Shrinathji Temple

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Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara Overview

Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara, Rajasthan is a Hindu temple dedicated to one of the avatars of Lord Krishna - Shrinathji. It is located on the banks of the river Banas, at a distance of 48 km from the beautiful city of Udaipur. The glorious temple is a famous pilgrimage point of Rajasthan and a must-see if you are on tour of the religious places of Rajasthan. The Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara is famous for the Shringar of the deity where the idol is dressed in a new dress every day. Devotees come from all over the world come to see the idol's different forms.

The majestic temple has its story which traces to back to the time of Meera Bai and is important to Hindu mythological history. The Shrinathji Temple has an interesting origin story that mixes the best of both worlds - reality and legend. It has been designed in the lines of the temple of Nanda Maharaj, in Vrindavan. Therefore, it is also known as Nanda Bhavan or Nandalaya. This magnificent temple is overcrowded during the festivals of Holi, Diwali and Janmashtami, but if you are on a visit for religious purposes, this place is a heaven for you. The Shrinathji Temple is also known for its culinary feast, which is well sought-after and serves hundreds of visitors every year.

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The image of the principal deity Shrinathji, who is a seven-year-old child avatar of Lord Krishna lovingly referred to as Gopal elsewhere, was first worshipped by Vallabhacharya in Govardhan Mountain of Vrindavan. The idol is more of a sculpture on a monolith of black stone which is said to be self-manifested in around 12 century B.C. from the Govardhan Mountain - the one that Lord Krishna lifted to protect his village people from the wrath of Lord Indra.

Later, to keep the idol away from the hands of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, it was being shifted from Vrindavan to a pre-determined place, but while in transit, the wheels of the cart which was carrying the idol got sunk deep into the mud at the very site where now the temple stands. The escorting priests depicted this as Lord's will to stay at this spot, and thus the Shrinathji Temple was established here in around 1672 under the care and protection of Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar.

As per the scriptures of Pushtimarg - the sec of Vaishanavism started by Vallabhacharya, Shrinahtji used to come to Mewar to play Chaupar with his beloved princess Ajab Kunwari and it made her sad whenever he had to leave her place to go back to Vrindavan. So, the Lord promised her that one day, he would reside here permanently when the time and situation is right. The story of the cart getting stuck in the mud at this place is considered to be the Lord's way of making sure that his promise is kept.

The architectural style of the Shrinathji Temple resembles that of the Nanda Maharaj Temple in Vrindavan, the abode of Krishna's foster father, Nanda. The seven flags atop the peak of the temple represent the seven houses of Pushtimarg Sampradaya. The temple is locally referred to as Shrinathji ki ki Haveli. It has two significances - firstly, the foundation on which the glorious temple is built used to be a fortified mansion of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar. Secondly, the Lord deity is not considered to be a god here, but the Head of a household which serves him with love and respect and not out of duty only. Just like an elaborate household, the temple premises have separate storerooms for milk, sweets, flowers, jewelleries and also a kitchen, stable, treasury and drawing room.

It has subsidiary temples dedicated to deities of Madan Mohan and Naveet Priya, located inside the complex alongside the main sanctum. The idol stands in the iconic position of lifting the Govardhan Mountain, one hand above his head and another in a fist rested on his waist carved in a black monolith.

The idol of Srinathji Temple is treated as Bal Krishna and thus handled with a child-like care. The priests not only offer daily pujas but also bathe, feed, dress and leave him for rest on a timely basis just like a child is taken care of. The rituals are supervised under the head of priests who are the direct descendants of the founder Vallabhacharya.

The dazzling temple owns around 500 cows, whose milk is used to bathe and feed the deity every day. These cows are also said to be descendants of the ones that served Lord Krishna's family hundreds of years ago.

The ritual starts with Mangala when the idol is revealed for the first darshan of the day. The dressing ceremony Shringar follows Mangala, which is followed by Gwal, the mid-morning snack for the deity. Next is Rajbhog – the lunch and then comes Utthanpan – the afternoon siesta time. After that Bhog - the Lord's dinner, Sandhya Aarti - the final puja and Shayan bedtimee for the Lord takes place.

Mangala - 5:15 AM - 06:00 AM
Shringar - 7:15 AM - 07:45 AM
Gwal - 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM
Rajbhog - 11:15 PM - 12:05 PM
Uthapan - 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Bhog - 4:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Sandhya Aarti - 5:15 PM - 6:00 PM
Shayan - 6:50 PM - 7:30 PM

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The Shrinathji Temple is open throughout the year, but special festivities take place during Holi and Janmashtami with much enthusiasm of the locals. Annakutta is a festival linked to the Govardhan Parvat lifting of Lord Krishna which is celebrated with much fervour. However, the temple is overcrowded with devotees from all around the country during these festivals.

Try to avoid visiting during the festival times, but if you are, make sure to plan your trip beforehand and book hotels early to avoid any rush.

The nearest Railway Station is Mavli Junction which is 30 kilometres and Udaipur around 50 kilometres away. Nearest airport to Nathdwara is Udaipur, which is at a distance of about 60 kilometres. Taxi services are offered at a rate of INR 700 from the airport to Nathdwara city. Nathdwara can be accessed by state-owned buses, private or hired cars and cabs from neighbouring cities including Udaipur.

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