Nandagaon: Nanda Rai Temple & Pavan Sarovar


"By performing devotional services to the Lord, great devotees free themselves from the fruits of action. They get freed from the bondage of birth and death to achieve liberation and a blissful state." (Bhagavad Gita 2.51)

      Nandagaon is approximately 50 km to the north-west of Mathura and 10 km to the north of Barsana. It is located at 27.72º N latitude and 77.38° E longitude.

      This place has been named after Krishna's foster father, Nanda Rai. Yashoda and Nanda were too scared to live in Vrindavan owing to the frequent attacks launched by demons on their Son, Krishna. They knew that Kansa was responsible for these acts of violence. They decided to move to a town that was further away from Mathura and also less accessible to Kansa and his men. Hence, they chose to go to Nandagaon that was 50 km away from Mathura, compared to Vrindavan which was only 10 km from Mathura.


      This is close to the foothills of Nandishwara Hill. It is 50 metres off the main road, and the road leading to Pavan Sarovar is not in a good condition. At first glance, it looks similar to Prem Sarova. Both are not well-maintained in spite of being places with such a divine history. Both have pink-coloured stone ghats on all sides of the sarovar.

      However, as approached the sarovar, noticed subtle differences between the two. Prem Sarovar had eight pathways leading from the edge to the middle, like the eight tentacles of an octopus. Pavan Sarovar had about 25 such pathways. Each pathway was around 25. feet long, Prem Sarovar was shaped like an octagon, whereas Pavan Sarovar is rectangular. The steps leading to the water are fewer in number at Pavan Sarovar than at Prem Sarovar.


      Nanda Rai Temple is built atop hillock known as Nandishwara Hill. Since Lord Shiva had stayed there in the form of Nandishwara Hill. The house where Nanda Rai stayed has now been converted into Nanda Rai Temple. The hillock is on the outskirts of Nandagaon. There is a narrow dusty road in front of Pavan Sarovar that leads towards this divine hill, This narrow road was in the midst of sunflower and mustard fields, so we almost missed it.

      When I reached the top of the hillock, I saw a few steps leading us to a huge wooden gate. Only a small portion of the huge door was open. This was similar to the Gokulnath Temple at Gokul. When I crossed the gate, I came across a huge outer courtyard. A walk to the left led me to the inner courtyard of the temple. The temple was made of white marble. The courtyard was surrounded by lots of arches on all sides, reminiscent of the Moghul era. The inner courtyard walls had numerous paintings, depicting the life and pastimes of Lord Krishna.

      The main altar had idols of the entire Nanda Rai family, kept in a golden mantapa. At the extreme left was a golden-coloured idol of Radha. Next to it was a golden idol of Yashoda. Black idols of Krishna and Balarama were to the right. Surprisingly, both of Them were playing the flute. To the right of Balarama was an idol of Nanda Rai. To his right were idols of Mansukh and Dhansulkh, both friends of Krishna. These idols were installed by Krishna's great grandson, Vajranabha. There were steps in the outer courtyard that lead to the first floor of the temple. The first floor has a huge outer courtyard, surrounding the temple below.

      Nanda Rai stayed in this house for many years with his family till, one fine day, Aktoor visited them and requested Nanda Rai to send Krishna and Balarama along with him to Mathura.

      Unable to bear the separation of Radha and Krishna, I walked away and went to the other side of the courtyard. I now realised why the name of Radha always precedes that of Krishna; I also realised the true meaning of the name Radhakrishna'.

      As I stood on the other side of the courtyard, I could see a narrow muddy road on the other side of the temple. I was told that this was the same road that Akroor used when he took Krishna and Balarama to Mathura.

      As I stood watching the muddy road leading to Mathura, I realised that even a Divine Couple like Radha and Krishna had to respect destiny. My mind was filled with thoughts about how They experienced the pangs of separation and tried to overcome it. Thoughtfully, I slowly walked back towards my car.

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