Monday, 24 October 2011

Sri Radha Govinda Temple, Vrindavan


Govindaji Temple
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Govindaji Temple
Srila Rupa Gosvami originally estblished this temple under the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; being ordered to excavate all the lost holy places of Vrindavan. Five thousand years earlier, Lord Krishna's grandson, Vajranaba, installed a number of important Deities in Vrindavana; Govindaji was one of these Deities. Rupa Gosvami searched all over Vrindavan to locate the Yogapith, the resting place of the original Deity of Govindaji, but after months of searching, the Deity could not be found. Feeling disappointed, Rupa Gosvami came and sat by the bank of the Yamuna river and shedding tears, he began to call out the name of Lord Caitanya--"Ha Caitanya, Ha Caitanya" (oh, Caitanya). Suddenly, Lord Krishna, appeared in the guise of a beautiful brijbasi boy. He informed Rupa Gosvami that there was a cow that came every day to a nearby hillock, and the cow emptied its milk into a hole on the hilltop. He asked Rupa to accompany him to the place to see what might be contained in the hole. Rupa Gosvami followed the boy and upon reaching the spot, the boy disappeared. Looking within the milk drenched hole, Rupa Gosvami immediately fell unconscious in a wave of ecstatic emotions. When he recovered, he summoned the local people who then excavated the hole and found the beautiful Deity of Lord Govinda. The loud cries of "Hey Govinda, He Krishna" suddenly reverberated throughout the sky.

The construction of the temple of Radha Govinda began under the guidance of Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami and his disciples headed by Raja Man Singh of Jaipur sometime after 1570. It was the most impressive edifice that Hindu art had ever produced in the whole of Northern India. It towered into the sky seven stories high and was built on top of the hill where the Deity was first discovered, making it the tallest building in this part of India. The temple was completed in 1590.


Less than one hundred years later, Emperor Aurangzeb, the Muslim zealot, was standing on the ramparts of his fort at Agra, and noticed a bright light burning in the far distance. Upon being informed that this was a large ghee lamp kept atop the Radha Govinda temple in Vrindavan, he became furious that a Hindu shrine was taller than any Muslim building and immediately ordered its destruction. By the time the soldiers of Aurangzeb arrived, Lord Govindadeva and all the important Deities of Vrindavana had been moved to safer places. The solidiers of Aurangzeb dismantled the top floors of the Govindaji temple and desecrated the sanctum sanctorum as well as mutilated all the stone carvings within the temple.

Radha-Govinda
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Radha-Govinda

New Radha Govinda Temple

Because the soldiers of Aurangzeb desecrated the main temple, it is believed that worship cannot continue in that temple. Therefore this temple was established behind the original Govindaji temple and it contains the pratibhu Deities of Radha Govinda. The original Deities of Govinda were brought to Jaipur. The pratibhu Deities are considered to be the same as the originals.

Directions: This temple is directly behind and slightly to the right of the Govindaji temple. To get here you go around the Govindaji temple and there is small road just behind the temple.

Temple Timings: Summer darshan is 7:30 to 10:30 am and 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Winter darshan is 8:00 to 11:30 am and 4:30 to 7:30 pm

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