As per Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna had lifted the Govardhan parvat (mountain) on his finger to protect the people of Mathura village from heavy rain. Lord Krishna can be seen in the same form, holding the parvat on one finger and playing flute with his other hand, as an idol at the Shrinathji temple, Nathdwara, Rajasthan. This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, so it is also known as the haveli of Lord Krishna. The Shrinathji temple also houses the idol of Shrinathji, who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna in 14th century. The same idol was initially worshiped at Mathura but it was brought to Nathdwara as Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, was destructing Hindu idols. Nathdwara is a small town located at a distance of 48 km from Udaipur. After this deity, Nathdwara also became famous by the name of ‘Shrinathji’.
The idol of Lord Krishna when being transferred from Vrindavan to a safer place, then at the same place where the temple is located today, the wheels of the bullock cart carrying the idol got struck in mud. It was not moving further. After seeing this, the accompanying priest realized that this is the chosen place by the Lord himself. So, the temple was constructed on that very place.
About the Shrinathji temple
Opening hours of the temple are from 4-5 am till 6 pm. Whether it is a weekday or weekend, the Shrinathji temple is always crowded and full of devotees. But the ideal time to visit this temple is early morning.
The ‘chappanbhog’ aarti is one of its kinds at the temple in which 56 kinds of different food are offered to the Lord and after this these are distributed as prasad. Boondi ladoos and mohanthal are the most popular food items.
The Shrinathji temple is the prime attraction of Nathdwara. But Nathdwara is also famous for many other things such as milk-made sweets, handmade terracotta and ‘pichhwai’ paintings. In Pichwai painting legends from the life of Lord Krishna is shown on a large piece of cloth. All the festivals related to Lord Krishna such as Janmashtmi and Holi are celebrated with great fervor at Nathdwara. There is another festival known as Annakutta that is very popular at Nathdwara. This festival is connected with Lord Krishna and his lifting of the Govardhana parbat. Annakutta is celebrated inside the temple.
Places to Visit
Lal Bag – Lal Bag is located at a distance of 1 km from the town. It is a beautiful garden that is visited by tourists and local residents. Fountains and lighting are the main attractions of Lal Bag apart from one museum known as Shreemad Vallabh Sangrahalay that houses ancient accessories and vehicles of Thakurji.
Giriraj Parikrama – Located close to the town of Vrindavan is the Govardhan parvat or Giriraj. This mountain is considered as a form of Lord Krishna. On the similar lines, a Giriraj hill is located near Nathdwara town. Vaishnavs consider a walk around Mt. Giriraj very sacred. On the whole path, beautiful flowers are grown and the path is also adorned with lights making it a worthy place to visit.
Shreenathji Gaushala – This is one probably the most favorite place of Nathdwara. Shreenathji Gaushala is located at a distance of 3 km from His Haveli. This place is surrounded by beautiful hills and presents a picturesque beauty. There are about 2,000 cows and 50 guwals in Shreenathji gaushala. Visiting this place will complete your visit to Nathdwara.