Abode of Lord Krishna Nathdwara
Nathdwara situated in the state of Rajasthan, Western India is well known for Shrinathji Temple. Being a doorway to Lord, this destination pulsates with the presence of various cultures, languages and rituals of Rajasthan. Generally known as the Brij Bhumi, this region sharing a close cultural affinity with UP, Haryana and Gujarat remains a pivotal center of Vallabh sect. Apart from all, the idol of Lord Shrinathji is caressed like a child. His every need is taken care of and changes in his routine are done according to the moods and seasons. Right from changing the clothes to presenting different range of culinary delights, the Lords idol is offered all the luxuries, as always deserved by the supreme souls.
Dating back to the times immemorial, Nathdwara being Srinathji’s present abode, is not the place of origin. The story behind his appearance is that a cow who routinely grazed on Govardhan hill would pour her milk at a particular site every day. The villages when excavated the site, they found an idol of Krishna which was later placed on the hillock of the Govardahn parvat by the Saint Mahaprabhu Vallabh Acharaya. It is said that idol of Shrinathji emerged at the same time when this great saint took birth in Champaran, in l479. Followed by the series of attacks by Sikander Lodi, the temple was vandalized by him before the completion of the temple after which the idol was secretly taken to forests for safety. After Sikander Lodi’s death, the temple was re built and the idol was brought back to Jatipura village, Govardhan, in Gokul, where lord krishna spent his child hood. With the mutiny declared by Aurangzeb later, the devotees kept on changing the seat of Srinath ji. From Agra to Kota to Puskar and finally to Mewar where Lord stayed for 32 months because every where the lord went, people welcomed and would not let him go. Sinhad, where Shrinath ji finally stayed after 1671, is now famous as Nathdwara. The temple of Shrinath ji is a simple structure built like a haveli. Bounded by ramparts from all sides, this temple is designed after Krishna’s father house; Nand ji palace. It is the same replica of Nand ji house present in Mathura. Moving inside the temple, the pilgrims will get an opportunity to see black marbled Srinath’s ji idol, swindled by a serpent god on his neck. The diamond on his chin is said to be donated by a Mughal emperor Akbar. The surrounding area is etched with the images of parrots, peacocks and snakes which surely reflects the art forms of Nathdwara. The jhankis or glimpses of the lord are very beautiful. At 5:30 Am in morning, the lord is awakened by the conch and is offered meals, butter, fruits etc. During the Shingar time the lord is given bath where he is draped in a new jewelry and clothes. During gwala darshan, the lord is offered incense sticks and there after he leads the cows to graze. The Rajbhog ceremony is from 10:30 Am to 12:15 Pm when elaborate meals are offered, after which he goes for rest. During Uthappan, at 3:00 to 3:30 PM, lord is again awakened with a conch and he is offered milk and butter. During the bhog time, the lord is offered more food at 4:30pm, in which darshan fountains are placed to give him a cooling effect. When lord returns with the cows at 5:15 pm, Sandhya Aarti is performed. At 6:30 PM, shayan is offered to Lord Shri Nath Ji. He is given the bhog of betel leaves after which he is put to bed. The remaining Jhaanki lasts for about half an hour. The bhog is distributed in the form of Prasad.
Besides this the goshalas of Nathuvas catering to 1500 cows amongst which the main cow belonging to the lineage of Nand Vansh known as Srinath’s cow is considered supreme and pure. Her milk is only meant for the deities and rest other’s milk is used in the preparation of Mahaprasada. Srinath ji temple is located just 3 kms from the bus stand. The timings during summer are 5.45 am to 5.45pm and 4:30 Am to 5:45 PM in winters. Mangal aarti is performed at 5:00 Am in summers and 6:00 Am in winter. The last aarti is performed at 7:30 Pm(winters) or 6:30Pm(summers). The non-hindus are not allowed in the temple. Most of the well known festivals in hindu calendar are celebrated with full zeal. Special preparations are done during the festive season of Janmashtmi(Aug), Radhashtami(Aug), Gopashmi(Oct-Nov), Nand Mahotsav(Aug-Sept) and Diwali(Nov). To read some of the best books on Krishna’s life sahitya mandal library near the temple can be visited by any time of the season. The timings are 6:00 Am to 9:00Pm. Chaupati Bazaar, Pichwais, Krishna Arts, Raathi silver, Gramin Haat are the rural markets where the travelers can go for a shopping. The hotels in Nathdwara offer an excellent accommodation to the pilgrims looking for a comfortable stay. Hotel Garden View, Hotel Utsav, Hotel Gokul are some of the Hotels in Nathdwara which are assured to provide the travelers with all the comforts quiet worth to the penny spent.
Nathdwara is one of those pilgrimages in the world where the pilgrims would surely feel blessed and enlightened by the god’s grace. Come and relinquish yourself from all the sins as it may be the call of god who desires to burnish your soul, transcending you to attain complete purification.