The reason behind the name Mahatpura is explained in the Bhaktiratnakara. Isana Thakura said, “This place is known as Matapura. Previously it was called Mahatpura. I will explain to you the story of why people called this place Mahatpura. By the desire of Sri Krishna, the Pandavas were sent to reside in the forest. During this time they experienced much enjoyment, traveling to many countries. Those places that were not visited by the Pandavas were considered by intelligent people to be “Pandava-varjita-desa”, lands deprived of the Pandavas’ visit. The many great qualities of the Pandavas are described in the Puranas. They had killed many demons and rakshasas at different places while traveling and they eventually found themselves in Gaura-desa. They chose to settle in Radhadesa, in a village called Ekacakra. Bhimasena became very famous by killing many demons who were disturbing the people of the Ekacakra area, and the Pandavas, along with Draupadi, engaged in unrivalled welfare work for humanity in general. They lived a solitary existence in Ekacakra, always remembering Sri Balarama and Sri Krishnacandra. By seeing the beauty of Ekacakra, most learned Yudhishthira thought to himself, ‘I have visited many places. But never have I seen a place like this. No other place has attracted our minds in this way. I can therefore understand that this must be a pastime place of Lord Sri Krishna. I can only understand the glory of this place if Lord Sri Krishna will reveal it to me.’ Yudhishthira remained fixed in such meditation throughout the night and eventually, by the desire of Sri Krishna, he fell asleep just as the night was ending. In his dream, the son of Rohini, Lord Balarama, appeared to him in His most incomparably attractive form. Lord Balarama, while smiling affectionately, told King Yudhishthira, ‘Some distance from here is a place called Navadvipa which is surrounded by many rivers and looks very beautiful. During the first sandhya of Kali-yuga, Sri Krishna will appear there in a brahmana family. He will be disguised to magnify His pleasure. His dear associates will take birth at various locations. I will appear here in Ekacakra by His desire. This Ekacakra village is the place of My pastimes.’ Having said this, Lord Baladeva disappeared. King Yudhishthira was very surprised by his dream and saw Ekacakra village as non-different from Svetadvipa. While looking at the beauty of the land, he woke up. In the early morning he informed all of his brothers about his dream. From Ekacakra the Pandavas came to Navadvipa. By seeing the beauty of Navadvipa they were extremely happy and King Yudhishthira wondered, ‘Will I see something in my dream as I did in Ekacakra village?’ and became anxious to have a similar experience. Then, by the desire of Sri Krishna, he fell asleep. In his dream both brothers, Sri Krishna and Sri Balarama, appeared in Their most gorgeous forms. Sri Krishna spoke to King Yudhishthira with a broad smile, ‘This Nadia city is My birthplace. I will appear here in Kali-yuga along with My associates, wildly absorbed in sankirtana, and engage the world in this sublime process. I will enjoy with all of you on the seashore. (The Pandavas would appear in Puri as five brothers, one of whom was Ramananda Raya.) I will give all of you the rarest nectar of love of Vraja.’ Speaking in this way and understanding the mood of the king, Sri Krishna transformed Himself into the most beautiful Lord Gauranga. The great emperor Yudhishthira lost all control witnessing this form of Sri Krishna and Sri Balarama. With great ecstasy he began shedding tears and fell at the lotus feet of both the brothers. The Lords embraced the king and left only after pacifying him. King Yudhishthira became very much perplexed when he awoke to see it was already morning time. He then informed his brothers about this wonderful dream and stayed there for a few days. Yudhishthira Maharaja was the greatest among all “mahats” or great people. Because he was staying here, this place is known as “Mahatpura”. Previously there were five banyan trees here offering their cooling shade. There was also one tila here known as Yudhishthira-tila. By the desire of the Lord, all those places are now hidden. Thus the Pandavas, who were staying here incognito, went to Orissa by the order of the Lord. They resided in Utkala, near Puri, inside a beautiful garden. There they got information that the deity of Sri Madhava was being held by some rakshasa. Bhima proceeded to kill the demon by hitting him with his club (gada) and established the worship of Sri Madhava among the people in general. Till now these most fortunate people are engaged in the service of Sri Madhava. In this Mahatpura, Sri Gauranga along with His associates manifested many wonderful pastimes with great joy. If anyone is fortunate enough to take darsana of Mahatpura even once, he will easily obtain the priceless wealth of bhakti. If anyone so much as takes darsana of a person who has developed an interest in the subject matter of Mahatpura, he will become free from all negative thoughts.
Directions: Turn left onto the road when leaving the Saranga Murari temple. Take the first right turning and proceed for approximately 3-4 kilometers. The site is located on the left of the road beside the Ganga River. It is a backwater of the Ganga River that used to flow here. This area is located on the northwestern boundary of Modadrumadvipa. Although presently known as Matapura, the scriptures call this place Mahatpura. There is a factory in the old bed of Ganges. There was a big sacrifice arena here five thousand years ago and also there were 5 huge banyan trees. But now they have disappeared.