The famous temple town of Nathdwara, also called the Apollo town of Mewar is famous for Vaishnavite shrine belonging to the Pushti Marg or the Vallabh Sampradaya. A samprday or sect founded by Vallabhacharya. The idol of lord Shrinathji originally from Vrindavan was brought to Mewar following constant threat from the Mughal king Aurangzeb. The revered idol was regarded and recognized by former Mughals as holy shrine with due respect. However, it became imminent to shift the idol to a safer place in 1665 before it is devastated in a spree to vandalize the area of Vrindavan.
It is true that when the Mughal army came to Govardhana, the followers of the Lord Shrinathji displayed the titles, honour and gifts given away to the temple by the previous Mughal rulers. Upon which, the Mughal commander ordered that the deity be shifted away from Govardhana. For six long months the idol was kept in Agra after that the caretakers retired towards Rajasthan for a safe heaven and ultimately without worrying about the wrath of Mughals, the state of Mewar headed that time by Maharana Raj Singh gave refuge and permitted for construction of temple and safe guard the idol at any cost.
This decision to choose the temple site of the Lord at Nathdwara carries an interesting story. When the wheel of the chariot carrying the Lord Shrinathji got stuck in the soil at a place known as Sihar, the Maharana decided that it was a divine sign indicating that Lord Shrinathji wishes to settle here, and thus a temple was built at that spot. The present township of Nathdwara came up around the holy temple so constructed. The location is on the bank of river Banas.
Temple of lord Shrinathji attracts thousands of pilgrims from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh every day for darshan of the lord known as Mangala or first darshan of the day; Shringar; Gval; Rajbhog; Utthanpan (lord just up from siesta) Bhog; Sandhya and Shayan (last darshan of the day before retiring)
Outer wall of the temple has an approximate periphery of 500 meters. The same is also known as prikarma of the temple, which in other words is the outer wall of the temple. The said wall was due for major repairs & maintenance and the same has been done recently by which the renovation has been accomplished. It was not renovation alone but the wall is now a great panorama to watch as the same is with number of religious pictures depicting various aspects of life of Lord Krishna.
These pictures have been painted on the wall by the renowned contemporary artists of the Nathdwara and around. The city of Nathdwara is well known for Rajasthani style of paintings, called “Pichwai Paintings” and miniature, belonging to the Mewar School of art. The paintings revolve around the image of Shrinathji, the charming faced picture of Krishna, who is shown holding up Govardhan Parbat. The very theme of paintings on the outer wall of the temple revolves around lord Krishna in which various aspects of his life known as Krishnaleela are displayed with great art work.
This idea and marathon exercise of creating “wall of the Lord- 2017” has been inspired by none other but H.H. Goswamy Tilkayat Shri Rakeshji Maharaj and Goswami Shri Vishal Bavaji. Incidently, the present CEO of temple board is Dinesh Kothari, who happened to be a lover of fine art holding a PG degree in fine arts. He was also instrumental in accomplishing this exercise of creating the “wall of the Lord- 2017”.
The temple has honored 11 veteran artists with a cash reward of Rs. 11,000/- each, which includes Shri Anandi Lal Sharma from Udaipur. In all 148 artists have contributed to the depiction of 62 wall paintings. So next time when you visit Nathdwara for Holi darshan should not forget to see the wall of the Lord.
Authored by: Mahendra K Kothari, Superintendent of Customs & Excise (Retired)