Navadvipa, also known as Nabadwip, the capital of Bengal in the 12th century, is today better known as the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
, the Hindu holy saint reverred by ISKCON
devotees. Located at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Jalangi Rivers
, 120 km north of Kolkata
, in the holy city of
, this is a group of nine islands that form the center of the Gaura Mandala area.
Shaiva, Buddhist, Shakta and Vaishnav faiths converge in Navadvipa and there are nearly 185 temples here. The most famous is the Sonargouranga, the temple with the golden statue of Sri Chaitanya. The center point of Navadvipa is Yogapitha, the sacred place where Lord Chaitanya was born.
The nine islands of Navadvipa, resembling an eight-petaled lotus flower, represent the nine processes of devotional service such as surrendering everything, hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet, worshipping, praying, being a servant and being a friend. Navadvipa is known as Audarya Dhama; the word audarya denoting magnanimity, generosity, and overflowing grace—qualities of the Lord that manifest in the devotees.