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Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

The Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor is located at Dakor, Gujarat. Famous for its Daknath Temple in the earlier times, Dakor is one of the foremost pilgrimage centres of India. This place is concentrated with the worship of Lord Shiva. Later it developed into a centre for Vaishnavites when Ranchodraiji, another avatar of Lord Krishna surfaced and the temple was built on 1772 A.D.

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The Gujarat Government has recently included Dakor as one of the six pilgrimage places under “Yatradham Vikas Board”. Dakor is visited by hundreds and thousands of pilgrims every year and the number keeps on increasing due to its well-organised pilgrimage facilities.

The city of Dakor located in Kheda district of Gujarat is well known for its grand temple of Shri Ranchodraiji.

History of Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

The Dakor Ranchodraiji Temple is famous in Gujarat owing to its mythical history. According to legend, Bodana was a strong and ardent worshipper of Lord Krishna in his previous life. He lived in Gokulam as a cowherd named Vijayanand. One day when all cowherds worshipped Lord Krishna, Vijayanand did not and the Lord came to him asking to perform the puja. Realising his friends was Krishna, Bodana and the Lord engaged in a holy battle of colours. Suddenly the Lord fell into a river and Vijayanand went after him. The Lord revealed his true colours to him and Vijayanand asked forgiveness. Lord Krishna pleased by this granted him a boon that after 4200 years he will appear at Gujarat with his present wife Sudha.

It is said that Vijayanand would go to Dwarka to worship Lord Krishna once every six months and also took a basil plant (Tulsi) with him. He did this continuously until he was 72 years old. Lord Krishna pleased, asked him to bring a bullock-cart with him so that he would accompany him to Dakor. The priest of Dwarka asked why he had brought a bullock-cart. Bodana replied that he had come to take away Lord Krishna. At this they closed the Dwarka temple. That night Lord Krishna broke the wall of the garbha griha and asked Bodana to take him away.

Seeing the missing image of Lord Krishna the priests came to Dakor. Bodana was anxious and Lord Krishna told him to hide the idol of the deity in the Gomati tank. They got angry and threw  spears at him He died falling down .While hurting Bodana with a spear it also hurt the image of the deity hidden in the Gomti tank and the water turned red with Lord Krishna’s (Ranchhodraiji’s) blood. The Guglis were disappointed but the lord mercifully directed that they would find, after six months an exact replica of the idol in Sevaradhan Vav (well with steps) at Dwarka. The impatient Guglis looked for the idol earlier than they were told to and, found a smaller idol of the Lord. This Indian temple was constructed by Gopalrao Jagannath Tambwekar in 1772 A.D.

Significance of Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

The temple has a beautiful structure that bespeaks of traditionalism. It has an enlarged square complex. Its height is raised by 168 feet by 151 feet with 12 stone steps on each side. Surrounding it there is a serene spacious courtyard. On the banks of the Lake Gomathi is situated the temple main gate.

Lord Ranchhodrai’s form is of Lord Vishnu with four arms. Lord Vishnu bears the conch, the lotus, the discus and the mace in his hands. The lower right arm is the posture of abhaya mudra which gives protection to all those who come to him. There is a lotus imprinted on the hand. His right hand is used to hold the flute. During festivals, the hands of the Lord  are encased in gloves of gold embellished with gems. It is one of the most ethnically significant temples of Gujarat.

Ranchodraiji Temple Timings – Rituals and Poojas

  • The temple opens around 6 a.m. in the morning and closes around 12 in the afternoon.
  • There are in between this time 5 darshans- Mangalabhog, Balbhog, Srinagarbhog, Gwalbhog and Rajbhog. Artis are performed at regular intervals during these.
  • The temple reopens around 4 p.m. in the afternoon and closes at 7 p.m.
  • During this time there are again 3 bhogs- the Usthapanbhog, Shyanbhog and Shakhdibhog.
  • During full-moon days the darshan timings are different which are told beforehand by the temple authorities.
  • The Bhog or Prasad after being offered to the Lord is distributed by the priests among the pilgrims and the devotees.

Festivals Celebrated at Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

  • Approximately 35 festivals are celebrated at Dakor temple. Main ones being the Kartik, Falgun, Chaitra and Ashwin Purnimas. Over 1 lakh devotees visit the shrine.
  • Annakoot is celebrated on the first day of the year. At this festival, the largest amount of sweets and food perparation are offered to Shri Ranchhodraiji.
  • Vaishnava festivals celebrated are the Holi, Amalaka Ekadashi, Janmashtami, Nand Mahotsav, Rathyatra and Dashera. During these festivals the idol of Krishna is taken in procession on an elephant. Ardent devotees play music along the rhythm.

How to Reach Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

  • By air: several domestic airplanes connecting Ahmedabad to Delhi, Bombay, Daman, Pune are available.
  • By rail: It is on the Anand Godhra broad-gauge railway line and so is connected to Nadiad and Godhra by a state highway. So if you are aviling trains they are easily available.
  • By road: if you take the road then the State Transport Bus services connecting Dakor with Nadiad, Ahmedabad, Kapadwanj, Baroda, Bombay and other major cities are available on a regular basis.

Hotels near Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

  • Hotel Arizona Inn on AnandS road,Opp-S.R.Park ,is known for its luxurious rooms and well-suited accommodation. It is a pure vegetarian hotel.
  • Hotel Relax on 3rd floor, Hariba vyapar bhuvan, GPO road is another place that you may find nice to check in.

Places to Visit near Ranchodraiji Temple Dakor

  •  Once you are on your journey as a pilgrim, you might as well visit the Dwarkadhish temple at Dwarka. It is one of the four major pilgrimages for Hindus in India.
  • The Bhidbhanjan temple is a popular place to visit. It is a divine place to pay your visit to Lord Shiva and other Gods and Goddesses. It shows architecture made up of Western influences.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, Mallapuzhassery- The Temple of Festivals

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is a heaven for people seeking peace. Also, Aranmula is famous as the temple village. Lord Krishna is the main deity of the temple. People call the deity as Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy at this temple. Also, Lord Krishna is Lord Vishnu’s another image. There is also a story behind the name of the God. Lord Krishna rode the chariot of warrior Arjuna during a battle. Hence people call Him Parthasarathy. The place is a world heritage site. United Nations has recognized Aranmula as a global heritage site.

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History and Legend of Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

  • As per myth, the temple was originally built near Sabarimala.
  • The famous Tamil classic, Divya Prabandha mentions this temple. This classic dates back to the 6th to the 9th century.
  • This temple is out of 5 temples built by the Pandava brothers in Chengannur. The five temples are Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple built by Yudhishthira, Puliyur Mahavishnu Temple built by Bheema, Aranmula built by Arjuna, Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple built by Nakula and Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu Temple built by Sahadeva. After leaving their capital city, Hastinapur for pilgrimage, the Pandavas arrived at the banks of River Pampa. These temples were built at that time. Every temple has an image of Lord Krishna.
  • As per legends, Arjuna built the temple as a penance of killing Karna. As it is against ethics to kill an unarmed warrior.
  • Also, here Lord Vishnu provided information about creating the world to Lord Brahma. This took place when Madhukaitaka demons stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu also came in front of Vedavyasa here.
  • There is also a story behind the image of Parthasarathy that is present at the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. During the great Mahabharata battle, Arjuna did not want to fight against Bheeshma. Lord Krishna was angry and took up his discus. Seeing this Bheeshma surrendered. This image of Parthasarathy with discus is present at the temple. This pose is the Vishvarupa pose.
  • Another myth states that, the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple image was brought on a raft. The raft was made of six bamboo pieces. Therefore, people call the temple as Aranmula. The word Aranmula means six bamboo pieces.
  • There is also another myth regarding the name. The place derives its name from the word arin villai. This word means a land near the river.
  • Aranmula is popular for its metal mirrors. The story of these mirrors begins from the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. As per myth, once the Travancore king decided to donate a crown to Lord Krishna. He was looking for a crown of rare metal. At this time, he got a rare combination of copper and lead.
  • Also there is a myth regarding the boat race of Aranmula. When Arjuna was returning with Lord Krishna’s image after long penance, there was a huge flood. At this time, he crossed the river on a raft. A low caste Hindu gave him the raft to cross the river. The raft was of six bamboo pieces. This annual boat race commemorates the help of the low caste Hindu.

Significance of the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is important in the Hindu religious history as:

  • It is one of the 108 Vaishnava temples of India. Moreover, the temple is mentioned in the Tamil classics.
  • There is a sub shrine in the temple complex. People worship Lord Balarama in this shrine.
  • The temple shows Kerala construction style. It is similar to the Ettumanor Mahadeva Temple structure. The whole temple is on a raised platform. People need to climb 18 steps to reach the eastern tower. The northern tower is 57 steps high. Sreekovil is the main part of the temple that houses the deity.
  • The base of the central temple is granite while the entire structure is laterite. The conical roof represents terracotta art. There is a kalasam at the temple which is copper.
  • The temple has four towers over its gateways on the outer wall. It has a double storied gopuram. The gopuram is a gateway tower. The upper part has wooden trails. There is a hall on the upper part, the Kottupura. Drum beating takes place during festivals in this hall.
  • The outer wall has places for lamps. These lamps are lit during the festivals. Also, there is a rectangular wall around the temple. This wall protects all the temples which are within the complex.
  • There is a metal flag post in the temple complex. This is the Dwajasthambam which is at the axial to the temple tower. There is also a light post at the temple. It is the Deepastamba.
  • There is an outer pavilion to the temple. It is the Chuttuambalam. The main temple and the hall is within a rectangular structure. This is the Nallambalam. This hall has pillars and corridors. The Namaskara Mandapa is a square platform. The Mandapa roof looks like a pyramid.
  • There are other parts to the temple as well. The kitchen, Thevrapura is at the left of the Namaskara Mandapa. Balithara is the altar used to make offerings to demigods during festivals.
  • The temple is also famous for its mural paintings. These paintings belong to the early 18th century. The doors have paintings of Dwarpalakas. They are the guardian deities.
  • The temple also has beautiful carvings. The carvings show stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. These intricate carvings are present at the pillars. These are wooden and stucco carvings.
  • Besides Lord Krishna, the other deities present at the temple are Sastha, Yakshi, Nagaraja and and Erangavil Bhagavathy Balarama.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple Timings

The temple opens early in the morning and closes during afternoon. It is again open at evening.

  • Morning Hours: 4.00 am to 11.00 am.
  • Evening Hours: 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm.

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple Food Timings

Devotees can get prasadam after the morning Pooja.

Dress Code at Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

The dress code of the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is quite similar to the other temples of the state.

  • Men have to be in dhoti. Shirts or upper clothing has to be deposited at the temple counter before entering the temple.
  • Ladies have to be in traditional dress. Sari, salwar kameez and half sari are some examples.

Festivals celebrated at Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple celebrates Lord Krishna festivals with great pomp and grandeur.

  • Ashtamirohini: This is the birthday of Lord Krishna. The temple celebrates this festival with great pomp and grandeur. A large feast takes place on this date. This feast also has a name, ‘vallasadya.’ It is one of the largest vegetarian feasts of the world. The festival includes 64 types of dishes. The devotees offer the food to Lord Krishna. Besides feasting, the deities are carried around Aranmula on this day. Another important part of the festival is the boat rides. A special boat, Palliyodam sails over River Pampa. These boats look like snakes and many people ride them. This custom of boat race also has a name, Vallam Kali. People worship the boat before the race starts as locals believe these boats are vehicles of Lord Aranmula. People use many types of flowers to worship the boats. 100 rowers take part in the race. Also 25 singers take part in this race. They sing songs as the boats sail on the river. The boats sail in pairs. People also play music. The festival goes on from July to October. This is also the time of Onam festival in Kerala.
  • Procession: A large procession on the Garuda Mount to the Pampa River takes place during the Meenam month. Along with Lord Parthasarathy, Goddess Bhagavathy also participates in the procession. The idol of the goddess comes from the Punnamthode temple.
  • Khandavanadahanam: This festival takes place during Dhanus month. Devotees create an artificial forest at the temple front. People use dried plants, leaves and twigs to make the forest. A bonfire is lit after this. This festival shows the fire that took place at the Khandavana forest. This is also a story from Mahabharata.
  • Fasting: This custom takes place during Thiruvonam. Three Brahmin families in Aranmula fast at this time. Brahmin families from Nedumprayar village also fast at this time. This is a two century old custom. As per myth, one Brahmin vowed to feed one pilgrim every day. Lord Krishna was pleased with the vow. Thus, He came to bless the priest. The Brahmin was very happy and he started to conduct a feast every year. This feast takes place after the boat race.

Poojas and Rituals at Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple

The temple has its own customs, like:

  • Only Thantri and Melshanthi can enter the Sreekovil. Thantri refers to the main priest while Melshanthi refers to the second priest.
  • Thiruvonathoni: This is a famous custom of the temple. The ritual takes place during the Onam festival.

How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air

Aranmula is easily reachable from all parts of the state as it is just 116 km from Trivandrum. Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala.

By Air: The Trivandrum airport is very close to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Kochi International Airport is also a choice for the tourists who want to visit the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Taxis and buses are available from the airport which can directly take the tourists to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Chengannur. Tourists can hire cabs from the railway station. Buses are also available here.

By Road: Besides planes and railways, you can travel to Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple on roads. There are many buses and other transport available which connect the various cities of Kerala to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Chengannur is only 10 km from the temple. Pathanamthitta is 15 km and Pandalam is 14 km from the shrine.

Where to stay

Hotel Allseason, Hotel Santhi Palace, Bessota International Hotel, Club 7 Hotel, CGA Elite Continental and Contour Backwaters are just 21 km from the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. These hotels also have all basic facilities.

Where to eat

There are some good eat outs near the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Favourite, Hotel Aryaas Park, J’ Mart Arabian Restaurant, Khyber Pass Bake & Grill, Union Bakery, Arabian Restaurant and Vensec Kitchens serve delicious food. The eat outs are also clean.

Nearby Temples

Besides the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, this temple village has some other shrines and groves.

  • Pulikkunnumala Mahadeva Temple: This temple is also worth a visit. It is just 4 km from Aranmula. As per myth, this was the worship place for the Pandavas. The Pandavas are the main characters in a great Indian epic. This great epic is Mahabharata. The temple worships Lord Shiva. Kshetra Samrakshana Samiti looks after the temple.

River Pampa flows by Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple and you can spend some relaxing moments sitting on its banks. The village is also famous for its mirrors. These mirrors are metallic. People call these mirrors as Aranmula Kannadi. Hence visiting Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is just not a pilgrimage but a trip to refresh your inner soul.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple- The Dwaraka of South India

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is another temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is situated at Ambalapuzha district. The temple is an abode of serenity. The statue resembles the deity of Parthasarthi. Hence it also comes with a whip in the right hand and a Sankha (sacred conch) on the other. Furthermore, this idol depicts the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Lord Krishna of the age of Mahabharata. The deity is also known by the name of Gopal Krishna. It is made of black granite stone. The especially relevant fact about the temple is that it exhibits Kerala style of architecture. There is also a pond near the temple.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

History and Legend of Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

A visit to the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is a must when you are in Kerala. It is also a heritage of Kerala.

  • The temple was constructed by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. He was the ruler of Ambalapuzha. The temple was built in the 15th – 17th century.
  • As per legends, Lord Krishna once arrived at the court of the ruler of Ambalapuzha. He was in disguise of a sage. Lord Krishna challenged the king in a game of chess. As a winning price the saint asked just for few grains of rice from the king. Lord Krishna demanded amount of rice equal to the chess board. One grain of rice had to be placed on the first square, two in the second square, four in the third square, eight rice grains in the fourth square, sixteen in the fifth square and it would continue till the last square of the board is reached. The king lost the game and as a result he had to give the equal amount of rice to the sage. He started calculating the total quantity of rice and the amount reached millions. It became impossible to provide this gift. Thus the monarch was in a crisis. Finally, Lord Krishna appeared in his true form. He asked the king to serve paal payasam to the worshippers everyday till the debt is paid. Hence the ritual of serving paal payasam started at the temple.
  • There is another myth associated with the introduction of paal payasam as daily offering at the temple. Champakasseri Thampuran (ruler) once borrowed some rice from a brahmin. Thampuran could not repay the rice for a long span of time. The ruler came to visit the temple one day. The Brahmin accosted him. He demanded back the rice. Thampuran asked his minister to repay the debt and left the place. The minister was in a dilemma. As there was not enough paddy in stock to clear the debt. Finally, he managed to collect the required amount from the households. He weighed the paddy in front of the brahmin. The minister asked the brahmin to remove the paddy in one go from the place before the afternoon worship at the temple. As it may disturb the pooja process. He also kept a condition. If the brahmin fails to remove the rice, it will be given to the temple. The rice will be used to feed the poor. This was a conspiracy from the minister’s end. Hence the brahmin could not find even a single porter. Therefore the brahmin was not able to remove the paddy. In the meantime, the shrine closed for its afternoon worship. Hence as per the condition, brahmin donated all the paddy. The paddy was used for making paal payasam. So from this time this golden porridge is distributed among the devotees. The porridge is golden in colour. The paal payasam is popular for the taste.
  • Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar was a renowned architect of Kerala. He spent his youth at Ambalapuzha. There is a mizhavu kept at the temple. The mizhavu was used by the architect. Hence the temple authority has preserved the mizhavu.
  • It is also believed that Thunjathu Ezhuthachan has written his famous work, Adyathtmaka Ramayanam kilipattu at this place.
  • The Champakulam Moolam Snake boat is also associated with the history of this temple.

Significance of the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is important to the religious history of South India. The temple is famous for its impeccable architecture.

  • Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is directly connected to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. The idol of the Guruvayoor temple was kept here during the raid of Tipu Sultan in 1789.
  • The payasam served at the temple is of immense importance to the devotees. It is believed that Guruvayoor himself comes to have the payasam here. There is also a myth that Guruvayoor comes here at the time of Palpayasa Nedyam.
  • Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is also a treasure of rich Kerala paintings. The interior of the temple is adorned with the pictures of Dasavatharam. Dasavatharam refers to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
  • Ottan Thullal was first performed at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. This dance exhibits social issues of Kerala. Kunchan Nambiar is the creator of Ottan Thullal dance. He is also one of the famous poets of Kerala.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Timings

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple opens early like the other South India temples. The temple remains open from 3 am to 12 pm. The temple is again open from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Food Timings

The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is famous for its porridge. The porridge is known as payasam. The devotees get paal payasam everyday here. The porridge is popular by the name of Amabalapuzha Pal Payasam. Devotees can also book the prasada. They can also pay for the prasada through money order.

Guidelines for Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

The temple authority also do not allow photography within the temple complex.

Dress Code at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

There is no specific dress code at the temple. But the temple authority suggests decent dressing.

Festivals celebrated at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Festivals are celebration of life at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. Dances are performed at the festivals. Boat races are also popular here. Hence, every year thousands of pilgrims gather at the temple.

  • Ambalapuzha Temple Festival: Ambalapuzha Temple Festival is another feature. The festival started in the 15th century. The ruler of Travancore, Chembakassery Devanarayana Dynasty started the festival. The rulers decided to bring Lord Krishna idol from the Karinkulam temple. Hence, the festival started from this event. This festival includes shifting the deity from one shrine to another. Chambakulam Moolam water festival is another name for this festival. The celebration takes place every year. The event is on the Moolam day of the Mithuman month. This festival follows Malayalam calendar. The festival is noteworthy for Chundanvallom boat races. Beautiful water floats decorate the water. The visual art forms, Ottan Thullal, Chakiyarkuthu, Krishnanattam and Velakali dance are performed at this festival.
  • Aaraattu Festival: This festival takes place in the Meenam month of Malayalam calendar. This is either March or April. The festival starts with flag hoisting in the Atham star. Also on the Thiruvonam day, Velans perform the Pallipana ritual. Velans are also popular as sorcerers. This festival takes place once in twelve years. Furthermore, cocks are altered at this festivity.
  • Vijayabali: This festival is celebrated every 144 years. Last time Vijayabali was celebrated in 1955.

Poojas and Rituals at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha follows the traditional pooja style of Kerala.

  • Uccha is another feature of the temple. This is an afternoon pooja ritual. Priests offer Palpayasam to  Lord Krishna at this afternoon pooja.
  • Kalabharam is another ritual performed at the temple. This 30000 old ritual is observed as per the Malayalam calendar. Kalabharam takes place in Edava Masam. This month generally falls between May and June.
  • The Pallipana ritual is also very popular. The Velans perform this ritual. Pallipana ritual takes place every twelve years.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

Ambalapuzha is a small town. It is only at 13 km from Alapupuzha town. The place is easily accessible. Tourists can travel by air, railways and roadways.

By Air: The Kochi International Airport is the nearest airport to Ambalapuzha. It is just at 2 hours 30 minutes from the temple. The Trivandrum airport is the second nearest airport. It is only 2 hours 37 minutes from the place. Tourists can also travel from the Bangalore International Airport. Coimbatore and Calicut airports are also near the temple. There are cabs available at the airport.

By Rail: Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is almost 2 kilometres from the railway station. There are also other railway stations nearby. Like, one railway station is at 14 kilometres from the shrine.

By Road: Finally, tourists can reach Ambalapuzha via roadways. It lies near NH 47. The temple is at 1.5 km from the town junction. Local vehicles like auto rickshaws will leave you at the doorsteps of the shrine. Pilgrims can travel to the place via buses. Kerala State Road transport has regular bus service.

Hotels in Ambalapuzha: Where to stay

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is one of the most famous temples of the Alleppey region. There are multiple hotels that have developed here. These hotels provide a comfortable stay to the visitors. Aquabliss offers airconditioned rooms. Tourists can also book houseboats from this hotel. The hotel is located just at 4.6 km from the temple. The Coir Village Lake Resort is another decent hotel. It is just at 7.8 km from the temple. These mid range hotels provide complimentary breakfast. There is also free parking facility. Tourists cab also use the swimming pool. Hotel Bonanza, Hamlet Heaven, Tamarind KTDC Easy hotel, Green Palace Kerala Resort and Kadavil Lakeshore Resort are the other hotels near the temple.

Where to eat

There are multiple food joints near the temple. The Indian Coffee House serves authentic Kerala coffee and cuisines of the state. The Thaff restaurant offers good food at a budget price. Halais Restaurant, Memories, Cassia, Sisir Palace, Café Paradiso Espresso Coffee Bar and Mushroom are some of the other popular eat outs near the temple.

Nearby Temples

Kerala is also a popular pilgrim centre. Hence there are multiple temples near the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple.

  • Chanvara Bhavan: This is the residence of the Kuriakose Elias Chavara. He is a renowned sage of Kerala. His home is considered as a pilgrimage. Finally, this place was transformed into a temple. Hence, at present thousands of devotees gather here. The beacon of light is another interesting aspect of the shrine. The light is preserved here from past 250 years. You can reach the temple only on boats.
  • Chengannur Mahadeva Temple: This temple is at the same district. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the main deities. The temple is famous for the Thripootha Arattu festival.
  • Bhavaneeswara Temple: The temple is at Munnar. This temple is known for its architecture. The most noteworthy feature is, the temple has a special purpose. The temple is open to people from all caste and creed. This shrine is also known for its beautiful Kerala style of architecture. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity.
  • Vaikom Mahadeva Temple: This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. This shrine is one of the oldest temples of the state. The temple is also large. The land spread is massive 8 acres. It is equipped with a courtyard. There are four pillars on four sides of the temple. The temple entrance is made of wood. The sanctum and ceiling are made with stone. A devotee has to pass the six steps to reach the main sanctum. Every step shows the six emotions of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, madha and mathsarya.The Shiva Lingum is located at the main sanctum.
  • Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple, Kerala: Lord Shiva is the main deity here. Also, the Swamyambhu Shiva Lingum established at this shrine has a history.

Hence visit the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple to know the rich history and culture of Kerala. Have fun at the colourful festivals. Most of all, this is considered as one of the five prime Lord Krishna temples of the state.

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple: Abode of Lord Krishna

The Nathdwara Shrinathji temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located in Nathdwara, approximately 48 Km to the north of Udaipur. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple of Rajasthan houses a statue of Lord Krishna, sculpted from a single piece of black marble. Nathdwara, means the gate of God. It is the most renowned pilgrimage in India. Nathdwara is located on the banks of Banas river. There is a beautiful black marble Deity of Lord Krishna, standing with his hand upraised lifting Govardhana Hill. The idol of Shrinathji, sculpted out of one piece of black marble was installed first at the Jatipura temple at Mathura (UP) by Jagatguru Sri Vallabhacharya. This temple is of the great importance as the royal kings of Udaipur pray at this temple and the Maharana is called as the Shriji among the people. There are many services that are rendered by the devotees for the deity that includes cutting vegetables, sweeping the temples, making garlands and even carrying wood.

The image of Shrinathji is worth seeing and feeling the celestial beauty of the God. Lord Shrinathji symbolizes a form of Lord Krishna, when he lifted the ‘Govardhana’ (a hill). Images of two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks and a parrot by the god’s head are imprinted on the idol. People of Vaishnava community come in large numbers to visit this holy pilgrimage. The servant of these temples wear the clothes of the era of the kings and queens and serve Lord krishna as the beloved prince. Due to this reasons this temple is as ‘Haveli’ which means the big mansions of the wealthy merchants. There are beautiful and large paintings of the elephants, horses, maidens and doorkeepers on all the doorways.

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple History

  • During the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the statue of Lord Krishna was moved from Vrindavan to enshrine it at a safe place. However, when the vehicle carrying the statue passed through the particular spot where the temple now is, its wheels got stuck in the mud. The priest accompanying the image interpreted it to be an indication from the Lord himself.
  • It was comprehended that the Lord did not wanted to move any further. Thereafter, the statue was placed in the Lord Krishna temple, Nathdwara along with proper Vedic rites and tradition. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple has three entrances, one (Surajpole) being exclusively for women.
  • One more story about this place is that, Sri Nathji once tore his garment while rushing back to the temple to be on time for darshan. From that day on it has been a custom to blow the conch and then wait several minutes before opening the altar doors. In that way Sri Nathji may return leisurely to his temple from wherever he may be sporting.
  • The servitors of Sri Nathji say that the Deity is the original form of Sri Krishna, known as Nikunja Nayaka, ‘the Lord of the Celestial Power.’ Since this form of Lord Krishna includes all others, his devotees see him both as Sri Radhanathji (the Lord of Radha) and as child Krishna. The Deity is, therefore, sometimes entertained with childish toys like spinning tops and silver animals and sometimes offered a herding stick meant for a cowherd boy.

Significance of the Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

  • The striking idol of Shrinathji gets the major attraction and is actually worth seeing. It receives millions of rupees as offering to the Lord. The Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple authorities possess approximately 500 cows and the milk of these cows, is used for the preparation of sweets and milk products.
  • Among these cows, there is one cow that is considered as Shrinathji’s cow. This cow is believed to have come from the lineage, which served the Lord from ages.
  • Every morning, the veena is played to awaken Srinathji. Classical songs are sung during other jhankis. Shrinathji is royally dressed and fed the purest and richest of foods. Even the water he drinks comes from the Yamuna. Srinathji wears the best of the dresses/jewellery, which are rarely repeated.

Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple Timings

  • Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple is open all days of the week. One can visit the deity for 8 short periods in a day. These short periods are known as Ashtaya and include Mangala, Shrungar, Gwal, Rajbhog, Uthhapan, Bhog, Sandhaya Aarti and Shayan.
  • The timings of the Nathdwara Shrinathi Temple are from 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM in the morning and from 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.
  • The Mangla Aarti is performed from 5:40 AM to 6:20 AM.
  • Shringar Aarti is performed from 7:15 AM to 7:45 AM.
  • From 9:15 AM to 9:30 AM the Gwal Aarti is performed.
  • There is a Rajbhog Aarti from 11:20 AM to 12:05 PM.
  • In the afternoon there is a Uthapan Aarti and Bhog from 3:40 PM to 4:00 PM and 4:30 PM to 4:50 PM respectively.
  • The Aarti Darshan is from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM.

Poojas and Rituals at Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Mangla Darshan: During this Darshan aarti is offered to lord Shrinathji and it is the first darshan of the day. This darshan takes place before the sunrise.

Shringar Darshan: It is the second darshan of the day. In this Darshan, Shrinathji is dressed and different songs and bhajans are sung by the poets to praise the lord.

Gval Darshan: It is the time when Shrinathji takes cows to the field. During this darshan sweets are offered to Shrinathji.

Rajbhog Darshan: It is the fourth darshan of the day and it is the time when delicious food is served to Shrinathji. Along with this Darshan aarti is also performed.

Uthapan Darshan: This darshan is performed at the afternoon when Shrinathji wakes up from his sleep in the noon.

Bhog Darshan: During this darshan fruits and light meal is offered to Shrinathji.

Sandhya Aarti Darshan: This darshan is performed in the evening and it is the time when Shrinathji bring all cows back to their home.

Shayan Darshan: It is the last darshan of the day when Shrinathji go to sleep at the night.

Rules to Follow

There is no entry fee or other money charged to enter the Nathdwara Shrinathji temple. There is no VIP Darshan in the temple but there are different sign boards on the temple premises that one should follow. There are also different announcements that are made at periodic interval.

Festivals celebrated at Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple

Annakutta: Annakutta is a major festival that is celebrated in the temple with full gusto and fervor.  As a part of celebrations 2500 kilo hill rice is offered to the Lord. Then the temple gates are closed. In the evening the gates are opened and people start looting the rice prasad. Diwali is also an important festival here, because it is one day before the Annakutta festival.

Holi: Huge crowds gather from all over the state and beyond. Huge quantities of abil, gulal, and kesudo (white and pink powders and an orange dye) are used. The Lord wakes up early – around 5.30 AM. Shri Nathji plays holi with his temple servants at Rajbhog darshan. Polka dots of pink, orange, yellow and red begin to mark the Lord’s spotless white clothes. Depending on the skill of the priest, they can group these dots to create tie-dye designs, or use the colours in such a way so as to create lines of alternate colour. ShriNathji remains thus attired till he goes to bed. Garland and jewels may be added or removed according to the darshans.

Diwali: One of the major Hindu festivals, it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over the evil, when Lord Rama defeated Ravana and rescued his wife Sita from his custody. It is predominantly a five-day festival, with a number of customs and rituals followed during each day. People prepare themselves for the festival weeks ahead, by decorating the temple premises. Many devotees visit the temple and there are special pujas that are held.

Janmashtami: Janmashtami, is the birthday of lord Krishna which is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. It is believed that lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of lord Krishna on the auspicious day of Janmashtami. The historical background of the birth of lord Krishna depicts the significance of this Hindu festival. Lord Krishna was born at midnight on the eighth day of Hindu lunar month, Shravana. It is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm among the people.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: The nearest airport from Udaipur is Dabok Airport which is about 24 km far away. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways connects Udaipur with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Mumbai.

By Rail: Udaipur is well connected by rail. Western Railways connects Mavli Junction on the meter gauge with direct trains from Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Khandwa. Mavli Junction is 38 km. and Chittorgarh is 110 Km from Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara.

By Road: Udaipur is also connected by road by State Government and Deluxe buses connects Nathdwara with all major tourist station of Rajasthan. City Bus station is 1.5 km from The Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara.

Where to stay

There are many facilities for the accommodation and various Dharmashalas.

Shri Damodar Dham: Rampura, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Dhiraj Dham: Eklingji, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Agrawal Cottage: Rampura, Nathdwara, Rajasthan

Besides there are many other Dharmashalas and hotels such as Bombaywala Dharam shala, Basanti Lal Dharmshala, Bhartiya Guest House, Bombay Cottage, Mandir Mandal, Champa Shambhu Lal Dharmshala, Delwara Wali Dharmshala, Dheeraj Dham, Hotel Hari Darshan, Gopal Niwas Hotel, Ganga Jamuna Hotel, Hotel Jay Shree, Kothari Atithishala, Hotel Krishna Darshan, Krishna Guest House, Khadayata Atithi Bhawan and many more.

Where to eat

Roadside food stalls famous for their yummy, scrumptious and delicious on-the-street food are flooded with people in between darshan timings. Be it vegetarian or non vegetarian, everyone’s hunger needs are looked after here. The thandai and the khaman are the specialties here.

Neelam Dining Hall: Near Bank of Baroda, Gandhi Road, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Maharaja Dining Hall: Eklingji, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Hotel Shrinath Inn:  Near Private Bus Stand, NH-8, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Hotel Vaikunth:  Tehsil Link Road, Kankroli, Nathdwara, Rajasthan 313301

Shri Gopal Krishan Dining Hall: Under Moti Mahal Tower, Nathdwara Ho, Nathdwara

Nearby Temples

Dwarkadheesh Temple: Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the prominent tourist attractions of Nathdwara located in the Kankroli Village. This temple also famous as ‘Kankroli Temple’. Hindu deity Krishna is the sole deity of this beautiful temple. Here the red stone idol of the deity is praise with full devotion and dedication. Dwarkadhish Temple is at the shore of Rajsamand Lake. Nearby Nav Chauki Dam (Kankroli Dam) is also a great place for bird watching.

Charbhuja Temple: Shri Charbhuja temple was constructed near the Gomti river in 1444 A.D. Temple is also known for its unmatched architecture with magnificent mirror work inside the temple. White marble, lime mortar and mirror is used as the construction material for this temple. It’s gold inside shutters and silver outside shutter attracts with stone elephant which are placed on both side of the entrance in the temple.Charbhuja Temple organises a fair every year on Jhaljhoolni Gyaras. It falls on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad i.e. during the months of August-September. The day is celebrated on a grand scale in the temple. The idol of the Lord is taken out for a grand procession.

Vitthalnathji: Shri Vitthalnathji was found in the Ganges river by and ascetic who presented Him to Shri Vallabhacharya. Shri Vitthalnathji is a small golden-colored Svarupa with His hands resting on his hips. He is joined by one Svamini. She always resides on His left. Shri Gusainji explains their divine nature.

MadanMohanji Temple at Nathdwara: Shri Madan Mohan, a small golden colored form of shri Krishna playing the flute is accompanied by his Svamini, (Shri Radha). Shri Madan Mohan appeared during the course of a soma sacrifice that Shri Yajnar narayan Bhatt, Shri Vallabhacharya’s great, great, great-grandfather performed. Shri Madan Mohan currently resided in Kama Rajasthan. Shri Gusainji explains his form and lila. Many visitors and devotees visit this place and this temple is crowded at special occassions.

Keshava Temple

Keshava Temple – Somanathapura

The Keshava Temple of Somanathapura is one of the most famous shrines of Karnataka, situated at the Mysore district. The holy Cauvery River passes by the small village of Somanathapura, while the lush greenery encircling the temple let prayers come deep from your heart at the serene environment.

As you enter the porch of the Keshava Temple, you are no more in modern India. The perfect carvings and well defined sculptures take you back in time when South Indian temple architecture was at its peak. The Keshava Temple is one of the most well preserved temples of the Hoysala reign.

Keshava Temple

History and Legend of Keshava Temple

The glorious history of Karnataka is treasured at the Keshava Temple.

  • The Hoysala Kingdom was one of the most prominent dynasties of South India. Their kingdom ranged from Karnataka, to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. South Indian art and architecture flourished during the reign of the Hoysala dynasty.
  • The Keshava Temple was constructed by General Somanatha of the Hoysala monarch, Narasimha III. The temple hence is also known as the Somanatha Temple.
  • The temple was built during the 1254 – 1291 AD. The inscriptions engraved on a slab outside the temple during 1269 – 1550 AD provide detailed information about the time of construction of the Keshava Temple.
  • It is believed that the Keshava Temple was the last major temple built by the Hoysala dynasty.
  • As per the information of Archaeological Survey of India, the original idol of Lord Keshava went missing and later it was replaced.
  • One of the myths state that the deities were removed from the temple by the Britishers and taken away.

Significance of the Keshava Temple

The Keshava Temple is a must visit for historians and tourists who wish to get back to the golden time of Indian architecture.

  • The Keshava Temple is an epitome of Hoysala architecture. Even the platform of the temple is unique in a star shaped layout. This layout is significant as it is believed that it was used for ‘pradakshina’ that is for circumambulation of the temple, a mandatory ritual of Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • The Keshava temple represents the Trikutchala form. There are three sanctums to the north, south and west of the temple. There are three antaralas and a navarang within the temple.
  • The Keshava temple is known for its fine carvings both at the interiors and exterior walls. Even the ceilings and the doors depict marvellous ornamentation.
  • The ceilings of the Keshava temple depict sixteen different types of Hoysala art and hence are no less than pieces of gems.
  • There is a relief sculpture of Narasimha on the outer wall of the Keshava Temple.
  • The images of Keshava, Venugopala and Janardhana adorn the ceiling of the sanctums and are surrounded by spectacular shikara images.
  • While the central sanctum is dedicated to Lord Keshava, the southern sanctum houses the deity of Lord Venugopala and the northern sanctum has the idol of Lord Janardhana.
  • Some of the fine sculptures found at the Keshava Temple are that of Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati.
  • There are also images of mythological figures and demons within the temple, like that of Rati, Manmatha and Mahisasura.
  • The Keshava Temple was built within a massive enclosure over a raised platform. This shrine comes with sixty four cells.
  • The basement of the outer wall of the exhibits friezes of finely carved elephants, scrolls, scenes from Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana and mythological stories, legends and folklores. All the events are sculpted in a clockwise direction, that is, in the direction of ‘pradakshina.’
  • Visitors can get a vivid picture of the religious beliefs of Hinduism as the images of gods and goddesses along with their vahanas remain frozen at the walls of the Keshava temple.
  • The presence of the line of elephants at the lowest course of the basement is symbolic as it presents that the elephants are carrying the burden of temple on their backs.
  • The battle field of the Hoysala times is depicted by the horse riding soldiers tampering the fallen warriors.
  • The daily life of ancient Karnataka
  • Another important fact about the Keshava temple is that you can get names of some of the sculptors engraved at the pedestals of the sculptures, like that of Mallithamma, Masanathamma, Chameya and Bhameya. From these details it can derived that Mallithamma is sculptor for most of the images and also have constructed the northern shikara of the Janardhana cell.
  • The seven feet tall stone slab which stores inscriptions in Kannada language related to the construction and upkeep of the Keshava Temple is also embellished with intricate cravings.
  • The rock windows of Keshava temple are amazing. While these rock cut windows provide ample amount of sunlight to enter the shrine, the lathe turned pillars characterise the Hoysala temples.
  • The entire temple is cloistered and it is believed that the numerous cells within the temple complex used to have idols of different deities of Hindu religion.
  • The southern colonnade consists of typical lathe tuned pillars while the northern colonnade is a mix of simple and lathe turned pillars. The western colonnade has just one lathe turned pillar and the rest are simple. This is just one asymmetrical flaw that is found in the planned complex of the Keshava Temple.
  • There is a red post box within the temple complex, attached to a large tree. If a visitor posts postcard in the box, it would be stamped with a unique Somanathapura stamp, which is one of its kind in the whole world.

Keshava Temple Timings

  • The temple is open for visitors from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.
  • It is advised to visit the temple during early morning hours as you need to walk throughout the temple bare footed.
  • Winters are the best time to visit the temple to avoid the scorching heat of the sun.
  • If you visit the temple just after the monsoons, you can also check out the enchanting beauty of the nearby Shivanasamudra waterfalls.

Keshava Temple Food Timings

As the Keshava Temple is just a sightseeing spot and is not functional at present, hence there is no arrangement of food or prasada at the temple.

Dress Code

Though there is no particular dress code to enter the Keshava Temple complex, there are restrictions related to footwear. Tourists need to keep their footwear outside the temple complex.

Festivals celebrated at the Keshava Temple

Keshava Temple bears the history of the 12th century Hoysala kingdom and it is no more used for worship. Hence at present there are no festivals that take place at this temple complex.

Poojas and Rituals at Keshava Temple

The Keshava Temple is a major sightseeing place at Karnataka. Worship of the deities does not take place here and hence visitors have no scope to witness any rituals and pooja at this temple complex.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: The Bangalore international airport is the nearest airport to Somanathapura.

By Train: the nearest railway station to the Keshava Temple is the Mysore rail head. You can get frequent trains from Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi to Mysore. From Mysore railway station tourists can avail taxis to the Keshava Temple.

By Road: By road the Keshava temple is almost 2 hrs from Bangalore, lying at 180 km from the capital city. You can avail taxis to get to the site. The Maddur- Malavalli- Bannur- Somnathapura road is the best way to reach the Keshava Temple. Tourists travelling by road are advised to take the Malavalli road from Maddur, then a right turn from the Malavalli City Junction that goes towards Bannur. From the main junction at Bannur, a left turn takes the visitors to the temple.

Tourists can also opt for the Bangalore- Mysore road and take a diversion Srirangapatana bridge. The Keshava Temple is approximately 50 km from the district headquarters of Mysore. There are a number of private buses that ply between Mysore and Somnathapura, but it is advisable to visit the place via private cars as you have many sites to visit around the Keshava Temple.

Hotels in Somanathapura: Where to stay

Accommodation facilities are not available at Somanathapura. Tourists are suggested to stay at Bangalore or Mysore. United 21, Mysore, Regaalis Mysore, Hotel Dasaprakash, Mannars Residency, the Quorum, Royal Orchid Metropole are some of popular hotels located near the Keshava Temple. From budget to premium rooms, all types of rooms are available here.

Where to eat

There are no such restaurants near the Keshava temple. Tourists can have coffee, tea and cold drinks at a nearby canteen. Restaurants are available near T Narsipura. If you are travelling by road, you will also find some eateries on the Mysore road, serving authentic South Indian cuisines.

Nearby Temples

The district of Mysore is known for its quaint villages, each one treasuring a marvellous temple. Some of the nearby temples that you can check out on the way to the Keshava temple are:

  • Chennakesava Temple, Belur: One of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture, the Chennakesava Temple is located near to the Keshava Temple. Life seems to be frozen in the stone sculptures of gods, goddesses and mythological figures of this shrine.
  • Nanjanagudu: Lying on the banks of River Kapila, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is historically important as it is believed that the Shiva Lingum of the temple was placed by the famous Rishi Gauthama and was also worshipped by Parashurama when he was on his journey to cleanse his sin of killing his mother.
  • Talkadu– Located at 25 km from Somanathapura, this place lies at the banks of River Cauvery. Lord Shiva in the form of Vaidyanatheswara is worshipped here. The place is also famous for its sand dunes. It is believed that several temples are still buried under the sand dunes. Some of the famous temples found here are the Pateleshwara Temple, Viadeyshwara Temple, Maruleshwara, Kritinarayana, Gourishankara and Anandeshwara Temples. An interesting fact is that the Shiva Lingum of Pateleshwara Temple changes colour; it is red in the morning, black in the afternoon and white in the evening.
  • Sri Rudra Devasthana, Vijayapura: This temple is known to fulfil the good desires of the devotees and numerous pilgrims visit the temple every year to attain salvation, wealth, cure diseases and gain knowledge. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Sri Varadaraja Temple, Hammige: Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple comes with a rich history.
  • Tirumakudal Narasipura: Located at the Mysore district, this site is famous for Kumbhmela at South India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is worshipped in the form of two Shiva Lingums, Someshwara and Markandeshwara.
  • Vishvanatha Temple, Krishnapura: This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also consists of a chapel near it. Hence this quaint, ebony tree fringed village quietly preaches the message of unity among diversity. The place also has the Krishnapur Matha, one of the eight mathas established by Sri Madhavacharya, one of the famous Dvaita philosophers.
  • Ranganatha Temple, Sriranga Patna: Located at the Mysore district, this temple was built by the Ganga dynasty of the Vaishnavite cult. The temple showcases a blended architectural style of Hoysala and Vijaynagara temple designs.

Hence visit Keshava temple this vacation to witness how stone gained life in the expert hands of Indian artisans during the golden days of Indian architecture.

Iskcon Temple

Iskcon Temple, Delhi

‘Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathy Temple’ also known as ‘Hare Krishna Temple’ or the ‘Iskcon Temple’ built by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness – popularly known as ISKCON or ‘Hare Krishna Movement’ – belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradāya, one of the various traditions of the Hindu culture. Philosophically, this tradition is based on the Sanskrit texts Bhagavad-gītā, and the Bhagavat Purana or Srimad Bhagavatam. These historic texts fall under the ‘bhakti yoga’ tradition, literally meaning ‘devotional discipline’. They teach that the ultimate goal for all living beings is to reawaken their love for God, particularly God Krishna – the “all-attractive one”, through devotion, prayer, and meditation. Iskcon Temple was established in India in the year 1998 in Delhi.

One of the 40 temples built by the Society, it is situated in Sant Nagar area in south Delhi. Iskcon Temple has three shrines dedicated to Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, and Guara-Nitai. It has an air-conditioned hall that can accommodate as many as 1,500 people at a time. During the months of Saawan (July–August) and Kartik (October–November), the temple is decorated with fresh flowers. The air is thick with spiritual discourses and chants, enhancing the divine atmosphere, thus propagating the devotion to God.

ISKCON Temple complex consists of the Temple, Museum of Vedic Culture, Center for Vedic Studies, Vedic Center for the Performing Arts, Asrama, and Krishna Jayanti Park. ISKCON welcomes anybody and everybody from devotees to those who want to learn the essence of the Vedas.

Iskcon-New-Delhi-Sita-Rama-Laxman-Hanuman

Iskcon Temple History

  • ISKCON was first established in New York City by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda in 1966.
  • In India, in Delhi, it was established in 1988 by Gopala Krishna Goswami who served Srila Prabhupada in the States.
  • After several attempts to get land in Delhi, finally, in 1982 the government sanctioned land for the establishment of this “educational and cultural project.” The project was titled ‘Glory of India Vedic Cultural Center.’
  • Shri A.P.Khanvinde, the recipient of the Padma Shri in 1974, was the principal architect of ISKCON Delhi.
  • Since then, it has established itself as a great religious center of Hindus, especially the people of Vaishnava tradition and the devotees God Krishna.

Significance of the Iskcon Temple

  • The vision of the project is to create an institution that will inspire people to dedicate their lives to the teachings of God Sri Krishna. And in keeping with this theme, the Glory of India museum and exhibition present highlights from the ancient and medieval texts, such as Mahabharata, Ramayana, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Caitanya-caritamrta.
  • Iskcon Temple architecture is a combination of the design of six-eight hundred-year-old temples and present day technology.
  • The purpose of ISKCON is to serveas a center for India’s greatest glory – Vedic knowledge and culture.
  • God is known across the world by many names including Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Rama, etc. ISKCON devotees chant God’s names in the form of the maha-mantra or the great prayer: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
  • Members of ISKCON practice bhakti-yoga in their homes and also worship in temples. They also promote bhakti-yoga, or Krishna Consciousness, through festivals, the performing arts, yoga seminars, public chanting, and the distribution of the society’s literature.

Poojas and Rituals of Iskcon Temple

  • Harinama Sankirtana – A procession of devotees are seen dancing and chanting the Harinama-sankirtana (the congregational chanting of the holy names of the God) on the streets, the maha-mantra “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” accompanied by Mridangas (two-headed drums) and Karatalas (hand cymbals).
  • Aratis – Arati at various specific times of the day with the chanting of the God’s name is offered to the deities in the presence and participation of the devotees daily.
  • Bhakti Yoga – ‘Bhakti’ means to offer themselves to God with love and devotion. The Sanskrit root of the word bhakti is bhaj, which means ‘loving service.’ ISKCON promotes ‘Mantra Mediation’ as one of the key practices of a bhakti yogi. This is done through japa (quiet chanting on beads) and kirtan (musical chanting of Hymns in groups). It is believed that the human being’s connection and relationship with Krishna are developed through the chanting of the maha-mantra; the chanting cleansing the heart, calming the mind, and inspiring a life of purpose and meaning.

Activities at Iskcon Temple

The Society believes in serving God through serving mankind. It organizes many programmes in this regard.

  • ‘Food for life’–Relief Programme – It is a free food distribution programme, which provides vegetarian meals for everyone. Every day ISKCON distributes prasad to more than seven thousand visitors. During Festivals and Sundays, it is distributed to around 10,000 people. ISKCON devotees and volunteers also go to old-age homes and orphanages to help the residents by distributing prasad. In addition to regular distribution in low-income areas, Food for Life has provided aid during several catastrophic emergencies worldwide.
  • Prison programmes – ISKCON has been tending to the spiritual needs of Prison inmates all over the world for over 30 years. A widely appreciated programme by the Prison officials and the inmates, this programme has helped transform the lives of many individuals. The ISKCON Prison Programmes in ‘Tihar Jail’ offer several services such as spiritual counseling and guidance, the Art of Mind control seminars, providing literature which teaches about living a holistic life, and Japa
  • Corporate Seminars – Through its corporate training wing V-SERVE, ISKCON Delhi reaches out to the professionals to help them in leading a better and holistic life. V-SERVE strives to bring ethics and spiritual values into the workplace with ‘Life Style Management Techniques’ and ‘Transformation in Consciousness through Behavioral Training’ seminars, workshops, and Experiential Learning which leads to:
  • Increased productivity.
  • Employee retention, interpersonal relationships and team bonding,
  • Role clarity and employee engagement.
  • Personal Management: Stress Management , Anger Management, Work-Life Balance
  • Relationship Management: Conflict Resolution, The Art of Delegation, Team Work, Effective Communication, Ethical Leadership
  • Inner-Self Management: Embracing Change, MAP – Mental Awarenes Program, Wellness, Morality

ISKCON members have also opened hospitals, schools, colleges, eco-villages, free food distribution projects, and other institutions as a practical application of the path of devotional yoga.

Special activities and projects such as dramas, exhibitions, workshops, community projects and cultural presentations — by volunteers — are shared with the community and the general public.

Festivals Celebrated at Iskcon Temple

Festivals are a vital part of community life at ISKCON Delhi, involving large numbers of volunteers.

  • Gaura Purnima – It is the appearance anniversary of God Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) who is Radha and Krishna combined. On this a full-moon day, everyone fasts till moonrise, and devotees visit the temple to see the Deities of the God. The devotees present dramas and lectures about Lord Chaitanya’s activities. The idols of Gaura-Nitai are adorned with new clothes, and the devotees engage in extra Kirtan (Hymns). At moonrise, a prasad feast (sanctified vegetarian food) is served.
  • Ramnavami – Ramnavami observes the birth of God Rama, and is one of the most auspicious days in the Vaisnava calendar. At ISKCON Delhi, celebrations include special decorations, drama, and discussion of God Rama’s pastimes and a ‘Hari Nama’ chanting procession in the surrounding areas. The day also includes Maha Abhishek, the drama by Vaikuntha Players, Lectures on God Rama, and a feast for all the devotees.
  • Sri Krishna Janmashtami – The auspicious day of the appearance of God Krishna is celebrated as Sri Krishna Janmashtami. ISKCON Delhi is reputed to celebrate one of the largest Janmashtami celebrations of its kind. The festivities last for 12 days beginning with a Srimad Bhagavat Katha for a week, followed by a Shobha yatra (procession outside the temple).
  • Radhashtami – It is the celebration day of Srimati Radharani’s appearance. Radharani is the consort of Krishna. She appeared to Vrishabhanu Maharaj (her father) in the village of Rawal, a fortnight after Krishna’s appearance. Radharani is the best devotee of Krishna; Krishna, therefore, loves her the most. On the festival day, devotees seeking Krishna’s grace will ask her to grant them devotion to her beloved God. On Radhastami, Sri Radha-Krishna idols are traditionally dressed entirely in flowers. Sri  Radha Parthasarathi is adorned in a new outfit in the morning and a flower outfit in the evening. Abhishek is performed at noon.
  • Jagannath Rath Yatra – The pulling of Rath (chariot) during the Rath-yatra procession by the devotees symbolizes the attempt of the residents of Vrindavan, especially the cowherd boys and girls, to bring Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra back to Vrindavan, near Mathura, UP from Kurukshetra. ISKCON Delhi celebrates Rath yatra annually around October/November. The festivities include the Rath yatra parade, offering of Chappan bhoga (56 foodstuffs), spiritual discourses, and a spiritual and cultural festival.
  • Nauka Vihar (Boat Festival) – Every year in summer, the devotees at ISKCON Delhi celebrate the boat festival of their Gods. This festival is connected to the pastimes of God Krishna and Srimati Radharani, who along with their friends would enjoy boat rides on the river Yamuna in the summers. Devotees in the temple decorate the Kailya Krishna pond with a flower bed. The Gods are then requested to come down to the pond while being accompanied by sankirtan (Hymns). The idols are then taken around the pond on a boat while thousands of devotees shower flowers and chant the Gods’ name.

Iskcon Temple Timings

Iskcon Temple is open on all days of the week. The temple schedule is as follows

Programme Time
Mangala Arati 4.30am
Japa (Mantra) Meditation 5.15am
Darshan Arati 7.15am
Guru Pooja 7.30am
Srimad Bhagavatam Discourse 8.00am
Raj Bhog Arati 12.30pm
Usthapana Arati 4.15pm
Sandhya Arati 7.00pm
Bhagavad Gita Discourse 8.00pm
Sayana Arati 8.30pm
Temple Hall Closes 9.00pm

The main Iskcon Temple hall is closed between 1 pm and 4 pm.

Cafeteria: Lunch – 12.00pm to 3.30pm & Dinner – 7.00pm to 10.00pm

Where to Eat

The Society operates a Govinda’s cafeteria, serves pure vegetarian (Saatvik) meals which are first offered to God Krishna. It offers 18 varieties of preparations for lunch and dinner.

Where to Stay

ISKCON operates a guest house in the temple complex with cozy and well-ventilated rooms on one-month prior booking.

Also, there are several lodgings in Sant Nagar around the temple area.

How to Reach

Sant Nagar is an area in south Delhi which is very well connected with the rest of the city.

By Air: ISKCON Sant Nagar is 20 km from the New Delhi international airport and can be reached using pre-paid taxis, metro train, and DTC Shuttle buses all of which are available right at the arrival terminal.

By Train: Metro –The Nehru Place metro station is the closest to the temple and is just a 5-minute walk. The alternate option would be ‘Kailash Colony’ Station

Railways – ISKCON Sant Nagar is 5 km from the Nizamuddin railway station and 12 km from the New Delhi railway station. Both of them offer auto-rickshaws, taxi, public bus service and Metro train to commute.

By Road: Several state government run buses and taxis operate round the city which transports to Sant Nagar area.

Nearby Attractions

Delhi is a city with rich history housing several monuments and temples with great cultural and political significance. Below are some of the places which are nearby Sant Nagar.

  • Lotus Temple – Bahá’í Temple, popularly known as the Lotus Temple is a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture which was designed by Fariburz Sabha, a Canadian Bahá’í of Iranian descent. Built between 1980 and 1986, it is the latest among the seven Bahá’í temples across the world. Shaped akin to a half-open lotus, light and water have been used as fundamental elements of design of this house of worship. Set among sprawling green lawns, the petals of the grand lotus are surrounded by nine pools that represent floating leaves. The Lotus Temple is conducive to meditation. There are no priests, idols, pictures, sermons or rituals. Religious discrimination does not exist here as its symbol, the lotus, connotes peace, purity and a manifestation of God. It is open to all free of cost from 9am to 7pm, six days a week except for Mondays.
  • Kalkaji Temple – Built in the mid-18th century, Kalkaji temple/Mandir is a renowned temple dedicated to Kalka Devi or Goddess Kali. Certain changes and additions were made to the temple in mid-19th century by Raja Kedarnath, treasurer of Emperor Akbar II. The whole temple is built using white marble and granite. In the sanctum sanctorum is the stone that represents Goddess Kali, housed in a 12-sided structure. There are many Dharmashalas (rest houses) in the vicinity of the temple, built with donations of devotees. The temple is open to devotees from 6am to 10pm every day.
  • Jahanpanah – Jahanpanah was the fourth medieval city of Delhi established by Muhammad bin Tughlaq in AD 1326–27. The reminders of the city lie in Begumpuri Mosque and Bijay Mandal. Built by Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah in the 12th century, Begumpuri Mosque was not just a place of worship, but also a social and communal hub. It was built almost entirely of a combination of grey Delhi quartzite and mortar, covered with lime plaster. Bijay Mandal was possibly the thousand-pillared palace of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. There is a huge wall standing on a large platform with a pavilion at the top. On one side of the structure is a dome-shaped building. One gets a spectacular view of the city from the top of the octagonal pavilion.
  • Moth ki Masjid – Also known as ‘Masjid Moth’ it was constructed in the early 16th century by Miyan Bhuwa, a minister during the rule of Sikandar Lodi. An exceptional amalgam of Hindu and Islamic styles, this type of Indo-Islamic architecture was developed in the Indian subcontinent subsequent to the advent of Muslim rule. According to legend, Miyan Bhuwa built this mosque from the revenue earned by producing a large crop from a single grain of moth (tepary bean) presented to him by Sikandar Lodi. Masjid Moth is different from traditional mosques as it does not have the typical minarets and calligraphic decorations. It is open to visitors daily from Sunrise to Sunset.

Deo Krishna Mandir

Deo Krishna Mandir, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

The world famous holy city of Mathura situated on the banks of the sacred River Yamuna is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, just 50 km from Agra. The city is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and is popularly known as Krishna Janmabhoomi (Deo Krishna Mandir).

The region of Mathura and surrounding areas were called Brij Mandal or Vraj Mandal. This area included Madhuvan, Kumudvan, Vrindavan, Gokul, Govardhan, Nandagram, Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Prem Sarovar. The town of Vrindavan is located 15 km from Mathura. This area used to be the forests where Lord Krishna used to spend his childhood days doing mischief and slaying demons.

Deo Krishna Mandir is one of the most sacred sites as per the beliefs of Hinduism. The site on which the shrine has been constructed is believed to be the exact spot where Lord Vishnu manifested himself as the eighth avatar of Lord Krishna. During the excavation of the 1500-year-old temple that was damaged by Aurangzeb, it was found that the actual Sanctum or the Garbhagriha was intact and buried under the debris from the temple demolition. The Grabhagrih is believed to be the actual place where Lord Krishna took birth. Next to the prison cell, a shrine is dedicated to the Ashtabhuja form of Yogmaya (Goddess Durga) who appeared to Kansa to warn him about his dismal future.

Apart from the Grabhagriha, Deo Krishna Mandir complex also is the site of the Keshavdeva Temple. The shrine is dedicated to the long haired form of Lord Krishna. Deo Krishna Mandir was built by Seth Ramkrishnaji Dalmia in the 1950’s at the same site where the ruins of the earlier Keshav Deo temple were found. Deo Krishna Mandir complex also consists of the Bhagavata Bhawan which is comprised of five main temples.

The city of Mathura is protected by four Shiva Temples in the four cardinal directions – The Rangeshwar temple in the South, the Bhuteshwar Temple in the West, the Pipaleshwara Temple in the East and the Gokarneshwara Temple in the North.

Deo Krishna Mandir 2

History and Legends of the Deo Krishna Mandir

  • The oldest mention of Mathura can be traced back to the age of the epic Ramayana. Shatrughna, youngest brother of Lord Rama (Lord Vishnu’s seventh avatar) slew the demon King of Mathura, Lavanasura was the nephew of Ravana. The place where the event takes place was named Madhupura and eventually Mathura.
  • In the Dwapara Yuga, around 3000 BC, Mathura was an important settlement ruled by the Yadava Dynasty. King Ugrasena and his Queen Padmavati were ruling Mathura during the golden period. However, his kingdom was usurped by his devious foster son Kamsa or Kansa who was the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna. He was a cruel ruler under whose rule; people were tortured for minor issues and punished excessively. It was prophesized that the eighth son of his sister Devaki will be the end of him. As a result, he tried several times to kill her. However, to save Devaki, her husband promised Kansa that he will hand over his newborn children to him in exchange for her life.
  • Kansa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudev and mercilessly killed their six newborn children. Prior to the birth of the seventh child, Lord Vishnu requested Yogmaya (Goddess Durga is also known as Narayani, Ambika, and Vaishnavi) to transport the embryo from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini, who was Vasudev’s second wife in Gokul. He also requested Yogmaya to take birth from the womb of Yashoda in Gokul. Yogmaya agreed to the proposal and accordingly transferred the seventh embryo from Devaki to Rohini and she herself took birth as a girl in Ma Yashoda’s household. The seventh son born to Rohini was named Balram, Lord Krishna’s elder brother.
  • Lord Vishnu took birth as the eighth son of Devaki. Yogmaya entranced the jail guides taking advantage of which, Vasudeva carried baby Krishna across the raging River Yamuna to the house of Nand and Yashoda in Gokul. He brought back the baby girl from their house to the jail. When Kansa came to kill the newborn child, the girl transformed into fierce eighth handed form of Yogmaya and warned Kansa that the eighth child who will kill him has been born in Gokul.
  • The life of young Krishna in Gokul and Vrindavan is well documented and a stuff of legends. He was the mischievous kid who loved butter and played divine flute music. People loved him instantly and he became the apple of the eye of the Braj Bhoomi. His Rasleelas with Gopis (village girls)are legendary and he is often associated with the God who spread the love. He also slew several demons during his stay at Gokul which made him popular and people started considering him as a divine soul.
  • After the end of Mahabharatha and the start of Kaliyuga, the scriptures don’t mention much about the fate of Mathura and surrounding areas. However, Jain and Buddhist texts dated 6th century BC mention that the area around Mathura was often visited by Vardhamana Mahavira and Gautam Buddha.
  • The city of Mathura was an important trade center for not just Indians but also to traders from nearby countries.
  • The indigenous art form of Mathura gained international fame and recognition under the reign of the Kushanas. This form of Art is recognized in present times as the Mathura School of Art. King Kanishka ordered the construction of several monasteries and sculptures relating to Buddhism in the area.
  • The period between 400 AD to 650 AD has been documented by several travelers like Fa-Hsien and Hieun Tsiang who concluded that both Buddhism and Hinduism flourished in the prosperous city. The city was economically well off and the societal structure was just and accommodating to travelers. Hieun TSiang also mentioned five large temples, twenty large monasteries, several Stupas and thousands of Monks and Priests walking the streets.
  • The first major invasion of Mathura occurred in 1015 AD by Mahmud Ghazni. The city and its treasures were plundered. Temples and Monasteries were completely destroyed and its precious sculptures and idols were stolen. The new Temple that came up in its place was destroyed again by Sikander Lodi, 300 years later.
  • However, during the reign of Akbar, Deo Krishna Mandir was restored again. European travelers like Francois Bernier and Jean Baptiste Tavernier have documented a giant and marvelous temple which was visible from s distance of approximately six miles.
  • The magnificent temple was again razed to the ground by Aurangzeb in the month of Ramazan in 1669. On his orders, a mosque at the place was constructed using the materials of the Temple. These materials can still be seen today. After the fall of Aurangzeb, the Rajputs, and the Marathas restored the former glory of the city.
  • Under the British rule, Mathura was finally restored to its former glory and was considered as a pilgrimage site.

Significance of the Deo Krishna Mandir

  • The Garuda Purana mentions the region of Mathura is a part of the seven Moksha Puris or the Sapta Puris considered extremely sacred in Hindu religion. The other six cities are Ayodhya, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, and Dwarka. Mathura is one of the holiest lands on Earth. It is the land of Krishna, one of the most loved Gods in Hinduism.
  • It is believed that a Parikrama or circumambulation of Vrindavan washes all the sins accumulated by the person over his or her previous births. The whole Brij Mandal including Mathura and Vrindavan is sprinkled with places relating to legends of Lord Krishna.
  • The idols of the deities of the Bhagavad Bhawan are all unique. The idols of Radha-Krishna are six feet high. The idols of Sri Jagannath, Subhadra and Balram are made using the same wood (Nimba Kashtha) that was used to make the idol of Lord Jagannath at Puri, Odisha. Lord Keshveshwar (Lord Shiva) is worshiped in the form of a Linga. The Linga is made of Mercury mixed with herbal extracts making it one of a kind in the world.
  • Inside Deo Krishna Mandir complex, the Gocharan Leela Darshan (life-size tableaux representing Krishna interacting with cows) and the tableaux representing Rasleelas of Krishna are a must visit for any devotee.
  • The city has been chosen as one of the heritage sites for HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of the Government of India. Under this scheme, 12 ancient cities of importance have been identified from different parts of the country. The heritage sites at these places like temples, ghats, and other monuments will be developed and equipped with better sanitation facilities, roads, and public transport, parking and information kiosks.
  • The town of Vrindavan is also known as the city of widows. The widows of the region leave their households and reach Vrindavan to spend the rest of their lives in dedication to God.
  • A holy dip at the Vishram ghat near the temple is believed to be taking a dip in the three holy Rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati at Prayag. The Bengali ghat is believed to be the place where Vasudeva crossed the Yamuna with baby Krishna to reach Gokul on the other side.

Deo Krishna Mandir Timings

  • Deo Krishna Mandir opens at 5 AM and closes at 9:30 PM in summer. Deo Krishna Mandir remains closed during 12 PM to 4 PM in the afternoon. The Garbhagriha remains open from 5 AM to 9:30 PM.
  • Deo Krishna Mandir opens at 5:30 AM and closes at 8:30 PM in winter. Deo Krishna Mandir remains closed during 12 PM to 3 PM. The Garbhagriha remains open from 5:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

Dress Code

Deo Krishna Mandir administration does not mention any specific dress code but it is recommended that one wears decent clothes that cover one’s legs and arms.

Poojas and Rituals at Deo Krishna Mandir

  • Akhand Sankirtan – In the first floor complex of the Bhagavata Bhavan, an uninterrupted recital of the Akhand Harinaam Sankirtan has been going on since 1982.
  • Yamuna Aarti – The spiritual experience of conducting an Aarti in the evening on the banks of River Yamuna at Vishram Ghat is a must-see for any devotee. The participating devotees light small lamps and let them flow in the Yamuna as a tribute to the River as well as the sanctity of the place.
  • Nava Graha Pooja – The Pooja is performed for devotees who want o remove the ill-effects of placement of planets in their horoscope. It helps in removing obstacles from achieving the goal.
  • Gopal Sahasra Naam Path – The Lord is worshiped by reciting his 1008 names and singing chants praising him on behalf of the devotee
  • Rudrabhishek and Mahamrityunjaya Path – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshiped as fire or Rudra. The puja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences. The Mondays of the month,are considered as ideal for performing the Pooja.
  • Poshak Seva – The Seva includes dressing up Lord Krishna in beautiful attire and dedicating the day’s rituals to him on behalf of the devotee.
  • Phool Bangla – The Seva includes decorating the temple and the deity with flowers and worshiping the Lord on behalf of the deity.
  • Bhog Seva – Several types of Bhogs (food offerings) can be dedicated to the Lord such as the Baal Bhog, Raj Bhog, Uthapan Bhog and the Phal Bhog with Shayan Bhog.

Festivals celebrated at the Deo Krishna Mandir

  • Sri Krishna Janmashtami – The auspicious Ashtami (eighth day) of the Krishna Paksha of the Shravan month (August – September) is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna was born at Mathura. It is widely celebrated all over the country. However, the celebration at Mathura occurs on an unprecedented grand scale. All the temples of Mathura and other regions of the Braj Bhoomi are decorated with immense love and devotion. Various musical programs are organized at the Temple premises. Bhajans and Kirtans are sung the whole day till midnight by devotees who observe fast on the day. The idol of Lord Krishna is decorated in the form of a young infant and kept on a swing. At midnight, the idol is bathed with milk and curd and then placed in the cradle. It is a belief that any genuine wish of the devotee will be fulfilled if made during the rocking of the cradle. After the midnight Pooja (it is believed that Lord was born at midnight), Panchamrit is distributed to the devotees who then break their fast. The lord is offered “Chhappan Bhog” or 56 types of dishes for the special day.
  • Holi – The festival of colors is celebrated in the month of Phagun or March. The Lathamar Holi is celebrated at the Krishna Janmabhoomi with great fanfare and dedication. The day starts with colorful presentations of the importance and the significance of the festival. It is believed that Holi was the favorite festival of Lord Krishna, several cultural programs like Dance, Dramas, and Tableaux presentations continue throughout the day. The whole temple is decorated with Gulal (powdered color) and flower petals.
  • Basant Panchami – The grand festival is celebrated in the month of Magha (January – February). The occasion marks the onset of spring season. On this special day, Lord Krishna is dressed up in yellow (Yellow or Saffron denotes good harvest and spring in Hinduism). The whole temple complex is decorated with yellow flowers and sheets of cloth. The Bhog or the offerings to the Lord also consists of Kheer that is laden with Saffron imparting a slight yellowish tinge. The Saraswati Pooja is also performed on this day as it is believed to be Goddess Saraswati’s birthday. The traditional “Holika” is also set up on this day marking the beginning of the preparations for Holi.
  • Jagannath Rath Yatra – The annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra, and Goddess Subhadra is conducted during the month of June-July. The idols of the deities are kept on a decorated chariot and are taken around the city amongst chanting of shlokas and bhajans. Thousands of people gather round the path which the Rath takes to have a glimpse of their favorite God. After the Yatra, the Rath reaches the Janmabhoomi at about 9 PM. The Sadhus are then given Dakshina and a Bhandara is organized for the devotees. The Bhandara marks the end of the celebrations.
  • Besides these festivals, Radhashtami, Goverdhan Pooja, Mahashivaratri, Deepavali, Bhai Duj, and Gopashtami are also celebrated with great spiritual dedication.

How to reach Mathura

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Agra Domestic Airport at a distance of 50 km. It connects Mathura to cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, and Khajuraho. However, better connectivity is provided by the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi located about 150 km from Mathura. The Airport is well connected to all major cities in the country as well as important international destinations. One can board a bus or a taxi from the airport.
  • By Train – Mathura Junction is the railway station that connects the holy city to other major cities in India. Trains connect Mathura to all major cities in India like New Delhi, Jammu, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Jaipur, Vizag, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Panaji, Bhopal, Haridwar, Khajuraho, Pune, and Chandigarh.
  • By Road – The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation operated buses from all major towns and cities in UP as well as from neighboring states like Delhi and Uttarakhand. Apart from the buses, the National Highway 2 connects nearby towns and cities to Mathura. However, the newly constructed 6-lane Yamuna Expressway that connects Delhi to Agra is the fastest way to reach Mathura by road.

Where to stay

The Sri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan runs a rest house with basic modern facilities within the Temple Complex. The rooms are rented out to Sadhus and devotees at nominal rates.

The city of Mathura is well developed and hosts a large number of hotels that cater to various budgets. Some of the luxury hotels are Hotel Brijwasi Royal, Hotel Country Inn, and the Brijwasi Palace. The well-known budget hotels are Hotel Keshav Palace, Hotel Ganga Palace, and the Yamuna Dham. A number of lodges have come up in Mathura that provides reasonable accommodation to tourists and pilgrims.

Where to eat

The cuisine of Mathura is unique and any visitor to this bustling city must try to the local delicacies. Mathura is famous for its sweets and Lassis. The Kulhad (Earthern pot) Malai Lassi is a delicacy that one must taste when visiting the city. Thandai, Bhang Thandai, Paan, Dal Vati, Chana Chidwa, Mathura Petha, Ghewar, and Faini are some of the mouth-watering vegetarian delicacies that one must have at the local shops and hotels. Some of the popular hotels for this type of local cuisine are Brijwasi Mithaiwala, Sri Nath Ji Bhandar, and Shankar Mithai Wala.

Nearby Temples

  • Dwarkadhish Temple – The Temple was constructed in 1814 and is one of the most popular temples in Mathura. The presiding deity of the shrine is Lord Krishna. The Temple is architecturally wonderful and is a visual treat to the devotees. Every year, the festival of Jhulan Yatra is celebrated at the temple with great excitement and devotion.
  • Gita Mandir – The beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is situated 5 km from Mathura on the road connecting the city to Vrindavan. The Temple complex has been constructed by the Industrial family of Birlas. The temple is made of white marble. The unique feature of this shrine is that the whole text of the Bhagavad Gita is inscribed finely on the walls of the Temple.
  • Prem Mandir, Vrindavan – The religious complex is situated on the outskirts of Vrindavan. The presiding deities of the Temple are Sri Radha Govind and Sri Sita Ram. The construction of this shrine was completed in 2012. The structure is made of pure marble with sculptures and inscriptions depicting the important events in Lord Krishna’s life.
  • Sri Banke Bihari Ji Temple – The Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is situated at Vrindavan. Bankey means “bent at three places” and Bihari means “enjoyer”. The image of Lord Krishna is in a Tribhanga pose. The body is curved at three positions in the body – neck, waist and the knee. The temple dates back to 1862. The original temple was established by Swami Haridas, Guru of the famous singer Tulsidas. It is believed that the idol of the Temple was given to him by Lord Krishna himself.
  • Vishram Ghat – This Ghat is one of the most important Ghat to be visited in Mathura. According to the legend, Lord Krishna rested here for some time after killing his evil uncle Kansa. It is considered sacred to take a dip in River Yamuna
  • Besides these Temples, several grand temples can be visited such as Govinda Dev Temple, Radha-Gopinath Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Sri Ranganatha Temple, and the Radha Vallabha Temple.

Chennakesava Temple

Sri Chennakeshava Swamy Temple

Chennakesava Temple originally referred to as Vijayanarayana temple also contributes to one of the most magnificent and well-known temples of the south and thousands of pilgrims and visitors have the propensity to visit this holy temple on a regular basis. Located in Belur, this temple is considered to be one of the most outstanding monuments from Hoysala times and region. The term Chenna means ‘beautiful’ and Keshava stands for ‘Krishna’ and together they signify ‘One with lovely long hair.’ The centre of attraction at Chennakesava Temple is the architectural style which is not just inimitable in its own way but is also extremely alluring to the spectators. The temple is positioned opposite to the entrance hall, popularly known as ‘Gopuram’ and tends to attract visitors at the very first instance. There are three divergent pieces of architecture that can be clearly viewed within the soapstone monument. The disguise of the temple is packed with elaborated sculptures and wall paintings covering the entire wall.

The monument consists of a shrine, a platform and an open hall. The shrine also termed as Vimana Mulaprasada is quite larger than the usual. This is so because its podium measures about 10 by 10 meters while the usual size is believed to be 5 by 5 meters. The architectural style which is the central point of attraction is designed in the Nãgara style which is basically the North Indian style but this is to a certain extent knotty to look at because the tower is said to be lost. There are two shrines present in the temple that is tranquil in use by the followers and devotees and there is a Pushkarani which is a stepped well to the right side of the chief access.

The temple is termed as a sacred house for monuments showcasing an inestimable assortment of ornaments, the doorways, the ceilings, the animals, the birds, the dancers and other figures are flatteringly tinted. These decorated figures are so charming that they give an impression of life and dynamism with a multiplicity of actions and movements. The doorways are watched over on either side by the adorned ‘Dvarapalaka,’ the doorkeepers.

Chennakesava Temple

History and Legend of Chennakesava Temple

Chennakesava Temple was custom-built by the Hoysala king himself in order to celebrate an important military triumph in 1117 A.D. There has always been a squabble in opinion among scholars about the construction of the temple and after many dilemmas, the military success of king Vishnuvardhana has been considered to be the most feasible reason for the construction of the temple. As per the legend of this temple, king Vishnuvardhana was commemorating his renowned triumph against the Chola dynasty of Tamil country in the encounter Talakad in 1116 A.D. This victory resulted in the occupation ‘Gangavadi,’ the modern southern Karnataka by the Hoysalas. Again according to the stories enclosing the temple, Vishnuvardhana’s adaptation from Jainism to Vaishnavism under the influence of Ramanujacharya is also a reason. Ramanujacharya believed that the temple is principally a Vaishnava temple. The Hoysalas were believed to have appointed a number of noted artisans and architects who enlarged a new architectural tradition named ‘Karnata Dravida tradition’ by critic Adam Hardy. All the 118 inscriptions that have been recuperated from the temple complex from the period of 1117 A.D to the 18th century provide details of the artists employed, the funding made to the temple and the renovations done during the later times.

The Chennakesava Temple also has stone pillars extended beyond from a bulwark wall about 6 feet high to hold up the roof. The stone screens later were installed between the roof and the stockade walls thus giving the impression of walking into a covered room. Prolific sculptural adorations with some of them extremely delicate are also present covering the hall. The larger than usual inner exhibition area is also known as Navaranga is also in attendance with an extremely striking fashion. Also, the temple consists of forty monolithic pillars in stellar or circular shape that are constructed in hand-carved decorations. The supervising deity is a 6-foot tall demonstration of Lord Krishna also symbolised as Lord Keshava, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Significance of the Chennakesava Temple

The design of the shrine was unique and exceptional during the time and the region. The shrine is constructed in Nãgara with Stellate plan and both these facets ought to have separate discern.

The shrine also consists of images on the wall. The most remarkable and well-regarded wall images are on the two faces of the south-western corner of the shrine : the image is that of Lord Vishnu appearing in Narasimha avatara killing king Hiranyakasipu and Lord Shiva killing the elephant demon. On the northern and western sides of the temple, the images are less remarkable comparatively and portray less disparity. The notable images here are that of Lord Shiva (Bhairava), Surya, Varaha and Andhakasura.

Metaphorically, Hoysala temples are the illustration of copious Gods and assistant in a horizontal row of hefty images are usual but these are found in Belur for the first time.  Although the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, all Gods are represented here. The architectural styles of the wall-images are not the distinctive Hoysala style of later times but clearly depicts that the style is close to the similar wall-images of modern-day temples in the extreme north of Karnataka and in bordering Maharashtra.

The primary entrance is capped by a ‘Rayagopura’ constructed during the days of Vijayanagar  empire. Surrounded by the temple complex, the Chennakesava temple is in the centre, facing east and bordered by Kappe Channigaraya temple and a Lakshmi temple positioned on the right. At Chennakesava temple, Pujas and rituals are performedon a daily basis.

The hall also termed as Mandapa is open and previously it only had a stockade. Later on, the space between the fortification and the roof has been closed-off with splendid screens together with further adornation of the temple.

The platform also known as Jagati is an indispensable part of the over-all design of the monument. It creates a unity with the rest of the altitude because it carefully follows the contours of the shrine and the hall. Its three flights of steps add decorum to the entrances of the hall and also provide a walk away enclosing the shrine also known as Pradakshinapatha.  The shrine is also a very important shape of worship and devotees from across the world visit this temple every year.

One of the many architectural underlines of Chennakesava Temple is the 42 cohorted figurines called Madanikas or heavenly sprites which are basically figures of women in ceremonial dancing poses fastened between the roof and top section of pillar along the exterior of the walls. Among the 42 Madanikas,  38 of which are found outside while the remaining 4 figurines are located surrounding the striking Navaranga upper limit. The aspect rich sculpted stone figures are believed to be exclusive to Belur.

The rest of the major architectural emphases of Chennakesava Temple are the chain of wall-paintings on the outer wall. The lowest fresco portrays 650 charging elephants with different shapes. Their presence indicates immovability and incredible strength which are believed to be the weight lifters of the temple. The wall-paintings of lions are also seen and they depict courage. Horses are made known in the next chain and they symbolize speed. The following chain then represents bead garlands symbolizing beauty. The next chain shows small figures of women and men playing instruments and dancing. Lastly, the final chain portrays ladies in an assortment of poses.

Chennakesava Temple Timings

  • The temple is open on all days
  • Darshan timings of the temple are convenient for the visitors
  • Morning 6:00 AM to Afternoon 1:00 PM
  • Afternoon 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Evening 4:00 Pm to 8:30 PM
  • The inner sanctum of the main deity closes from 10:00 AM to 11:00AM, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM and from 5:00PM to 6:15 PM

Festivals celebrated at Chennakesava Temple

  • The annual festival at Chennakesava Temple is celebrated every year for 10 days commencing from 2nd January every year. The festival starts with “Dhwajarohana”and concludes with “Dhwaja Avarohana.” During the annual festival, Nayar Daiva of Ubaradka Mittoor, Ulla’s of Kukkanoor, Ulla’s of Bajapilla, Kanatthila Daiva visit to the temple to proffer special sevas to the deity. The final day of the annual festival is marked with “Dodda Darshana Bali” and “Rathothsava.” These festivals take place in the presence of a mammoth of devotees who visit the temple to offer special sevas and prayers to the deities’ taking blessings.
  • Apart from the annual festival, innumerable Poojas and Rituals are held on a regular basis. Some of them are:
  • Vishu Sankramana
  • Prathistha Mahothsava
  • Nagara Panchami
  • Chouthi and Shanivara Vratha of Simha Maasa
  • Deepavali and Navanna
  • Navarathri Pooja
  • Sankramana Pooja to Goddess Bhagavathi

How to reach :Road, Rail, Air

By Road : Buses ply on a regular basis from Bengaluru, Halebid, Hassan, Hospet, Mysore, Mangalore to Belur. These buses are directly connected to Belur.

By Rail: Hassan is about 40kms from Belur, Banavara andarasikere are the nearest railway stations to Belur.

By Air : Bangalore airport is the nearest to Belur and is about 222kms from Belur.

Where to Stay

Although there are numbers of lodging facilities available in Belur nearby Chennakesava Temple and are also affordable to stay. But the most preferred place to stay in Belur is “Hotel Mayura Velapuri,” Temple Street.

Where to eat

Belur  and the areas nearby  Belur and Chennakesava Temple consist of quite a good number of hotels and restaurants with the variety of  delicacies.

Nearby Temples

  • Hoysaleswara Temple : This temple is most commonly known as “Hoysaleshwara” or “Hoysaleshvara” and is typically dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was constructed in Halebidu during the rule of King Vishnivardhana of the Hoysala empire in the 12th The construction commenced around 1120 CE and completed in 1150 CE. For the duration of the early 14th century, Halebidu was packed and looted by Muslim invaders from northern India and the temple was ruined and neglected.
  • Halebidu Temple : Located in Hassan district, Karnataka, India. Halebidu also termed as Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra was the majestic capital of the Hoysala empire in the 12th The city is mostly notable for the architectural styles.
Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple

One of the most popular temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, often called as the “Dwarka of the South” is the Sri Krishna Temple (Guruvayur Temple) located in Guruvayur, Kerala. The main deity, Lord Krishna, here known as Lord Guruvayurappan (Father or Lord of Guruvayur) is represented as a four-armed God holding the Conch named Panchajanya, the Sudarshana Chakra, the Kaumodaki, and a lotus with a Basil garland.

The word Guruvayur can be split into Guru and Vayu, thus giving importance to the fact that the idol of Lord Krishna was installed by Brihaspati, the Guru, and Vayu, the God of Winds. The idol of the main deity is 4 feet tall and is made of the unique stone named Patala Anjanama.

The architecture of the Guruvayur Temple is simple and follows the Vastuvidya tradition. Guruvayur Temple faces east and has two entrances, the east, and the west. The central pillared hall, called Nalambalam is adorned with an array of lamps on its outer surface. The outer enclosure is called as the Chuttambalam in Malayalam. The 33.5-meter high Dhwajasthambam and a 7 meter high Deepasthambam with 13 circular receptacles are situated inside the Chuttambalam. The Temple also houses the shrines of Lord Ganapathy, Lord Aiyyappa, and Bhagavathi. The main Sree Kovil consists of the Garbhagriha and the Mukhamandapam. The famous Rudratheertham is situated north to the temple.

Guruvayur Temple History

  • According to the local population, the deity is believed to be 5000 years ago but the fact has not been scientifically proven. The earliest reference that one can find about Guruvayur is in the famous literary work in Tamil called Kokasandesam. A place called Kuruvayur is mentioned several times in the literature.
  • Guruvayur was once a sub-shrine of the Trikkunavay Shiva Temple. The Shiva Temple was destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri’s Narayaniyam, composed in the 16th century popularized the existence of the Guruvayur Temple around the world. The present structure of the Temple is believed to have been rebuilt in 1638.
  • It is believed that the central shrine (Sreekovil) and the Mandapam are as old as 1030 AD. The western gopuram was constructed in the 12th century. The Dutch raided Guruvayur in 1716 and the western gopuram was set afire. Guruvayur was subjected to further assaults by Hyder Ali in 1766 and by Tipu Sultan in 1789. In 1789, the Utsavavugraha (Utsava Moorthi) was shifted to Ambalapuzzha and the Moolavigraha to a safe underground sanctum. The Moolavigraha was re-installed and worship resumed after the victory of the Zamorins over Tipu Sultan with the help of the British Army.
  • The legend associated with the Temple can be referenced to the Narada Purana. Lord Vishnu once appeared before Lord Brahma to grant salvation to him and his creations. On Lord Brahma’s request, he presented him with an idol of and made by himself. Some centuries later, Lord Brahma gifted this idol to King Sutapas and his wife Prasni, who were doing penance for a child. Lord Vishnu appeared to the King and his wife and stated that he will be born to them for their next four births. He also blessed them by stating that the idol will bless them in each of these births.
  • Lord Vishnu was born as Prasngarbha to King Sutapas and Queen Prasni in the Satya Yuga. In Treta Yuga, he was born as Vamana to Kashyapa (Sutapas) and Aditi (Prasni). Later, Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Rama to King Dashratha (Sutapas) and Kaushalya (Prasni). In the Dwapara Yuga, he took the form of Lord Krishna to Vasudeva and Devaki who were the reincarnation of Sutapas and Prasni again.
  • When Lord Krishna decided to forego the Earth and ascend to heaven, he decided to give the idol to Brihaspati (Guru) and Vayu, so that it could escape the destruction of Dwarka. Brihaspati and Vayu went southwards in search of a place to consecrate and worship the idol. They were enchanted by the sight of the huge Rudratheertham and on a visit there, met Sage Parashurama. The three together met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the banks of the Theertham and were eventually convinced by the greatness of the place by Lord Shiva himself. They decided to build a shrine there and consecrate the idol of Lord Krishna at the site. They entailed the services of Vishwakarma (Architect of the Devas) who built a grand temple within minutes.

Significance of Guruvayur Temple

  • It is believed that the form of Lord Krishna worshiped here is the form of Lord Vishnu in which he appeared to Vasudev and Devaki during the birth of Lord Krishna. Hence, the child form of Lord Krishna is worshiped here.
  • The main idol of the deity is made of the “Patala Anjanama” stone. The unique stone is believed to possess healing properties. Every day, the water used for Abhishekam (bathing of the idol) is distributed to the devotees for healing purposes.
  • The Temple has several synonyms like “Bhooloka Vaikunta” meaning “Abode of Vishnu on Earth”. It is also called as the “Dwarka of the South”.
  • It is believed that Lord Shiva performed penance or Tapasya in the Rudratheertham (Rudra is associated with Lord Shiva and hence, the name of the tank). In ancient days, the Rudratheertham was believed to be much larger than the present form and was supposed to be filled with Lotuses.
  • The Krishnanattam is a unique service held at Guruvayur on all days except Tuesdays. The art form is a depiction of events in the eight stages of Lord Krishna’s life. The devotees can view the performances in the evening at the Mandapam as well as perform the seva to fulfill their personal wishes.
  • All the articles in the Garbhagriha, including the doors and the roof, are made out of gold.
  • The Temple is well known for providing a healing touch to people suffering from major diseases like Leprosy and Tuberculosis.
  • The Temple is one of the richest and the most visited temples of the country. The temple receives 6-10 million pilgrims every year. During the festive season, the number of visitors reaches 50,000 per day. The Temple administration has a corpus fund of 400 crores and a Hundi collection of 2.5 crores per month.

Guruvayur Temple Timings

  • Guruvayur Temple opens at 3am and closes at 9:15pm every day. The temple remains closed for darshan between 12:30pm and 4:30pm.
  • The Palabhishekam (Abhishekam with milk), Navabhishekam (Abhishekam with water filled nine silver pots), and Pantiradinaivedyam is performed between 7 AM – 9 AM.
  • The Ucha Pooja or the Noon Pooja takes place between 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • Deepardhana starts at 6:15 PM and ends at 6:45 PM.
  • Athazha Pooja and Athazha Naivedyam occurs between 7:30 PM to 8:15 PM.
  • The Tripuka (worshiping the shrine with nine sacred gums) and Olavayana (reading out of day’s income and expenditure) takes place between 9 PM to 9:15 PM.
  • Devotees belonging to the Hindu religion only are allowed inside the temple complex.
  • Newly-wed couples are not allowed inside the Temple Complex immediately after their marriage.

Dress code at Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple follows the strict dress code for both men and women. Men should wear a traditional costume like a Mundu (similar to a dhoti or a veshti). They should not wear any upper garment like shirts or vests. Women are allowed only wearing Sarees, Long skirt, and tops or the Salwaar Kameez. Jeans, short skirts or dresses are not allowed inside the temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at the Guruvayur Temple

  • Ekadasi – The auspicious day is the major festival celebrated in Guruvayur. It is believed that this is the day when Lord Krishna enlightens Arjuna with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. The festival lasts for a month. The Ekadasi or the eleventh day is celebrated in the month of Vrischika or November. On the day of Navami, Deepams lit with Ghee are offered to the Lord by the Kolady family followed by the Deepams on Dasami offered by the Guruvayurappan Sankeerthana Trust. On Ekadasi, the Ekadasi Vilakku (Deepam) with Elephant procession takes place signaling the end of the festivities.
  • Chembai Sangeethotsavam – This is a unique cultural festival celebrated to honor Sri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, a legendary Carnatic Musician and an ardent Krishna devotee in Guruvayur. The music festival is celebrated for 11 days during which artists, whether old or young, amateur or professionals participate and dedicate their compositions to Lord Krishna. They are provided free accommodation and food by the Temple Administration.
  • The Temple Utsavam – The grand festival is celebrated in the month of February – March and lasts for 10 days. The first day marks the raising of the flag atop the Dhwajasthambam as an invitation to the Gods and Goddesses to attend the festival. An Elephant race is held on the first day that attracts visitors from far and away. For the next 6 days, processions of the Lord is taken around on the backs of the elephants. Every day, a morning Pooja is held followed by several cultural programs and religious discourses. The Utsavabali is celebrated on the eighth day. The devotees are treated to a feast. The ninth day is celebrated as Palivetta which signifies the destruction of evils in our life such as Kama (Lust) and Krodha (Anger). After that, the idol of the deity is taken to the Temple pond where thousands of devotees take a dip dedicated to him. The Lord is returned to the shrine after going around the temple for eleven times. The Temple flag is lowered, signaling an end of the festival.
  • Vishu – The day is celebrated as the Malayali New Year and occurs in mid-April. It is a belief that the one’s fortunes depend on what one sees first thing on an auspicious morning. Offerings like Rice, flowers, gold, betel leaves, nuts, coins and yellow cucumber are arranged in front of the Lord on the previous night itself. Devotees stay overnight blindfolded and facing the deity. When the shrine is opened, they throng to see the auspicious sight of the Lord and bless themselves with the good omen.
  • Janmashtami – The joyous occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great pomp and fare. The whole temple is decorated with flowers and lamps. Special Poojas are performed throughout the day. Offerings of Appam are made to the Lord by thousands of devotees who flock to the Temple to have a glimpse of the God on this auspicious day.

Besides these festivals, Onam, Deepavali, Navarathri, and Kuchela Dinam are also celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Temple

Poojas and Rituals at Guruvayur Temple

  • Udayasthamana Pooja – This unique Pooja is a ritual where 15 special Poojas are performed throughout the day (Udaya for Sunrise and Astha for Sunset) for the deity in the name of the devotee. The rituals begin at dawn and proceeds in succession till dusk after which the devotee and other attendees are given Prasadam of the Pooja.
  • Annaprasanam – This is a ceremony where an infant is given rice as food for the first time since his or her birth. Arrangements are made for the devotees and the child with cooked rice, payasam (rice pudding) and plantain. The food is spread onto a banana leaf and then fed to the infant among holy chants signifying the beginning of a nutritionally healthy life ahead.
  • Prasadaootu – This Seva is also known popularly as Annadanam. Devotees can donate any amount and it will be used to feed thousands of pilgrims every day at the Temple Dining Hall.
  • Tulabharam – The devotee is weighed against offerings like banana, sugar, water, rice or gold in a Tula or a balance. The equivalent weight is then offered to the Temple. Non-Hindus are also allowed to perform the ceremony.
  • Elephant donation and Anayoottu – The devotees can also donate elephants to the Temple. Currently, 40 such elephants are housed in Punnatthur Kota. Anayoottu is the feeding of these elephants. Devotees can also feed these elephants every day at the Temple at 10 AM.
  • Bhagavathi Azhal – As per the devotee’s requirement, ten or twenty wicks of oil lamps are kept on a banana leaf and presented in front of the shrine of Bhagavathi.
  • Krishnanattam – The unique dance performance called as Krishnanattam is the representation of important incidents in Lord Krishna’s life. The art form was introduced by Prince Manavedan in 1654. The performance uses colorful masks inspired by local art forms and traditional instruments like Sudha Madhalam, Edakka, Gong, and Conch. The devotees can offer these performances for the fulfillment of their particular desire. The eight episodes are – Avatharam (for birth of a child), Kaliyamardana (antidote to poisoning), Rasakreeda (happy unmarried life), Kamsavadha (eliminate enemies), Swayamvara (matrimonial issues), Banayudha (fulfillment of wishes), Vividha Vodha (fight against poverty and increase agricultural yield) and Swargarohana (peace of departed souls).
  • Angapradakshina – This ritual involves circumambulating the Temple pradakshina with his or her eyes closed and chanting the Lord’s name.

How to reach Guruvayur Temple

  • By Air – Cochin International airport is the nearest airport to Guruvayur. It is located 87 km away. The airport is well connected to major cities like Mew Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Goa, and Kolkata.
  • By Train – Guruvayur railway station is the end destination in the Thrissur-Guruvayur Section. Guruvayur is connected to Ernakulam, Thrissur, Chennai, Kollam, Trivandrum, Madurai and Trichy. Apart from Guruvayur, the nearest railway head is the Thrissur Railway Station at a distance of 28 km. Thrissur is well connected to major parts of the country like Mangalore, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Ajmer, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu, Indore and many more.
  • By Road – The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular buses to Guruvayur from all major cities and towns in Kerala. Buses also connect cities like Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruchendoor, Mysore, Mangalore, Bengaluru, Mookambika and Udupi from neighboring states like Karnataka and Tamilnadu.

Where to stay

The Guruvayur Devaswom has constructed the Kousthubam Rest House, Panchajanyam Rest House and the Sreevatsam Rest House for the comfort of the pilgrims. However, rooms should be booked in advance to the period of the visit.

The holy town of Guruvayur hosts a number of private hotels and lodges that are located in the temple surroundings as well as near the bus stands and the railway station. Alternatively, one can book accommodation at Thrissur city nearby and visit Guruvayur.

Where to eat

The cuisine here is mainly vegetarian. Non-vegetarian is not banned but rare in the town. South Indian dishes like Dosas, Idlis, Appams, Puttu, and Idiyappam are extremely popular and a must have for visitors here.

Nearby Temples

  • Mammiyoor Temple – The legendary Mammiyoor Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is just a 10-minute walk from the Guruvayur Temple. This is believed to be the temple from where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati gave blessings to the Guruvayur Temple during the idol installation of Lord Krishna by Guru and Vayu. It is believed that one should visit both the Guruvayur Temple and the Mammiyoor Temple to complete the spiritual experience.
  • Narayanamkulangara Temple – The Temple located just a half kilometer away from the shrine is dedicated to Goddess Narayani. It is believed that she bestows salvation on men visiting the Temple.
  • Parthasarthi Temple – The Temple is located just a few meters away from the Guruvayur Temple. The main deity is Lord Krishna who is depicted in a pose where he is enlightening Arjuna about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. The Vrischika Ekadasi is celebrated with great reverence at the Temple.
Nava Dwaraka Tour Dwarkadhish Temple

Dwarkadhish Temple

Dwarkadhish Temple

The Dwarkadhish Temple is situated in the city of Dwarka in Gujarat. The holy city of Dwarka is located on the western tip of Saurashtra right on the banks of river Gomati. It is historically considered as the capital of Lord Krishna. The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu must visit in India. It is a sacred Vaishnavite pilgrimage town. The 2500 years old Temple is also known as The Jagat Mandir. Lord Krishna is worshiped in the temple as the “Dwarkadhish” or “King of Dwarka”.

Dwarka is composed of two words – “Dwar” meaning the Gate and “Ka” meaning Brahma or Moksh. The City is the adopted home of Lord Krishna when he left Vrindavan in Mathura. The city of Dwarka was known as “Swarn Nagari” or the “City of Gold”. The common belief is that after Lord Krishna died, the Yadavas who ruled entire Saurashtra fought between themselves and perished. The city eventually submerged under the sea except the Temples.

As per scriptures, the ancient city of Dwarka was a well-planned city.  The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is a five-storied temple built on 72 limestone pillars. The Temple is divided into three parts – the Prakashgarh (Nijmandir), Sabahgrah and the Shikhar. The total height of the Shikhar is 157 feet.  There are two Shikhars present in the Temple – the Nij Shikhar and the Ladwa Shikhar. The Nij shikhar is five storied and houses the main deity, Lord Krishna. There are no arches in the structure.  There are two main gates to the Dwarkadhish Temple – The Moksha Dwaar (Pilgrims enter the Temple through this gate) and the Swarg Dwaar  (Gate to Heaven).

Dwarkadhish Temple History

  • According to the Archeological Survey of India, the main shrine of the building is 2000 to 2200 years old. The common faith is that the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was built by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Lord Krishna in 400 BC. Vajranabha constructed an umbrella type monument in the memory of Lord Krishna in the East of Harimandir which still exists.
  • The first renovation was done around 100 BC as mentioned in the Brahmi script on the first floor of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
  • Shri Adi Shankaracharya visited the temple in 800 BC and renovated it. He established the shrine of Adyashakti on the fourth floor of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
  • The Temple was attacked and destroyed by Muhammad Shah in 1241 AD. It is believed that five Brahmins fought with them and were killed. The shrines dedicated to them have been built near the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple.
  • The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was enlarged and reconstructed in the 15th – 16th century by several local merchants and rulers.
  • In 1965, the Pakistan Navy tried to attack the temple but failed to do so.
  • The origins of the city of Dwarka are a legend itself. Lord Krishna’s uncle Kansa was the tyrannical ruler of Mathura who was under the influence of his father-in-law Jarasandha. He terrorized and tortured the people of Mathura. Kansa was eventually killed by Krishna. On hearing Kansa’s death, Jarasandha was furious and invaded Mathura several times but was unsuccessful in annexing it. However, the Yadava clan suffered huge losses and Lord Krishna decided to move them elsewhere.
  • There are two versions of how Krishna came upon forming Dwarka as a city. One version states that Lord Krishna flew on the Garuda and reached the Saurashtra peninsula to form city there. As per the other version, Lord Krishna invoked Vishwakarma (Lord of Construction) and asked him to build a new city. Vishwakarma implied that the city can only be built if the Samudra Devta (God of Sea) gives some land. Lord Krishna worshiped the Sea God who eventually gave him 12 Yojanas of land. Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka for Lord Krishna.
  • According to a legend, during the cremation of Lord Krishna at Dwarka, Balram and Subhadra overcome with grief took the half-burnt body of Krishna and ran into the ocean. At the same time, King Indradyumna in Puri on the eastern coast had a dream which propelled him to visit the ocean in search of the remains of Lord Krishna. He built the gigantic temple dedicated to Lord Krishna (The Jagannath temple) and consecrated the three wooden idols of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra. It is believed that he placed the ashes of Lord Krishna in the hollow chamber inside the wooden deity.
  • Another interesting legend associated with the city is that of the Gopi Lake. It is believed that after leaving Mathura, Lord Krishna never went back. The Gopis of Mathura traveled and came to Dwarka to meet Krishna. After several Ras Leelas with Lord Krishna, they offered their lives to the land and hence the name of the lake “Gopi Talav”.

Significance of the Temple

  • The Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the Char Dham Temples one must visit during their lifetime. It was visited by the famous 8th-century philosopher Shri Adi Shankaracharya. It is also considered to be one of the Sapta Puris (ancient cities) in India, the other being Ayodhya, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, Banaras, and Haridwar.
  • The City of Dwarka is mentioned repeatedly in epics like the Mahabharata, Puranas like the Skandapuran, Vishnupuran, and Harivamsha and in the holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
  • The Dwarkadhish is the 108th Divya Desam of Lord Vishnu in India mentioned in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.
  • It is believed that the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple was built over the original place of Hari – Graha, the home of Lord Krishna.
  • The city of Dwarka is said to exist from time immemorial. During the times of Lord Krishna, the city was called, “The City of Gold” or “Swarna Nagari”. Several scriptures in Mahabharata mention the castle of Lord Krishna to be built in Gold where the Pandavas played and spent their childhood. Archeologists have unearthed copper coins, boulders, pillars and pottery samples from the underwater excavations in Dwarka. They have formulated that a well-established city existed at the place in the 2nd Millennium BC. Several explorations between 1983 and 1990 have concluded that the ancient town was built in six sectors and extended for about a mile from the shore. Offshore investigations have found evidence of stone slabs, ports and other construction materials dating back to 15th Century BC which supports the fact of an Ancient city’s existence around the times of Lord Krishna. The Layout of the Dwarka City mentioned in ancient manuscripts matches that of the city unearthed by The Marine Archaeology Unit of India.
  • The Dhwajaji – The Mast Flag atop the main Temple is unique and sacred. It is known to be Aadhi Bhoutik in nature. The Dhwaja or the Flag is made of 52 yards of cloth. 52 small flags are woven individually in each yard of cloth used for the main Flag. Each Yard symbolizes the entrances to the ancient city of Dwarka. According to scriptures, the administration of Dwarka was run by 56 administrators, 4 of them being Lord Krishna, Balram, Pradyuma, and Anirudhji. These 4 are still worshiped in temples that are untouched by the Sea. However, for the rest of the 52 people, the flag acts as a remembrance. The colors of the Dhwajaji are changed every day.
  • In the Temple premises of the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple, a small temple called Kusheshwar Mahadev Temple is present. The Pilgrimage is considered as incomplete without visiting this temple. Legend says that there was a demon named Kush who lived in a place called Kushasthali. People prayed to Lord Krishna to save them. Lord Krishna fought and crushed the demon until he was buried completely into the ground. Krishna then set up a temple of his family God, Lord Mahadev over the place. The Shiva Linga is located 20 feet below the ground.
  • The Dwarka Mutt is one of the four mutts established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the others being Sringeri, Jagannath Puri, and Jyotirmath. The Mutt is called Shanti Peeth.
  • It is considered sacred to take a dip at the Gomati Ghat situated just behind the Dwarka Dwarkadhish Temple. It is believed that your sins can be washed away after genuine worship at this place.

Dwarkadhish Temple Timings

  • Dwarkadhish Temple opens at 6:30am and closes at 9:30pm. The Darshan is closed from 1pm to 5pm in the afternoon.
  • The Mangal Aarti starts at 6:30 AM followed by Mangal Darshan from 7 AM to 8 AM.
  • The Shringar Aarti takes place at 10:30 AM.
  • The Sandhya Aarti takes place at 7:30 PM to 7:45 PM.

Dress Code

It is highly recommended to wear formal and decent dresses to visit the Temple. Shorts and miniskirts are to be avoided.

Festivals

  • Janmashtami – The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated in a very grand and spiritual way. Thousands of pilgrims from across the world visit the Temple to get his blessings on this auspicious day. The day is marked by a series of Poojas and rituals that start right from Mangal Aarti in the morning to the Parna Rom that happens the next day. The idol is ceremoniously decorated and Abhishekams are performed throughout the day with Tulsi and Chandan.
  • Annakut Utsav – This festival is celebrated on the first day of the Kartik month. A variety of milk preparations and sweets are placed before the God and worshiped.
  • Tulsi Vivah – This day signifies the marriage of Lord Vishnu with Tulsi Devi. The festival is celebrated from the 11th day of the Kartik month for 4 days.
  • Holi – The festival of colors is believed to be the favorite festival of Lord Krishna. Therefore, this day is celebrated with great pomp and joy.
  • Akshaya Tritiya – The third day of the Vaisakh month is celebrated as the Akshaya Tritiya. The day marks the beginning of summer season. The Idol of Lord Krishna is dressed with flowers and Chandan instead of the usual dress. The festivities end on the 11th day of the month called Bhima Ekadashi.
  • Rath Yatra – On the 2nd of the Ashadh month (June – July), the representation of Lord Krishna is kept in a chariot and is taken around the city. Several legends are associated with the Rath Yatra. It is believed that the day marked the departure of Krishna and Balram to Mathura on c chariot sent by Kamsa. It is also celebrated as the day Krishna decides to become the Sarathi (Driver) of Arjuna’s chariot in Mahabharatha.

Some of the other important festivals celebrated at The Dwarkadhish Temple are Dussehra, Deepavali, Ram Navami, Basant Panchami and Makar Sankranthi.

Poojas and Rituals

The daily rituals that are performed at the Temple are listed below:

  • Mangal Aarti – It starts at 7:00 AM. The cleaning (brushing and face wash) of the Lord happens during this time.
  • Abhishek Snan – The Lord is given a holy bath daily before the darshan. The Abhishekam is usually performed behind closed doors, but the ritual is open to public viewing only on Janmashtami and Jalayatra day.
  • Shringar Aarti – The God is adorned with a Golden color cloth and archanai is done with Basil and Chandan. During the Aarti, the Golden Chhadi is kept near the door of the shrine. The Flute is handed over to the Dwarkadhish.
  • Uthapan – At 5 PM, the God is awakened by offering Chandan and Tulsi. The chanting of Vishnu Sahasranamam takes place accompanied by the offering of a petal of Tulsi for each name of Vishnu.
  • Several Bhogs like Mangal Bhog, Makhan Bhog. Snan Bhog, Shringar Bhog, Raj Bhog, Banta Bhog, Sandhya Bhog, Shayan Bhog and Ratri Banta Bhog are also offered throughout the day.
  • Several Sevas can be offered by the devotees to the God such as Mangal Bhog, Palna, Shayan Bhog, Paan Seva, Milk Seva, Vegetable Seva, Flower Seva, Fruit Seva and Misri Seva at nominal rates.

How to reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Jamnagar, 137 km away.
  • By Rail – Regular trains are available from major cities like Jamnagar, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, and Kochi.
  • By Road – Direct State Buses are available from Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Porbandar, Rajkot, and Ahmedabad.

Where to stay

There are many Government run Guest Houses in the city. Some of them are Circuit House, Gayathri Athithi Grah and Birla Dharmshala.

Several Dharmshalas are operated by the Temple Trust like Kokila Niraj Dham, Patelwadi Dharamshala, and Jay Ranchhod Dharmashala.

Several private hotels are available to stay in the bustling city of Dwarka.

Where to eat

Several hotels and restaurants are available near the Temple premises as well as in the city. The Cuisine offered is mainly vegetarian.

Nearby Places

  • Shri Nageshwar Temple – The Nageshwar Temple also known as The Nagnath Temple is located 12 km away from the Dwarkadhish Temple. It is an important Saivite pilgrimage site as it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The temple is unique as the Shiva Lingam faces south and the Nandi faces east.
  • The Rukshamanee Mandir – It is located 2 km away from The Dwarkadhish Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Devi Rukmini, wife of Lord Krishna. The idol of Devi Rukmini can be seen having a “Chaturbhuj” or four hands, each holding a Shanka, Chakra, Gada, and the Padma. This symbolizes that Devi Rukmini was a reincarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi.
  • Beyt Dwarka – The Island is located 30 km from Dwarka. It houses a 500-year-old temple built by Sri Vallabhacharya. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The white pristine beaches at the Island are very popular for water sports and picnics.
  • Gomati Sangam Ghat – This Sangam Ghat can be reached by descending 56 steps built behind the Swarga Dwar of the Dwarkadhish Temple. This place signifies the confluence of River Gomati with the ocean. One can visit several smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Krishna and his friend Sudama.
  • The Gita Mandir – The Temple was built by the Birla family in 1970. This temple is dedicated to the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita. The hymns from the Bhagavad Gita are carved onto the walls of the Temple.