Nabadwip is a city and a municipality in Nadia district in the Indian state of West Bengal. “Nabadwip” in Bengali means “9 Islands”. The 9 islands being Antardwip, Simantadwip, Rudradwip, Madhyadwip, Godrumdwip, Ritudwip, Jahnudwip, Modadrumdwip, and Koladwip. This city is the “Leelabhumi” or the Place of numerous Leelas (or “the manifestation of the playfulness of the supreme being or one of the chosen ones” in Hinduism) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Numerous devotees of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, from all over the world join in the pilgrimage to Nabadwip on the event of the Birth Anniversary of Shri Mahaprabhu on the Phalguni Purnima (i.e. on the Full moon of March), and for several other celebrations in connection to Leelas of Shri Mahaprabhu like Sri Nabadwip-mandala Parikrama and different merriments like Dol jatra,rash purnima Gaura Purnima.
Nabadwip was the capital of Bengal under the reign of Ballal Sen and Lakshman Sen, the famous rulers of the Sena Empire. They ruled Bengal from here in the period from 1159 to 1206. In 1202, Nabadwip was attacked and invaded by Bakhtiyar Khilji who plundered Nabadwip. Lakshman Sen, the then old King fled from the Capital. This victory paved the way for Muslim rule in Bengal.
Nabadwip and Nadia were great centers of learning and intellectual prowess. For five centuries, it was referred to as “Oxford of Bengal”.
Nabadwip can be categorized very much as a pilgrimage site and specially, in the last few decades, ISKCON being the flag bearers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in the west, Nabadwip and Mayapur ( the ISKCON Head quarters ) have been frequented by devotees from all across the world, on pilgrimage tours.
Places of prominence in Nabadwip
Sonar Gouranga Temple
Sonar Gouranga temple is a standout amongst the most well known temples in Nawadwip. The temple is acclaimed for the Golden Shrine of the social reformer and one of the fathers of Bengal Renaissance, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His footwear has been kept here, in a glass case. It is said that Pratap Chandra Goswami, an adherent of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, built this temple. It is currently a seat of Gauria Vaishnavism.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is a blessed temple established by the supporters of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This sanctuary was built in 1941, by Om Vishnupad Sri Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj, a follower of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The headquarters of this sanctuary was made in Nawadwip and after that, numerous branches of this temple have opened in different parts of India and abroad.
Dwadas Shib Mandir
Dwadas Shib Mandir is an another temple of importance. The deity of this sanctuary is Lord Shiva. This temple was constructed in 1835. It is essentially well known for its impeccable floral patterns. It likewise draws in a substantial number of devottes, particularly on Mahashivratri.
Mayapur, the ISKCON HQ
Mayapur is found on the banks of river Ganga, at the it’s confluence with the Jalangi, near Navadvip. The ISKCON HQ was established here in the 1970s and has been a place of religious prominence since then, it is of special importance to the followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as it is located near the birth place of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The ISKCON temple sees over a million pilgrims each year.
To learn more and plan your visit, specially if you are interested in the Gouriya Vaishnavite sect and the Bengal Renaissance home town,the temple and spiritual culture that evolved in this region, and most importantly the last Hindu kingdom of Bengal, we’d suggest the following reading resources.
Rangan Dutta is a freelance travel writer and has some good information on the Bengal Sena Empire ruins in his blog. Read it here.
Holiday IQ, the travel portal lists the 4 most important places to visit in Nabadwip, you might like to take a look at it here.
How to Reach Nabadwip
BY BUS : Direct buses, private cabs and reserved taxis are available from Kolkata. Special buses from Kolkata also take tourists directly to the Mayapur ISCKON in Nabadwip.
BY TRAIN : The railhead of the city is known as Nabadwip Ghat station. Many local and express trains pass through the station. After you reach the Nabadwip Ghat station, you will have to cross over to Nabadwip by boat.
The list below might change with time.
BY ROAD : 3.5 hours drive from Kolkata (8kms off NH34 after Krishnanagar). ISKCON Kolkata also provides cars on rent; for booking cars please call +91 033 64588777. For getting detailed information about the bus and car rental service, you may contact Travel Mayapur.
Hotels or other Accomodations in Nabadwip
Nabadwip is usually considered to be a day trip destination and most importantly a pilgrimage for Vaishnavs, for which you usually start at dawn, reach by the morning, spend the day sight seeing and photographing the temples, and then some pure vegetarian food at Mayapur ISKCON temple, you usually start your journey back to Kolkata.
- Guest House of Nabadwip Municipality at Nabadwip.
- Irrigation Bunglow at Swarupgunj opposite Nabadwip across the river Bhagirathi.
- ISKCON Guest House at Mayapur opposite Nabadwip across the river Bhagirathi.
- Boarding house of Chatayan Gauduya Misson, Mayapur.
- Guest House of Nabadwip Panchayat Samiti, MayapurA few private hotels.
- A few private hotels.
Important Sources of Information for travelers
- For Security, Traffic, Safety Tips and other Emergency Services, visit Nadia Police.
- For Emergency or general health services, although state of the art facilities are not to be expected but some standard emergency services can be obtained at the following hospitals
- Nabadwip General Hospital, +(91)-3472-239111
- Maheshganj Rural Hospital, +(91)-3472-248208
- Sadar Hospital Krishnanagar, +(91)-3472-252850, 258533
- Rubistar Susrusa Hospital & Medical Institute Pvt Ltd, +(91)-3472-652388
- A comprehensive list of hospitals in Nadia and in nearby towns and villages can be found here.
Festivals and Events of Significance
Nabadwip Mandala Parikrama is a major yearlu pilgrimage, read more about the event here.