Shriji Temple, with its arches, pillars and red sandstone, looks like a structure dating back to the Mughal era. This popular temple in Barsana has resemblance to the architectural style prevailing during that time. Stretched out on a ridge on Bhanugarh Peak in Barsana, this Hindu temple dedicated to Radha since this was her birthplace. Also known as Radha Rani Temple, it is one of the most visited temples in the Braj Bhoomi region (of which Barsana is a part). It is also called Ladli Lal Temple (ladli means a loved daughter, and lal, a beloved son.
The main deities of the temple are Radha and Lord Krishna. Reaching the gate of the temple requires you to climb 200 steps. At their base stands the magnificent palace of Radha’s father, King Vajranabh. The ancient look of the temple along with its brilliant design and architecture, attracts tourists and devotees in large numbers. The paintings adorning the walls and ceilings of the temple which depict Radha and Krishna’s pastimes, are also a major attraction.
This major attraction of Barsana was first constructed about 5000 years back by King Vajranabh along with the deities. However, with the passage of time, not only were the deities lost, but the temple itself went in ruins. The temple, as it exists today, was built by Narayan Bhatt, a Vaishnavite, with the assistance of Raja Todarmal, one of the governor’s in Akbar’s court.
There is also a very interesting mythological legend associated with the temple. According to it, Lord Krishna’s father Nand Maharaj Ji and Radha’s father Vrishbhanu Maharaja were close friends. While Krishna lived in Gokul, Vrishbhanu lived in Rawal. However, fed up with the atrocities of Kansa, both of them shifted to Nandgaon. Since Vrishbhanu made Bhanugarh Hill his permanent abode, it also became the abode of Radha Rani. That is how the temple got its name.
The best time to visit Shriji Temple depends on the kind of weather you are comfortable with. You can plan a visit to Barsana during the summers. However, before doing so, you should remember that it can get extremely hot. Thus, winter seems to be the best time to visit Barsana. However, if you want to participate in the Radhashtami and Holi festivals, plan your trip to Barsana during the months of September and March respectively.
After visiting the Shriji Mandir in Barsana, there are other places to see that hold religious importance. Some of these are mentioned below.