Nathdwara- The famous temple of Shrinathji
Located in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, the town of Nathdwara is 48 km north-east of Udaipur and is famous for 17th century temple dedicated to Lord Shrinathji, 7year old “infant” incarnation of Lord Krishna. Originally worshipped at Mathura, the idol was later shifted here to protect its entity from anti-Hindu fanatics grew rampant under the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Lying on the banks of river Banas, the town is a famous pilgrimage center for Hindus and Vaishnavas. The temple of Shrinathji is also known as ‘Haveli of Shrinathji’ or the the abode of Lord Krishna.
Nathdwara literally means ‘Gateway to Shrinathji’ and according to legend, Lord Shrinathji’s image was enshrined in Vrindavan, Mathura, but to protect the idol from the ravages of Aurangzeb , in 1672 then Maharaja Rana Raj Singh made an effort to rescue the idol from the Mughal Emperor’s domain. Later when the image was being shifted by a vehicle, its wheel sank deep in the mud refusing to move ahead hence the priests apprehended that the Lord has himself chosen this spot as his abode. Thus a temple was built under Maharaja’s protection on the same spot.
Amidst the idyllic hills, the Nathdwara temple forms an attractive tourist destination. The temple is not only adorned for its religious significance but for its ceaseless aesthetic appeal. The image of Lord Shrinathji is presented with his left hand raised and the right hand fisted, for he lifted the Govardhana hill to overpower all the gods to be known as the conqueror of all Devas ( Gods ). The presiding deity of Shrinathji is essentially of a young boy or ‘balak’ form of Lord Krishna. The idol is made of black stone with imprinted images of two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks and a parrot by the god’s head. The pristine glory of Lord Shrinathji is expressed through the beautiful shrine established in the temple for centuries.
The temple authorities own some 500 cows, one of them belonging to Shrinathji. Festivals like Holi, Janmashtmi see a large number of devotees gathering around the temple to offer their prayers to the deity. Annakutta is another festival when the temple is overcrowded and therefore it is best time to avoid the temple during that time.
How to Reach
Udaipur which is at a distance of about 60km is the nearest airport to Nathdwara. Many domestic airlines connect Udaipur to major cities in the country including Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Taxi services are available from the airport to Nathdwara city at a rate of around 700INR.
Mavli Junction is the nearest Railway station and it is 30 km from Nathdwara. Udaipur City railway Station is also there at a distance of 50 km from the destination. Trains to and from Gwalior, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi are widely available from these railway stations.
State owned buses also connect the place to Udaipur and other metros and some places of Rajasthan. So travel by road is also an option to pay a visit to Lord Shrinathji.