He was a wealthy landlord, and had a house and some property in Navadvipa. How To Get There This place is in the Chattagram district, in southeast Bangladesh. It is close to the Bay of Bengal.
Mukunda Datta and Vasudeva Datta were born here. Mukunda Datta was a classmate of Lord Chaitanya in the school of Gangadasa Pandita. He is the younger brother of Vasudeva Datta. He is originally from Chanhara, but later moved to Na- vadvipa. He sang very sweetly. In Krishna-lila he was the cowherd boy named Madhukanta. After Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa he moved to Kanchada Pada.When Lord Chaitanya was a student, Mukunda Datta was His classmate, and they frequently engaged in logical arguments. Sometime Lord Chaitanya would fight with Mukunda Datta, using tricks of logic. When Lord Chaitanya returned from Gaya, Mukunda Datta gave Him pleasure by reciting verses about Krishna-lila from Shrimad Bhagavatam. It was by his endeavor that Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami became a disciple of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. When Mukunda Datta sang in the courtyard of Shrivasa Prabhu, Mahaprabhu danced to his singing, and when Lord Chaitanya exhibited an ecstatic manifestation known as sata-prahariya for 21 hours, Mukunda Datta inaugurated the function by singing. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dressed Himself as the goddess of fortune to dance in the house of Candrasekhara, Mukunda Datta began the first song.He was present at the kirtanas at Shrivasa Angan with Lord Chaitanya, and he was also present at the plays in Chandrasekhar's house. He was present at the marriage of Lord Chaitanya with Laksmipriya and Vishnupriya. He went to Katwa when the Lord took sannyasa. The information of Lord Chaitanya's accepting the renounced order was made known to Gadadhara Pandita, Candrasekhara and Mukunda Datta by Nityananda Prabhu. Mukunda Datta went to Jagannatha Puri with Lord Chaitanya. When Nityananda Prabhu broke the sannyasa staff of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mukunda Datta was present. He went every year from Bengal to see Lord Chaitanya at Jagannatha Puri. When Lord Chaitanya manifested His maha-prakasa, the Lord called all the devotees one after another and blessed them, but Mukunda Datta stood outside the door. The Lord did not bless Mukunda Datta, at this time. When asked why He did not bless him, Lord Chaitanya replied "I shall not soon be pleased with Mukunda Datta, for he explains devotional service among devotees, but then he goes to Mayavadis to hear from them the Mayavada philosophy. For this I am greatly displeased with him." Hearing the Lord speak in that way, Mukunda Datta, standing outside, was exceedingly glad that the Lord would at some time be pleased with him, although He was not pleased at that moment.
Mukunda Datta asked Shrivasa Pandita to ask Lord Chaitanya if in the future he would be able to get the Lord's mercy. Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him that Mukunda would have to wait one million births to receive the Lord's mercy. Mukunda then jumped in joy and said that only after a million births he would be delivered. Lord Chaitanya then called him. He told Mukunda that all your offenses have been destroyed by your complete faith in Me. When the Lord understood that Mukunda Datta was going to give up the association of the Mayavadis for good, He was pleased, and He at once called to see Mukunda. Thus He delivered him from the association of the Mayavadis and gave him the association of pure devotees.
How To Get There This place is in the Chattagram district. This place is about 20 miles from the house of Pundarika Vidyanidhi.