Dakor a city in Kheda district, Gujarat is prominent for its grand temple of Shree Ranchhodraiji

Dakor, in its earlier phases as pilgrimage center in Gujarat, was famous for the Danknath temple, a place of shiva worship. In the later phases it developed into a Vaishnavite center with the growing fame of Ranchhodraiji (Ranchhodji, a name for Lord Krishna meaning “he who left the battlefield”, ) temple, which was built in 1772 A.D.

The form of Lord Ranchhodrai is that of the Lord Vishnu with four arms. He bears the conch, lotus, discus and the mace in his hands. The lower right arm is held up in the abhaya mudra – giving protection to all those who come to him.

As the Lord here is worshipped more as Krishna than Dwarkadhish, i.e. younger and freer than the mature Lord of Dwaraka,his right hand is often shown to hold a flute – a favourite instrument of the Lord in his younger days.

Dakor is included in one of the six major pilgrimage places under “Yatradham Vikas Board” by Government of Gujarat for development as a well-planned and well organised pilgrimage place to facilitate the lakhs of visiting pilgrims. More than 70–80 lakhs of pilgrims visit the place every year and a continuous increase is witnessed every year.

The main temple, enclosed by a fort wall, is situated near the bank of the holy lake Gomti in the midst of the main bazaar of Dakor. The temple is covered with 8 domes and 24 turrets, with the central dome reaching a height of 27m. Crowned with a golden kalash and a white silken flag, this temple is the tallest in the district. The main hall features paintings depicting events in Lord Krishna’s life.

It is believed that Ranchhodji, a name for Lord Krishna meaning “he who left the battlefield”, inspired Gopal Jagannath Ambekar, a shroff of a Peshwa’s court in Poona, in a dream to build a vast and magnificent temple. The temple was built in 1772 A.D. The main Ranchhodrai idol is in black touchstone, 1m tall and  richly adorned with gold, jewels and expensive clothes. Its throne, an ornate masterpiece of woodcarving plated in silver and gold, was presented by the Gaekwad of Baroda.


An interesting legend relates how Lord Krishna came to reveal himself at Dakor. In olden times, Vijayanand Bodana, a Rajput of Dakor, walked every six months to Dwarka to worship Lord Krishna. He did this tirelessly and unfailingly until he was 72 years old, at which point the long journey became increasingly difficult for him. Feeling compassion for this faithful devotee, the idol of Krishna directed him in a dream to bring a bullock-cart on his ensuing visit to Dwarka. At midnight, the Krishna idol broke open all the doors of the Dwarka temple, awoke Bodana and told him to take him to Dakor. Near Bileshwar Mahadev on Dakor-Nadiad road, they rested for some time. Sri Krishna touched the branch of a Neem tree, and to this day that tree is said to have one sweet branch, though the rest of the branches are bitter.

In Dwarka, the angry Gugli brahmins, finding the idol of Krishna missing, chased Bodana and accidentally killed him. They were not ready to return to Dwarka without the Krishna idol. At last, Krishna asked Gangabai, the poor widow of Bodana, to give gold equivalent to the weight of the idol and ask the priests to return to Dwarka. They agreed, but all she possessed was a gold nose-ring. Miraculously, when weighed, the idol became as light as the nose-ring.

Even today, the place where the idol of Lord Krishna was weighed exists on the bank of the Gomti lake known as Tula Ka Sthan’. 

The brahmins were disappointed but Krishna mercifully directed that they would find after six months an exact replica of the idol in Sevaradhan Vav at Dwarka. The impatient priests looked for the idol sometime earlier than they were told and as a result, found an idol which, though similar to the original one, was smaller. This smaller idol is currently enshrined at the Dwarka temple.The original idol remained in Dakor. Even today on every purnima (full moon), pilgrims walk here from far away places to commemorate Bodana’s devotion.

On the day of Sharad Purnima (Full moon day) which comes after end of navratri is believed to be the day on which lord Krishna come to Dakor as Ranchodrai.







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