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Shrinathji Temple: Tryst from Govardhan to Nathdwara

Shrinathji Temple

Are you planning a pilgrimage in Rajasthan? Do you want to experience a  magnificent combination of architecture, art, and divinity in one place? Then you must add Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara in your itinerary. Situated 48km from Udaipur, on the banks of river Banas, this beautiful monumental temple, is the home of Lord Laddu Gopal. Lord Krishna as a child was called Lord Laddu Gopal.

History

Shrinathji Temple Entrance
The Entrance of Shrinathji Temple

Shrinathji temple history is as glorious as the temple itself. The centuries-old idol is a single black monolith stone sculpture. It is the same idol which Vallabhacharya, the Guru of Vallabh sect, worshipped in the Govardhan Mountains of Vrindavan. Due to the fear of Aurangzeb, Vallabhcharya and his close followers decided to shift the shrine to an undisclosed location in Rajasthan.

Priests of Vallabhacharya were taking it to the predecided location in the night. Suddenly, in Rajasthan, the wheels of the cart sunk deep in the sand. However hard they tried to take it out, it did not come out of the sand. The accompanying priests understood it is Lord’s wish to settle down in that spot.

A big mansion stands at that spot where the cart sunk. The idol sits at the centre of the huge mansion, also called ‘Haveli’. Hence, it came to be knowns as ‘Shrinathji ki Haveli’ or ‘Thakurji Ki Haveli’.

Deity

Shrinathji idol is made out of a single black monolithic stone. It is the younger child form of Lord Krishna. It stands with one hand above his head holding the huge mountain of Govardhan and the other hand on his waist and a diamond on his chin. This pose depicts the story of Lord Krishna when he picked up Govardhan mountain on his little finger to save the people of Gokul village from the heavy thunderstorms, lightning and rain brought about by Lord Megh.

The deity is dressed and decorated differently every day. Hundreds of visitors specially visit the temple to see this decoration. The priests treat the diety of Shreenathji like a child. The priests take utmost care in performing all activities, from bathing to feeding the Lord. They talk to the idol and shower it with motherly love and kindness. The original descendants of Vallabh Sect carry out the whole process of getting the Lord ready. The idol bathes in fresh cow milk obtained from around 500 cows in the temple complex. These cows are also believed to be original descendants of the cattle owned by Lord Krishna’s family, thousands of years ago.

The idol of Shrinathji
Shrinathji idol in Shrinathji Temple

Architecture

Shrinathji Temple is built in the style of a Haveli. It has separate store rooms for grocery, cooking, bathing, sleeping. It is a big household headed by Lord Krishna, where priests take care of all household chores with love and devotion. There are three floors in the Haveli, where there are rooms for priests, caretakers and the Temple Trust.

Shrinathji Temple timings

The temple opens for Darshan at 5: 15 am and closes at 7: 30 pm every day. But you will have to keep a tab of time because the Darshan happens in slots of 20 minutes.

Shrinathji Temple Darshan

The day starts with Mangala Darshan when the Lord opens his eyes. The door to the main sanctum opens gradually for the visitors so that Lord does not get startled by a huge crowd. This is the first darshan of the day. Then the Shringar takes place after which the Lord is ready for the day.

After the Shringar gets over, its time for Gwal or morning snacks. This gets over by 9:30 am. After this, the temple is open for devotees and visitors. In the afternoon, the day breaks for the Rajbhog or the grand lunch and the afternoon siesta(Uthapan) of the Lord.  At around 4:15 pm Bhog or dinner takes place. After Sandhya Aarthi the temple doors remain shut for visitors. The Lord is put to sleep(Sayan) at 7:30 pm.

Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara Darshan Time

Nathdwara Paintings in Shrinathji Temple
Nathdwara Paintings on the Walls of Shrinathji Temple

The best time to visit Shrinathji Temple is during Janmashtami and Holi. Annakut, a festival famous in Govardhan, Vrindavan, is celebrated with great fervour in Nathdwara.

Nearby Places to Visit

Nathdwara is a city of forts and temples. Therefore there’s plenty to look for in Nathdwara. There’s Charbhuja, a famous temple here dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Eklingji temple near Eklingji Lake is a great attraction, especially for the people of Sisodia Dynasty. There are markets selling famous Nathdwara paintings. The Dwarkadheesh temple in Kakroli village is based on the Shreenathji temple and is devoted to Lord Krishna. It is equally important to Vaishnavas and origins of Vallabh Sect.

Accomodation

Nathdwara is the most sought after destination near Udaipur. There are accommodations from low budget to five-star hotels in Nathdwara. Hotel Crimson Park Shripriya and Shree Jee International in Nathdwara would cost you 2500 per night. A room in Brij Bhoomi hotel would cost you from 2800 to 3000 per night. Besides this, the temple also provides the facility of lodging.

How To Reach The Temple

The closest airport is the Udaipur airport which is at a distance of 60 kilometres from the temple. From Udaipur airport, you can reach Nathdwara at an expense of 700 to 800 rupees.

By road, there are state-owned buses from Udaipur which will take you to Nathdwara at a ticket price of Rs 45 per person. Private cars can be quite expensive. State-owned buses are available from all close by cities.

Mavli Junction is the closest railway station at a distance of 30 kilometres.

If you are a Vaishnav or a Hindu from any part of the world, then Nathdwara Shrinathji Temple is a destination you must include in your list of pilgrimage because the idol is very powerful, and secondly, you get to witness the beauty of Rajasthan.