Gita Mandir in Vrindavan

      Gita Mandir is on the Vrindavan-Mathura highway. While going from Vrindavan towards Mathura, this temple is on the right. Since it was built by the Birlas, it is also known as the Birla Temple. This is a red sandstone temple that looks quite modern, compared to the older temples in Vrindavan. The temple architecture and the colour combination of maroon and beige is very similar to the Birla Temple in New Delhi. Cleanliness is a hallmark of all Birla Temples and this one did not disappoint me. This temple and the ISKCON Temple are probably the cleanest temples in Vrindavan.

      Gita Mandir has a huge courtyard that has the Gita Stambha (Gita Pillar), so called because all the verses of the Bhagavad Gita are inscribed on it. Lord Krishna had recited the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna at the start of the famous Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra. This temple has a huge beautiful idol of Lord Krishna, made of white marble. Here, He is not seen playing the flute, as He is seen in other temples. Instead, He holds the Sudarshana Chakra, the Divine Discus, in His right hand. The Sudarshana Chakra has been motorised so it is continuously rotating around the index finger of His right hand. Beside the main altar, there is another altar that houses the idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. These are also made of white marble.

      The walls of the temple have colourful paintings, depicting the pastimes of Krishna and Narayana. Among them are the stories of Dhruva praying to Lord Vishnu in a forest, Lord Narasimha killing Hiranyakashyapu, Krishna helping Draupadi Dushasana tries to strip her, Krishna killing His cousin Shishupal and Krishna killing His maternal uncle Kansa. The one that I liked the most was the painting that depicted the famous court scene where Duryodhana tries to arrest Krishna and the latter shows him His Viraat Swaroop (Universal Form) and stuns the entire court.

      The Glass Temple is located opposite Gita Temple, on the outskirts of Vrindavan. While travelling from Vrindavan towards Mathura, this temple was to my left. It is known as Glass Temple because glass has been extensively used while making this temple. As I entered, on the right I saw a beautiful idol of Lord Krishna lifting Goverdhan Hill on the little finger of His left hand. Residents of Brij are taking shelter under the sacred Goverdhan to protect themselves from Lord Indra's fury. These clay figures resemble the clay dolls that are made during Navaratri, but are probably a hundred times larger in size.

      Entering the temple, I saw five pillars on each side of the altar. Glass is used everywhere on the pillars, walls, and ceiling. The temple has idols of Radha and Krishna.

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