Among all the ten avatars of Vishnu, it is Krishna who has captured the popular imagination, the most. The 8th avatar of Vishnu was born in Mathura to Devaki and Vasudev. Devaki was the sister of Kamsa, a cruel tyrant. When a divine voice said that Kamsa would be slain by Devaki’s 8th child, Kamsa threw his sister and her husband into a dungeon. He killed all the children who were born to them, but with some divine help, Vasudev managed to spirit Krishna away to Gokul, as soon as he was born, without anyone’s knowledge. Krishna grew up and went on to fulfill the divine prophecy by killing his evil uncle, Kamsa. Krishna played a pivotal part in the Mahabharatha epic, as an ally of the Pandavas who waged war against their evil cousins, the Kauravas. Every year, Krishna’s birthday is celebrated with great pomp and fanfare as Janmashtami or Krishna Jayanthi.
As one of the major deities in the Hindu pantheon, there are many temples dedicated to Krishna, all over India. Let us see which are the top 10 temples for Krishna in India.
1.Guruvayoor temple, Kerala:
Guruvayur Temple is one of the most important Krishna temples. It is in Thrissur, Kerala, and is known as the Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth. It is also called the Dwaraka of South India. The deity here is called Guruvayurappan and Unnikrishnan. The Guruvayoorappan form of Krishna was the form of Vishnu that Krishna’s parents saw when he was born. It is believed that couples who tie the knot at this temple will be blessed with a long and happy married life. Guruvayur gets its name from Guru (Jupiter) and Vayu (wind god), who are believed to have established it. The idol here is not made of stone or metal, but a mixture called Padala Anjanam.
2.Banke Bihari Temple:
This temple lies in the holy city of Vrindavan. It is one of the 7 temples of Thakur of Vrindavan. 'Banke' means 'bent', and 'Bihari' means 'enjoyer'. This explains how Kṛiṣhṇa, who is bent in three places, got the name "Banke Bihari". Krishna’s image here is in the Tribhanga posture. This temple was founded by Swami Haridas, a guru of Tansen, the famous singer. It is believed that when Haridas sang a verse, the divine couple, Radha Krishna, appeared before him and his devotees. At Haridas’ request, the couple became one, and the idol of Banke Bihari manifested there.
3.Dwarkadhish Temple, Gujarat
Also known as Jagat Mandir, this temple, located in Dwaraka, Gujarat, is one of the four major pilgrimages of India and attracts thousands of devotees during the Char Dham Yatra. Krishna is worshipped here as Dwarkadhish, or 'King of Dwarka'. The original temple was supposedly built by Krishna's grandson, Vajranabha, over the place in which Krishna resided. In 1472, the original structure was vandalized by Mahmud Begada. It was rebuilt in the 15th-16th century. Dwarakadheesh happens to be the 98th Divya Desam of Vishnu and is glorified in the sacred text, Divya Prabandha.
4.Krishna Balaram Mandir, Uttar Pradesh
This temple is the first, as well as one of the main ISKCON temples in India. It is dedicated to Krishna and his brother, Balarama. The temple is also called the ISKCON temple of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.
5.Jugal Kishore Temple, Uttar Pradesh
The temple is also known as Keshi Ghat temple and is one of the oldest temples. It was built using red sandstone. The famous religious temple of Jugal Kishore is one of the most famous temples of Lord Krishna in Vrindavan. Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh is a city that is steeped in mythology. It was here that Krishna spent his childhood, though his place of birth was nearby Mathura. Krishna is said to have slain the horse demon Keshi along the Yamuna River. The place where he killed the demon is where the Keshi Ghat Temple, also known as the Jugal Kishore temple stands. Akbar, the great Mughal emperor, visited Vrindavan in 1570 CE and gave permission to build four temples. Jugal Kishore Temple was one of them, though it was completed only in 1684, during Jahangir’s reign.
6.Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, Karnataka
The temple is located in the city of Udupi and is one of Udupi’s 8 mathas. Around the temple, there are many other temples. The matha was founded by Shri Madhwacharya, a Vaishnavite saint, in the 13th century. Supposedly, he found an idol of the deity in a ball of gopichandana. This temple is unique because the devotees worship the deity through a silver-plated window, which has 9 holes and is called Navagraha kindi.
7.Govind Dev Ji Temple, Rajasthan
This Vaishnava temple is in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is situated within the City Palace complex. It is among the 7 temples of Thakur of Vrindavan. The murti or idol was brought here from Vrindavan by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur’s founder. Popular legend has it that Krishna's image looks exactly like his form during his incarnation on Earth. According to the legend, the image was created by Bajranabh, the great-grandson of Krishna. When Bajranabh was 13 years old, he asked his grandmother how Krishna looked like. He also made an image as per her description, but she said that only the feet resembled those of Krishna. He created another image, but she said that only the chest resembled that of Krishna. When he made the third image, she veiled her face and said that it looked exactly like that of Krishna. While the first image was called "Madan Mohanji", the second was called "Gopinathji", and the third was called "Govind Devji". It is said that around 500 years ago, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked a disciple to dig out the idol of Govinda, which had been buried there to keep it safe from the Mughals.
8.Shrinathji Temple, Rajasthan
This temple, in Udaipur, Rajasthan, lies on the banks of the Banas river. The divine form of Shrinathji here is supposedly self-manifested from stone, emerging from the Govardhan Hills. The image was initially worshipped at this hill, near Mathura and later shifted from there in 1672 A.D. It was kept at Agra for nearly six months, in order to protect it from the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, who wanted to keep it in Agra. The idol was taken further south, but when the bullock cart reached a spot at Sihad or Sinhad village, its wheels sank in the mud and could not be moved. The priests accompanying it realized that the place had been chosen by the deity, and accordingly, a temple came up there under the protection of the then ruler, Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar. Shrinathji Temple is also called 'Haveli (mansion) of Shrinathji’.
9.Rajagopalaswamy Temple, Tamilnadu
This is a major Vaishnavite temple in south India and is called Dakshina Dwarka. The temple complex occupies around 23 acres in Mannargudi town in Tamil Nadu. This ancient temple underwent massive expansion during the reign of the Thanjavur Nayaks in the 16th century. It has one of the biggest temple tanks in India. It is said that Pundarikakshan appeared as Krishna to the two sages, Gopillar and Gopralayar.
10.Venugopala Swamy Temple, Karnataka
This temple in Kannambadi, Karnataka, has been constructed in the Hoysala style of architecture and is located near Krishna Raja Sagara backwaters. Kannambadi was submerged underwater by 1930 due to the building of the KRS dam. But the temple was visible when the water levels dropped in the reservoir. The temple remained underwater for 70 years. Finally, the temple was restored by the Khoday foundation. The temple is now 1 km north of the original site,