In the year 1510 A.D., Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu traveled to South India, spending four months of Caturmasya Vrata, the monsoon season, at the home of a brahman known as VenkataBhatta.
Venkata Bhatta was a resident of Shrirangam and belonged to the Shri sampradaya.
Venkata Bhatta had two brothers, Tirumalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvati. They all belonged to the Ramanuja sampradaya and Prabodhananda Sarasvati was a tridandi sannyasi of that order. Vyenkata Bhatta had a son named Gopal, who was then just a child.
During His stay, the Lord converted the entire family from Ramanuja Vaisnavism to Krsna Bhakti (Gaudiya Vaisnavism). In his paper entitled Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila B.V. Puri Goswami of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission, Ganjam, Orissa, states that Lord Caitanya's discourse on the fundamental principles of rasa in Srimad Bhagavatam converted the whole family of Venkata Bhatta from the worship of Laksmi-Narayana to the worship of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna.
Venkata Bhatta's son, Gopala, who was seven years old at the time, served Lord Chaitanya continuously during His stay and developed an intense love for Him. When Lord Chaitanya was ready to depart, Venkata Bhatta fainted, and young Gopala Bhatta's eyes filled with tears. To please the boy, Lord Chaitanya agreed to stay for a few more days. During this time, Gopala Bhatta had a vision in which Mahaprabhu revealed Himself as Lord Krsna. The Lord told Gopala that one day he would meet two jewel-like devotees in Vrindavan— Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. Waking from the dream, Gopala wanted to leave at once for Vrindavan, but Mahaprabhu told him to stay at home and serve his parents.
Being pleased with Gopala Bhatta Goswami's sincere service and devotion, Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiated him, and ordered him to move to Vrindavana after the death of his parents and perform bhajan and write. He instructed him to serve his mother and father and always engage in chanting Krishna's glories. As predicted by the vision, young Gopala later went to Vrindavan and became one of the illustrious Six Goswamis.
Prabodhananda Sarasvati, previously a Sri Sampradaya sannyasi, was converted to supreme position of Radha-Krishna being Svayam bhagavan instead of Lakshmi-Narayana. He as well apparently came to appreciate the supremacy of Radha worship from Chaitanya.
While staying in Venkata Bhatta's family asrama, Lord Caitanya became very lonely for Lord Jagannath in Puri. In this mood of separation, Mahaprabhu lovingly carved His own set of Jagannatha Deities, which reside to this day not far from the Bhatta family's original home. The family descendants of Vyenkata Bhatta also continue to live at Srirangam.
The Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra carved by Mahaprabhu are extremely beautiful and captivating.
In his article entitled Sri Rai Ramananda, HDG Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur wrote the following narration of Lord Caitanya's travels in South India, and His time spent at Sri Rangam:
At Sri Rangam He lived for four months in the house of a Sri vaishnava, who had migrated to that place, named Venkata Bhatta, with whom He had a comparative discussion of the principles of majesty (aishvarya) and mellow attraction (madhurya). It resulted in the conversion of his brother Prabodhananda, a tridandi sannyasin, and his son Gopala Bhatta who turned out to be one of the six principal disciples at Vrindavan.