Shrinathji is the seven-year-old child form of Lord Krishna worshipped mainly in Gujarat and Rajasthan by people from the Vaishnava sector. It is at this age that he lifted the Govardhan hill in order to save the villagers of Vrindavan from the torrents of rains unleashed by an angry Lord Indra.

It is believed that Srinathji’s face and arm emerged at the Govardhan hill centuries later. The locals of that area, known as Brijvaasis, started worshipping this form of the lord as Gopala in Jatipur under the spiritual guidance of Madhavendra Puri.  

Later, it is believed that the priest Shri Vallabhacharya was instructed by the lord to shift his deity to the temple atop the same hill. His son Shri Vitthal Nathji continued the tradition of its worship and named the deity Shrinathji.

The deity then needed to be shifted via river Yamuna to Agra in order to protect it from the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, who wanted to own it. It later had to be redirected to the south in a chariot. When the chariot reached Sinhad in Mewar, its wheels got stuck in the mud and they refused to move. The people realized that it is the Lord’s wish to reside in Mewar and a temple was built for it over there.

It is believed that this is how the temple of Shrinathji came into being in Nathdwara in Rajasthan. The temple is also referred to as the ‘Haveli of Shrinathji.’

The various accounts related to the temple of Nathdwara appear missing and they don’t exactly add up. But one thing is certain, the temple of Shrinathji in Nathdwara continues to be thronged with devotees throughout the year.

The popularity of the Shrinathji temple in Nathdwara is so high that the town is unofficially called Shrinathji. The deity over here is made from black marble in which the lord is adorned with jewels. His left fist is seen raised, indicating how he had lifted the Govardhan hill.

I had visited Nathdwara way back in 1996. I was impressed with the peace and serenity of the place. However, I wasn’t much of a believer back then and knew nothing about the Lord. Plus, I was a kid back then. Hence, I would try to visit now that I am a believer.

Apart from the spiritual atmosphere, the town is also known for its delicious roadside food. I still remember the satisfaction I derived after eating items like Poha and fried Kand (Indian Purple Yam) over there.