Imli Tala means tamarind tree. It is the place which represents the intense love in separation between Lord Radha and Krishna. There is an old Imli (Tamarind) tree present at the place since Dwapar Yuga, when Lord Krishna performed his pastimes. The Old tamarind tree died in early 19th century. Now only a branch of that tree grows here. Under the tree there is a small shrine having the deity of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in meditating pose.
Imli Tala, in short, is the place which epitomizes the intense love in separation between Radha and Krishna. In simple English language, Imli Tala means Tamarind tree. Imli Tala is the place, where Shrimati Radharani left the Sharad Purnima rasa dance, leaving Krishna searching for her in intense feelings of separation. Previously Imli Tala used to be near a ghat on the banks of the Yamuna but over the years Yamuna has changed its course and is now flowing at a distance from Imli Tala.
Shrila Prabhupada would often visit Imli Tala. In fact, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura and his followers purchased this land at Imli Tala and built a beautiful Gaudiya Matha there. There is a yellow wall around Imli Tala and the Imli Tala tree can be seen through the gate of this wall. One of Prabhupada’s godbrother’s samadhi is there just beside this holy Kalpavriksha tree. Prabhupada’s another very loving godbrother, Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja, would come to Imli Tala practically each and every Ekadashi, around the time of sunset and would sit and chant japa of the holy name until after sunrise under that holy tree.
Radhanath Swami has taken several pilgrimages to Imli Tala. On one such pilgrimage, he described that when Shri Radhika disappeared from the midst of the Sharad-purnima rasa dance, Krishna was searching for her with intense feelings of separation. This mood of separation increased their anticipation for meeting, and thus very much increased their intensity of love. Radhanath Swami further explained that, Krishna, in this mood of separation sat down under this Kalpavriksha Tamarind tree at Imli Tala and became so completely absorbed in the thoughts of Shrimati Radharani and chanting Her holy names, that His body assumed the colour of Shrimati Radharani. Just at that time, Shrimati Radharani appeared, relieving His separation and subsequently, He again assumed His original form of Shyamasundara. At this very place, Krishna then disclosed to Shri Radhika, “In My intense ecstasies of separation, I assumed your form, your complexion and your ecstatic love. In the age of Kali, I will again appear like this, I will appear with Your complexion and with Your mood of ecstatic love and I will spread that love throughout the world, to all living beings, through the sankirtan movement – the loud congregational chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
According to His word, Lord Shri Krishna appeared in the age of Kali, as Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, just 500 years ago, with the complexion and the mood of ecstatic love of Shrimati Radharani. When Lord Chaitanya visited Vrindavan, He would come to Imli Tala everyday and for hours and hours with his japa-mala, He would deeply absorb Himself in chanting the holy names, sitting under this Imli tree. In the mood of Shrimati Radharani He would become so deeply immersed in the ocean of separation from Shyamasundara that Lord Chaitanya’s golden form would be transformed into the complexion of a dark, newly formed monsoon rain-cloud. This is Imli Tala.
Prayer: On being asked about what prayer one can offer at Imli Tala, Radhanath Swami said that here one should pray at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Shri Radha Gopinath to be able to become sincerely attached to chanting their holy names in pure love. This is the most potent place where Krishna Himself chanted Shrimati Radharani’s holy names and Mahaprabhu chanted Krishna’s holy names in the mood of intense longing and separation and many of our previous acharyas have performed their bhajan here, so here we should pray for taste in chanting and pure devotional service unto Krishna.
According to the religious legends, once immersed in the acute feelings of separation from Lord Krishna, Sri Radharani sat under this Tamarind tree chanting the names of his beloved (Krishna). She was so absorbed in the thoughts of Lord Krishna that her body assumed Shyam Varna (bluish-black colour) same as that of Lord Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also assumed the body colour of Lord Krishna while sitting under this tree chanting the names of Lord Krishna in an ecstatic feeling of separation. In one of the other incidents, while performing the Sharad Purnima (full moon night) rasa dance with Lord Krishna and other gopis, Sri Radharani left the dance and disappeared from there. Lord Krishna, not finding Radhaji was filled with an intense feeling of separation. Knowing of Imli Tala (tamarind tree) as the favourite spot of Radharani, Lord Krishna in that ecstatic mood of separation from Radharani sat under the Imli tree chanting her name. He was so much absorbed in her thoughts that his body assumed the Gaur Varna (golden body colour) of Sri Radharani. Soon she Radharani appeared to his pleasure and Lord Krishna again assumed his original body colour. The deities of Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Radha Gopinath ji are worshipped in the main temple sanctorum on separate altars. The walls of the temple are adorned with beautiful paintings from the life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The temple is maintained and served by the followers of Gaudiya Math. There is legend behind the importance of the tamarind tree that, once when Sri Radharani was passing through the way where this tamarind tree is located, one of the ripe tamarinds fell over her Lotus feet and washed away the vermillion (Alta) that was decorating her feet. In a fit of anger she cursed the Tamarind tree and since then, no tamarind ripens in the complete 84 Kos area of Brajmandal.