Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple: Abode of Lord Krishna
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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 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
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.