As devotees of Shri Krishna gear up to celebrate Shri Krishna Janmashtami on August 14, here’s taking a look at some of the Lord’s most famous temples situated across India:
Radha Raman Temple
The deity at the Radha Raman temple is a swayambhu (self-manifested) from salagram-sila on the full moon day of Vaisakha. Dedicated to Radha Raman (lover of Radha), the temple was established over 600 years ago by Gopala Bhatta Goswami.
Jugal Kishore Temple
Situated near Kesi Ghat, the construction of Jugal Kishore temple was completed in 1627. Shri Krishna had killed Kesi, the horse demon at this spot, and hence it is also known as the Kesi Ghat Temple. Mughal ruler Akbar is said to have visited this temple in 1570.
The Rangji temple situated in Shri Krishna janmabhoomi or Mathura is built in South Indian style. It is dedicated to Ranganathan, a form of Lord Vishnu who rests on Sheshnaag, the thousand headed serpent.
Bankey Bihari Temple
The Bankey Bihari is dedicated to Shri Krishna who is seen standing in the Tribhanga posture. Popular for Jhoolan and Janmashthami celebrations, the Bankey Bihari temple was built by Swami Haridas. Banke Bihari is believed to be a late riser and doesn’t wake up before 9am. The Mangal Aarti in the temple is sung only during Janmashtami.
Madana Mohan Temple
The Madana Mohan temple is one of the oldest temples built in Vrindavan. Originally known as Madana Gopala temple, it is situated on the banks of the Yamuna. Constructed in the year 1580 at the foot of a hill called Aditya tila, the original idol of Madana Mohan was discovered at the base of an old Vata tree by Aditya Acharya.
The Nikunjavana is actually a divine place once frequented by Shri Krishna. It is not a temple. The lord spent time with his consort, Radhika (Radha) here. The Nikunjavana is full of beautiful trees. Devotees do not visit the vana (forest) post sunset as it is believed that the lord comes to the spot every evening to spend time with Gopis.
Built in Dwaraka, a city named after the kingdom of Shri Krishna, which is now submerged under the sea, the Dwarakadheesh temple in Gujarat is a 5 storey structure held by 72 pillars. It is believed to be 2500 years old. The temple is situated along the Gujarat coast line which was once ruled by the Yadava clan.
Unlike other Shri Krishna idols, the Jagannath temple has idols of the Lord and his siblings- Balbhadra and Subhadra - made of wood. Their figures look incomplete. Built by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 11th century, the Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the most sacred places of worship. The temple is also hugely famous for its annual Rath Yatra, which draws millions of tourist year on year.
Also known as the ‘Bhooloka Vaikunta’ or the abode of Lord Vishnu on Mother Earth, the Guruvayur temple, dedicated to Shri Krishna is situated in Kerala. The temple is also known as Dwarka of Dakshin Bharat (South India) as it is one of the most famous temples in India. The idol of Sri Krishna in the temple is believed to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself.
Prem Mandir, built in the holy town of Vrindavan is one of the newest temples dedicated to Shri Krishna. The temple structure was established by spiritual guru Kripalu Maharaj. The main structure built in marble looks incredibly beautiful and is an educational monument that reflects the true history of Sanatana Dharma. Figures of Shri Krishna and his followers depicting important events surrounding the Lord’s existence cover the main temple.
Udupi Krishna Temple
Among the countless number of Krishna temples, the one in Udupi finds a special mention. What is special about this temple is that the idol of Sri Krishna has to be viewed through a window with nine holes referred to as the Navagraha Kitiki.