The oldest temple in Vrindavan is the ancient Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple, located in a very historic part of town, not far for holy Yamuna river. Thousands of years ago, Vrajanabha, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna installed the Siva Lingam, sacred deity of Lord Shiva, in the Gopeshwar Mahadeva Temple.
Tip: Right behind the corner, in Bhut Galli street you can find an ashram for stay called Vrinda kunja. They do lots of social work such as enviornmental and educational services. It could be a good idea to join Vrinda Kunja while staying in Vrindavan. Volunteering in Vrindavan at Vrinda Kunja ashram.
Gopeshwar Mahadev is rather small but significant sanctuary of Lord Shiva. It is the starting point for those on pilgrimmage in Vrindavan for a very good reason. Read on to find out why this is a must-see place in Vrindavan and why we included Gopeshvar temple on our Vrindavan temple list.
How Lord Shiva Became the Guardian of Vrindavan as Gopeshwar Mahadev
On an autumn night, under a lustrous full moon, Lord Krishna performs his sweetest eternal pastime known as the Maha Rasa Lila, his enchanting night of dancing with the beautiful gopis (milk maidens) of Vrindavan.
Since no males other than Krishna are ever allowed to enter into this dance, Lord Shiva was denied entrance by the presiding Queen of Vrindavan, Vrinda devi. While standing guard outside the sacred dance area, Shiva’s desire to join the dance grew stronger, and he began meditating intensely on Krishna’s beloved Sri Radha, who took notice and dispatched one of her attendants Lalita devi to initiate Shiva into the dance.
She instructed Shiva to bathe in the sacred Yamuna River, and when he emerged from the purifying waters transformed into a charming young gopi, he was allowed to enter the dance. Taking notice of the new “gopi”, Krishna smiled mischievously at Lord Shiva and named him Gopeshwara. To this day, Shiva is considered the guardian of the Rasa Lila dance and is affectionately called Gopeshwara Mahadev of Vrindavan.
Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple of Vrindavan During Festivals
On special holy days such as bi-weekly ekadasi fasting days or holidays dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva, such a huge crowd of pilgrims and devotees converges on the Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple, that there is hardly room to walk on any of the nearby streets.
Even if you don’t manage to make it into the temple itself, just being present amidst such an ecstatic throng of souls can be a spiritually uplifting experience.
Restoring the Beauty of Historical Vrindavan
For those who value ancient tradition and cultural heritage, the Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple is absolutely not to be missed while visiting Vrindavan. Gopeshvar temple is base of Vrindavan’s history. Walking through the ancient historical area between this temple and Kesi Ghat, one cannot help but feel compelled to join the efforts to restore the beauty and glory of this sacred place.
The organizers of Vrindavan Act Now!are eager to engage everyone in joining this important project to clean up one of Vrindavan’s most historic and holy areas.