33 / Vidyādhara Liberated and the Demon Śaṅkhāsura Killed
Once upon a time, the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana, headed by NandaMahārāja, desired to go to Ambikāvana to perform the Śivarātri performance. The rāsa-līlā was performed during the autumn, and after that the next big ceremony is Holi or the Dolayātrā ceremony. Between the Dolayātrā ceremony and the rāsa-līlā ceremony there is one important ceremony which is called Śivarātri, which is especially observed by the Śaivites, or devotees of Lord Śiva. But sometimes the Vaiṣṇavas also observe this ceremony because they accept Lord Śiva as the foremost Vaiṣṇava. But the function of Śivarātri is not observed very regularly by the bhaktas, or devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Under the circumstances, it is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that the cowherd men headed by NandaMahārāja "once upon a time desired." That means that they were not regularly observing the Śivarātri function but that once upon a time they wanted to go to Ambikāvana out of curiosity. Ambikāvana is situated somewhere in the Gujarat province. Ambikāvana is said to be situated on the river Sarasvatī, yet we do not find any Sarasvatī River in the Gujarat province; the only river there is Savarmati. In India, all the big places of pilgrimage are situated on nice rivers like the Ganges, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Godāvarī, Kāverī, etc. Ambikāvana was situated on the bank of Sarasvatī, and all the cowherd men and NandaMahārāja went there.
They very devotedly began to worship the deity of Lord Śiva and Ambikā. It is the general practice that wherever there is a temple of Lord Śiva, there must be another temple of Ambikā (or Durgā) because Ambikā is the wife of Lord Śiva and is the most exalted of chaste women. She doesn't live outside the association of her husband. After reaching Ambikāvana, the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana first bathed themselves in the river Sarasvatī. If one goes to any place of pilgrimage, his first duty is to take a bath and sometimes to shave his head. That is the first business. After taking bath, they worshiped the deities and then distributed charity in the holy places.
However Srila Visvanath Chakravati Thakura writes in his commentaries to SB 10.34.1 that this pastime took place northwest of Mathura at Ambikavana .Srila Visvanath Chakravati Thakura has mentioned that some believe it took place in Gujarat . We see in Krsnas pastimes that Krsna did not take the Vrijabasis beyond Mathura mandala ,even when Nanda Maharaja wanted to go to Prayag , Krsna persuaded him not to go and Prayag tirtha took bath in Pavana sarovara in Nanda grama .And so many confidential pastimes are there like the Vrijabasis wanted to go to Ganga and Krsna created Manasa Ganga at Govardhana .There is only 3 accounts in sastra where the Vrijabasis went beyond Vraja Mandal: 1 to go to Kuruksetra and meet Krsna there on the pretext of a solar eclipse, 2 to meet Krsna in Dvaraka (that is described in Garga Samhita ) and 3 at the end of Krsnas lilas Arjuna brought the Gopis to Dvaraka and they gave up their bodies at Gopi kupa (where the gopi vaisnava chandan is from)
Some may argue that how could Sarasvati be in Mathura? Mahabharata however has mentioned how Lord Balarama travelled from Dvaraka on to Mathura on the bank of the Sarasvati River so according to this reference Sarasvati used to flow to Mathura . This is the opinion of modern scholars also.So was Srila Prabhupada mistaken about the Vrijabasis going to Gujarat to worship Lord Siva yes certainly.Mathura has so many famous Siva lingas so why go all the way to Gujarat? It makes zero sense...Ambikavana is also known for its famous Mahavidya (Ambika devi) temple it is a Durga temple most dear to Lord Siva ,actually Lord Siva protects Mathura on all 8 sides (ksetra pala) and on this northern side is Gokarna Mahadeva and Nilakanthesvara Mahadeva .So what Siva linga Krsna and the Vrijabasis worshipped is not stated..Vaisnavanam yatha sambhu ...Krsna showed us to perform Siva ratri to attain Krsna Bhakti .