Vrindavan – a Jewel of Brij Bhoomi
Vrindavan is one of the holiest pilgrimages, particularly for Vaishnavites (Devotees of Lord Vishnu). The name ‘Vrindavan’ is made up of two words – Vrinda and Van. Vrinda means Tulsi (Basil) and Van means forest. Translated, it means a ‘Forest of Tulsi’. Vrindavan was lost to memory over the ages until Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavan in 1515 CE and identified most of the places connected with Shri Krishna. Soon temples were rebuilt and traditional worship was revived. The Vrindavan of old was once again humming with activity and religious fervor. The city of Vrindavan is synonymous with Shri Krishna and it is dotted with countless temples – ancient and new, dedicated to Him. There are numerous sacred spots connected with stories told in Puranas and other religious texts.
Nidhivan, in Vrindavan, is one of the most visited places in the city of Shri Krishna and Radha Rani.
Shri Krishna, Vrindavan and Nidhivan (Nidhivan Vrindavan Story)
As we all know, Shri Krishna was born in a small prison cell in Mathura, about 11 km from Vrindavan. This entire area which includes places like Govardhan, Gokul, Nandgaon, Barsana and others is known as Brij Bhoomi. This is the place where Shri Krishna spent his childhood and early days. His exploits – from stealing butter to teasing the Gopis are well known and loved. Yashoda Maiyya was always at her wit’s end! A particularly favorite pastime of Shri Krishna was performing Ras Leela or Ras Garba with Radha Rani and the Gopis. This is the dance of Divine love and pure devotion. Though this Ras Leela was done in many places and in many forest glades by Shri Krishna, His favorite was Nidhivan. This is why Shri Krishna, Radha Rani, and the Gopis still come here each night.
Shri Krishna, Radha Rani and the Gopis still come to Nidhivan
Nidhivan was and is so dear to Shri Krishna and Radha Rani that even today they come each night to perform the dance of Divine Love. Though no one has witnessed this, it is believed as the truth by millions of devotees. Shri Krishna, Radha Rani and all the Gopis come each night. The Ras Leela that used to be done in the Dwapara Yuga is repeated night after night. There have been people who have been foolish enough to hide in the forest and tried to see this celestial gathering in Nidhivan. Sadly, none have remained alive or sane enough to relate the tale. It is expressly forbidden to be in Nidhivan after sunset. Even the local people of Vrindavan will strongly recommend against any stupid adventure. There are some residential houses adjoining Nidhivan, but none of the residents are inclined or foolish enough to look into Nidhivan at night..
Nidhivan, Vrindavan Timings
- Summer season 05:00 AM to 08:00 PM
- Winter season 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Nidhivan Temple and Rang Mahal
These are two temples located within Nidhivan. The first – Nidhivan temple is the original temple built by Swami Haridas. This temple has a beautiful Murti of Radha – Krishna and is surrounded by a sacred ‘Kunj’ or forest. Rang Mahal is another temple in Nidhivan, known as the place where Radha Rani is adorned by Shri Krishna with His own hands. The temple has beds for resting. Every evening, before closing the temple gates, the temple pujari makes the bed, and places ornaments like bangles and clothes for Radha Rani. He also leaves Neem Twigs (for brushing teeth), sweets, Paan (Betel leaves), and water. Amazingly, every morning the bed looks as if it has been slept in, and other items have been used! This is a mystery no one has been able to explain yet. The conclusion is obvious.
The Story of Swami Haridas
Swami Haridas Goswami was born in 1478 in a Saraswat Brahmin Family. His ancestral lineage could be traced back to Gargacharya, a Kulguru of the Yadavas in the Dwapar Yuga. It is believed Swami Haridas was an incarnation of Lalita, one of Radha Rani’s closest sakhis (Companion). He was trained in classical music and ‘Ragas’. He was also a music teacher and one his disciples was Tansen among others. Tansen was one of the ‘Navratna’ of Akbar’s court.
Swami Haridas then established his ashram in Nidhivan and spent his days and nights in meditation, prayer, and singing hymns to the Lord. One day he was blessed with the appearance of Shri Krishna and Radha Rani. He continued his worship and Shri Krishna and Radha Rani came every day. One day some of Swami Haridas’ disciples happened to come and they too were astonished to see Shri Krishna and Radha Rani in their full dazzling glory. Swami Haridas then asked Shri Krishna to stay here forever. He and Radha Rani Instantly turned into stone Murtis. Swami Haridas built a temple over the Murtis. Worship was started in the temple. Before leaving his earthly body, Swami Haridas handed over the responsibility of the temple to his younger brother. Puja and worship continued in this temple till 1862. Then a bigger and grander temple was built a short distance from this temple. The original Murti was enshrined in the new temple which was called Banke Bihari Mandir.
Nidhivan remains the abode of Shri Krishna. The Lord is eternal and so are His pastimes and activities. Sanatana Dharma is replete with stories of the Divine and the celestial. These are like the sky – with no beginning, no middle, and no end, and yet the sky is just a part of Parabrahm – the Super Soul and Master of All.
Nidhivan Vrindavan Images