Category Archives: Dakor


About 35 temple festivals are celebrated every year. Amongst these the main festivals at Dakor are held on the Kartik, Falgun, Chaitra and Ashwin Purnimas (full-moon days) and on each of these festivals over one lakh of people visit the Shrine.
On the New Year day i.e. first day of the bright half of the month of Kartik, Annakoot is celebrated, when the largest assortment of sweets and food preparation are offered to Shri Ranchhodraiji. 
Other Vaishnava festivals are Holi, Amalaka Ekadashi, Janmashtami, Nand Mahotsav, Rathyatra and Dashera are celebrated here. During these festivals the deity of Gopalaji is taken in procession on an elephant and devotees play music of high order with rhymes and rhythm.
All India Radio and other media give coverage to Janamashtmi (Krishna janma). The festivals of Hindola and Palna are also celebrated.
Every year lakhs of people from all over India and Gujarat visit Dakor and especially on every full-moon day (Purnima). The virtues or Punya gained by visiting Ranchod Rai Ji temple at Dakor and having a glimpse of Lord Ranchod Rai Ji  is considered to be as equal as visiting Char Dhams.



Above the entrances and elsewhere around the temple are closed-circuit TVs showing the Deity, but the pilgrims are not much interested in them. They want to get in and see the Deity as He is. Streams of people pour into the main gates, as others pour out the side gate. The front gates are barricaded to allow people to enter in shifts. The women use a separate entrance, and once inside they stand in front of the men, separated by a barrier. All the pilgrims see the Deity and then go outside and circumbulate the temple.
To have darsana of the Lord during arati is auspicious, but the aratis last only a few minutes, so there’s a tremendous rush. Inside the temple,the security forces blow whistles to control the crowd but they have very little effect as thousands of people push and shove their way around one another. No one seems to mind them. The Lord’s big eyes look kindly upon His devotees. Everyone is happy chanting the Lord’s names and having His darsana.

Ranchor Raya Temple

People bring boxes of sweets, open them, hold them above their heads, and offer the sweets by waving their hands toward the Lord over the boxes. They will take the sweets home and give them to people in their villages. In front of the temple a shop sells tulasi leaves to place on sweets bought to be offered to Ranchor Raya.
Apart from Ranchor Raya, Dakor is also famous for gota, lota, and phota. Gota means a local variant of pakora (batter-dipped, deep-fried vegetable) made with coarse chickpea flour and fenugreek leaves and served with yogurt. Lota means a drinking cup; many copper, steel, and aluminium lotas are available in Dakor. Phota means a photo of the deity. These are the things people like to buy.

Puja Timings and Bhoga

Puja Timings and Bhoga
The temple normally opens at about 6 A.M. in the morning and closes at 12 Noon between which there are five darshans namely Mangalbhoga, Balbhoga, Sringarbhoga, Gwalbhoga and Rajbhoga during which Aartis are performed. In the afternoon, it reopens at about 4.00 pm and closes at 7.00 pm. In between there are three darshans namely, Uthapanbhoga, Shayanbhoga and Shakhtibhoga. At Utthapana Bhoga and Shayana bhoga, aaratis are performed. The Darshana timings on full moon days are different and are declared by the temple authorities beforehand. Bhogas worth approximately rupees seven thousand per day are offered to the Deity and are taken over by the sevakas (priests) who supply the prasad to the pilgrims and devotees. For the convenience of the vaishnavas desirous to offer additional bhogas to the Deity except the scheduled ones, there is a provision in the Dakor Temple Scheme and accordingly Mahabhoga, Rajbhoga and additional bhogas are offered to the Deity. For all such extra bhogas, the devotees can receive prasad except Rajbhoga, through Dakor Sansthan Trust which is the oldest bhoga of the time when the Deity Shree Ranchhodraiji was installed in this temple i.e. when the Pran Pratishtha was performed.
Mangala Darshan is the first darshan of the day at dawn. The Bhavana (emotion) of waking Lord Ranchod Rai Ji with the same affection and love of his mother Yashoda, when at Gokula is represented in this Darshan. The name Mangala underlines the auspiciousness of beginning the day with a glimpse of the Lord.
Shringar Darshan is usually 45 minutes after the Mangala Darshan. His attire depends on the day and the month according to the Lunar Calendar. Ranchod Rai Ji is adorned with a garland of flowers around his neck. The Lord is shown a mirror to see himself. He is offered dry fruits and sweets after which the flute is placed over his shoulder to imply that the Lord can now go out to play with his friends.
After the Shringar Darshan, is a Gwal Darshan during which the Lord takes his mid-morning snack, curd and light food is offered to him during this darshan.  Gwal darshan depicts the time when Lord Ranchhod ji takes his cows to the pasture and plays with his friends. Neither garland nor flute is placed on his shoulder as he is playing with his cowherd friends.
The main meal of the day is offered to Ranchod Rai Ji during this darshan. He is adorned with lotuses, a flower garland and his flute. Perfume of the season is sprinkled. The sounds of drums and devotional music fill the air and the excitement mounts as the aarti is performed. After this, he retires for three hours representing the siesta he enjoyed in the meadows.
In the Utthapan darshan which is at mid afternoon, Lord Ranchod Rai Ji is lovingly awakened from his afternoon nap.
The Shayan Darshan is the last Darshan of the day, when Lord Ranchod Rai Ji finishes a light meal. A fan made of peacock feathers is waved to avoid the effects of any evil eye cast while he is in full view of the people.

Temple Architecture

The present temple was constructed by Shri Gopalrao Jagannath Tambwekar in 1772 A.D. at the cost of rupees one lakh. It was built with brick walls and stones pillars. It is raised on a high plinth of 168 feet by 151 feet with twelve stone steps on each side and surrounded by a spacious courtyard. It has eight domes and twenty four turrets, the highest of them being 90 feet making it the tallest temple in the district. The main gate of the temple overlooks the (now crowded) banks of the lake Gomati. Silver gates are protected by the vedic gods lord Ganesha, Sun, Moon, etc beautifully carved in high relief. The gate leads into the main courtyard. As tradition would have it, drummers sit atop the main gate in a balcony of their own. The “Nagarkhana” resonates with music during the main darshans and at Aarti times. On entering the courtyard, one sees two tall structures, used to house the thousands of lamps that are lit during the festive season, on either side. Multistoried and multitiered, this type of structure is very typical of medieval Gujarati temple architecture. Back at the front gate, marble stairs lead to the main audience chamber of the temple the Jagmohan literally the place where the world is charmed (by the beauty of the Lord). Three large entrances allow devotes to enter the main audience chamber. The large open square structure of the audience chamber is surmounted by an imposing, glittering dome. Till recently, the dome was painted with Shri Krishna’s rasalila in the classical Bundi style. Recently, this has been replaced by an intricate inlay of mirror work, depicting flowers and trellis in a classical Rajput garden. Painted murals from Lord Krishna’s life adorn the walls of the audience chamber. A small section at the front of the chamber is railed off and reserved for women.
As with all classical temples, the inner sanctum of Ranchodrai is set in a straight line from the main gate of the temple. The Lord sits under a canopied pavilion in the inner sanctum. The whole structure is raised on a marble platform and the pillars of the pavilion are covered in gold. The intricately carved doors and windows to the inner sanctum are covered in silver.
There are three doors leading into the inner sanctum. Door to the right of the Lord comes in from the antechamber, leading to a special bathroom where the priests must bathe before entering the inner sanctum. Corridors from here, also lead to the treasure house of the Lord housing His innu innumerable jewels and clothes.
The door in front of the Lord faces the main audience chamber. At Dakor, the Lord spends as much time as possible with His devotees. The main doors to the inner sanctum are open most of the day. The doors only close when the Lord sleeps during the afternoon and at night. The door to the left of the Lord leads to the bedchamber of the Lord a mirrored chamber of thousand delights. Various beds, mattresses and blankets are neatly arranged in here for the Lord’s comfort. Silver and gold bedsteads are covered in soft cottons and silks. Perfumes and garlands are kept in readiness for the Lord. A small corridor leads from here to the open hall behind the bedchamber, where pilgrims perform various religious rituals to please the Lord.
As at Badrinathji in the Himalaya, Tirupati Balaji in South India, and at Dakor, the temple of Goddess Lakshmi, wife of the Lord, is situated outside the main temple. Lakshmiji’s temple is situated in a residential part of town at a little distance from the main temple. It is believed that the Lord visits His wife on every Friday. On Fridays, a courtly procession winds its way from the main temple down the lanes and by lanes of Dakor to unite the couple.