Hamsa-vahana Siva Temple

Lord Nityananda had revealed that at the beginning of this age of kali, the sages headed by Saunaka Rishi, assembled here at Madhya Dvipa ,to relish the nectarian pastimes of Lord Gaurahari, from the lotus mouth of Suta Goswami. During this time, Lord Shiva became greatly anxious to attend this lecture as well. Abandoning his bull carrier ,which travelled very slowly, Lord shiva hence ascended the much faster Swan carrier of Lord Brahma, in order to quickly reach the assembly of the sages.So it was here at Madhya Dvipa, that Lord shiva , along with his associates, sang the glories of Lord Gauranga and danced in ecstasy.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ is greatly fortunate to visit Madhya Dvipa and take darsana of this small yet beautiful temple of Hamsa Vahan , that has been established to commemorate this sublime pastime. In this temple is worshipped a magnificent deity of Lord Shiva, who is postured sitting on the Swan Carrier of Lord Brahma. The word ‘Hamsa’ means ‘Swan’ and ‘Vahan’ translates to ‘Carrier’ in bengali. The deity is exceedingly old and no one knows exactly how ancient it is.The deity was discovered by a few localites who went for fishing in the nearby Gomati river. A great festival takes place here every year in the month of Caitra (March- april) during which the devotees from all over the world pour water on this beautiful deity of Hamsa Vahana. Water is poured in order to cool down the deity as it gets heated up by himself. It is said that the deity gets heated up ,as Lord shiva in this mood is very eager and anxious to hear and relish Caitanya Katha (pastimes of Lord Caitanya) in the assembly of the sages.

At Hamsa-vahana there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Siva. The deity used to be kept in the Gomati River for most of the year and only came to the temple three days a year, around the purnima(full moon) day in the month of Caitra (March-April). The rest of the time Lord Siva was kept underwater in the Gomati River to keep him from getting too hot. Last year the deity of Hamsa-vahana was stolen from the Gomati by a group of local Muslim people who wanted to make money by selling him. This deity was rescued in a very miraculous way and since then has been worshiped in the Hamsa-vahana temple throughout the year as it is too dangerous to leave him in the river. The name Hamsa-vahana refers to Lord Siva who traveled with Lord Brahma’s swan carrier. Hamsameans “swan” and vahanameans “one who is carried by”. Approximately 50,000 people come every year for this festival. Previously, before the theft of the deity, while the Siva-linga was in the temple for the three days of the festival, water was constantly poured on him to keep him from becoming too hot. The linga becomes hot because of Lord Siva’s intense desire to see SriCaitanyaMahaprabhu. This festival takes place about three weeks after the Gaura-purnima festival. For the last few years the pujarisof Hamsa-vahana have brought the deity to ISKCON Mayapur so that devotees from different parts of the world can take darsanaand offer an elaborate abhishekato the deity.Darsana times: Previously three days each year at the time of full moon in the month of Caitra (March-April), usually two to three weeks after Gaura-purnima. At present one can take darsana at any time of the day.

Directions from Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house: Continue down the main road a short distance and take the first road on the right. You will pass a Gaudiya Matha temple on the right side of this road. (This temple has a very nice diorama display of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya that is worth a visit.) Take the first left and then the first right. Continue down this road for about one and a half kilometers. On the left you will see a small hut painted yellow with a straw roof. This is the temple. It is in an open courtyard and there is a large tree on the right of the road.

Presiding deity: Lord Siva riding on Lord Brahma’s swan carrier.


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