Radha Govindaji temple
Sri Govinda was originally installed nearly 5,000 years ago by Lord Krishna’s great-grandson. Govinda is one of the four presiding Deities of Braja-mandala (greater Vrindavan). This temple is located right next to the City Palace within the innermost walls of the old city.
Govinda was originally worshiped by Srila Rupa Goswami and installed at the Radha Govinda Temple in Vrindavan. Govindaji was later brought to the city of Amber, near Jaipur, by Maharaja Jai Singh II to protect the Deity from destruction at the hands of the Muslim emperor Aurangzeb. Jai Singh’s grandfather had originally constructed the Govindaji Temple in Vrindavan. Govindaji was moved to the present temple in Jaipur about 1728 (some say 1735).
Maharaja Jai Singh created his “City of Victory,” the city of Jaipur, as a dedication to Lord Govindaji. The temple is in a garden of the palace complex, and when the temple doors were opened, Maharaja Jai Singh in the past could see his beloved Deity from the royal quarters. On the altar are full-sized Deities of Govinda, a beautiful black marble Deity, and Radha. There is also a small Deity of Krishna named Gaura-Govinda, which was once worshiped by Kasiswara Pandit. There is beautiful tile work on the altar.
The maha-prasada booth is located to the left of the Deities. It is customary for devotees to purchase maha-prasada, then distribute it to other devotees, who eagerly rush to get it. Behind the temple is a large garden. Mangala-arati draws about 5,000 people a day. It is an absolute must to attend. The devotees enthusiastically chant prayers in praise of Lord Govinda. The translation to the mantra that is chanted in front of Govindaji is: “We hunger for the sight of your face, and we wish to fix you constantly in our thoughts while meditating on your lotus face. This life is full of responsibilities and now we are in the middle of the ocean; please give us your blessing so that we can relieve ourselves of life’s burdens and understand the meaning of life.”