Famous temple of Kshira-chora Gopinatha, the Krishna Deity who stole condensed milk (Kshira) for His dear-most devotee, Sr Madhavendra Puri, lies in a small pastoral village named Remuna in the Balasore (Baleshwar) district of Orissa. Balasore is halfway between Puri and Kolkata, is the nearest railway junction to Remuna. Remuna is called Gupta Vrindavana because Gopinatha had many pastimes here in the mood of Vrindavana with His intimate vraja-madhurya premi bhaktas.
Between 5am-7am visitors can have full darshana of the Deity while the pujari baths and dresses Gopinatha. One can clearly see cows, cowherd boys and asta-sakhis carved in black stone bas-relief Deity of Kshira-Chora Gopinatha. On Gopinatha’s right & left are black stone Deities of Govinda and Madana-Mohana brought. There are also Deities of Radha-Rasabihari, Lord Jagannatha and Mahaprabhu. All Vaishnavas are welcome here for Gopinatha’s special darshana, and the indescribably mouth-watering milk sweet known as amrta-keli, prepared from condensed milk, cream, sugar and a smidgen of raisins.
How Gopinatha Got the Name Kshira-Chora
THE NAME “Kshira-Chora” means “one who stole condensed milk.” When Lord Chaitanya visited the Gopinatha temple in Remuna, He told the devotees traveling with Him how the Deity had come to receive that name. Lord Chaitanya had heard the story from His spiritual master, Isvara Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. As related in Chaitanya-caritamrta, it is Madhavendra Puri for whom the condensed milk was stolen.
Madhavendra Puri was a highly advanced devotee of Lord Krishna. While living in Vrindavana absorbed in remembering the pastimes of the Lord, he saw Krishna appear in a dream and tell him He had been buried for a long time in a jungle nearby. Krishna wanted Madhavendra Puri to dig Him up. Following the Lord’s instruction, with the help of the local people Madhavendra Puri discovered a Deity of Krishna named Gopala.
Madhavendra Puri built a temple for Gopala and served Him for two years. Then again one night Gopala appeared to him in a dream and asked him to go to Orissa to get sandalwood to smear on His body.
On the way to Orissa, Madhavendra Puri stopped at the Gopinatha temple in Remuna. He asked the priest what kind of food was offered to Gopinatha, thinking he could offer the same preparations to his own Deity, Gopala. The priest mentioned the condensed milk (Kshira) known as amrta-keli, which was famous because its taste was nectarean.
That evening, while the priest made an offering to the Lord, Madhavendra Puri thought that if the priest were to offer him some of the condensed milk he could taste it and then be able to prepare it for Gopala. He then at once became ashamed for thinking of tasting the Lord’s food during the offering. Feeling he had committed a great offense, he left the temple and went to a vacant marketplace to chant the names of the Lord.
Later that night, the Gopinatha Deity appeared in a dream to the priest and told him He had hidden a pot of condensed milk behind His cloth. Gopinatha told the priest to deliver the condensed milk to a saintly person named Madhavendra Puri. The priest did as told.
Madhavendra Puri felt ecstasy to learn that the Lord had stolen condensed milk for him. After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri kept the pot, and every day he would eat a little piece of it.