Gauḍīya indicates the part of India between the southern side of the Himalayan Mountains and the northern part of the Vindhyā Hills, which is called Āryāvarta, or the Land of the Āryans. This portion of India is divided into five parts or provinces (Pañca-gauḍadeśa): Sārasvata (Kashmir and Punjab), Kānyakubja (Uttar Pradesh, including the modern city of Lucknow), Madhya-gauḍa (Madhya Pradesh), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal) and Utkala (part of Bengal and the whole of Orissa). Bengal is sometimes called Gauḍadeśa, partly because it forms a portion of Maithila and partly because the capital of the Hindu king Rāja Lakṣmaṇa Sena was known as Gauḍa. This old capital later came to be known as Gauḍapura and gradually Māyāpur.
The devotees of Orissa are called Uḍiyās, the devotees of Bengal are called Gauḍīyas, and the devotees of southern India are known as Drāviḍa devotees. As there are five provinces in Āryāvarta, so Dākṣiṇātya, southern India, is also divided into five provinces, which are called Pañca-draviḍa. The four Vaiṣṇava ācāryas who are the great authorities of the four Vaiṣṇava disciplic successions, as well as Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya of the Māyāvāda school, appeared in the Pañca-draviḍa provinces. Among the four Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, who are all accepted by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, Śrī Rāmānuja Ācārya appeared in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh at Mahābhūtapurī, Śrī Madhva Ācārya appeared at Pājakam (near Vimānagiri) in the district of Mangalore, Śrī Viṣṇu Svāmī appeared at Pāṇḍya, and Śrī Nimbārka appeared at Muṅgera-patana, in the extreme south.
Vakreśvara Paṇḍita, the fifth branch of the tree, was a very dear servant of Lord Caitanya's. He could dance with constant ecstasy for seventy-two hours.
In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (71) it is stated that Vakreśvara Paṇḍita was an incarnation of Aniruddha, one of the quadruple expansions of Viṣṇu (Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha and Pradyumna). He could dance wonderfully for seventy-two continuous hours. When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu played in dramatic performances in the house of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita was one of the chief dancers, and he danced continuously for that length of time. Śrī Govinda dāsa, an Oriyā devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, has described the life of Vakreśvara Paṇḍita in his book Gaura-kṛṣṇodaya. There are many disciples of Vakreśvara Paṇḍita in Orissa, and they are known as Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas although they are Oriyās. Among these disciples are Śrī Gopālaguru and his disciple Śrī Dhyānacandra Gosvāmī.
King Pratāparudra of Orissa, the Oriyā devotees Kṛṣṇānanda and Śivānanda, and Paramānanda Mahāpātra, Bhagavān Ācārya, Brahmānanda Bhāratī, Śrī Śikhi Māhiti and Murāri Māhiti constantly associated with Caitanya Mahāprabhu while He resided in Jagannātha Purī.
Pratāparudra Mahārāja, who belonged to the dynasty of the Gaṅgā kings and whose capital was in Cuttak, was the Emperor of Orissa and a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It was by the arrangement of Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya that he was able to personally serve Lord Caitanya. In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (118) it is said that King Indradyumna, who established the temple of Jagannātha thousands of years ago, later took birth again in his own family as Mahārāja Pratāparudra during the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Mahārāja Pratāparudra was as powerful as King Indra. The drama named Caitanya-candrodaya was written under his direction.
After taking Lord Jagannātha's permission early in the morning, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu departed, and all the devotees of Orissa began following Him.
With great care Caitanya Mahāprabhu forbade the Orissan devotees to follow Him. Then, accompanied by His personal associates, He first went to Bhavānīpura.