Nathdwara Travel Guide
Nathdwara in Rajasthan, literally meaning the gateway to the Lord(`Nath` meaning `the Lord` and `Dwara`, is `gate`) is nestled in the Aravalli hills on the banks of the River Banas. This otherwise obscure town figures prominently in the pilgrim circuit of India as it houses a 17th century Vaishnavite shrine of Lord Krishna known as Shrinathji. The temple is counted amongst the richest temples of India because of the large sums of money it receives from the ardent devotees.It is one of the most important shrines for the devotees of Pushti Marg as propagated by Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya.
The 17th century temple of Shrinatji is not very striking in terms of architecture or grandiose associated normally with Hindu Temples. It is more like a house. It is believed that the temple design is based on the house of Nanda Maharaj( Krshna’s father) in Vrindavan. Atop the temple there is a kalasha (spire) on which lies the Sudershan Cakra( Lord Krishna’s weapon) along with Saptadhwaja(seven flags). Inside the main sanctum sancturom well decorated frescoes can be seen. these illustrate the story of the lord and saint Vallabhacharya.
The idol of Shrinathji here is of a black stone and believed to have been self mainfested. The idol with the left hand raised and the right hand confined in a fist appears majestic as new cloth (Vastra) with intricate Zari works are used daily. A dazzling diamond gifted by Emperor Akbar adores the Lord`s chin which is quite visible from a distance. The lord here represents the form of Krishna who lifted the Govardhana Hills with his finger and humbled Lord Indra, the king of Devas(Gods). Surrounding the idol are images of two holy cows, a lion, a snake, a parrot by the god`s head and two peacocks.
Legend and History
Behind the establishment of the Shrinathji Temple also known as ‘Haveli of Shrinathji` at Nathdwara lies stark historical facts and some legends which are interwoven and difficult to sift one from the other. Vallabhacharya the great Vaishnava saint was once visiting northwest India, there the lord appeared in his dream and asked him come to Mount Govardhan and meet Him. Asking for direction, around MountGovardhan, Vallabhacharya found that a cow was going to the hills everyday and releasing here milk at a particular point. On ths point the lord revealed himself as Shree Nathji.
Then after him Vitthalanathji his able son took up the worship of the deity. Gusainji as the head of the Vaishnanva sect is called was making a pilgrimage to Dwarka on his way he spotted a place called Sinhad in Mevar, of modern Rajasthan. Then and there he made a prediction that in future Shreeji will come reside here.
Princess Ajaba Kunwari took initiation from Gusain ji, as he left she was upset. She was pacified only when Gusain Ji proclaimed “Shreeji Himself would come here and give you Darshans.". It is believed the present temple is in the same location where Ajaba Kunwari’s Haveli stood once.
Coming to the history part, in the 17th century after Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb ascended the throne of Delhi he was bent upon to destroy HinduTemples and architectural marvels. In 1669-70 Aurangazeb trained his eyes on Mathura -Vridavan where the idol of Shrinathji was consecrated earlier. Efforts were made to safeguard the idol and finally Rana Raj Singh of Mewar took the cudgels for its safe passage. After Agra and different places the idol finally reached Mewar somwhere around 1671 AD.Sinhad village where the lord finally rested came to be known as Nathdwara.
Regarding the location of the Temple it is believed that as the idol was being transferred to an unapproachable and secluded place, the wheels of the bullock cart sank deep down in the mud. Those accompanying the idol deciphered that perhaps it was some divine dictum that the lord wants to reside here. Thus, in the same spot, the temple got constructed.
How to Reach Nathdwara
Nathdwara in Rajsamand district lies 48 km from Udaipur and is on the National Highway 8 connecting Delhi to Mumbai. There are 2 ways to enter Nathdwara. For those coming from Delhi via Ajmer they will enter from Bus Stand side via Risala Chowk while for those from Udaipur will enter via Nathuwas-Mobegarh direction. Due to the narrow roads leading to Shreeji’s Haveli located at Chowk, the parking for Buses and Cars is atleast half a km away and you have to walk to get to the temple premises.
|Mount Abu||187 km|
How to Reach Nathdwara by Railways
Nathdwara has a small railway station, which lies 12 km from the temple, but for all practical purposes Udaipur is the nearest railhead along with the one at Mavli some 35 kms away.
|Departing Station||Train no & name||Dep time||Days|
|H.Nizamuddin(Delhi)||2963 Mewar Express||19||all|
|BandraT(Mumbai)||2995 Bdts Ali Udz Exp||15.45||wed,fri,sun|
|Ahmedabad||432 Mewar Fast Passenger||07.35||all|
|Sealdah(Kolkata)||2315 Annanya Express||13||thu|
How to Reach Nathdwar by Airways
If you prefer air then the nearest airport is the Maharana Pratap Airport or Dabok Airport located 22 km from Udaipur city.Jet Airways, Kingfisher Red, Air India IC operates regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
How to Reach Nathdwara by Road
By road the place can be accessed by Buses and private vehicles from Udaipur and Jaipur. Devotees from Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat throng the temple in large numbers as some of the cities in Gujarat have Bus services to Nathdwara.There are also frequent bus services from Mumbai as well as Delhi. The bus stand is around 15 minutes or 1 km walking distance away from the temple.
Nearby Getaways of Nathdwara
Following are few of the nearby getaways from Nathdwara which the devotees must visit.
Distance from Nathdwara: 48 km
Udaipur, the city of lakes is a major tourist attraction near Shreeji`s Haveli. While at Udaipur you can visit Jagdish Mandir that is dedicated to lord Vishnu and built by Maharana Jagat singh in 1652 AD. City Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace, boat ride on lake Pichola, Sajjangarh built by Maharana Sajjan Singh showcased in the movie Octpoussy the James Bond flicker of 1983. Other attractions include Fateh Sagar Lake and Saheliyon Ki Bari.
Distance from Nathdwara: 28 km
Eklinji is the Mewar Adhipati (titular ruler of Mewar) and the Ranas by generations are his Dewans carrying out the task of managing Mewar in his name. The exquisite complex of Eklinji contains 108 temples and stands on the banks of Indra Sarovar. The main temple dating back to the 15th century, houses the sanctum sanctorum that has a black marble idol of Lord Shiva with four faces.
Distance from Nathdwara: 18 km
This Temple located at village Kankroli is supposed to be the 3rd most significant temple of the Vaishnavas and Vallabhacharya sect. The temple resembling Shreeji Ki Haveli houses a red stone idol of Lord Krishna. Nearby is the Navchauki Dam.
Distance from Nathdwara: 65 km
This Temple is considered the 4th Dham of Mewar is supposed to date back to 5000 years. The four armed Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity. The temple is exquisite with an excellent mirror work, golden shutters and carved door panels etal.
Nathdwara Driving Directions
Nathdwara-Driving direction overviews: Nathdwara, the abode of Lord Sri Nath Ji attracts thousands of pilgrims from every nook and corner of the world. Situated in Rajasthan, Western India, millions of Lord Sri Nath Ji followers visit this region during the special festivals and occasions. Nathdwara is also the center of Lord’s Krishna’s worship. While on a visit to Nathdwara, the pilgrims can also make a visit to Chaarbhuja, Dwrakadheesh, Eklingji and Sanwariya Seth. The nearest airport to Nathdwara is Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Western India. This airport is just 40 Kms away from Nathdwara. Udaipur rail head is the nearest rail head to Delhi, Jaipur, Rajasthan and Northern India. State highway 32 and National highway 76 are the two road links well connected to all the major cities of India.
Kiomoi Must Do`s
The Kiomoi must do’s are as follows:
*The pilgrims must make a visit to the Shri Nath Ji’s temple.
*The free meals offered here are worth relishing.
* The attractions found here include Srinath ji Temple, Banamali Temple, Chaupati Bazaar, River Banas, Nashta Center.
*The travelers must make a visit to the attractions around Nathdwara which includes Dwarkadheesh(18Km) Charbuja(65km N), Eklingji(28Kms S), Sawariya Seth(90Kms), Udaipur(48Kms SW), Jagdish Mandir(near the city palace).
Per person, Taxes extra
Limited Period offer
Per person, Taxes extra
Per person, Taxes extra
Limited Period offer
Per person, Taxes extra
Per person, Taxes extra
Limited Period offer
Per person, Taxes extra
Shopping at Nathdwara
Shopping at Nathdwara is limited to 150 odd shops located in the Chaupati Bazaar on way to the temple. Other than the framed images of Shreeji, puja accessories, the main attraction is the Pichhwais- Krishna themed paintings, sold as cloth hangings. The paintings range from simple coloured fabrics to elaborate art pieces costing several thousand rupees. The theme of the paintings veers round the child Krishna- his elaborate daily rituals, festivals, Ras leela etal.
Handicraft items like Silver Meenakari, antique silverware, fancy jewelry, Shrinathji’s Shringar items are also available. Gramin Haat in the Lal Bagh area is a good place to buy.
Accommodation at Nathdwara
At Nathdwara due to rush of devotees all the year round, there exits enough accommodation. Starting from free stay at various charitable Dharamshalas to luxurious air-conditioned hotels the range is plenty.
Kiomoi TIP: Weekends and festivals of Vaishnava Calendar sees heavy rush. So it is always wise to book accommodation in advance.
Nathdwara - Darshan and Timings
Unlike other Temples, Shreeji’s Darshans are not open throughout the day. There are a total of 8 Jhankis or Darshans fixed for the day. This starts through the morning when he is woken and the time in the evening he is put to bed like a small child.
Each Darshan has a special significance and it is considered ideal to do all the 8 Darshans of Shreeji of Nathdwara. Kirtans( devotional compositions) of illustrious Saints are sung by different Kirthankara( song master) during each Darshan in a particular order. Let’s take a look at each Darshan.
During Mangala the lord is awakened by blowing a Conch. Mangala Darshan timmings vary according to season. During summers Darshans open a bit late while in winter Darshans start early. Compositions of Shri Parmanand Das are rendered in this Darshan.
During summers, the Shringar is lighter and the Lord is attired in a simple Adbandha without his flute. In winters his cosumes are heavy and he is covered totally in a Rajai (blanket). His face remains only visible. A sigri (coal fire) keeps him warm. Rest of the year he is attired in an Uparna. Milk, Mishri, Butter, Thord seera are offered as bhog. Aarti is done in this Darshan.
Shringar Darshan takes place an hour after Mangala. The lord is dressed up according to different seasons and festivals. The flute is given to him. As per ritual, after Shringar a mirror is placed in front of him so that he can check his dress. During this Darshan compositions of poet Shri Nand Das is sung.
Gwal Darshan signifies that the lord now assumes his Cowherd role and takes his herd out to graze. Dhunni-Dhoop is lit, Aarti with `Dou Vaat Batti` (2 standing wicks) is also performed. Bhog is offered in the form of milk and sweets. Compositions of Shri Govind Swami are sung in this Darshan.
Note: This Darshan is normally not open during the Festivals.
Raj Bhog the most elaborate Darshan of the day is also the *longest Darshan. The lord is offered an elaborate meal without chilies. Devootional songs of Shri Kumbhan Dasji are sung. Aarti is also performed in this Darshan. After this it is time for the lord to take a rest and Shreeji’s Haveli is shut for the afternoon.
Utthapan Darshan commences 3 hours later with rhe blowing of the Conch. This Darshan is open for a short duration. Now compositions of illustrious Saint Surdas are rendered. Bhog is offered in the form of Fruits and milk products.
This Darshan commences normally half an hour after Utthapan. The lord is now dressed up in Moghul attire. In summers small fountains are placed before him and in winter a stove is placed to warm him. Compositions by Shri Chaturbhuj Das fill sanctify the atmosphere. Bhog now composes fruits, Thor and light snacks.
Sandhya Aarti succeeds immediately the Bhog Darshan. The Shringar and Vastra become lighter, thus preparing for sleep. Shreeji is offered his flute. Aarti is performed. Sudarshan Chakra is also offered Bhog. The seven flags are also wrapped around and rested for the night.
The eighth and last Darshan of the day, Shayan signifies that the lord is mow retiring for the day. Shayan is not always performed openly. The Shayya( Bed Chamber) of the lord is prepared. Kirtans of poet Shri Krishna Das are now sung. Bhog and Jal(water) are offered along with Pan(Betel leaves).
The Darshan timings are more or less of fixed duration. Sometimes they may vary by 20-30 minutes, depending upon the seasons. The daily timings are announced outside the gate. Devotees can see them in a blackboard and also in an electronic board and plan accordingly. During extreme rush as in a festival two Darshans are combined. The tentative timings of each of the Darshan is given in the table.
Eat n Dine in Nathdwara
Srinathji’s bhog is a feast of more than a hundred delicacies cooked in the temple kitchen. In addition to the counters inside the temple, there are few shops outside the temple which are authorized to sell mahaprasad,where the people who serve the temple earn a living by selling the prasad. About 600 kilos of Parasad is prepared every day, the variety depending upon the season including Saubhagya Saunth( a winter snack made with saffron and dry fruits, badam chikki, thor (sweet puri), basundi(sweet made of thickened milk), aamras, kharkhari(a crunchy bread fish made with wheat and channa powder), doodh puri, bundi laddoo and manohar laddoo. It’s collected and distributed at the parasadi bhandar in the temple premises on payment of Rs 15-576 per Kilo, depending on the item.
The lanes around the temple are a delight of vivid tastes. Don’t forget to taste rabri and doodh jalebi at Puruhsottam Jalebi Waala or get milk and jalebi to sustain you till main meal. Sweetened Pohas and fluffy, steamed khaman dhoklas can be a surprise for those unfamiliar with these Gujarati preparations.
Swastik and Nashta centre are the two food courts where the travelers can try Jamikand chhat and Jamikand pakora. Food free of onion and garlic is easily found in every hotel.
Weather in Nathdwara
Nathdwara witness three types of seasons. These three seasons are summer, monsoon and winter. More details on the weather conditions:
Summer: During summers the temperature of the region ranges from 47 degree Celsius to minimum 27 degree Celsius. The travelers should avoid going to Nathdwara during the months of March to May.
Monsoon: During the monsoon season, Nathdwara receives moderate rainfall. The weather during July to September is hot and humid. It is the best time to make short trips and visit to the temples.
Winters: December to February remains the best time for visiting Nathdwara. The temperature during the winter season ranges from 27 degree Celsius to 9 degree Celsius.
Best time to visit Nathdwara: The best time to visit Nathdwara is during the months of October to March.
Tourist Offices in Nathdwara
The tourists offices in Nathdwara are as follows:
Fateh Memorial, Suraj Pol
The useful facts for the Nathdwara region are as follows:
State: Rajasthan Srinath ji Temple, Charbhuja Temple, Dwarkadheesh, Swanwaria and Ekklingji temple.
Location: On the right bank of the Banas river, Nathdwara, in Rajsmand District, is set in a landscape of pastureland and brimming rivulets in the Aravalli hills.
Distances: 350Km of South West of Jaipur, 48Km of NE of Udaipur, 300Km NE of Ahemdabad.
Route from Jaipur: NH8 to Nathdwara via Ajmer, Beawar and Rajsmand
Route from Udaipur: NH 8 to Nathdwara via Nagda
Attractions: Srinath ji Temple, Banamali Temple, Chaupati Bazaar, River Banas, Nashta Center.
Around Nathdwara: Dwarkadheesh(18Km) Charbuja(65km N), Eklingji(28Kms S), Sawariya Seth(90Kms), Udaipur(48Kms SW), Jagdish Mandir(near the city palace).
Best time to visit Nathdwara: Any time of the year
January to February are the two months of the year when very less number of travelers visit this place.
Holiday Check List
Before going to Nathdwara, travelers must keep in consideration few points which are as follows:
Empty your letter box
Fix up security for your house or ask some one to look after
Water your plants and ask some one to take care of it
Ask your newspaper vendor and milkman to stop supply
Clear out the fridge.
Switch off the electric appliances
Empty out kitchen, waste/dust-bin and kitchen area
Lock doors and windows
Recharge your mobile or carry coupons
Carry traveller’s cheque or ATM cards
Pay all due bills
Turn off gas/water/
Call up the taxi driver/railway station/hotels and other important numbers to confirm and re-confirm
Rail Tickets and travel documents should be checked twice
Packing your luggage
Extra pair of socks
Jumper and track suits
Brochures or holiday book
Important stationary(scissors, tape and glue)
Film rolls and digital chargers
Shoulder bags/ Safety pins
Important Telephone Addresses/Travel Consultant
Few non perishable eatables
Books / magazines to read
Banks and ATMs
The list of banks and ATMs are as follows;
HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank ATM shop No 11, Vandana Market, Naya Road, Nathdwara, Dist Rajasmand
Oriental Bank of commerce:
Address: 12, Nai Sarak , Nathdwara- 313301,Landmark: Near Madhav Hotel