Nidhivan: The Mystery Land Where Krishna Rasleela Happens Every Night
By- Md. Mojahid Raza
Vrindavan: The festival of Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna, was celebrated amid pomp and religious fervour yesterday. The festivities were marked by special rituals and grand prayers at Lord Krishna’s birth place Vrindavan in Mathura. On this day, people worship Lord Krishna, especially ‘Bal Gopal’ or baby Krishna who is playful, mischievous and loves butter.
The joyful dance of young Krishna and ‘gopis’ (milkmaids) of Vrindavan has been immortalised in legend. This divine dance, also known as ‘Rasleela’ is born out of pure love and devotion. However, not many know that there is a mysterious place called Nidhivan near Mathura where according to folklore, the divine Rasleela between Lord Krishna and the ‘gopis’ takes place every night.
The word ‘Nidhivan’ is a Sanskrit term which means the ‘Forest of treasure’. According to locals, Nidhivan was settled by guru Haridas whose deep devotion, penace and meditation compelled Lord Krishna to visit this place. Legend goes that in the Nidhivan temple, Shri Krishna or ‘Thakurji’ arrives after nightfall and performs the divine dance or ras leela with Radha ji and all the gopis.
The Nidhivan temple houses a beautiful idol of Radha Krishna and is surrounded by a sacred ‘kunj’ or forest, where Lord Krishna and Radha rest after the ras leela is over. Nearby, there is a small temple called Rang Mahal where it is believed that Shri Krishna decorates Radha with his own hands. The temple also contains ornate beds for the deities to rest. Priests at Rang Mahal temple place toothbrushes, a saree, bangles, paan leaves, sweets and water before closing the gates after night aarti. However, everything is found scattered in the morning as if somebody has used them.
The temple closes at 5 pm in the evening after which nobody is allowed to venture into the sacred kunj or the temple. The forest, which remains enlivened all day with the churping of birds and the chatter of monkeys transcends into an eerie silence at night. Houses in and around Nidhivan hardly have windows. Locals say that those who sneak out at night to catch a glimpse of the Rasleela either lose their mental balance, go dumb or die in shock. The residents of Nidhivan are deeply religious people who believe that the lord does not appreciate disturbances during rasleela. Hence, they strictly stay indoors at night. Some even claim to have heard flute music and the sound of ‘ghunghroo’ or musical anklets emanating from the forest at night.
Even today, visitors will find a divine calm in the areas surrounding Nidhivan. Spread in a vast expanse of 2.5 acres, the trees in the sacred forest are of a similar shape and size, with low height and hung, intertwined branches. While some say that these trees turn into gopis during the night, others claims that these are the 16,000 queens of Shri Krishna who come alive every night.
Renowned historians and scientist have visited Nidhivan to unravel the mystery but all of them went away empty-handed. A foreign media house had once placed CCTV camera inside the forests to record any supernatural occurence taking place at night. But they were surprised in the morning when it was discovered that nothing has been recorded by the cameras, which were working perfectly fine.
While it remains a matter of debate whether Krishna Rasleela actually happens in Nidhivan every night, the entire legend is nevertheless a reflection of the rich culture and religious heritage of India.
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