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Nathdwara Travel Guide
48 km from Udaipur on the right bank of Banas Rriver.
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.