This magnificent temple was built in 1590, by Man Singh of Amber (Jaipur), who was a general in Emperor Akbar’s army. He was a disciple of Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami.
This temple took several thousand men five years to build. It is said that the Muslim Emperor, Akbar, donated the stone of the temple. Raja Man Singh spent 13 lakhs (1,300,000) rupees for wages to build the temple.
This temple is located in the middle of Yogapitha, the transcendental meeting place of Radha and Krishna. The original Govindaji Deity was found about 450 years ago, in 1535, by Rupa Gosvami. Govindaji was removed from this temple, when the Muslim emperor Aurangzeb tried to destroy it.
The original Deity is now in Jaipur, in a temple right outside the King of Jaipur’s palace. This temple was originally seven stories high, with an altar of marble, silver, and gold. A sculptured lotus flower weighing several tons decorates the main hall. On top of the temple burned large ghee lamps. Aurangzeb became infuriated because of the greatness of this Hindu temple. He sent his army to destroy part of the temple. When a few storeys remained, all of a sudden, the ground began to shake violently and Aurangzeb’s men were terrified and ran for their lives, never to return.
One day Rupa Gosvami was sitting under a tree on the bank of the Yamuna. A beautiful young boy came to him and told him of a cow that went to a hill each day and poured milk into a hole. Rupa Gosvami then went and found the Deity of Govinda buried under the earth. He then excavated the Deity and began His worship. The Deity of Govindaji is said to have been found in 1535. A half-century later the present Govindaji Temple was built. The Deities on the altar in this temple are: Govindaji in the middle, to His left is Lord Caitanya, and to His right is Lord Nityananda. Below are small Radha and Krishna Deities. Below Them are Lord Jagannath and a Govardhana-shila.
Since this temple was partially destroyed by Muslims, it is considered that proper worship cannot be done in this temple. Therefore behind this temple, another temple was established, where worship is performed to the Deities that were installed after Govindaji was removed and brought to Jaipur.
Photograph of the Govindadeva temple at Vrindavan, from the Murray Collection: 'Photographic views in Agra and its vicinity', taken by John Murray in the mid-1850s. Vrindavan is a pilgrimage town on the bank of the Yamuna river.
The temple was built in 1590, only the mandapa, or large porch remains as the towered sanctuary was destroyed under the orders of Aurangzeb. The mandapa is built on a stepped plan and has projecting porches and balconies on two storeys. Influence from the style of contemporary mosque architecture can be seen in the use of arches, pointed vaults and a dome internally. The walls have deeply carved mouldings with no figural sculpture.