September 27, 2015

Dakor Ranchhodraiji Temple

Site Name: Ranchhodraiji Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple dedicated to Krishna
Location:  Dakor, 100 kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, India
Highlights: One of the most beautiful idols of Lord Krishna
Nearest Railway Station: Dakor
Nearest Airport: Ahmedabad, at a distance of 100 kms
How to reach: Well connected by road from Nadiad, Ahmedabad, Anand and Vadodara
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire city
Restaurants: Varieties of options across the entire city

Dakor is a small town located at a distance of about 30 kms from Nadiad in Gujarat state of India. Thanks to Ranchhodraiji temple located here, Dakor is one of the most important pilgrim towns of Gujarat. The idol of Krishna called as Ranchhodraiji of this site is considered as one of the most beautiful Krishna idols.

Legend/History:

Shiva in Dakor
Although the site is currently associated with Lord Krishna, it was originally associated with Lord Shiva. As per the legend, during the period of Mahabharat, this region was a dense forest with lot of beautiful lakes and streams. A seer named Dank Rishi was performing penance towards Lord Shiva. When Shiva appeared before him, he requested the Almighty to stay in this site forever. Thus, Lord Shiva started staying here in the form of Shiva Linga called as Dankanth Mahadev. Hence, the site got the name as 'Dankpur' which later became Dakur.

Bheem in Dakor
As per another legend, Bheem (one of five Pandavas of Mahabharat epic) and Lord Krishna were passing through this forest once. Bheem quenched his thirsty with the water in a basin near the hermitage of the rishi. He thought of making it wide so that it could quench the thirst of all wild animals in the forest. He stroked using his mace and the result was the formation of a huge tank named Gomati tank, which is found near the temple nowadays. After this, Krishna visited the rishi. The saint requested him to stay here permanently along with Shiva. Krishna promised him to do so after the beginning of Kali Yug.

Popular Legend
There is also another legend associated with this site/temple, which is popular among all the legends. There was a cow herd named Vijayanand lived in Gokul during the period of Lord Krishna. Except him, everyone else was worshiping Krishna on the auspicious day of Holi. However, Krishna disguised himself as his friend and made him to perform Pooja as well as play colors. Later, when he revealed himself, Vijayanand lost his pride and became his devotee. As per the wish of Krishna, he and his wife Sudha were born as Bodana and Gangabai in Dakor after several years. 

Bodana used to grow Tulsi plan in his house and he used to go to Dwarka along with Tulsi leaves to worship Lord Krishna. He became very old and it was practically impossible for him to travel to Dwaraka henceforth. Lord Krishna asked him to bring the bullock cart so that he would travel along with him and settle down in Dakor. When the priests in Dwaraka came to know this, they locked the sanctum sanctorum. However, in the midnight, Lord Krishna broke open the doors and traveled along with Bodana in the bullock cart. 

Before entering Dakor, they stayed under a need tree for one night. As Krishna touched one branch of that tree, that branch alone is believed to give sweet fruits even today. On his way to Dakor, the tree from which the bullock cart was made appeared in the form of a poor Brahmin. Krishna took pity on him and blessed him with Moksha.

The priest class of Dwarka temple were called as Gugli Brahmins. When they did not find the image of deity in Dwarka temple, they started chasing Bodana. As per the advice from Krishna, Bodana hid the idol under the Gomati tank water. The Brahmins killed him with a spear; the spear hit the idol inside the water and blood was oozing out in the tank. It is said even today, the place where the deity was originally hidden has water in red color and is different from other places in the tank. A small temple with the foot prints of Krishna was constructed in this site in the later period. 

The Gugli Brahmins did not want to leave without the idol. They sat on the banks of the tanks and did hunger strike. Krishna ordered the widow of Bodana to give away gold equivalent to the weight of the idol to those Brahmins. He ensured that the idol weighed only equivalent to the weight of a golden nose ring; that's all the poor widow had with her. Still the Brahmins did not leave the place. Krishna told them that they could find the exact replica of this idol in a particular well in Dwarka.

The impatient Brahmins looked at the particular well even before six months got over. They could find a similar idol but smaller in size, which they installed in the Dwarka temple.

Current Temple
For many centuries, the idol was lying in the water in the Gomati tank. Then it was recovered and was installed in Lakshmi temple. In 1770 CE, Shri Gopal Jagannath Tambwekar, who was the banker for the Peshwas and Giakwars, went to pilgrimage to Dwarka from Pune. In his dream, he was asked to visit Dakor by Lord Krishna. He visited Dakor and he liked the idol of Krishna very much. He purchased the land in Dakor and built the huge temple for Lord Krishna in 1772 CE.

Temple Layout:

The 250+ years old Dakor temple is huge but has only one deity, Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna in this temple is one of the most beautiful idols across the globe. The walls of the temple are decorated with few oil paintings and few carvings, which are not the highlight of the temple though. The domes of the Vimana are covered with golden sheets. The temple is open almost for the entire day and the devotees could get the darshan of beautiful Krishna dressed in different bright and colorful dresses.

Happy travelling.

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