India is a land of mysteries in terms of religious and cultural values. There are said to be 13,000 gods which are prayed and worshipped in various parts of the Indian land. Every state of India has a different set of god and beliefs associated with it. Majority part of Hinduism exists in Uttar Pradesh as it is the birth land of many gods in the above mentioned culture. One of the mysterious belief is the ras leela which takes place in the Nidhivan village of Matura. People all over India believe that each night Lord Krishna comes to dance with the several gopi’s in the forests of Nidhivan. It is said that the exact dance which was performed in Vrindavan ages ago, takes place even today.
What if we told that this is not a belief but rather a truth? Surprisingly yes, there is a temple in Vrindavan, near Mathura region of Uttar Pradesh where this divine dance takes place. This temple is known as the Nidhivan temple and it is a legendary site for every pious Hindu. The followers of Krishna consider the dance as very sacred and this is why this dance is very special for the devotees. There are many people who question this mystery but are eventually led to believe due to the proof’s which are left behind after the holy dance.
As per the local legend, villagers believe that Lord Krishna who is also known as thakurji usually comes to the temple after the midnight and performs holy rituals which are known as Lila’s with the love of his life, Radha and his other female friends. This meeting and dancing is not just about fun but it’s more spiritual as it is majorly about the divine expression of love. There is a famous love story about Krishna and his love Radha. Unfortunately, due to society norms, the two of them could not get married but love between them always remained. Some people also believe that this divine dance post nightfall is an expression of unsatisfied love between Radha and Krishna. They long to be with each other and this temple allows them to freely express themselves through the artistic medium of dance.
Nidhivan temple is absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. Temple is huge in size and the grandeur is unique and appealing. Foreigners from various parts of the world have come, only to witness this beauty in live. Inside this temple, there lies a breath taking statue of Sri Krishna who is laden with ornaments. This statue is of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. They both look amazing with the way they are ornamented. The priests in the temple serve God and Goddess all day long. This temple opens around 8 am and closes for lunch, post which evening prayers are conducted. Worshippers do not come in the night is the sacred dance takes place in the night. It is said that inside the temple, there is a special place which is known as “Kunj” which is a room for the blessed couple to rest post dance. After ending the raas-lila in the wee hours of dawn, the couple rests and share their happiness.
There are large number of beliefs around this temple. Some call it mythology, while some call it miraculous. Many call it blind belief, while many also call it blessing. However, there is something very exciting and attractive about this temple, people from all parts of the world are drawn towards this place. Many people come here as tourists, but as they begin to experience the power of the temple, they stay here and convert themselves into slaves of god. They spend all their life is singing the praises of lord and worshipping him. Large number of people in India believe in this mythology and they have this place bookmarked in their list of must visit religious places. This temple also attracts a large number of visitors especially during the birthday of Lord Krishna which is known as Janmashtami.
It is said that after the fall of the night, Lord Krishna not only dances but also visits other religious spots around the temple like the special Radha Rani temple, the place of appearance of Lord Krishna, the burial of Swami Haridasa, the well of Radha, the palace of costumes of Lord Priya and Priyatam. Each of this place has a special significance. The radha rani temple is a special temple which has been dedicated only for Radha. It is said, lord Krishna comes here every night to see if Radha is comfortable and happy in her abode. People believe that there is huge palace of Priya and Priyatam which is full of costumes. Before the divine dance, the lords pick their new costumes from this palace and only then performs the sacred dance. This belief has been around for centuries and that is why offering clothes in the praise of Lord Krishna has almost become very important.
Not just Nidhivan, there is another small temple which is a part of nidhivan known as Rang Mahal. In the local language which is hindi, it is called as the shringar ghar of Radha Rani. Local people believe that Sri Krishna himself comes to this temple and grooms radha for the dance. Devotees say this is done by Sri Krishna out of love and his is a lover of all things beautiful and bright. There is a saying that Radha’s good looks and happiness is the reason for Krishna’s always full of energy attitude. The rang mahal temple, also has a bed where Radha Rani rests after her dance. This temple symbolises the love between Radha and Krishna which is immortal.
The name of this temple where the sacred dance takes place is known as Nidhivan. However, the name of the temple was not just derived randomly but it has a special meaning to it. Nidhi means treasure while Van means forest. This name has been derived because when you enter this unique temple, you will feel you are in forest. After little discovery, you will find a narrow road which will be very clean and appealing, a little ahead you will find a small house, with a gate made up of glass. This is a very unique form of temple which has jungle at the entrance, but that is the entire space which is used for the sacred dance.
Once the devotee has entered the temple, there is a beautiful statue of Lord Krishna known as thakurji and along is a statue of Radha whom people call as Radhey. It is said that, lord Krishna never stands alone and Radha is always with him. Their love for each other is idolised and worshipped. Their love for each other is expressed in the form of artistic and romantic dance. Often, devotees also indulge in dance to please the god and goddess. Lord Krishna and Radha appreciate dance in every form and watching their devotees dance, absolutely pleases them.
Many people also say, after the midnight, when Sri Krishna comes to the forest to enjoy dancing, all the trees magically transform into Gopi’s who begin to dance with him in fun and frolic. It is said that all of them, dance and spread happiness all night long. However, when it is morning, the trees come back to the same place as before and everything else appears unchanged and untouched like nothing ever happened. Some keen observers state that there are sometimes, some proof available of activities taken place in the night.
The priests of the temple who are also known as poojari often have a story to share. One priest who has served for over 25 years in the temple says that during his few initial days as a priest he came from a very humble background and had just a room without a bed which he would call as his own. Slowly and steadily, as he started serving lord he became more selfish. He only thought of himself and never thought of sharing his food with the other voiceless living beings. He blamed his poor health for not being able to help anyone and always asked for forgiveness from the kind lord. He kept on thinking on how he can help the needy. That’s when he had an idea of requesting people who wanted to donate to leave food items which can used for the meals and money in the donation box. He saw an amazing response and some people left rice, some left lentils, and some left vegetables and some left money. This beautiful response from the devotees helped the priest to fulfil his quest of feeding animals and humans.
This divine service for each and every living being on earth has touched the lord so much that his happiness led him to dance each night and rejoice at the kindness of his children towards each other. Many believe that the best way of pleasing Lord Krishna is by pleasing animals, plants and human beings through love and kindness. Lord Krishna feels happy to see his children stay in love free from material possessions with nothing but love in hearts. Lord Krishna has special fondness for animals as they are mute and need special care in terms of food and health. That is the main reason for the temple being in the forests where all living beings are treated equal free from bias and comparison.
The few people who live in nidhivan are the followers of the Lord and they do not fear him but definitely befriend him. People of this village consider humanity as the main ground for any dealing. The villagers consider spirituality as the way of life. People here are aware of the progress the world is making but choose to stay humble. They concentrate more on the quality of life through the medium of God. They also choose to stay very humble in their needs as they are satisfied by staying merely at Nidhivan.
While many still argue on how and when does this mysterious dance happen? Some wonder if it is really true, while some call it superstition. The debate on this is absolutely nerve wrecking and no one actually knows if it actually takes place or no. But this divine dance, has been taking place since centuries and has been passed on by generations who might have actually seen it. There is also a saying that if any person who sees them or hears the Krishna and Radha dance can get permanently deaf or blind.
Some priests have claimed that after the evening prayer, the rang mahal is decorated, the bed is put in place, the water is filled in a clay pot. For the grooming of Radha, bangles, bindi’s and many other things are laid. When the priest returns in the morning, he finds everything scattered as though each and everything is utilised.
These facts either force us to believe in it or it simply increases our faith on the almighty lord. This goes on to prove that faith is bigger than our fears. This temple is full of monkeys and after the evening prayers they disappear too. Not a single person can enter this place after the evening prayers. More and more people in today’s world, doubt the integrity of this place and relevance of this fact.
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This garden of love is truly a miraculous one and if one sees it, he or she will be so full of love for god that they may want to leave the world only for the sake of the creator. Long back, a man was found lying in the forest when priests assumed that he might be crossing the forest, he saw the sacred dance, and lay down doing nothing for three days. He refused to eat or drink. When doctors were called upon, his health also looked totally positive but unfortunately, this man died after three days. He said nothing but simply cried at the sight of true love.