History of Kanak Vrindavan Temples in Jaipur
Temples at Kanak Vrindavan Garden were built in 1713 AD. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur ordered the construction of a new temple for establishing the idol of Lord Govind Dev Ji upon its movement from Vrindavana in 1669 AD. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb issued an order to destroy all major Hindu temples across North India. Govind Dev Ji Idol was moved from Govind Devji temple in Vrindavan built by Man Singh I of Amer. Vrindavana is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. More information on Aurangzeb & Mughals, at the end of this post.
This movement of deities from Vrindavana to Amer/ Jaipur was precautionary as the Kachhava rulers of Jaipur were followers of Lord Krishna; Govind Dev Ji temple was built by their forefathers. In part, it was also to save the Hindu religion.
From 1669 Ad to 1713 AD the deity did not have any permanent place as it kept moving from one place to another. The Kachwaha Rajputs ruled from Amber; Jaipur was not founded until 1727 AD. A need for a permanent place was felt to establish Govind Devji’s idol. Kanak Vrindavan Ghati was located on the outer edge of Amber town with Mansagar lake right next to it, making it a picturesque place. Maharajah Jai Singh II found this place most suitable for building a temple. It resembled the beautiful environs of Vrindavana with many Kadambh trees. The following picture depicts the beautiful Kanak Vrindavan Ghati. There is Kanak Vrindavan temple in the center and Mansagar Lake in the background.
A final round of shifting of Lord Govind Dev Ji’s idol took place from Kanak Vrindavan Ghati to Jai Niwas garden, near Jaipur City Palace around 1716-1720 AD. The new site later came to be known as Govind Dev Ji temple. Hence the relationship of Lord Govind Devji with Kachhava rulers changed to a family deity. Here is a picture of Govind Devji Temple in Jaipur.
After moving Lord Govind Devji to new temple premises at Jai Niwas in Jaipur, the Kanak Vrindavan Garden complex fell into oversight, neglect, and disrepair. This situation prevailed for years until it was renovated by the Hindustan Charitable Trust, a few years ago.
Kanak Vrindavan complex consists of two temples. Natwar Ji temple is supposed to be built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II’s sister – Amar Kanwar in 1707 AD. Lord Govind Dev Ji deity was established in Radha Madhav Temple before moving it to Govind Devji temple in Jaipur.
Natwarji Temple at Kanak Vrindavan Garden in a monochrome picture.
The temple is managed by Govind Devji temple trust.
The sanctum of Natwarji Temple is beautiful and displays similar workmanship as Sheesh Mahal in Amer Palace. Here is a picture of Sheesh mahal from Amer fort.
Of course, all this has been restored as the place was in shambles for more than a century. Everything has been restored beautifully as per the prevalent restoration practices; this effort needs to be appreciated.
There is a prohibition on photography in the temple complex. I could only photograph places where this rule is not followed.
This is one of the early Haveli temples of Jaipur, an architectural style unique to Jaipur. These temples are masterpieces with beautiful architecture devoid of ostentatious elements. A regal style without going overboard; an understated elegance.
You must visit Kanak Vrindavan Garden for its beautiful environs and lovely architecture. This is much more than a temple.
Who was Mughal emperor Auranzeb?
Aurangzeb was the third son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who ruled over a vast Indian subcontinent. Shah Jahan built the famous Taj Mahal, a UNESCO world heritage site in Agra. Aurangzeb is ill-famed in Indian history as he imprisoned his father Shah Jahan; executed his brothers in a struggle for the throne. He was a Muslim fanatic who after ascending to power in 1659 AD started a systematic program to destroy all popular Hindu temples and deities from 1666 AD on-wards across India. This is what most historians believe. Aurangzeb was a self-proclaimed defendant of Islam imposing the rule of sharia. He imposed Jizya, a tax on non-Muslims & was a cruel ruler, hated by the masses for his policies which led to the downfall of Mughal rule in India. Mughals were Muslims originating from central Asia who invaded India, ruling over a period reigning from 1526 AD to 1707 AD, after which their rule weakened.