The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Gopal Mandir
25º 18.728’ North and 83º 00.703’ East.
Exact location on a map
Chowkhambha,Gopala Mandir, House no.: CK 37/ 87
During the early Mughal period the leading poet saint of Krishna devotion was Vallabhacharya (1479-1531), who at the age of 11 years came to Kashi for study. Later after completing pilgrimage to all the important sacred places in India, he finally settled down in Varanasi. While living in Varanasi at Jatanbar he propounded the philosophy of Shuddhadvaita, and wrote about 84 books. He was married in 1504, and his son Vitthalanatha was born in 1515 in Kashi. Vallabhacharya built a small temple of Krishna, which was renovated and expanded in 1730 by one of the great saints of the same line, Sri Gopal-Ji. The present structure of the temple was built in 1777 and named Gopala Mandir. Lying in Chaukhambha area, the Gopala Mandir is the patron seat of the Vallabha group of followers. Facing the main temple are the temples of Ranachoda-Ji, Baladeo-Ji and Dau-Ji. Nearby other temples are ones dedicated to Siddhda Durga and Vindu Madhava. === Description ===: On the 8th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September) falls the birthday of Krishna (the 8th incarnation of Vishnu), which is celebrated in the Krishna related temples, most notably the Gopala Mandir. In the temple, on this occasion the main hall and stage display elaborate scenes of Krishna with his cowherd and milkmaid friends, with tiny cattle and trees, with toys and swings for his pleasure. Distribution of special prasada (sweets offered to god) to as many visitors as possible is popular. The day after Dipavali (first moon in the Karttika, October-November) is Annakuta (“the Mountain of Food”), associated with the legend of Krishna. Krishna is worshipped as Lord of Govardhana, the mountain he lifted up to protect the cowherd folk from the wrathful rains of Indra (king of the heaven). In a more elaborate form as in the temples of Vishvanatha and Annapurna, the Gopala Mandir, changed to the special place of decoration, celebration and offering of foodstuffs. At this temple 56 types of bhogas (edible offerings to the God) are offered, and 3-day festival is performed there.
Present state of conservation
There is no such specific organisation to take care of preservation and conservation.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property
No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the temple, however cleanliness, repairing and white washing are carried at regular basis by the temple trust and the priests involved in the services.
The Gopal Mandir Trust administers and managed the temple, consisting members from the priest families, followers, monastery and the senior citizens of Varanasi.