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Banke Bihari Mandir, Vrindavan Overview

Shri Banke Bihari Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna in the holy city of Vrindavan in the Mathura district. One of the most revered shrines in the country, this temple is among the 7 temples of Thakur of Vrindavan which also include Sri Radhavallabh Ji, Shri Govind Dev Ji and four others. As you come in the presence of the Banke Bihari Temple, you are confronted with the stunning Rajasthani- style edifice of the temple, which is adorned with arched windows and meticulous stonework. The image of Lord Krishna in the temple appears in the form of a child and is seen standing in the Tribhanga position. One interesting fact about the Banke Bihari temple is that there are no bells or conchs in the premises, as the Lord does not like the sound of these instruments. Divine invocations are performed by peaceful chants of 'Radha Naam'.

The word 'Banke' means bent in three places, while the word 'Bihari' means supreme enjoyer.  The idol in Banke Bihari Temple was originally worshipped under the name of Kunj- Bihari which means enjoyer of lakes. The sewa of the Bihariji is unique in its own way. It is performed in three parts every day ie Shringar, Rajbhog and Shayan. While Shringar (which includes bath, dressing and adornment with jewellery like crown and necklaces) and Rajbhog (feast) are offered in the forenoon, Shayan Sewa (Shayan means sleep) is offered in the evening. One of the holiest places when it comes to the worship of Lord Krishna, the Banke Bihari Temple is thronged by devotees all through the year. 

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Legend of Banke Bihari Mandir

The legend of the Banke Bihari temple illustrates how the temple came into existence. It is believed that Swami Haridas, who was a devotee of Lord Krishna, spent most of his time in meditating, praying and reading holy scriptures. His commitment to the Lord was so devout that he continued his strict discipline even after getting married to Harimatiji. After her surrender to the Lord, Haridas left for Vrindavan, where he chose a secluded spot for meditation, which is now known as Nidhivan. 

One day, when Swamiji granted his permission to his disciples to enter Nidhivan, they saw something unusual. There was bright light filling the whole place, which was unlike anything they had seen. It was none other than Lord Krishna himself, who had appeared in front of the devotees in person with his consort Radha. Sensing the effect of Lord's appearance to his disciples, Swami Haridas requested both, the Lord and his consort to take single form. Moreover, he also wished for his beloved deity to be in front of his sight always. The Lord granted both his wishes and left a charming black image after submitting to the desire of his devotees. The temple was formally constructed in 1864 with the contribution of Goswamis. After construction of the temple, the Goswamis transferred the idol to this temple. The present idol in this grand temple is the same one that the Lord granted to Swami Haridas.

Banke Bihari Temple Pooja Timings

The Banke Bihari Temple follows different pooja timings for different seasons of the year. The same is illustrated as follows:-

SUMMERS
Opening time:
7:00 AM
Morning Aarti:
7:45 AM to 8:00 AM
Darshan Timings:
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 5:30 PM- 9:30 PM

WINTERS
Darshan Timings:
8:45 AM - 1 PM, 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Rituals at Banke Bihari Mandir

Special days pertaining to the life of Lord Krishna are celebrated with gaiety and vigour at the Banke Bihari Temple. Mangala aarti is held in the temple during Janmashtami, while Akshaya Tritiya is the only day when one can see the deity's lotus feet. The deity can be seen wearing a special crown and carrying a flute only on the full moon day in autumn. During the last five days of the Hindu month of Phalguna i.e. the festival of Holi, the Deity comes off his altar and can be seen fully. It is also around this time that he can be seen with four 'gopis'.

Jhulan Yatra at Banke Bihari Mandir

Jhulan Yatra, the swing festival of Lord Krishna, is celebrated on the third day of the waxing moon, where Lord Banke Bihari is seated on a golden swing known as 'hindola'. The curtain is pulled shut and then opened again, every few minutes, unlike other temples. It is believed that the eyes of Banke Bihari are so brilliant at this time that it can make anyone unconscious if seen for a long time. People visit the temple in large numbers during this time, just to catch a glimpse of their revered deity.

How To Reach Banke Bihari Mandir

 Mathura is just 12 km away and frequent buses, tempos and taxies run between Mathura and Vrindavan. Vrindavan is situated on Delhi-Agra NH-2. Various buses run between the Agra and Delhi and the temple is 7 kilometres away from National Highway. Getting to the temple is very easy as there are frequent tempos and rickshaw available throughout the day.

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