The Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara, dedicated to Lord Krishna belongs to the Vaishnav religion. It is located in Nathdwara, approximately 48km to the north of Udaipur. As thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the world pass the lofty mountains and serene lakes of Udaipur, it is impossible for them to resist visiting this important pilgrim centre.
Legend and History
Nathdwara is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site. This is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage shrines of India, enshrining Krishna as Govardhana Giridhari. Nathdwara is situated 48-km northeast of Udaipur in Rajasthan, on the banks of the Banas River. Nathdwara enshrines Shrinathji - an image of Krishna, which was originally enshrined at the Vraja Bhoomi at Mount Govardhana near Mathura.The name Nathdwara means 'Gate of the Lord'. The image was brought to Mewar, for the sake of protection during the period of Aurangazeb, the Mughal monarch.
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. Hence a temple was established with the permission of the then Rana of Mewar, at Nathdwara and the statue was placed in the Lord Krishna temple, Nathdwara along with proper Vedic rites and tradition. Nathdwara is very closely associated with the Vallabha Sampradaya of Vaishnavism. Prior to his visiting the Shrinathji shrine, Vallabhacharya is said to have described Puri, Pandharpur, Srirangam and Tirupati as four great centres of Vaishnavism, in his work 'Tatvartha Deepa Nibhandha'.
The Shrinathji Temple
The Nathdwara Shrinathji temple of Rajasthan houses a statue of Lord Krishna, sculpted from a single piece of black marble. The statue has one of its arms raised, giving an impression of Lord Krishna holding the Govardhan Mountain. The other arm seems to be giving a blessing as well as holding a dance posture.
Shrinathji represents the form of Krishna, in which he lifted the Govardhana Hill and subdued Indra, the king of Devas who was sending an incessant downpour of rain, causing immense hardship to the cowherds of Gokul. The image of Srinathji is believed to have been a self manifested one. It was originally worshipped in a humble shrine and then moved to a larger temple in its vicinity. Vallabhacharya made arrangements for the worship of this deity and this tradition was continued by his son, Vitthalesh Goswami.
It is believed that Taj Bibi, a wife of Akbar had visited this temple. It was during the 17th century that this image was shifted to Rajasthan. Nathdwara is a place of Hindu pilgrimage; it contains a 17th-century Vaishnavite shrine that is one of the most famous in India. Within the temple is a celebrated image of Lord Krishna, popularly said to date to the 12th century BC.
In Shrinathji temple, worship (puja) is replaced by servitude (seva). The temple priests change the vestments and ornaments of Shrinathji daily with love and reverence. It is believed that he appears to his devotees in many forms: the divine child inspiring parental love, the flute playing good in the forests of Vrindavan luring maidens with the melody of his flute.
The temple has three entrances. The first is through the red door at Chaupati from where the Govardhan worship place can be reached. Surajpol is an entrance excludively for women and leads to Kamal Chowk through Singhpol.
Places worth seeing in the temple include the Moti Mahal, Sudarshan Chakraraj, Dhwajaji, Kamal Chowk, Ratan Chowk, Mani Kotha and the temples of Shri Navnit Priyaji. The Shri Krishna storehouse has silver and golden mills.
Apart from that, the Shakghar milkboth and the outlets having roses, betel leaf, sweets and clothes as well as the gardens are worth a visit. Various religious festivals are celebrated at the temple like Janmashtmi, Phooldol and Diwali. The annakootritual is famous worldwide where cooked rice is hurled at the devotees after the ceremony and is 'looted' by them.
Location and Transport
This important pilgrim centre of Shrinathji temple is located in Nathdwara, 48-km northeast of Udaipur in Rajasthan, on the banks of the Banas River and is well connected by rail and road.
Dabok Airport in Udaipur is the nearest airport from where taxis and buses can be hired.
Mavli rail junction is the closest to Nathdwara.
Nathdwara is well connected by road with Udaipur.
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