Originally posted on Shri Nathji:


********Shlok 1*********

Sanskrit:-

Namami Yamuna Maham, Sakal Siddhi Hetum Muda, Murari Padpankaj-Sfuradmand, Renoot- katam, Tatasth Nav Kanan, Prakat Mod Pushpambunaa, Suraa Sur suPoojitaha, Smara Pituh Shri yam-bibhrateem

Gujarati:-

Shri krishna na charanarvind ni raj thaki shobhit rahya, siddhi alaukik aapnara vandu shri yamunajine, Supushpa ni suvas thi jungle badhu meheki rahyu ne mand shital pavan thi jal pan sugandhit thai rahya, Puje surasur sneh thi vali sevata daivi jivo, Vandan karu shri yamunajine shri krishna aashraya aapjo

Explanation-

I (Shri Mahaprabhuji) bow (Namami) to Shri Yamunaji with my full love and devotion. She is capable of giving fulfillment of all the desires (Sakal Siddhi) of the devotee in enjoying God’s love. Shri Yamunaji is capable of giving all kind of achievements. This first shlok describes the physical state of the river. Its both banks are full of glittering sand which is believed to be as soft as lotus feet of…

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Shreenathji Application For Mobile

Today While surfing net i found this application wonderful for the devotees of Shreenathji. So i shared it with you.

Now you can have Mangala and Shringar Darshan on your Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad | Android Mobile, Tablet | BlackBerry Playbook Tablet | Windows, Mac Computer and Laptop.

Most importantly Its Free… ;)

ShreeNathji – Merged Form of KrishnRadha

This application helps Thakurji ShreeNathji devotees to have darshan while they are on the move.

Dont Forget To Share This With Your Loved One and Shrinathji Devotee

Android Mobile andTablet

Download Now

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Download Now

BlackBerry Playbook

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Shree Mahaprabhuji’s Baithaks

You have always been fascinated by going on a pilgrimage to the BAITHAKS of Jagadguru Shrimad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu. The idea itself generates immense pleasure and joy. The quite, serene ambience, exotic surroundings, fresh tranquil breeze, divine vibrations and above all the sheer presence of Shri Vallabha takes you in a state of transc. Isn’t it ? I’m sure many of you must have experienced this. But, those who haven’t, don’t take long to visit the Baithaks. But do you actually know what is a Baithak ? It is quite shocking that in the last quarter of the 20th century, the number of visitors to these Baithaks has been atleast five times more than in all the previous four centuries. Ironically, majority of these tourists / vaishnavas do not know the importance of the place, nor they are conscious of the existence of Shri Vallabha. They go there either because they have to escort their family members or it is a fashion, a trend to go to places like Champaranya or other such places in large groups for picnic, as if it’s a party. Disgusting !! Baithaks are actually those sacred places where Shrimad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu has rested, halted or stayed for days, weeks or even months during His three pilgrimages throughout India in order to emancipate the divine souls and/ or to execute a specific task. It is here that Shri Mahaprabhuji read the entire Shrimad Bhagavatam or gave discourses on the sacred text revealing it’s secrets. On exceptional occassions, He even read the Ramayana as in Ayodhya and Chitrakoot. Where are these Baithaks ? There are in all 84 Baithaks of Shri Mahaprabhuji spread accross India. Besides these there are 28 Baithaks of Shri Gusainji, 4 Baithaks Shri Giridharji, 1 Baithak each of Shri Balakrishnaji, Shri Raghunathji and Shri Ghanashyamaji, 13 Baithaks of Shri Gokulnathji and 7 of Shri Harirayaji. Apart from this, there are 3 Baithaks of Shri Damodardas Harsaniji. In all 142 Baithaks. Over here, the subject matter of this article is the 84 Baithaks of Shri Mahaprabhuji. It is to be noticed that all these Baithaks are situated either on the banks of a river or a fresh water pond or on the outskirts of the village / town in an isolated place. You will also find a Chhokar tree in each and every Baithak as Shri Mahaprabhuji always sat under this tree except in Ujjain where there is a Peepal tree. As mentioned earlier, these Baithaks are spread accross the whole nation. But we can segregate them zonalwise – in the north there are 39 Baithaks (out of which 22 are in Vraja), 18 in the south, 4 in east, 20 in west and 3 in central part of India. Out of these 84 Baithaks, 65 Baithaks have been physically revealed where devotees flock regularly for worship while the rest are yet to be discovered. The Divine Form of the Baithak While circumbulating India, Shri Mahaprabhuji never wore a foot-wear. He always walked bare-footed, blessing the holy land with the touch of His lotus feet. As it is known that Shri Mahaprabhuji granted His foot- prints on a piece of cloth to His disciple and also his Paduka (wooden sandal) to a few of His very dear devotees and ordered them to worship them. Similarly, a particular place where Shri Mahaprabhuji sat for days/ weeks, is extremely sacred for us. This Baithak is not just a sand-pit or a marble platform but the sacred dust of the lotus feet of the Spiritual Master that we worship. The Baithaks are revered in three divine forms; the materialistic form (Adhibhautik Svaroopa), the spiritual form (Adhyatmika Svaroopa) and the transcendental form (Adhidaivika Svaroopa). The physical structure what we see with our eyes is its materialistic form. The series of events which took place in these Baithaks or the divine pastimes of Shri Vallabha is its spiritual form and the presence of Shri Vallabha at present in all the Baithaks is the transcendental form. The former can be seen by all but the latter two can be experienced only by the grace divine of Shri Mahaprabhuji. From when did the Baithaks came into existence ? These sacred places, better known as Baithaks came into existence during the life span of Shri Mahaprabhuji. This is quite evident in the stories of 84 and 252 vaishnavas. We get to know that Sheth Purushottamadas of Kashi had gone to Champaranya to see the birth place of his guru. The illustration of a few vaishnavas from Kashi coming to Shri Bhagavandasji’s house in Hajipur (Bihar) and having the vision of Shri Mahaprabhuji is also quite clear. ‘Bhavasindhu’ mentiones of a Baithak in Krishnadeva Raya’s palace in Vidyanagaram. From these evidences we can conclude that these places were visited by vaishnavas from that time itself. On studying the life history of Shri Mahaprabhuji closely, we can presume that there may be more Baithaks than the known 84. For eg. A Baithak in Kavi village falling in Vadodara district of Gujarat. According to ‘Vallabha Digvijaya,’ Shri Mahaprabhuji had a religious debate with Kapil Brahmins over here. This Baithak is small but beautiful with natural surroundings. Yet, it is not included in the 84 Baithaks. Similarly in Jambusar (Gujarat) then known as Bhanuksetra and Dakor (Kandaksetra), are Baithaks where Shri Mahaprabhuji read the Bhagavatam are also excluded from the main Baithaks. Instincts from vaishnavas opens a possibility that there must be a Baithak of Shri Mahaprabhuji besides the existing Baithaks of Shri Harirayaji. Pastimes at the Baithaks Devotees have been regularly visiting these Baithaks from the time of Shri Mahaprbhuji. The devotees have always wondered what instances must have taken place at that time or how Shri Mahaprabhuji must have spent His time during His stay at a particular Baithak. These secrets were not unveiled until Shri Gokulnathji, the fourth son of Shri Gusainji, who, in his daily satsang with his intimate disciples revealed the secrets of the pastimes of Shri Vallabha. The compilations of his teachings are known as ‘Baithak Charitra’ or the various pastimes of Shri Vallabha at the Baithaks. Though the number of visitors have increased immensely to the Baithaks still, it is unfortunate that vaishnavas have somehow neglected to read Baithak Charitra in comparison to 84 and 252 vaishnava vartas. Shri Mahaprabhuji travelled extensively throughout India only for the deliverance of the divine souls and preaching the principles of the Shuddhadvaita Brahmavada. Residing in the Baithak He strongly condemned the theory of the mayavadis and firmly revealed the divine form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. It is through these events that we get to know the true character of Jagadguru Mahaprabhu Shrimad Vallabhacharya. How wonderful it would be if we knew about the pastimes of the Baithak which we are about to visit. When we go to a Baithak, we sit quitely besides Shri Mahaprabhuji remembering and experiencing the pastimes. This gives us more pleasure. Therefore, it is essential to know the pastimes of the Baithak before you visit one. For this reason, we are here giving you breif information of all the Baithaks. We are also providing you the postal addresses and telephone numbers (wherever available) of the Baithaks which will surely be handy in planning your trip. But before you move ahead, I would like to tell you what you will do in a Baithak. Preparations for a Baithak Yatra Plan your pilgrimage to a Baithak keeping these things in mind – • do not forget to take fresh, unused pair of clothes and towel. Gents wear dhoti / uparana / bandi and Ladies, saree or chaniya-choli. • a full day fast is recommended one day prior to doing aparasa in the Baithak. • a fresh pair of dhoti / uparana (best quality) for Shri Mahaprabhuji (also, if possible for other baithaks too, if there are any). • take kum-kum, two tulasi malas, a gaumukhi with a tulasi japa-mala of 108 beads and good quality pure seasonal perfume (attar). Also take mishri (rock candy), dry-fruits, fresh fruits, saffron or any other thing which you feel like offering (only what is acceptable). Also, fresh seasonal flowers to prepare garland. • keep necessary things like sugar or other stuff if you wish to prepare samagri in Dudhaghara. Also carry required utensils either to prepare the samagri or if you wish to take prasada at the Baithak. What to do in a Baithak? After having bath i.e. aparasa, go into the inner sanctum and pay prostrate obeisance (Sashtanga Dandavat) to Shri Vallabha. Ladies do Panchanga Dandavat i.e. bend on one knee. Then wash your hands, put some attar and rub it well on the palms. Seek permission from Mukhiyaji and then do Charanasparsha. After doing charanasparsha fill Jhariji and place it on the left of Shri Mahaprabhuji. After this, do tilak, offer tulasimala, gunjamala and dhoti / uparana. Put some perfume on it. Offer floral garland. Again do charanasparsha and dandavat. Wash hands. Once you are over with this, offer samagri, mishri, fruits, dry- fruits, milk, etc. to Shri Mahaprabhuji. After you put the bhoga, sing kirtans or chant the Ashtakshara Mahamantra (Shri Krishnah Sharanam Mama) either in your mind or loudly in chorus. You can also recite the Shodasha Granthas or Sarvottama Stotra or any other stotra in praise of Shri Vallabha. After sometime, remove the bhoga. Do the darshana and kirtans. Discuss the pastimes of Shri Vallabha at that Baithak or read the purport/commentary on the Shodasha Granthas or Subodhiniji or any other grantha. The most important thing while in a Baithak is to observe discipline. Maintain silence, avoid pushing each other and do not throw litter in the premises. What is Aparasa ? The word ‘Aparasa’ has always confused ignorant vaishnavas. Aparasa is nothing but purity and cleanliness. It was a lifestyle then. Aparasa can be defined as worshipping the Lord in your purest form. We clean our body with water by having bath, but the inner self is cleaned by consuming Charanamritam (a mixture of the sacred dust of the holy land of Vraja and the holy water of the river Yamuna). There are many other rules too which cannot be discussed here. How to do Aparasa ? Before going to the toilet, keep your towel inside the bathroom and your clothes in the changing room. Do not touch them after going to the loo. To have bath, do not open the tap of the overhead tank by your own self. You can open it if there is a wooden stick attached to it or ask someone (who has aleady had bath) to do it for you. While bathing, rinse hair properly and see that the cloth you have worn is also completely wet as is your body. Dry hair and body properly. Wear your clothes. Comb your hair, specially women who tend to keep their hair loose and dripping with water. This causes inconvenience while performing seva and also preparing samagri. I hope that by reading the above article you will be able to realise the divine form of a Baithak and attain bliss. I also expect you to abide by the rules and make your’s and others’ Baithak Yatra most joyous, exciting, divine and memorable. Before concluding, I would like to draw your attention towards the physical / strucural condition of the Baithaks and also its poor infrastructural facilities. Besides a few, mojority of the Baithaks do not even have proper walls and door. They also lack basic facilities like bathrooms / lavatories / changing room, etc. not to mention decent lodging. The employees are absolutely non-cooperative. The management is a total failure and administration is disastrous. Many a times, this leads to disbelief in the minds of the younger generation, who is educated and find their faith shattered. There are a few organisations who have taken up this matter seriously. For the past decade they have been reparing, renovating even reconstructing the Baithaks with all required facilities. There efforts are extremely praiseworthy but such individual efforts cannot ensure a speedy success. We desparately need to collaborate. All the major organisations / trusts of Pushtimarg should join hands atleast for the sake of Shri Mahaprabhji’s Baithaks and for the upliftment of Pushtimarg.

PushtiMarga: The Path of Grace Freedom

(Pushtimarga): The path Of Grace Freedom: In Bhaktimarga, Vaishnava can serve ShreeNathJee in any form that pleases the bhakta. Such as, baby, friend, master, lover, servant, God or any other form. Examples are, Mira’s Madhav, Yahoda’s Lalo, Arjun’s friend, Narshinh Mehta’s Shamariyo sheth and Shabri’s Ram. God is the ultimate: Any form one worships, Krishna has to be ultimate shelter and superpower for the Bhakta. In sloka seven of “Navratnam”, Jagadguru Shree Vallabhacharya has clearly advised that Vaishnava should worship ShreeJee under the roof of Gurus’s blessings, but if the God’s wish (God telling Bhakta in dream or by giving darshan or according to bhakta’s knowledge) is not same as Guru’s order, Vaishnava must follow the God’s signal and thus Vaishnava would not break any rules of Guruhakti. Int this way, Bhaktimarga is different than many other religions where God is seen as much closer to the Gurus than to the bhaktas. The beauty of Pushtimarga: In Bhaktimarga, Vaishnava does not need to turn away from the responsibilities of family or society. There is no need to leave house and search for the God when He resides in one’s home. There are millions of vaishnavas in India and all over the world, who are performing “seva” in there house everyday and also are responsible to the family and/or society. Even in the busy life of America, many vaishnavas do seva in the morning and then go to work or school. Because this is done privately at most places, it is hard to find million dollar temples in every cities. What Vaishnavas are doing: To serve Krishna and enjoy the life as a gift from the God. Generally, Vaishnavas life looks a materialistic life style because it has no showoffs as a worshipper. A vaishnava performs seva every morning (Many vaishnavas do this all day, but let’s take general case). In the seva, he/ she prays ShreeJeeBawa, Yamunamaiya and Vallabh prabhu as directed by his/her Guru. No show offs here, pretty much personal or family based activity. After seva, he/she gets busy in daily activities. During such activities, vaishnava does not forget the lord. To see everything as Murlidhar’s wish, not to see negative of vaishnavas, to sing Bhajan/kirtan (Can also sing pop song with remembering the Lord) periodically and help others are the characteristics of vaishnavas. Many Vaishnavas do “satsang” or go to the temple (if available, otherwise temple is already in our heart and home anyway) every evening. Means some bhajan/kirtan and some talks about the Lord. How to do it: 1. Decide which form of Krishna you would like. You can change later if you want. Pick the form which is dearest to you. Krishna’s every form is dearest, but picking the one that is dearest to you can make bhakti easier. 2. Receive “Brahmasambandha” (initiation) from the Gurus of Vallabhkul so that one can get better feedback to serve the God. Get your God’s idol or picture “Pushti” by Guru. This means Guru requests the God to stay in that idol or picture and communicate with Bhaktos. Getting Pusti is a very responsible job. After this it is very important that Bhakta really serves ShreeJee nicely and regularly. For instance, if Krisna’s baby form is picked, vaishnava must take care of that idol or picture as own baby and thus serve baby nicely and regularly. Thus for fast paced life styler or beginner Bhaktas, Pushti is not preferred. 3. Worship that form same way as you would treat that person in real life. For example, if you picked Krishna as “lover”, make sure you keep giving Him love because we give love to our beloved. Love should be given without expectation. For master form, one should acept everything as ShreeNathJee’s desire and never argue for having unhappiness. Of course, we want to worship all the forms, but setting up the form picked in step 1 in our house can make “Seva” easier. Ultimately, God is only one, so if your family has different form, it should not matter to anyone’s understanding. Serving Krishna as described by Vallabhkul Balakos (Mahaprabhu Shree Vallabhavharyaji’s descendants) is preferred because it makes things easy. But as shree Vallabh has showed, just keep common sense in it. For instance, If you are feeling cold, most likely you Lalo is also feeling the same so have Him a good minisweater or so. Don’t get trapped into seva as a routine work, but enjoy it. Easy: Bhaktimarga, also called Pushtimarga by vaishnavas is easy way to attain Krishna. Not only Vaishnavas but many great spiritual leaders have sugggested thdevotees to worship their respected Lord as shown by Mahaprabhuji and Gusaiji.

A Visit To Shreenath ji

Nathdwara is the World famous town for it’s one of the richest ” Shri Nath Ji Temple” in Mewar Kingdom of the India. In 1691,Emperor Aurangzeb decided to destroy all the hindu temples within his territory.This prompted the Maharana of Udaipur to move a particularly sacred statue of Krishna to Mathura under the name of Shri Nath Ji, in order to remove it from Aurangzeb’s destructive wrath. However the cart transporting the idol is said to have got stuck in the mud here in a small village namely “Sihad” near famous Lal Baag. Attempts to free it from the mire failed, and it was decided to build a shrine at Shri Nath Ji, since it was here that the divinity himself had chosen to come to rest. The festival atmosphere and the elaborate rituals surrounding the statue,rather than the beauty of the temple itself, whose vast white walls are covered in modern paintings, make the pilgrimage to Nathdwara worthwhile. You can get the first vision means Darshan approx 5.30am, when the statue is unveiled, sparking off a collective emotional reaction among the pilgrims. Nathdwara is also famous for its wall-hangings ( Pichhwai ), which hang behind the statue of Krishna. Nathdwara is set amidst idyllic hills on the left bank of the Banas River. The place is most popular for its sacred Vaishnava temple of Lord Srinathji. Sri Nathdwara or the gateway leading to the Srinathji is also the center of the Pushtimarg Sampradaya, a doctrine created by Jagatguru Sri Vallabhacharya. One can find the idol of Srinathji, sculpted out of one piece of black marble belonging to the 12th century and was first installed by Sri Vallabhacharya in a small temple at Jatipura, near Mathura. The Haveli (a large house) of Srinathji was once a royal palace of the Rajput rulers. Devotees throng the Temple at all hours to have the Lord’s darshan (audience). The Lord gives darshan at different times of the aptly attired for the hour. An early hour for the first darshan is a regular observation where Lord Sir Nathji resides in regal splendour. Darshans or glimpses of Srinathji can be sought 8 times in the day. Collectively known as Ashtaya, the 8 darshans are Mangala, Shringar, Gwal, Rajbhog, Uthhapan, Bhog, Aarti and Shayan. In each of them the divine manifestations of the Lord are described and synchronized with His daily schedule. The devotees who throng the Temple darshan are ultimate joy and they can risk their precarious life for that momentary glimpse. Nathdwara floods with culture. It has above all been known for its tradition of painting and visual culture. Hundreds of artists inhabit Nathdwara and paint for their living. These artists mostly live in Chitaron ki gali. Each home here is a work of art studio. The artists make a close community and interact freely. Nathdwara is a main heart ofPichhwai paintings, a sought after art form of Rajasthan. Pichhwai paintings are painted in permanent natural colors that do not lighten for years. They are put to use in printing and embroidery also. Portrayal of the artist’s love for God makes the Nathdwara style distinct from other forms. Art takes the center stage and is a vital element of ritualistic darshan of Srinathji. A large cloth painting serves as a backdrop to the idol and is sometimes intricate enough to narrate the various leelas of Lord Krishna as Srinathji. Pichhwai have deep religious roots and painting, as a form of service, is part of devotional expression. The main themes of the paintings are based on the numerous festivals of the Srinathji temple. They show the figure of Srinathji, decked in different festive costumes, whether it is in the vibrant colors of Holi or the festivities of Janmashtmi, or the ever-famous Raas-Leela. No wonder, a Pichhwai is often a group effort, where several skillful painters work together under the supervision of a master of the art. Don’t forget to visit near by villege khamnore which is world famous for it’s chaitry rose, Harirai Ji Ki Baithak, Haldighati and the mud art of Molela.

Nathdwara A Holy Journey

Nathdwara is a town in Rajasthan state of western India. It is located in the Aravalli hills, on the banks of the Banas River in Rajsamand District, 48 kilometers north-east of Udaipur.  This town is famous for its temple of Krishna which houses the idol of Shrinathji 

a 14th century, 7-year old “infant” incarnation of Krishna. The idol was originally worshipped at Mathura and was shifted in the 1672 from Govardhan hill, near Mathura along holy river Yamuna after being retained at Agra for almost six months, in order to protect it from anti- Hindu fanatic iconoclastic Islamic policies of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb’s.  Literally, Nathdwara means ‘Gateway to Shrinathji’.  Nathdwara is a significant Vaishnavite shrine pertaining to the Pushti Marg or the Vallabh Sampradaya or the Shuddha Advaita founded by Vallabha Acharya, revered mainly by people of Gujarat and Rajasthan, among others. Vitthal Nathji, son of Vallabhacharya institutionalised the worship of Shrinathji at Nathdwara. Nathdwara town itself is popularly referred to as ‘Shrinathji’, after the presiding deity. Shrinathji Temple The Legend of Location Nathdwara Shrinathji at the autumn Annakuta Festival. Pichvai-style background. late 18th century. Vallabhacharya discovers Shrinathji, at Mount Govardhan As per the religious myths, the shrine at Nathdwara was built in the 17th century at the spot as exactly ordained by Shrinathji himself. The idol of the Lord Krishna was being transferred to a safer place from Vrindaban to protect it from the anti-Hindu, iconoclastic and barbarian destruction of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. When the idol reached the spot at village Sihad or Sinhad, the wheels of bullock cart in which the idol was being transported sank axle-deep in mud and could not be moved any farther. The accompanying priests realised that the particular place was the Lord’s chosen spot and accordingly, a temple was built there under the rule and protection of the then Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar. Shrinathji Temple is also known as ‘Haveli of Shrinathji’. Structure and Design of the Temple The temple has been designed in the lines of temple of Nanda Maharaj (Krishna’s father), in Vrindavan. Therefore, it is also known as Nanda Bhavan or Nandalaya (the House of Nanda). Structurally, a kalasha on the sikhara marks the top of the temple, on which seven flags are flown along with the Sudarshana Chakra. The seven flags represent the clothes of the seven sakhis (Companions) of Krishna. The temple is also popularly called Shrinathji ki Haveli (House of Shrinathji)

because like a regular household it has a chariot for movement (In fact the original chariot in which Shrinathji was brought to Singhar), a store room for milk (Doodhghar), a store room for betel (Paanghar), a store room for sugar and sweetmeats (Mishrighar and Pedaghar), a store room for flowers (Phoolghar), a functional kitchen (Rasoighar), a jewellery chamber (Gahnaghar), a treasury (Kharcha bhandaar), a stable for horses of chariot (Ashvashala), a drawing room (Baithak), a gold and silver grinding wheel (Chakki) . The Nathdwara temple has subsidiary temples dedicated to deity Madan Mohan and Naveet Priya, located in the main complex. The Image of Shrinathji Shrinathji symbolizes a form of Krishna, when he lifted the Govardhan hill. In the image, the lord is revealed with his left hand raised and the right hand made into a fist resting at the waist, with a large diamond placed beneath the lips. The idol is carved in Bas-relief out of a monolithic black marble stone, with images of two cows, one lion, one snake, two peacocks and one parrot engraved on it and three sages placed near it. Festivals and Rituals at the Temple Devotees throng to the shrine in large numbers during occasions of Janmashtami and other festivals, like Holi and Diwali. The deity is treated like a living image, and is attended with daily normal functions, like bathing, dressing, meals called “Prasad” and the resting times in regular intervals. Since, the deity is believed to be the infant Krishna, accordingly, special care is taken. The priests in all Havelis are believed to be from the kul (descendants) of Vallabhacharya, the founder of this deity’s idol at Govardhan hill, near Mathura. The main attractions are the Aartis and the Shringar, i.e. the dressing and beautifying of the idol of Shrinathji, treating it as a living person, adorning it with the appropriate dresses for the time of day or night. The intricately-woven shaneels and silk clothe have original zari and embroidery work on them, along with large quantities of real precious jewellery. The formal prayers are offered with diya, incense sticks, flowers, fruit and other offerings, with local instruments and devotional songs of the Shrinathji, according to the demand of the time and occasion. The view of the idol after the parda (curtain) is removed is called jhakhi. History The Holy Gate Presently, Shrinathji is worshiped by priests from this kul (genealogical descendants) of Vallabh Acharya, in all Havelis around the world, which have also been established exclusively by them. Economy and livelihoods in Nathdwara town revolve around the Haveli, the term used for the temple probably because it was situated in a fortified mansion, or Haveli, once a royal palace of the Sesodia Rajput rulers of Mewar. Shrinathji was quite popular with other medieval devotees, as well, as there were Gaudiya preachers who founded Shrinathji temples in present-day Pakistan (Dera Ghazi Khan), earlier a part of undivided India and not far from here. Shrinathji was even worshiped as far away as Russia (in the lower Volga region) and other places on the Central Asian trade routes. Tradition holds that Shrinathji would return to Govardhan some day. This modest temple attracts Krishna devotees from all over the world including various parts of India, but is especially important to the bania people of India. Geography and Transport Nathdwara is located at 24.93°N 73.82°E.[13] It has an average elevation of 585 metres (1919 ft). Located just 48 km north- east of Udaipur in Rajasthan, this town is easily reached by air, road or nearest rail-head. A steady stream of pilgrims has ensured a plentiful supply of transport and accommodation at Nathdwara. It is set amid idyllic hills. The temple town is also connected to nearest rail head Mavli Junction which is 28 km from Nathdwara. Mavli Jn is located on Udaipur City- Chittaurgarh Section of NWR. Recently, BG line has been extended from Mavli Jn to Maniana a village located between Mavli Jn and Nathdwara. However, there is no daily trains on mavli Jn- Maniana (Nathdwara Road section). The nearest Airport is Maharana Pratap Airport, Dabok (Udaipur) located at a distance of 56 km via Mavli Jn. The Town Nathdwara town is also famous as the Apollo of Mewar. In the town of Nathdwara, Shrinathji temple is the centre of attraction, but the town is also famous for its ‘pichhwai’ paintings, handmade terracottas, ivory articles and milk-made sweets. During the times of Holi, Diwali and Janmashtmi, people throng in large numbers and the place gets overcrowded. Apart from festivals like Holi and Janmashtmi, Annakutta (Linked to Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill) is a major festival that is celebrated in the temple with full gusto and fervor. Nathdwara is known for Pichwais (Large paintings on cloth depicting legends from the life of Lord Krishna ) and Haweli music (devotional music, akin to dhrupad singing with composition meant for various seasons, festivals and sections of the day). Nathdwara has a small, but throbbing township around the temple. Its shopping in the by- lanes is a great revelation. It is famous for its ‘Pichwai Paintings’, with Krishna in the centre of various raas-lila (pictures depicting godly acts, instances and dances) and is recognized for profuse use of pure gold color. Demographics As of the 2001 India census, Nathdwara had a population of 37,007. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Nathdwara has an average literacy rate of 73.0%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 80%, and female literacy is 65%. In Nathdwara, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. Artists of Nathdwara Main article: Nathdwara Painting A painter at work, Nathdwara. Nathdwara Artists are a group of artists working around the precincts of the famous Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan. They are renowned for splendid Rajasthani-style paintings, called “Pichwai Paintings”, belonging to the Mewar School. The paintings revolve around the image of Shrinathji, the enigmatic black- faced figure of Krishna, who is shown holding up Mount Govardhan. Over the centuries, these artists have produced a work of gorgeous illustrations. Several authoritative books have been published on this subject. Apart from Pichwai Paintings, the artists also produce small-scale paintings on paper. Themes from Krishna legend predominate. Mentioned under notable citizens are some of the famous artists who have won accolades/awards in the past.

Nathdwara’s Pichhwai Art (Paintings)

Nathdwara. PICHHVAI (paintings) – Nathdwara school of painting – a melting pot of almost all the schools of Rajasthan emerged with the unique style and a distiction of its own. The artists painted to fulfill their dreams of pleasing Lord Shrinathji. The most popular form of art in Nathdwara is pichhvai making. (pichhvais are painted cloth hangings). ” Pichhvais” are often a group effort with sevaral upcoming – assistant artists working under the supervision of a master artist. Pichhvais often emphasize the theme of a darshan, they are usually inspired by the kirtans, the subject revolves around Lord Krishna’s lilas. The all time favourite pichhvais are those of Lord Shrinathji. Pichhvais are made in various ways, they are hand painted, woven, made of brocade, studded with mirrors, pearls, semi precious stones. The specific use of a painted pichhvai goes back as much as 1739 when H.H. Tilkayat Shri Govardhaneshji offered Lord Shrinathji a painted pichhvai on his 1st anniversary as Tilkayat. Most of the pichhvais in the temple of Lord Shrinathji at Nathdwara are frrom the 19th and 20th century. The pichhvais are preserved by the temple authorities in a way in which they are not damaged or destroyed. Even the very old pichhvais which may have been damaged are also treasured by the temple for their emotional values. In the Almighty’s temple a new pichhvai can be offered to the deity only after obtaining prior permission from H.H Tilkayat Maharaj of Nathdwara. The artists about whom a great deal is known are those from the time of H.H Tilkayat Govardhanlalji ( 1862 – 1933 ) Sukhdev, one of the earliest artist to create exquisite paintings and pichhvais which are found even now. The painter whos name has become a legend in the world of art is Ghasiram Haridas Sharma ( 1868 – 1930) from Nathdwara. Pichhvais are found in almost all households and commercial premises of vaishnavas.