Banke Bihari Mandir is the most popular Hindu temple of Lord Krishna in the holy city of Vrindavan in the Mathura district, especially in the month of Shraavana (July-August). Banke Bihari was originally worshiped at Nidhivana. Banke means “bent in three places” and bihari means “supreme enjoyer.” Lord Krishna will be standing in the Tribhanga posture. Haridas Swami originally worshipped this Deity under the name of Kunji-bihari.
HistoryBanke Bihari Temple was established by Swami Haridas of the Nimbarka Sampradaya, a contemporary of the six Gosvamis. It is said that he discovered the Banke Bihari deity at Nidhivana, sometime in the 16th century. Banke Bihari was moved here when this temple was constructed in 1864 (some say 1874). Originally Banke Bihariji was worshiped alone. Later a small deity of Radharani was added. The Banke Bihari Temple was close to the Nidivana temple in India.
RitualsDuring Jhulan Yatra, the swing festival of Lord Krishna. There are a number of silver-plated and some solid silver ornamented swings, which are shown at this time. The main day of Jhulan Yatra is the third day of the waxing moon, at which time Banke Bihari is placed on a golden swing (hindola). The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples. Every few minutes the curtain is pulled shut and then opened again. It is said that the brilliant eyes of Banke Bihari will make you unconscious if seen for too long a stretch. It is the only temple where loud temple bells are not used to wake Krishna in the morning. It is believed improper to wake a child with a start. He is woken gently. There are thus no bells even for Aarti, as it might disturb Him.
The Deities do not get up until 9 am, because it is believed that Banke Bihari has been up until late at night sporting. Mangala-arati is only one day a year in this temple, on Janmasthami. Only one day a year can the lotus feet of the Deity be seen, on Akshaya Tritiya (Chandan Darshan or Dolotsav), on the third day of the bright half of the month of Vaishaka (April-May). The autumn full moon day is the only day that the Deity holds a flute, and also on this day He wears a special mukut (crown). Banke Bihari comes off his altar and can be seen in full view on the last five days of the month of Phalguna, during the Holi festival. He can be seen with four gopis, who are seen just at this time.