September 6, 2014

My TripAdvisor Review No.55: Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara.

“Abode of Lord Krishna”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 September 2014 NEW
‘Jai Shri Krishna’ is the common way of greeting each other at Nathdwara, the famous Krishna Temple town in Rajasthan, about 50 km north of Udaipur. It means ‘Praise the Lord Krishna’.

The temple of Shrinathji at Nathdwara is among the most sacred places of worship for the followers of Lord Krishna. The idol is made of black stone and is said to have been brought here from Mathura in 1669 to protect it from the Moguls under Aurangzeb.

The temple opens its doors to the public for worship seven times a day for just about half an hour each, and there is a huge crowd always waiting to rush in. Inevitably there is some pushing and jostling and you barely get a minute for darshan before you are pushed out to the exit, just like in a Mumbai local train. This makes the whole experience quite unpleasant, and the temple authorities should take the initiative to organise it in a better way. Some touts promise to get you in through the VIP channels, but they only serve as paid guides, and can do nothing when the push becomes a shove.

The temple timings vary slightly on a daily basis and are announced publicly and on their website. It generally starts at 5.30 am with the ‘mangala’ darshan, followed by ‘shingar’ at 8.15 am, ‘gwal’ at 9.30 am, ‘rajbhog’ at 10.30 am, ‘uthaapan’ at 3.30 pm, ‘sandhya’ at 5.15 pm, ‘shayan’ at 6.30 pm. ‘Bhog’ is distributed among devotees as ‘prasad’ (holy food). At each darshan the child in Lord Krishna is pampered in a different way, from his awakening, to his feeding, grooming, afternoon siesta, evening outing and dinner, till he is finally tucked in to bed. Devotional music is played during the darshans. The timings change completely on festival days.

Tips: 1) Not for the people weak in heart and body. 2) Entry is free, but photography inside the sanctum is strictly prohibited. All cameras, mobiles and smart phones are to be left outside for which you will be given a token at the counter. It is preferable to leave them locked in your vehicle, because there is a rush at the counter after darshan, and it can take a while to get your valuables back.

After the temple visit you can do some shopping in the ‘Chaupati Bazar’, in the lane leading to the temple. Pictures and paintings of Shrinathji are readily available in every second shop, whereas you can buy local jewellery, vases, handicrafts and decorative items in the other shops. There are some food stalls and sweetmeat shops too. A few shops just outside the temple sell ‘prasad’ in case you want to take some home for your near and dear.

Another good place to visit at Nathdwara is the ‘Lal Bagh’ garden, about 2 km north of the main temple on the highway. This garden houses the museum where you can see the ancient chariots and other items which were used in the ceremonial processions in older times.

Last but not least, and if you are spending more time at Nathdwara, you can visit the ‘Gaushalas’ or cowsheds of the temple trust, which is about 5 km away from the temple. There are about 1500 cows and around 500 oxen. One cow here is known to be Shrinathji’s cow, and comes from a lineage that has served the deity for long.

There is a vehicle entry tax of Rs.40 as you enter Nathdwara town, and parking charges of Rs.30 in the parking lot next to the main temple.
Visited July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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