When you visit the Shri Radha Kushal Bihari Temple in Barsana, the first thought which may cross your mind is: how similar it looks to those forts of Rajasthan! You would hardly be wrong in assuming so, for although the Hindu temple is located in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, it was built by Maharaja Madho Singh Rao of Jaipur. Located on the Bramhachal Parvat in Barsana, its almond coloured facade rises gracefully amidst the thick vegetation of Gahvar Van (a forest where Radharani would relax along with her companions). There is another small temple located in close proximity to the main temple. It houses the idols of Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha built from black stone and alloy.
All the rituals and other traditions are performed and followed in this temple by members of the Nimbarka Sampradaya (one of the four Vaishnava Sampradayas, or, communities). Various festivals like Shri Radha Ashtami, Janmashtami, Diwali and Annakut are celebrated here.
The stone used in the construction of the temple was transported from the district of Bharatpur in Rajasthan. This must see temple is two-storied and incorporates elements which are found in traditional Rajasthani architecture like jharoka and chhatri. Its splendid design and architecture are two factors behind its being one of the most important places to visit in Barsana. The sanctum sanctorum, or the main room of the temple, is surrounded by other rooms. These were originally meant to serve as the residences of the king and queen along with their staff. The intricate carvings on the brackets, pillars and wall panels lend it an elegant appearance.
Maharaja Madho Singh Rao of Jaipur and his wife were ardent devotees of Radha and Lord Krishna. It was this devotion that inspired them to build the temple. The construction of the Shri Radha Kushal Bihari Temple took about 14 years. The construction complete, all that remained now was the installation of the deities.
However, on the night before that, Radharani (another name for Radha) appeared before the king and told him to stop their installation in the main temple as it wasn't their abode. On the next day, the king began the construction of another small temple and placed the deities of Radha and Krishna in it. These statues are a major attraction for visitors to the temple.
Although the temple can be visited throughout the year, it’s up to you to decide when you want to visit it. During the summers, it can get very hot here with the average temperature being 41°C. You can visit it during this time if the heat isn’t a major concern. A lot of tourists prefer visiting the popular tourist attractions in Uttar Pradesh during winters because of the cool and pleasant weather. Another great time to visit the Shri Radha Kushal Bihari Temple is during the festivals of Holi and Janmashtami when everybody is immersed in festivities.
After visiting the Shri Radha Kushal Bihari Temple, there are other places which you can visit in Barsana. Here are some of them.