Sri Sri Radha Radhakanta temple in Vrindavana is one of the oldest temples in the holy town. It is one of the Gaudiya Vaishnava temples established during the time of the Six Goswamis.
Radha Radhakanta are the deities of Radha and Her beloved who is none other than Lord Krishna. The deities are originally worshiped by the great Vaishnava Acharya Srila Gopala Guru. Now the devotees in his disciplic succession are maintaining the temple.
Pushpa Samadhi of Srila Gopala Guru is also in the temple complex.
Story of Gopala Guru and Radha Radhakanta
Srila Gopala Guru was the son of one of the many devotees of Lord Caitanya in Puri. In his childhood Gopala Guru went to meet with Sri Caitanya Mahprabhu.
He actively participated in the Sankirtana pastimes of Lord.
Gopala was one of the dearest devotees of Lord Caitanya. He was given the title ‘Guru’ by Lord Himself.
Gopala Guru was child but he would often instruct Lord Caitanya on essentials of Vaishnava life. Lord Caitanya liked it very much and He would welcome Gapala for doing so.
One day Gopala said that one should always chant the holy names of Lord even in toilet. Lord Caitanya said that it seemed te Him unappropriate to chant the holy names in toilet.
But Gopala insisted that only the chanting of Hare Krishna can save a person from drowning in the ocean of material existence. Thus a person should try to get maximum benefit of Japa by chanting it everwhere.
Lord Caitanya said that really Gopala was a Guru. Since then everyone called him, Gopala Guru.
Gopala Guru grew up to become a great Vaishnava Acahrya. He became the disciple of Srila Vakreshwara Pandita. He also studied under Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Srila Svarupa Damodara.
Gopala Guru came to Vrindavana from Puri, for doing bhajana. He made a bhajana kutira in Dhira Samira area of Vrindavana.
Gopala Guru had seen Vakreshwara Pandita the deities of Radha Radhakanta. So he began to worship his own set of Radha Radhakanta.
Gopala Guru initiated many disciples in both Puri and Vrindavana. When he was in Puri then his disciples would serve the deities in Vrindavana.
He disappeared when he was in Puri. His samadhi was made in Puri by his disciples. Many of his disciples went to Vrindvana in order to have the darshana of Sri Sri Radha Radhakanta.
There they saw Gopala Guru doing bhajana under a tree. But he was already entombed in Puri. Gopala Guru suddenly changed into his spiritual form as a cowher friend of Krishna and vanished.
The flower garland worn by Gopala Guru had been left there. The disciples made another tomb there.
Now this tomb and the deities can be seen in Radha Radhakanta temple, locally known as Gopala Guru temple.
The town of Vrindavana is 135 km from Delhi and 60 km from Agra. It is 10 km from Mathura.
Gopala Guru temple is in the downtown of Vrindavana. It is in the Dhira Smaira area. It is not a very well known temple. So one may feel it a little challenging to find it. But it is surely a worth visit.
It can be approached by first reaching Gopinatha temple, which is very famous – any auto or rikshaw will take you to there. Then ask for directions for ‘Gopala Guru temple’ or ‘Vamshi Vata’, a famous landmark near the temple.
Temple remains open from 9 am to 11 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.
Other attractions in Vrindavana: temples near Radhakanta temple are Radha Syamaraya temple, Jula Thakura temple and Vamshi Vata.
Other points of interest in Vrindavana are ISKCON Krishna Balarama temple, Vrindavana Chandrodaya temple, Radha Madana Mohana temple, Radha Damodara temple, Radharamana temple and Radha Govindadevaji temple.