Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 35


The Pamba River
[ Photo: CC 3.0, Wikipedia ]

Dec 14, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

Pamba (Tungabhadra) River

Today we will briefly mention a river that may or may not have been associated with the pastimes of Lord Caitanya. It is, however, mentioned by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to a Madhya lila verse as potentially being such a holy river:

    Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 9.316:

    prabhu āsi' kaila pampā-sarovare snāna
    pañcavaṭī āsi, tāhāṅ karila viśrāma

    prabhu — Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; āsi' — coming; kaila — did; pampā-sarovare — in the lake known as Pampā; snāna — bathing; pañcavaṭī āsi — then coming to Pañcavaṭī; tāhāṅ — there; karila — took; viśrāma — rest.

    Eventually Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu arrived at a lake known as Pampā, where He took His bath. He then went to a place called Pañcavaṭī, where He rested.


    According to some, the old name of the Tuṅgabhadrā River was Pambā. According to others, Vijaya-nagara, the capital of the state, was known as Pampātīrtha. According to still others, the lake near Anāguṇḍi, in the direction of Hyderabad, is Pampā-sarovara. The river Tuṅgabhadrā also flows through there. There are many different opinions about the lake called Pampā-sarovara.

Because there are many theerthams wherein tanks or lakes are so named, but are also rivers that have been directed or captured to serve as a temple tank, we can see the possibility that the lake Pampa in which Mahaprabhu bathed may have also been the water of the Pamba (Tungabhadra) River.

The Pamba River (or Pampa) is the third longest river in Kerala state, and it is the longest river in the ancient state of Travancore. The Pamba River is also known as Dakshina Bhageerathi and the River Baris. Known in modern times as the Tungabhadra River, it is also a well known tributary of the Krsna River.

"The Pamba rises at an altitude of 1,650 metres (5,410 ft) on the Peermade Plateau in the Idukki district of Kerala. After traversing a distance of 176 kilometres (109 mi), the river joins the Arabian Sea through a number of channels. The basin extends over an area of 2,235 square kilometres (863 sq mi) with the entire catchment area within Kerala state. The basin is bounded on the east by Western Ghats and on the west by Arabian Sea."

An entire kandam (chapter) of the Ramayana, 'Kiskhkindhakandam', takes place on the banks of the River Pamba, in the area known today as Shabarimala. At this place Lord Rama and Lakshman are advised by Shabari Rishi to meet Sugreeva in Rishimookadri, and they agreed to work together to locate Sita.

The Ramayana describes river Pamba's origin as an area of immense natural beauty. Lord Ayyappan is said to have appeared as a child on the banks of the Pamba River. The Pamba River is venerated as being the southern Ganga, and Ayyappan devotees take bath here before trekking through the forest to the temple at Sabarimala.


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