Udaipur & Shrinathji Darshan Yatra
 

Shrinathji

Shrinathji - Nathdwara

Shrinathji is a form of Hindu god Krishna, manifest as a seven-year-old child (Balak). The principal shrine of Shrinathji is situated at the temple town of Nathdwara, located 48 Kilometers North-east of Udaipur city in Rajasthan. Shrinathji is the central presiding deity of the Vaishnava sect known as the Pushti Marg (The way of grace) or the Vallabh Sampradaya or Shuddhadvaita, established by Shri Vallabhacharya. Shrinathji is worshipped mainly by the followers of Bhakti Yoga and the Vaishnava in Gujarat and Rajasthan among others. Vitthal Nathji, son of Vallabhacharya institutionalised the worship of Shrinathji at Nathdwara. On account of the popularity of Shrinathji, Nathdwara town itself is referred to as ‘Shrinathji’.

People also call it bava's (shreenath ji bava) nagri. Initially, the child Krishna deity was referred to as Devdaman (The conqueror of Gods – Referring to over-powering of Indra by Krishna in the lifting of Govardhan hill). Shri Vallabhacharya named him as Gopala and the place of his worship as ‘Gopalpur’. Later, Vitthal Nathji named the deity as Shrinathji. The followers of Pushtimarg assert that the deity's arm and face first emerged from the Govardhan hill, and thereafter, the local inhabitants (Vrajavasis) under the spiritual leadership of Madhavendra Puri started the worship of the Gopal (Krishna) deity.

This Gopala deity was later termed as Shrinathji. Thus, Madhavendra Puri is attributed to discovery of the deity of Gopal near Govardhana, which was later adapted and worshiped by Vallabhacharya as Shrinathji. Initially, Madhavendra Puri, carried out the worship of the deity's upraised arm and later, the face. Shrinathji was originally worshipped in a humble shrine at Jatipura village near Govardhan and subsequently, moved to a larger temple on top of the hill. According to Pushtimarg literature, Shrinathji appeared to Shri Vallabhacharya, in the Hindu Vikram Samvat year 1549 and directed the Vallabhacharya to proceed to the Govardhan Hill to begin worship.

The Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara celebrates, on an average, three festivals in a week. As regards to daily routine, the inner sanctum is opened 8 times a day for the devotees undertake sacred darshan of the deity. Very elaborate and complex rituals have emerged around the worship of Shrinathji due to confluence and inter-mixing of cult of Krishna as well as that of Pushti Margi Shri Vallabhacharya. The main attractions of Shrinathji are the Aartis and the Shringar, i.e. the dressing and beautifying of the idol of Shrinathji, treating it as a living child, adorning it with the appropriate dresses commensurate to the time of day or night. The formal prayers are offered with diya, flowers, fruit and other offerings, with local instruments and devotional songs of the Shrinathji, according to the demand of the time and occasion. The view of the idol after the parda (curtain) is removed is called jhakhi.