Competing with Taj Mahal!
Lucknow temple at Vrindavan, with its blend of European architecture and Lucknow's opulence and aesthetics, give the world wonder, Taj Mahal, some competition!
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah's Parikhana may not have survived the British, but Lucknow's opulence and aesthetic sensibility, coloured with passionate love or Ishq outlasts in Vrindavan, through a luxurious temple built during the Nawabi period.
Shahji's temple, Lucknow temple or Tehre khambe wallah mandir as it is known, is a fine blend of art and love.
It was conceptualised as a palace for Sri Radha Krishna, and built accordingly, by jewellers Kundan Lal and Phundan Lal Shah hailing from Chowk in Lucknow.
Boats on Yamuna, arti at Kesi ghat, music in Nidhivan, globalised Vaishnav cuisine at Iskcon, thandhai bhog, and monkeys who love to run off with your specs; well that's Vrindavan this summer...
It is a magnificent offering of love for the divine couple. This single piece of architecture is a signature of Lakhnawi, Italian and Rajashthani sensibilities in architecture - all beautifully rolled into one. Anyone looking into booking flights to India to see the Taj Mahal would do well to add this amazing location to their itinerary.
It bears Nawabi Lucknow's stamp of creative play, blending architectural styles for aesthetic gratification. The sprawling palace-temple's entrance is akin to that of Asafi Imambara.
Its walled garden in split levels, with coloured water fountains and jharokhas overlooking the Yamuna, have a taste of neighbouring Rajasthan and Agra.
Its Gothic lion brackets and twisted marble pillars that give the temple its name - Tehre khambe wala mandir, and abundant use of Italian marble add to its grandeur.
The palace is designed to suit Sri Radha Krishna's varying dispositions. The idols of Radha Krishna or Chote Radha Ramanji as they are nicknamed here, have access to all parts of the building.
They give audience in their drawing room, sleep in their bedroom, perform raas in the different verandahs, front and back aangans, and the landscaped garden.
All parts of the palace-temple are bedecked, but the Basanti kamara takes the cake with its decor from Europe. Belgian coloured glass chandeliers, inlay marble portraits on walls, ornate grilled doors and windows, Plaster of Paris statues and marble and granite tables are an art connoisseur's delight.
The door to the drawing, embellished with iron mermaids are a reminder of the mermaids on Kaiserbagh's gate in Lucknow.
Kundan Lal and Phundan Lal Shah in their love for Radha Krishna wanted to live forever in their service. A labour of their love, this temple is unlike any other in Vrindavan or anywhere else in the world. You need a Lakhnawi heart and passion to create such matchless and thoughtful splendour for the object de love.
Flowers scent the summer air in Vrindavan as floral tributes by way of phool banglas which house the divinity that came to Vrindavan to love and be loved as Sri Radha Krishna. On these hot days, temples of Banke Bihari, Radha Vallabh, Radha Raman, Rangnath, Radha Damodar and Iskcon, among others, have these flower-bowers for the deities.
With the Lucknow-Mathura Mail zipping up and down, there are increased takers from Lucknow to witness a fragrant summer in Vrindavan.
Colourful festooned boats on Yamuna, arti at Kesi ghat, music in Nidhivan, globalised Vaishnav cuisine at Iskcon, water fountains, thandhai bhog, and monkeys who love to run off with your specs; well that's Vrindavan this summer...