Pagal Baba Temple in Vrindavan

      Pagal Baba Temple is on the same street as the Gita Temple. While going towards Mathura, this imposing structure is on the right, after Gita Temple. It was built by Srimad Lila Nanda Thakur who was popularly known as Pagal Baba Maharaj. It is a massive eight-storied white temple that can't be missed from the highway.

      Cars are not allowed inside hence we had to park on the main road and walk to the temple. The ambiance was similar to that of a typical tourist place rather than a temple. Maybe, the presence of hundreds of school-children made me feel like that. There were lots of shops selling different things like idols, key chains, embroidered cloth, film rolls, etc.

      The temple has eight floors and each floor is quite distinct from the rest. There are no elevators so it was a long climb for all devotees. It can be quite tough for aged people.

      The ground floor has lots of puppets, most of them mechanised. The left wing has puppets depicting the story of Krishna and the right wing depicts the story of the Ramayana. At the centre is a mechanised idol of Pagal Baba. He blesses all devotees by moving his right hand.

      The first floor has a white marble idol of Radha and a black idol of Krishna. In front of these huge idols, there are lots of small idols of Radha and Krishna. Surprisingly, the second floor has no idols. The third floor has huge idols of Krishna and Balarama, made of white marble. The fourth floor has idols of Nanda Rai and Yashoda. Yashoda holds Infant Krishna. The fifth floor has white marble idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, and Tulsidas. The sixth floor altar has an unusual scene not found in most Temples. This altar is dedicated to the Vamana Avatara of Lord Vishnu. It depicts Bali and his wife bowing before Lord Vishnu in His four-armed Form. Vamana, emanating from the body of Lord Vishnu, is pressing down Bali's head with His divine foot. The seventh floor has idols of Lakshmi and Narayana. The eighth floor does not have any idols. A light-grey marble idol of the holy mantra Om' adorns this room.

      Pagal Baba was a staunch devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is probably why I found the ambiance and manner of chanting similar to that in the ISKCON temples. I could hear the continuous chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

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