Aurangzeb’s Temple breaking spree was in full swing after his general order of 9th April 1669. The idols were being broken and Temples desecrated in a show of mad religious frenzy and in remorseless pursuit to fulfil the demands of the Shari‘at. These were the circumstances which formed the backdrop of Shrinathji’s journey from Govardhan near Mathura to a small village in Mewar (Rajasthan), which in course of time became one of the most important centres of the Vallabha Sampradaya.
The idol which adorned the Temple at Govardhan near Mathura, before it could be touched by Aurangzeb’s hatchet-men, was taken by Damodar Gosain to Bundi, Kotah, Kishangarh and even Jodhpur, but none of the Rajput States felt strong enough to face the wrath of Aurangzeb. At last when Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar was approached, he assured the worried Gosain (the priest) that Aurangzeb would not be able to even touch the idol of Shri Nathji without first treading over the bodies of one lakh of his brave troops. Shrinathji’s idol was then brought to Mewar, the Maharana himself receiving the Lord on the border of his state on 5th December 1671 at Sihad village, which after the deity, came to be called Nathdwara. The idol of Shrinathji was consecrated in a temple here on 20th February, 1672 amidst great rejoicings.
The tradition goes that when Gosain and his party reached Sihada village in Mewar, the wheels of Shrinathji’s chariot got stuck up in the sand, and despite all efforts, the chariot would not move a finger’s length. Happily, this was taken as a sign that the Lord did not wish to proceed any further and had chosen the place as His abode.
In the painting above, the wheels of Shrinathji’s chariot are shown stuck up in sand; the Maharana Raj Singh is receiving the idol of Shrinathji with utmost reverence; the Gosain is standing nearby; Shrinathji is in the curtained chariot, only His face being visible.