Dwarkadhish Temple in Mathura: Pilgrimage Travelogue of A Devotee

      The Dwarkadhish Temple in Mathura is located quite close to Vishram Ghat which is on the banks of River Yamuna. This temple was built in 1815 by a wealthy devotee, Seth Gokuldas Parikh. He was the treasurer of the state of Gwalior. The temple is in the middle of a busy and narrow street. It was impossible to drive our car on this road so we parked the car near one of the ghats near Yamuna and walked to this temple. There were lots of small shops on either side of the road.

      As I stood in front of the temple on the main road, I saw a flight of steps. These led me to a huge courtyard. There were a few more steps in the courtyard that led me to the main temple. In the courtyard, I saw lots of devotees sitting on huge cloth mats. They were totally immersed in singing and chanting. Many of them were playing cymbals. All around the courtyard, I noticed many pictures and paintings. "The inscriptions on the walls were in Hindi and Gujarati that serve as a gentle reminder to the visitors that Lord Krishna, as Dwarkadheesh, resided for many decades at Dwarka, in Gujarat. Near the sanctum sanctorum, there were 12 cream-coloured pillars decorated with green flower petals. These 12 pillars held a huge dome at the centre. I saw beautiful paintings, depicting the wonderful pastimes of Krishna, adorning the dome.

      When I reached the temple, I found that the view of the sanctum sanctorum was blocked by a curtain. Suddenly, the flashlights facing the curtain lit up. Seeing this, the devotees, sensed that the curtain would be drawn back. They immediately stood up and rushed towards the sanctum sanctorum. Chants of "Dwarkadheesh Ki Jay" filled the cool winter air. The idol of Lord Krishna was worth beholding. Made of black marble, the face was so expressive that it looked as if the divine Lord Himself was standing there! There was also a beautiful idol of Goddess Rukmini, the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, by His side. One very striking feature was the red tilak applied on the forehead of Dwarkadheesh. In the dimly lit room, it flashed like a string of red rubies adorning His forehead.

      Dwarkadhish Temple in Mathura is quite unique in many ways, compared to the other Krishna temples in Brij Bhoomi. In most of the temples in Brij Bhoomi, we see the two-armed Krishna, with his legs criss-crossed, playing His flute. However, in this temple, Lord Krishna is in His four-armed form, as is the case in most of the Krishna temples in Dwarka, Gujarat. After viewing the deity, I performed parikrama. I noticed one more unusual feature in this temple. Instead of applying red kumkum to decorate the walls, as is the case in some of the temples, the priest had applied cow dung on the walls. It served as a reminder that Lord Krishna is Lord Govinda, the Protector of Cows. The devotees who visited this temple were predominantly Gujaratis so I felt I was in some town in Gujarat, and not in the heart of Brij Bhoomi.

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