Religious aspects Balasore District
Balasore, the coastal district is known all over Orissa for
its beautiful mountains and famous temples. This district is well kown for its ninteen tourist spots. Some of them are Biranchi
Narayan teemple, Khirachora Gopinath temple, Panchalingeswar temple, Chandipur seabeach, Chandaneswar, Talasaari, Raibania
fort, Bhushandeswar, Langaleswar, Balaramgadi, Rajagarh, Bhudhar Chandi, Kashafala, Ayodhya, Astadurga temple, Bardhanpur
Maninageswar and Chasakhand's Bagha Jatin memoir.
- Aradi is famous for the shrine of Lord Shiva,
known here as Lord Akhandalamani. Thousands of people visit this place daily to recover from their diseases.
- Biranchi Narayana Temple at Palia near Bhadrak
- Kutopokhari Temple at Remuna near Balasore
- Khirachora Gopinath Temple which dates back to
13th century is a temple of Lord Gopinath. It is at a distance of 9kms from Balasore.
- Panchalingeswar Temple is 30kms away from
Balsore. It is situated on the mountain Nilgiri. The five Lingas called the Panchalingeswar having spring flowing over them
is the main attraction of this place.
KSHIRA CHORA GOPINATH TEMPLE
Location : Remuna, 9-km east of Balasore, Orissa
Presiding Deities :
Renovated By : Rasikananda
The Kshira Chora Gopinath temple is located in Remuna. It is a small town located 9-km east of
Balasore, about halfway between Calcutta and Puri . The name "Remuna" is derived from the word "Ramaniya" which means very beautiful.
It is said that Sri Rama carved
'Gopinath' with His arrow and that Sita worshiped this deity in Chitrakut. King Langula Narasingha Dev, the king of Orissa,
brought this Deity to Remuna in the 13th century from Chitrakut. This king also arranged to have dug the two big tanks, 'Brajapokhari'
Sri Gopinatha is the Deity who stole sweet-rice for 'Madhavendra Puri'. Being worshiped on the
altar with Sri Gopinatha are Sri 'Madana Mohana', Sri 'Govinda', 'Radha-Rasabihari', and 'Chaitanya Mahaprabhu' with Lord
'Jagannatha' on one side and numerous 'Shalagram-Shilas' on the other side.
Lord Gopinatha, flanked by Sri Govinda
and Sri Madana Mohana, is made of black stone. Sri Gopinatha stands in bas-relief. Govinda and Madana Mohana, who were brought
from Vrindavana in about 1938 by a devotee named "Chaitanya Dasa Babaji", are free standing.
One can get delicious
'Kshira' here call 'Amrita-Keli'. The Gopinatha Kshira is a preparation of condensed milk, sugar, and cream, with a sprinkling
of raisins. It comes in pots of various sizes, which are personally tasted by Lord Gopinatha Himself. Sri Gopinatha is known
as "Kshira Chora Gopinatha" because He stole and hid a pot of 'Kshira' out of love for Madhavendra Puri. 'Chora' means thief.
The Temple's Renovation
'Rasikananda' renovated the present temple, after the prior
temple built by king 'Gajapati' Maharaja 'Langula Deva' was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Rasikananda found the Gopinatha
Deity in a pond 4-km from the temple, where Gopinatha was hidden to protect him from being destroyed by the Muslim king. Rasikananda
was the foremost disciple of 'Syamananda', who helped transport the important writings of the 'Goswamis' from Vrindavana to
Bengal. The 'Samadhi' tomb of Rasikananda 'Prabhu' is near the temple.
In the temple room one will find many pictures of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes, as well as a picture of the 'Pancatattva'
over the main altar.
The 'Pujaris' every morning bathe and dress the Deities in full view of the congregated devotees.
Each day a few hundred pilgrims come to this temple, and on Sundays up to a thousand people visit. The temple is located about
a half a km from the village of Remuna. Western devotees are allowed in the temple.
During "Chandana-Yatra", the Deities
are smeared with cooling sandalwood pulp ('Chandana'). The temple priests apply 'Chandana' to the chest of the temples' three
Krishna Deities-Madana-Mohana, Govinda and Gopinatha. On 'Aksayatritiya' the Deities' entire bodies are smeared with sandalwood.
The Legend Of The Deity
Over 500 years ago Madhavendra Puri was going to Puri to get some scented sandalwood to bring to his Sri Gopal Deity in Vrindavana. When he stopped at Remuna and saw Sri Gopinath,
his heart was filled with devotion and joy. When he saw the delicious 'Kshira' offered to the Deity he desired to taste some
so he could offer the same preparation to "Sri Gopal". Madhavendra Puri would only accept food that was offered to him. Because
he was not offered any of the 'Kshira' he left the temple without tasting it.
After finishing the worship to Gopinath
the 'Pujari' took rest. In a dream Gopinath told him to get up and take the pot of 'Kshira' that He had hidden under His garments
and to give it to Madhavendra Puri. The 'Pujari' got up and found the sweet rice and brought it to Madhavendra Puri. The 'Pujari'
told him "For you Sri Gopinath has stolen 'Kshira'. There is no other fortunate man like you." This is how the Deity got the
name Kshira Chora Gopinath.
Madhavendra Puri established an Ashram in Remuna and stayed there for some time. The wooden
sandals of Madhavendra Puri are worshiped in this Ashram.
When Lord Chaitanya came here, flowers from the body of
the Deity fell down on His head. Sri Chaitanya then danced in overwhelming joy.
area the other places one can visit include the Samadhi of Madhavendra Puri, the Samadhi of 'Rasikananda Prabhu' (inside the
Gopinatha temple compound), and a Shiva temple where "Gargamuni" is said to have had his ashram. Near the Gopinatha temple
there is a Jagannatha temple and a few other temples.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: The nearest train junction to Remuna is at Balasore, which is the first major town in Orissa coming from Calcutta . One can get a night train from Calcutta that stops in Balasore in the early morning hours. From there one can get a taxi
or bus to Remuna. If one has arrived Remuna in the morning, one can see the Deities and then catch a night train to Puri .
Road: There are regular buses from Balasore to Remuna.
WHERE TO STAY
Remuna is a very small
village, so there are not many places to stay. There is a small guesthouse near the temple that has a few basic rooms with
private bath. There is a guesthouse built by a religious lady with fairly nice facilities for those who want to stay overnight
in Remuna to see the Deities. There is a good assortment of hotels in the nearby towns of Balasore and Chandipur.
A Buddhist siteSoro, situated at a distance of 32 km from Balasore contains some archeological remains of
Brahminical, Buddhist and Jain religions. Gohiriasahi, a small village located 3 km away from Soro has some archeological
relics between the period 7th century to 11th century.Among the antiquities, there is a small Sivalinga fixed to a Yonipitha
with the well know BuddhistDharma inscribed on four sides of its square pedestal.According to its paleographical features
the inscriptions can be assigned a date in the later part of 9th century or the beginning of the 10th century A.D. At several
parts of the village one can find a series of broken images related to Bramhinical, Buddhist and Jain religions. A huge slab
of stone containing Saptamatruka figures has been removed to Balasore and preserved in the Shantikanan museum.
Festivals and other programmes .
Here we shall apprise you the latest developements.
Sri Chaitanya Temple
Via.- Soro (756045)
Tel 91 6788 242011