Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Know about Atharanala Bridge at Puri

This bridge is six kilometers from the Jagannath Mandir at the entrance to Puri Dhama on Atharnala Road, the main road from Puri to Bhubaneshvara. As mentioned earlier, you can see this holy spot now or later if you are leaving Jagannath Puri via the Bhubanesvara airport or railway station.
Coming from the Lion Gate of the Jagannath Mandir, turn left on Grand Road and go straight 1½ km. Atharnala Road and turn left. You will pass Narendra Sarovar on the left and keep going for another six kilometers until the road over a bridge, the Atharnala bridge.
Main Deities
There is a small pink, domed with green doors beside Atharnala Road, marking the place where Mahaprabhu rested before crossing Atharnala Bridge. Inside the Temple, you will see marble plaque enshrining the lotus footprints of Gauranga Mahaprabhu (Mahaprabhu pada-pitha).
Gauranga Mahaprabhu's Padma Charana ki Jai!
Introduction - The bridge, built in the 13th century, contains 18 (athara) arches and was used by Sri Chaitanyadeva and His associates to enter Jagannath Puri Dham. Five hundred years ago, all the gaura-bhaktas of Nadiya walked continuously for one month to arrive in Sri Kshetra Dhama in time for Jagannatha's Snana-yatra ceremony. Atharnala Bridge afforded their first sight of the Jagannath Mandir, with its beautiful dome and red flags billowing in the breeze, standing impressively on the right side up the river.
The Flag that Incited Divine Love
Whoever reads this description of Gaurachandra entering Nilachala-dhama will drown in the ocean of Krishna prema-rasa. On the way to Puri, Gauranga got a glimpse of Jagannatha's temple dome in the distance. Seeing the red flags waving in the wind, Gaurahari succumbed to ecstasy and started loudly roaring and trembling. Starting at the flag, Gauranga uttered a verse:
prasadagre nivasita purahsarah, smera vaktraravindo
mam alokya smita suvadano, bala gopala murtih
"Look! Bala Gopala is standing on top of the temple smiling at Me, and that sweet smile is increasing the beauty of His fully blossomed lotus face." (Cb. 2.4.409) Reciting this verse, Mahaprabhu fainted and then stood up, saw the flag, recited the verse and swooned again, drowning in the ocean of love. For six kilometers, Gauranga repeatedly offered dandvats until He arrived at Atharnala Bridge.
Surfacing to peaceful external consciousness, Mahaprabhu entreatingly said to His companions, "As true friends, you have done a great service to Me by bringing Me to My Jagannath Swami. Now kindly tell Me whether I should go on alone or follow after all of you?"
Mukunda replied, "Please Prabhu, it is better that You go ahead of us."
Then moving faster than a mad lion in the chase, Mahaprabhu ran across Atharnala Bridge and entered Purushottama-ksetra. (Cb. 2. Chp. 4)
Bala Gopala ki Jai!
Purushottama Gauranga Mahaprabhu ki Jai!