Harideva temple at Govardhana is one of the main points of interest for the pilgrims who circumambulate the most sacred hil of Govardhana.
The temple is dedicated to a deity of Lord Krishna, while lifting the Govardhana hill to save the devotees of Vraja from the destructive rainfall sent by the demigod Indra. This event is described detail in Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book.
The temple was built by Raja Bhagavana Singh, the ruler of Amer in Rajasthan, in the first half of 16th century.
Story of Harideva
Once Srimati Radharani, Her 8 Sakhis or girl friends and other Gopis had gathered for a meetingwith Lord Krishna at Manasi Ganga lake in Govardhana area.
But Lord Krishna was very late. The Gopis were hoping that Lord would come soon. In separartion from the Lord they began to call, “Harideva! Harideva! Harideva!”.
That moment a deity of Harideva or Krishna appeared before them. The left hand of the deity was raised, as He is in the mood of enjoying the pastime in which He lifts Govardhana hill on his small finger of left hand, to protect the residents of Vraja from torrential rainfall, that was destroying everything.
The Gopis were pleased on seeing the beautiful form of Lord Harideva. Since then they offered Seva Puja, or elaborate prayer and offerings to the deity daily.
A hundred years after this incident king Vajranabha, the great – grandson of constructed four grand temples for four Deva deities – Govindadeva at Vrindavana, Harideva at Manasi Ganga (Govardhana), Baladeva near Mahavana and Keshavadeva at Mathura.
With time Harideva deity and His temple were disappeared. 4500 years later the deity was found while an excavation in early 16th century. A few years later Raja Bhagavana Singh constructed a grand temple for Lord Harideva.
Lord Caitanya and Harideva
500 years ago Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who is none other than Krishna but in the mood of a Vaishnava, came to visit the various pastime places of Krishna at Vraja.
During His tour He visited Vrindavana, Nandagrama, Mahavana, Kamyavana, Bahulavana, Mathura, Lohavana, Bhandiravana and Govardhana.
At Govardhana He came to see the beautiful form of Harideva at Manasi Ganga. On seeing Harideva He became so ecstatic that He danced for hours chanting the holy names of Lord Krishna.
Only after having the Darshana of the deity He began His Govardhana Parikrama, or circumambulation of the hill.
Harideva Goes To Badhauli
Harideva and Srinathaji were the most celebrated deities of Govardhana. 500 years ago They both had grand temples at Govardhana.
Srinathaji is Krishna in the mood of accepting food offerings from devotees of Vraja, while also lifting the Govardhana hill. So He is looking downwards towards the food items.
And Harideva is lifting Govardhana hill and seeing the devotees, assuring them that He is always to protect them.
In 1670, the Muslim tryant of Delhi, named Aurangzeb, came to know about the opulance of the temples of Vraja, including the Seven Goswami temples of Vrindavana, Srinathaji and Harideva temples at Govardhana, Keshavadeva temple at Mathura and others.
So he sent his army to loot and damage these temples. Thanks to Rajput kings of Rajasthan who helped the Vaishnavas of Vraja to secretely move the deities to Rajasthan and other Hindu kingdoms. They also defended some temples against this attack.
Srinathaji and Harideva were too moved from Their temples. Srinathaji was taken to Nathadwara near Udaipur, Rajasthan, while Harideva along with Keshavadeva were taken to Badhauli village near Rasadhan town in Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh.
Since then, Pratibhu Murti or the replica deity of Harideva is being worshiped in the original temple at Manasi Ganga.
Manasi Ganga at Govardhana can be accesed by hiring a cab or auto-rikshaw from Vrinavana or Mathura.
Govardhana town (Manasi Ganga area of the hill) is 22 km from Mathura and 26 km from Vrindavana. Mathura and Vrindavana are well accessible from Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and other major cities of India.
There are ISKCON temples at both Govardhana and Vrindavana. But ISKCON Vrindavana is by far more active and has eating and accomodation facilities.
Harideva temple is locally pronounced as Hardevajee temple in the Govardhana area.
It is 50 mts. from Manasi Ganga lake on a small street starting from one of the banks of the sacred lake.
Other places in Vraja- At Govardhana do visit Radha Kunda, ISKCON temple, Mukharvinda temple and Kusuma Sarovara. DO NOT CLIMB THE GOVARDHANA HILL as it is a teacing given to the Gaudiya Vashnavas to Lord Caitanya. At Vrindavana you may visit Govindadeva temple, ISKCON temple, Syamasundara temple, Madana Mohana temple and Radha Damodara temple.