Ancient Keshav Dev temple is situated close to main Krishna Janmabhoomi complex, the birth place of Lord Krishna. Keshav Dev, which is one of the thousand names of Lord Krishna, is the deity of this ancient temple. Few years back, a new Keshav Dev temple has been built within the premises of Krishna Janmabhoomi due to which, the fame of old Keshav Dev temple is on the verge of extinction.
|Main deity of old Keshav Dev Mandir, Mathura|
It is believed that Idgah (mosque) which is adjacent to main Krishna Janmabhoomi at present, was once used to be Keshav Dev temple. During Muslim rule in 1669, Aurangzeb demolished this temple and later built Idgah there. Subsequently, Maratha Scindia founded the present temple near Potra Kund as Keshav Dev temple. This temple is situated in a locality called Mallapura. This locality is named as Mallapura as Kans’ malley used to live here. Kans was Sri Krishna’s maternal uncle and the people who used to guard premises of Kans were known as Malla.
Although all festivals are celebrated with full enthusiasm in this temple but Chhappan Bhog (56 delicacies) which is arranged on Vasant Panchami is the main attraction and provides unique hue to this temple. This day lacs of devotees visit the temple.
On Rang Bharani Ekadashi, Thakur Keshav Dev’s Sawari (ride) is taken out from Gatashram Ghat which ends at Keshav Dev temple. This Sawari is the main center of attraction for foreign devotees. Deepotsav, which means celebration of light in Hindi, is organized in this temple on Chhoti Diwali, which is also known as Narak Chaudas.
Darshan of Thakur Keshav Dev’s 24 Avtars can only be done once in a year. This special Darshan can be done only on Akshaya Teej while rest of the year, Darshan of Chaturbhuji Avatar can be done. On Akshay Teej, devotees throng the temple to sight 24 Avatars of Lord Keshav Dev with lots of charm and curiosity.
In most temples in Mathura, Janmashtami is celebrated on Ashtami Tithi, but resident of Mallapura celebrate Sri Krishna’s birth on Saptami Tithi.
Potra Kund, a water body, which is located near to Keshav Dev temple is renowned because it is believed that people of Mathura used this Kund for the purpose of holy bath after Sri Krishna was taken to Gokul.