Gahvara means “deep”, “dense”, “inaccessible” and “secret”.
True to its name, this place is a dense forest thick with trees, creepers, groves (keli-kunjas) and Priya-Priyatama’s sweet and intimate pastimes. It is shaped like a conch.
Situated here is a sitting-place (baithaka) of Vallabhacarya, where he recited Srimad-Bhagavatam, Radha-sarovara and a rasa-mandala. Here, one can also see the places where many bhaktas performed their bhajana.
vanaya ca namo namah
– Brihan-naradiya Purana
One famous devotee, Nagari Dasa, has described the pastimes of this place in his songs.
For instance, the following pastime took place here one day, when Sri Krishna was out grazing the cows with His sakhas:
caksaulike cana curaye
gari de dauri rakhvarin gvarin sahit gupal bhagaye hare but dabe baglin meim svas bhare van gahvar aye kahat ature bol lol drig hamsat-hamsat sab baran cadhaye hare cabat, kou hora kari, van ki lila lal lubhaye nagariya baithi chaki hari chil-chil nandalalahim khvaye
“Nearby in a field, green chickpea plants were growing. Upon seeing them, Sri Krishna together with His sakhas broke off some plants. The woman taking care of the field came to know of this and ran to catch them, but Kanhaiya was too swift.
Keeping the plants under His arm, He ran very fast through crooked paths and finally came to a stop in Gahvaravana, where He roasted the green chickpeas and ate them with His sakhas.
While they were laughing and enjoying eating roasted chickpeas, the cowherd woman arrived at that spot, but upon seeing the splendour of Krishna’s beauty, she forgot the incident and her anger was pacified.
Due to absorption in motherly love (vatsalya-bhava), she began shelling the peas and personally fed Kanhaiya.