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Manipur in Vrindavan: Part 1-Manipur Rajbari

by Jan 1st 1970

Manipur Comes to Vrindavan

Stepping into Vrindavan is like crossing the threshold into a realm where time stands still, frozen in eternity. In this compact town of just a few square kilometers, one is  greeted by a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of images and a  symphony of sounds, amalgamating to create a sensory enchantment.

Vrindavan, a canvas painted with an eclectic mix of devotion, performance, and emotion, seems to be in a perpetual state of creation and recreation with every passing moment.

As you navigate the narrow winding lanes, unexpected treasures reveal themselves – images of the ever-youthful Yugal Kishore Radha Krishna peeping from behind rusted grills of house windows and looking out with beningn expressions from pedestals of temples-both grand and humble. The melodious strains of samaj gayan, devotional singing, transport you to an era where Krishna, his dear cows, Radha, and the Gopis tread the same narrow streets that you walk today.

These lanes lead you to temples, some with a weathered facade of red brick, peacefully nestled between lassi and mithai shops. “This is an old temple,” people say, and you join your hands in reverence because, in Vrindavan, the divine is ever-present, unaffected by the wear and tear of time.

A closer inspection of the simple nameplates on these temples reveals more than just names. Unpretentious and lacking in garishness, these signboards carry the essence of the temple and the sect or sampradaya to which they belong. Sometimes, they whisper the names of those who, in their devotion, commissioned the construction of these sacred structures.

And then, as you continue your exploration, you chance upon temples proudly bearing the name Manipur Rajbari, the Royal House of Manipur. The residents of Vrindavan are well-acquainted with these temples, mostly situated near Keshi Ghat, the sacred ground where Krishna defeated the demon Keshi. It piques your curiosity – how did temples from Manipur find their home in Vrindavan? The answer lies in  history. For these temples were commissioned by various kings not only from Manipur but also from Tripura! The tales of devotion and cultural interweaving add yet another layer to the enchanting narrative of Vrindavan, a town where every corner whispers a story from the eternal past.

 What is the role of Tripura in Manipur Temples? Read more on this here. 

Narrow winding lanes lead you to dilapidated red brick temples sitting peacefully between lassi and mithai shops. “This is an old temple”, people tell you. You join your hands in reverence because the divine is ever-present. It doesn’t go away just because the temple is now broken.

Temple of Manipur Rajbari

There are nearly fifteen temples of Manipur Rajbari in Vrindavan and around twenty five in Radha Kund, at a distance of about 20 kms from Vrindavan.

Shri Radha NandaKishor Mandir,Keshi Ghat, Vrindavan



Shri Radha NandaKishor Mandir-Outside the main shrine


The temple was constructed nearly 200 years ago. The paint is peeling off the walls and the living condition of the shebait is poor but Nanda-Kishore ji is served bhog and offered arti five times a day with proper seva. The simple cement floor of the temple is paved with plaques in memory of kings who yearned to give up their mortal coil in Vrindavan. Such is the devotion of Manipur monarchs that their names also reflect various names of Krishna.

Plaques in memory of kings


A King of Manipur


Main shrine-Shri Radha NandaKishor ji and photographs of shebait’s ancestors



Krishna Kunj, Manipur Rajbari Keshi Ghat, Vrindavan


Vrindavan in Braj Mandal

Vrindavan is an old place. It is located in Braj Mandal. The large Braj Mandal area is situated south of New Delhi and it is spread over an area of around 3,800 square kilometers. The land of Lord Krishna’s birth, childhood and adolescence years, it finds mention in the  Mahabharata, Vishnu Mahapurana and Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. The present day Braj region corresponds to the kingdom of Surasena , with Mathura as its capital city. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, Surasena was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas in the 6th century BCE.

Surasena coin 300-400 BCE

The geography of the ancient Surasena janapada among the many janapadas of Uttarapatha was similar to that of a centre-point of a circle. The mighty janapadas of Kuru, Panchal, Matsya and Salva surrounded it from all sides.  Sometimes, they exerted their influence on Surasena’s culture and sometimes they themselves were influenced by it. Despite going through political ups and downs, the janapada, now known as Braj Mandal maintains its cultural identity through lores of Sanjhi and Tesu, festivals like the world famous Holi, decorative designs of phool bangla, the artistic floral frames and characteristic rituals of the various sampradaya temples that dot the sacred geography of Vrindavan. The Manipur temples are an integral part of this ancient landscape.

Read more on temples of royal house of Manipur in Manipur in Vrindavan: Part 2


Vajpayee, Krishnadutt. Braj ka Itihaas. Akhil Bhartiya Braj Sahitya Mandal, 1955.