Radha Raman Hari Govind bolo”
The melodious chantings of this bhajan lend a beautiful charm to this holy land – “Vrindavan”. Situated in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, Vrindavan is honoured to have a beautiful association with Lord Krishna. This is the divine abode where Lord Krishna spent his childhood and performed various unfathomable miracles. This land still holds the spiritual aura of Lord Krishna that attracts millions from all over the world.
The significance of Vrindavan Dham, Shri Banke Bihari Temple
Shri Banke Bihari Ji Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is situated in Vrindavan and was established by Swami Haridas, a guru of the famous singer Tansen. He once sang a beautiful verse in Nidhivan(Vrindavan) for Lord Krishna and Shyama-Shyam (Radha-Krishna) appeared in front of him. On the request of Shri Swami ji, the couple merged into one and the idol of Banke Bihari appeared there. The same idol was established in the temple by Swami Haridas. Banke means “bent in three places” and Bihari means “supreme enjoyer”. That is how this temple, where the idol of Lord Krishna standing in tribhanga (tri-bent) pose, got its name Banke Bihari. People are seen with their hands high up in the air, smiling and laughing and calling out “Raadhe Radhe Shyaam Milaade”.
Miracles of Shri Banke Bihari Temple
There is an interesting story of an old lady associated with Banke Bihari Temple. She told everyone how Shri Banke Bihari helped her in her bad times which is truly divine. Her father once had to mortgage the house to a dishonest money lender for her marriage who had plans to confiscate their house and betray them. He filed a complaint against them and falsely accused them of not paying the money. Feeling helpless and miserable, the old lady's father went to Vrindavan to get the blessings of Shri Banke Bihari. Shri Banke Bihari Ji appeared in her father’s dream and said “I will be the witness in your case. Don’t worry and go home”
Next day in the court, Judge asked about the witness. The lady’s father registered the name "Banke Bihari". The attendant shouted three times "Banke Bihari, present yourself to the court". The voice spoke from outside." I am here". One man wrapped up in blanket appeared in court and revelled where the money lender has hidden the file. The moneylender was caught red-handed and hence the innocence of the lady’s father was proved. This entire event awestruck the people present there. When the Judge turned around Bihari Ji disappeared.”
It is believed that the very next day the Judge resigned his job, went to Vrindavan and became permanent devotee there. The old lady went to Vrindavan expecting that she would see Shri Banke Bihari ji again.
Mythological Story of a ‘Rajasthani Princess’ associated with the Temple
Once upon a time, a princess from Rajasthan came for darshan of Shree Banke Bihari at Vrindavan. She was so mesmerized with a single glimpse of Shri Banke Bihari Ji that she wanted to remain with him for the rest of her life. Her family forced her to return to her kingdom. With teary eyes, she last saw Shree Banke Bihari Ji and left. Witnessing her utmost love, Bihariji followed the princess and was found missing at the temple established by Swami Haridas.
The mystery of Krishna’s Flute & Curtains at the Temple
- In Banke Bihari temple, a curtain is regulated by Pujaris at regular intervals to keep the devotees from taking a look at him. A man once looked at the idol of Shri Banke Bihari for such a long time that he fell in love with him, went mad and never left the temple after that.
- This is the only temple where loud temple bells are not used to wake the Krishna every morning. Brajwasis say that the appropriate way to wake a child is with love and care. The loud sound of bells and aarti might disturb Lord Krishna.
- It is believed that every night Thakurji spent 4 hours in raas with gopis in Nidhivan. The sound of the flute, anklets and dance-steps are proof of the same.
Other Religious Temples to visit near Banke Bihari Temple
There are over 2000 temples in Vrindavan at present and some of them are very prominent.
- ISKCON Temple/Krishna-Balram Temple: Enjoy Rama-Krishna bhajan “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” that goes on 24 hours a day. The aura of this chant is itself very mesmerizing. Visit the ISKCON Temple in the morning or evening (it’s closed during afternoon hours). In summer, the evening aarti goes on from 04:30 pm to 8:45 pm; in winter, it is from 04:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
- Prem Mandir - Shyama Shyam Dham: This Radhe- Krishna temple in Vrindāvan built by Sri Kripalu Maharaj is a centre of attraction for tourists. Best time to see the temple in the night under lights as lights of the temple keep changing in every five minutes. Also, the musical fountain show and beautiful Krishna Leelas are hard to miss. There is no entry fee and a heavy crowd on the weekend.
- Radha Vallabh Temple: Known for its marvellous architecture, this is one of the oldest temples of Lord Krishna that showcases early eclectic style. The temple represents the perfect amalgamation of the Hindu and Islamic elements in Mediaeval Architecture.
Beyond God: A Quick Read
Vrindavan is also famous for it’s the food and culture. One can enjoy various delicacies i.e. kachoris, refreshing sweet lassi, peda and delicious rabri. One can find both hand-crafted and machine-made clothes and jewellery for idols of every size, CDs and cassettes of bhajans, ornaments and paintings. On the small street called Parikrama Road, amidst all the buildings, are present a large number of what can be called tourists or pilgrims or locals.
Few notes one should make before planning a visit to Vrindavan
- Shri Banke Bihari temple is open from 7:30 am-12pm and then 5:30 pm -9:30 pm in summers and from 8:45 A.M.- 1:00 P.M. and then 4:30 P.M.-8:30 P.M. in winters.
- Avoid visiting the temple or the city on a weekend as it is very crowded.
- Keep your belongings inside your bag and hold your bag tightly because there are quite a few monkeys around.