Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Jiu’s Temple is situated at ‘House of God’, 520 Rabindra Sarani, Kolkata – 700005 near Shymbazar Five Point Crossing.
Gokul Chandra Mitra established the Madan Mohan Temple in 1761 A.D.
The Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Jiu’s Temple’s main gate is at the southern side of the building on a lane towards the west. On the first floor of the temple building, the sanctum is built in the south of a wide floor area extended from north to south. The rest of the floor area other than the sanctum is left vacant as a portico. On the north of the entrance to the temple, there stands the large portico supported on Corinthian pillars of huge diameter.
To the west of the portico exists the platform for color festivals associated with the Radha Krishna cult. The entrance of this platform initially decorated with arch-type designs of three tire colorful garlands of pictures in pankha art. In the course of time, these decayed due to wear and tear, and at a subsequent stage, the old artistic creations recast in cement and sand to restore the colorful ancient glamour. The first two tires depict wreathes of creepers, flowers, and leaves.
In the third tire, Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, is seated on a throne in the middle of her conveyance, the owl is flanked by angels. From two sides this scene is held suspended in the void by two half-naked bare busting bosomed apsaras-courtesan of heaven. Greek-style architecture has been markedly applied in its style of composition. “The Rashmancha”’ a platform for the Rash festival associated with the Radha Krishna cult is also a beautiful composition of aesthetics resembling a nine-jeweled temple. The idols of Radha and Krishna are shifted to the Rashmancha temporarily for the festival.
The Idols at Madan Mohan Temple:
The idol made of eight metals (astodhatu). The height of the idols less than 1 foot. They installed facing south. Wonderful craftsmanship made the idols wordy in their muteness. In front of the twin idols of Radha and Krishna installed the metallic idols of Lalita and Bishakha, the two lady friends of Radhika. All four idols attired in beautiful dresses.
Chaitanya Sinha and the Idol:
Raja Chaitanya Singh (1752/3-1804), an ardent devotee, stayed at Vishnupur of Bengal, spent his time in prayer at Madan Mohan’s feet, and gave away his money to Brahmanas, thus neglecting affairs of state. When impoverished by the unsuccessful crops after the disastrous Maratha invasions, the misconduct of his minister Kamal Biswas and the British government’s law clerk (peshkar) Darpanarayan Kar, the Raja mortgaged the Madan Mohan image in an attempt to raise money for litigation.
Some say that this plan designed by Madan Mohan himself, and communicated to the Raja in a dream.
So, he mortgaged Madan Mohan Idol to a merchant at Calcutta, named Gokul Chandra Mitra for a sum of one lakh rupees. Gokul Mitra of Bagh Bazar refused to part with Madan Mohan as he himself had become an equally passionate devotee. There are several stories about how the idol stayed with Gokul Mitra at Calcutta. The three most prominent stories are-
1st Story behind Madan Mohan Temple:
As the Raja was eager to take back the Idol to Vishnupur, the merchant Gokul Chandra Mitra played a trick. He crafted one identical image of the real one and asked the Raja to choose the real Madan Mohan. Here two versions of the story can be found. The Vishnupur version differs from the ones at Calcutta.
Vishnupur’s version says that Madan Mohan came in the dream of the Raja and told him that he would help him to recognize the real image. It is similar to the belief that Madan Mohan had originally come up with the plan to mortgage himself in order to assist the Raja. Madan Mohan told the Raja a white fly would sit on its nose, and the left half of the figure would begin to sweat. So, with direct assistance from Madan Mohan Raja was successfully able to take back Madan Mohan and return to Vishnupur with the image. Madan Mohan thus reinstates in his temple.
The priest at Calcutta, however, explained that once the Raja identified the true image, the merchant’s daughter Vishnupriya (Beloved of Vishnu), who attended the deity with equal attention as the king and the merchant, intervened. Vishnupriya when came to know that Raja is about to take the Madan Mohan Idol back, she intervened. She held the deity by his hand. At once she transformed into the golden-skinned sculpted form of Radha.
The priest explained that she an incarnation of Radha come down in the form of the merchant’s daughter to attend to her lord. Madan Mohan told his decision to the Raja that he would remain here with his beloved. The Raja had to go back with the duplicate with him to Vishnupur, which he reinstalled in the temple.
So, which one the real Madan Mohan? The Calcutta priest explained, in his opinion, that both are authentic because it was the will of Madan Mohan that planned this strange incident. He pointed out that the priests who have served the Bagh Bazar Madan Mohan image came from Vishnupur, from the same family that serves Vishnupur, Madan Mohan. Similarly, the worship of the two deities coordinated so that the calendar for celebratory events set at Vishnupur follows at Calcutta.
2nd Story behind Madan Mohan Temple:
The idol remained with Gokul Mitra as Raja failed to return the pledged money.
3rd Story behind Madan Mohan Temple:
The third theory states that Raja Chaitnya Sinha chose the right idol. He took it back to Vishnupur having cleared the debt while the fake one left with Gokul Mitra.
4th Story behind Madan Mohan Temple:
It is known from the Gokul Mitra’s family that Gokul Mitra did not construct the temple immediately after he acquired it. His daughter Radharani (Vishnupriya as said in the 1st Story) became so much fond of the Madan Mohan idol that with all her love and affection she played with the idol. The Raja could not repay the debt on time. A few days after the expiry of the last date the Raja came to repay the pledge money. Raja now eligible for take the idol back. But Radharani, the daughter of Gokul Mitra would not return the idol by any means. Displaying her stubbornness, she stuck to her will not return the idol.
At this stage ensued litigation in the court of law for determining ownership of the idol between the two parties. Ultimately the verdict given in favor of Gokul Mitra. Now Raja Chaitanya Sinha lay in insistence in front of the house of Gokul Mitra claiming for his idol under such situation, Gokul Mitra mentally prepared himself to return the idol to the Raja. At that time, a murder took place in the family palace of the Raja. His son murdered by his brother Damoder Sinha. This news broke the Raja down and in utter frustration, he withdrew his claim over the idol and returned Vishnupur.
After all this has happened, Gokul Mitra now built this unique Madan Mohan Temple building in order to install the idols of Sri Sri Radha and Madan Mohan.
Who was Gokul Mitra:
Gokul Mitra hailed the new town from the neighboring village of Bally. His father and mother were Sitaram Mitra and Rukmini Debi respectively. He born in 1724 and died in Calcutta on 08.08.1808.
During the disturbance created by the Maharashtrian robbers devastating villages, killing innocent people, and looting away their properties. Many villagers left their hearth and home to take shelter in the British settlement at Calcutta, a place of protection under the `British administration of the East India Company, in 1742. The disturbance by Maharashtrian robbers known as “Barggi Hangama’ in Bengal history.
Gokul Mitra left his village with his father in fear of life to settle in Calcutta. In Calcutta, he started his own business trading in salt. He also undertakes the business of supplying food to the stables for the Company’s cattle, horses, elephants, etc. He thus earned a lot of money from his business. Moreover, he hit the jackpot in a lottery in 1784 introduced by the Company for the development of the city. He own ‘Chadni Chowk’ which still exists as the most important marketplace at the heart of the city. His descendants still own rights to the major share of the market. As gathered, the total income from endowments introduced by Gokul Chandra Mitra Rs. 50,000/- per year, which solely utilized for the religious services of the Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Jiu’s Temple.
Mohanlal Mitra, a seventh-generation survivor of the merchant Gokul Mitra. He took Madan Mohan in and housed him in his palace at Bagh Bazar. He recounted the tale of Madan Mohan’s theft of spinach. After the installation in his new home, Madan Mohan noticed that he being discriminated against. While he offered exotic flowers, expensive fruit, and sweetmeats, Gokul Mitra and his family ate normal food that he in fact wished to have.
One afternoon, unable to resist temptation, Madan Mohan came down the back stairs to the kitchen where he lifted the cover of the pot and ate all the spinach curry remaining from the afternoon meal. He spilled over on the stairs some spinach curry on the way to his bedroom. This left clue that of his theft. Thus, it discovered that Madan Mohan preferred to partake of the family’s daily meal over the fancy fare, exotic treats, and delicacies provided for him. Such a story tells how the deity interest himself in Gokul Mitra’s family, becoming one of them.
The most important festivals of the temple ‘Annakut’ held one day before the Bhai Duja and Dol (festival of color), Jhulan Jatra, and Rash Utsav. Thousands of devotees participate in those festivals from West Bengal and other states.
Madan Mohan Temple found throughout India and in many parts of West Bengal. But Madan Mohan Temple at Bagbazar, Calcutta definitely be worth visiting considering its ancient heritage.
Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Jiu’s Temple, Bagbazar:
Timing for Visitors: Open Daily from 6.30 morning to 12 noon and again from 5.00 evening to 8.00 night.
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