Rang Ji TempleVrindavan is the “town of temples”. Everywhere one can find temples and Ashrams. This is the land of God. Outmost many temples, two temples are very prominent and famous - Banke Bihari Temple and Shree Rang ji Temple.
Shree Rang ji Temple is the largest temple of Vrindavan which was built in 1851 in the Dravidian style (which is replication of Srivilliputhur) and dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or also known as Rangji which depict Lord Vishnu. In this temple, Lord Vishnu is in his sheshashayi pose and resting on the large coils of the sacred Sesha Naga. Not only Lord Vishnu, but in this temple one can worship Lord Narasimha, Goddess Sita, Lord Rama and Lord Laksman, Lord Venugopala and Lord Ramanujacarya. Here the main priest is south Indian brahmans. In this temple, non-Hindus cannot enter where deity is located. Non-Hindu can only enter till courtyard and non-Indian can enter only till first two gateways. On the second gateway there is moving diorama which exhibits for Rs 1.
History and Architecture of Rangnathji Temple
This great and marvelous temple is founded by Seths Gobind Das and Radha Krishan, who were brothers of the famous millionaire of that time, Shree Lakhmi Chand. Based on Swami Rangacharya's guidance, who was a famous Sanskrit scholar and guru, Seths Gobind Das and Radha Krishan built this temple. This temple work commenced in 1845 and completed in 1851. In 6 years this temple was completed and it took 45 lakhs as expenditure to build it.
The structure of the temple is based on the famous Sri Ranganatha Swami temple of Sri Rangam. Sri Rangji Mandir is a rare and exquisite mixture of south and north Indian temple architecture. Sri Rangji Mandir has been built in the traditional south Indian style with five concentric rectangular enclosures around the sanctum sanctorum and two beautiful stone gates carved in Jaipur style on the eastern and the western side.
On the western side of the temple just outside the gate is a 50 feet high wooden chariot which is taken out only once in a year during Brahmotsav. Once you enter through the stone carved western gate one can see a huge seven storeyed gopuram. To its left and right are electrically operated leelas depicting the stories of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. On the eastern side is another gopuram which is five storeyed. Between the two gopurams in the outer concentric enclosure there is a big pond known as the "Pushkarni". Adjacent to the garden is the seat of the Goverdhan Peeth, residence of Sri Goverdhan Rangacharyaji Maharaj who is the current Goverdhan peethadeesh and the head of the Sri Rangji Mandir Trust Board and the residential quarters of other priests and employees in a row.
Entry into the temple can be made from both the gates but the eastern gate is called as the main gate. Inside, in a clockwise direction is located the cookhouse, the temples of Sri Raghunathji (Lord Ram) and Sri Paudanathji (Lord Ranganath), Vaikunth Dwar (it opens once in a year on Vaikunth Ekadashi) the "Vahan Ghar"(where all the divine mounts are kept, which are taken out during temple festivals), the store, and the clock tower. Crossing the clock tower through another gate you come across the 50 feet high gold plated "Dhwaja Stambha". As you again start moving in the clockwise direction you first see the Sri Sheesh Mahal (during Jhoola Utsav Lord Goda Rangamannar reside here) and then come across the following sannidhis:-
1) Sri Sudarshanji
2) Sri Narsimhaji
3) Lord Venkateshawra (Tirupati Balaji)
4) Sri VenuGopalji
5) Sri Alwar Sannidhis
6) Sri Ramanujacharya Swamji with Sri Nammalwar(Sri Shathkop Swamiji), Sri Nathmuni Swamiji, Sri Madhurkavi Alwaar
7) Sri Rangadeshik Swamiji(Temple Founder), Sri Yamunacharya Swamiji(Alwandar), Sri Kanchipurna Swamiji
Built in sprawling and massive space, this beautiful temple has amazing architecture and made in Dravidian style which is mainly famous in South India. Interestingly, the outer walls are 773 feet in length and 440 in breadth. Inside this great temple, there is sprawling garden and a tank. This temple has tall gateway (famously known as Gopuram) of six storeys and are coated with a lavish of coarse sculpture. In front of this attractive gate, there is beautifully constructed gold-plated pillar which is known as Dhwaja Stambha of copper gilt which is fifty feet high. The western entrance of outer court is made in Mathura style. This temple is also famously called Thiru Vadamathura.
Every year, thousands of devotees visit this temple especially on the month of Chait (March-April) in which a massive festival 'Brahmotsav' celebration took place every year and this festival is also called “Rath ka Mela” and lasts for 10 days. During this festival, god is taken out of temple on the eighth day of 'Brahmotsav' on a huge rath along the road, a distance of 690 yards to the sprawling garden near pavilion.
In this chariot or rath, there is asanas or throne which carry lord Vishnu along with Garuda, Shree Hanuman, Lord Surya (or the Sun god), Lord Chandra (or the Moon god), a lion, a horse and an elephant. The prayers during this festival are performed and rath yatra is following in the style of Andal which is one of the twelve Vaishnava Saints of South India. In this massive festival, people from all across the country visit Vridavan and perform dance and songs and actively participate in entire function.
Rang Ji Temple Timings
There is no entry fee to this temple and it remains open throughout the year. During summer, temple opens from 05:30 a.m. till 10:30 a.m. And evening again temple opens at 4:00 p.m. And closed by 9:00 p.m. Aarti or prayer is performed two times during a day, one at 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m and next 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m which is followed by bhog. During winter, temple opens at 6:00 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. in the morning and 3:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. in the evening. As usual, aarti is performed two times a day, one at 6:00 a.m.to 6:30 a.m. and next 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
How to Reach Rang Ji Temple
This place is 9 km far from Mathura and 41 km from Agra and there is easy connectivity and from Delhi it is approx 145 km distance on NH2. At Chatikara, turn left toward Prem Mandir and go toward Vidya Peeth chowk. From Vidya Peeth Chowk take right to Attala Chowk and then left to Nagar Palika, next you will find Gandhi Chowk and finally find Rangji temple. Tourists or visitors can take local buses, taxis, and rickshaw and shared autos for visiting Mathura and Vrindavan. Fares are not much, rickshaw will charge Rs 30-40 per person and shared autos are quite cheap compared to others.