This monkey sitting on the parapet was so engrossed in feasting on his banana that he didn’t mind me clicking his snap.
[ A monkey at the entrance of the Govind Devji Temple, Jaipur ]
As I entered the ‘Govind Devji Temple’ in Jaipur, the sight of these monkeys besides the usual security officers was a refreshing change. Situated in the heart of the city, The City Palace complex, this is “the temple” of Jaipur, adored and revered by one and all. Not surprising then, my trip to Jaipur always starts with a visit to this temple.
[ The entrance to the Govind Devji Temple ]
Bathed in the golden rays of the blazing sun, this spireless temple looked beautiful. The number of people coming out of the temple were far more than the number trickling in, a clear indication that the deity room had just closed. The temple is known for its unusual timings, the darshan opening and closing every few minutes.
The temple room is quite huge and airy. The finely carved floral patterns on the walls, washed in what else but pink with sunrays filtering in from small dents in the roof was accentuating the fascinating beauty of the temple.
[ Finely carved ceilings and walls of the Govind Devji Temple ]
The deity door was shut, as expected. A few devotees were sweeping the floor, Engaged in selfless service to the Lord… I walked towards the back of the temple facing directly opposite the sanctum sanctorum, and gazed at the view outside…
[ The Chandra Mahal Palace directly overlooking the sanctum sanctorum ]
Originally from Vrindavan, the idol of Lord Govind Devji (another name of Lord Krishna) was brought to Jaipur by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II to save it from the destructive hands of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Inspired by a dream, the king later installed the deity in his own royal residence, ‘Surya Mahal’ as the principle deity of Jaipur. Not only that, he later built his new palace, ‘Chandra Mahal’, right across it so that he could take the blessings of the Lord from his balcony the first thing in the morning. Till date, it stands there far away in the background exactly opposite the temple and narrates this fascinating history to thousands of devotees visiting every day…
After many minutes of gaze, I was interrupted by the beautiful kirtan that was going on in the temple room. There were these women sitting together in a group singing devotional songs. “When will the darshan open,” I enquired one of them. “Have patience,” she replied with a smile, “the fruit of patience is sweet”.
The room had filled in by now and the place was abuzz with activity. Everyone was anxiously waiting for a glimpse of Radha Govind.
[ People waiting for the deity room to open ]
A few more minutes passed by… the temple room was packed to the rafters now… Chants of ‘Radhe Govind’ filled the air and finally, the priests came out, the conch blew… the doors opened… the curtains pulled… and the room echoed with a huge roar…
‘Jaya Jaya Shri Radheeeeeee Govindddd ’
The deities of Lord Govind Devji along with His beloved Radha glittered as the priest lit the aarti lamp.
[ The temple deity room is just opened ]
All the people present there joined together in song and became one – one group united in devotion, with smiles and tears – so many varieties of dance. The joy on the faces of the ladies as they raised their arms and danced; the bespectacled men, smiling with their missing teeth, clapping their hands and crying out, made for a blissful sight. You could feel your heart tugged along through so many emotions, joy and pain, wonder and regret, all sublime, all so nourishing, satisfying and edifying the experience. I was there somewhere in the middle of the crowd and it was such a joy to see everyone take such delight in the aarti. There was hardly any jostling and people were trying to look over the shoulders for a better view. Slowly, I made my way through the crowd to get a closer look of Him.
[ People taking a glimpse of Him after the darshan opens ]
The Lord looked beautiful and pleasing in His entire shringar splendor, ornate with sparkling jewels, long flower garlands touching the bunch of Tulsi leaves covering His feet…. What a divine darshan I had!
[ Lord Radha Govind giving darshan ]
Have patience, the fruit of patience is sweet. Indeed it was! Having spent a good 1.5 hrs it was finally time to leave. Those times were incredibly precious – the beauty, the love - sitting in the presence of God...