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Sri Govind Devji Temple, Vrindavan, Vrindavan Overview

Sitting on the laps of the very town where the Hindu God, Lord Krishna is believed to have spent his childhood, the Govind Devji Temple stands as an architectural marvel since the past five centuries. The temple, built of red sandstone, is dedicated to Lord Krishna in his childhood home. Vrindavan is a twin town to Mathura, where Sri Krishna was born and adjacent to Gokul, where he is believed to have spent the initial years of his childhood.

The Govind Devji Temple is a shrine revered as one of the holiest in the said place, set amongst the many other sanctums dedicated to the Lord. Although the original idol no longer exists in the temple, it is said that the idol of Lord Krishna in Govind Devji Temple resembled the face of the lord when he was born.

The magnificent temple is a wonder for the Hindu pilgrims as one can witness the purity of the place where the Lord was once believed to have been resided and performed all his miracles. James Hastings points out in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics; the Govind Devji Temple is one of the four temples of particular interest among the thousand within the periphery of Vrindavan town.

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History of Govind Devji Temple

Govind is the other name of Lord Krishna which is literally translated to the god of cattle in Sanskrit. The Govind Devji temple, along with those of the other four presiding deities are considered to be the oldest and believed to be established by King Vajranabh, the great-grandson of Sri Krishna about 5000 years ago.

The recorded history of the temple, however, dates back to the 16th century when the Bengali saint, Sri Rupa Goswami, a disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Vrindavan to find the deity which was lost, at his master’s wishes. It was Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire to excavate and re-establish the lost places of the Lord’s miraculous childhood. Although Goswami found all of the other important places, he could not find the Govinda deity, despite having studied numerous books, recordings and searching almost everywhere. In his sorrow, he sat on the bank of the river Yamuna when a charming young Vrajvasi boy approached him. The boy guided him to the direction where he had seen a cow going to a nearby hill daily to pour its milk into a hole and said that he would find the idol there, after which he mystically disappeared. It dawned upon the saint that the boy was Lord Krishna himself, showing him the path. Finally, upon finding the transcendental form of Sri Govind Dev, with the help of the locals, he built a small shrine for the Lord.

Highly influenced by the saint, Raja Man Singh, the son of Maharaja Bhagwan Das of Amer and a trusted general of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, began the construction of the temple in 1590 A.D on the occasion of Akbar’s pilgrimage to Vrindavan. This seven-storied temple was ordered for destruction by the Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb in 1670. However, while his men were at work, it is believed that the ground started shaking and the destruction was abandoned at three stories.

Architecture of the Temple

Standing proudly as a specimen of medieval Indian architecture, the Sri Govind Devji Temple is a seven-storied temple made of red sandstone that resembles a European Cathedral. Considered as one of the most exquisite temples of North India, it has an altar inside which is a blend of marble, silver and gold with a sculptured lotus flower decorating the central hall ceiling.
 
Raja Man Singh is known to have spent about one crore rupees in the construction of the temple, and Akbar himself donated the red sandstone. The architecture is an amalgamation of Islamic and Hindu architecture constructed in the Dravidian style and one of Raja Man Singh’s great projects. It took about five years to complete this monument.

Idols and Sculptures at the Govindji Temple

The idol in the temple was transferred to Jaipur by Raja Jai Singh II before Aurangzeb could destroy it. Thus, the present temple in Vrindavan is a tourist site without any rituals being held. A replica of the Lord was installed later in a new temple beside the original structure along with the deity of Sri Radha. The temple is decorated extensively during Holi and Janmashtami which are celebrated with great zeal and show.

Tips for Visitors

  • One should be aware of monkeys while visiting the temple or any other place in Vrindavan. Monkeys often snatch away prized possessions like camera, mobiles etc. and food, if one is carrying.
  • Another tip to keep in mind is to be aware or temple scams and frauds by guides. Cab/taxi drivers are prone to charging an excess fare, and one should be ready to negotiate with them.
  • Guides are prone to asking very high rates while temple priests often charge a high amount for rituals which are quite unnecessary. The best way to avoid this is to make sure where you want to go, visit exactly those sites and avoid talking to strangers who are trying to sweet talk you into buying something as much as possible.
  • Ideal Duration of Visit: 1-2 hours
  • Ideal time: Monsoon and winter, especially during October-March.

How To Reach Govind Devji Temple

The nearest railway station is Vrindavan Railway Station (BDB) which is 1.3 km away from Govind Dev Ji Temple. One can take a cycle-rickshaw from there which costs INR 20 on an average or an auto-rickshaw. However, the closest major railway station is at Mathura, 14 km away. Taxis, cabs, buses and auto-rickshaws are available on a regular basis from Mathura to Vrindavan. The nearest airport to Vrindavan is the Kheria Airport in Agra, Uttar Pradesh which is 53 km away. Public, as well as private transport, are easily available to Vrindavan from the same.
Travelling inside Vrindavan and till Sri Govind Devji Temple is not a problem due to the availability of a large number of public transport. One of the reliable cab rental services is provided by Car Hire within the city. One can check out their website online for further information.

Address: Gopinath Bagh, Vrindavan, Gopinath Bagh, Mathura, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, 281121, India

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