Haridas Swami of the Nimbarka sampradaya, a contemporary of the six Gosvamis, established this temple. He discovered the Banke Bihari Deity at Nidhivana, sometime in the 16th century. Banke Bihari was originally worshiped at Nidhivana.
Banke means “bent in three places” and bihari means “supreme enjoyer.” Haridas Swami originally worshipped this Deity under the name of Kunji-bihari. This is a very rich temple.
Banke Bihari was moved here when this temple was constructed in 1864 (some say 1874). Originally Banke Bihariji was worshiped alone. Later a small Deity of Radharani was added.
This is the most popular temple in Vrindavana, especially in the month of Sravana (July-August), during Jhulan Yatra, the swing festival of Lord Krishna. There are a number of silver-plated and some solid silver ornamented swings, which are shown at this time. The main day of Jhulan Yatra is the third day of the waxing moon, at which time Banke Bihari is placed on a golden swing (hindola).
The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples. Every few minutes the curtain is pulled shut and then opened again. It is said that the brilliant eyes of Banke Bihari will make you unconscious if seen for to long a stretch. It is said that Banke Bihari does not like the sound of bells or conch; therefore they are not sounded in this temple.
The Deities do not get up until 9 am, because it is believed that Banke Bihari has been up until late at night sporting. Mangala-arati is only one day a year in this temple, on Janmasthami. Only one day a year can the lotus feet of the Deity be seen, on Akshaya Tritiya (Chandan Darshan or Dolotsav), on the third day of the bright half of the month of Vaishaka (April-May).
The autumn full moon day is the only day that the Deity holds a flute, and also on this day He wears a special mukut (crown).
Banke Bihari comes off his altar and can be seen in full view on the last five days of the month of Phalguna, during the Holi festival. He can be seen with four gopis, who are seen just at this time.
How To Get Here:
Everyone in town knows where this temple is located. This temple is located about a 100m down a side street, just off Banke Bihari Bazaar. Banke Bihari Bazaar is between Loi Bazaar and the Krishna Balarama Mandir.