Curated By: Nibandh Vinod
Last Updated: October 26, 2023, 09:28 IST
LUNAR ECLIPSE 2023: This year’s Sharad Purnima, falling on October 28, will bring a significant change to the customary darshan timings at the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, a revered pilgrimage site for devotees of Lord Krishna.
Each year, Sharad Purnima sees a multitude of devotees flock to Vrindavan, eager to witness the divine darshan of Thakur Banke Bihari in the ethereal moonlight. However, this time, due to a concurrent lunar eclipse, the divine darshan will not occur in the light of the moon. Devotees wait will extend to the next Sharad Purnima.
No Moonlight Darshan During Sutak Period on Sharad Purnima
This Sharad Purnima hosts the year’s final eclipse, visible in India, and accordingly, the sutak period will be observed. The sutak period marks the cessation of worship, and devotees are forbidden from entering and worshiping in temples during this time. Consequently, the timing of worship, including the darshan at the Banke Bihari Temple, as well as other temples across the country, will be affected.
Traditionally, Sharad Purnima is the one day each year when Thakur Banke Bihari grants darshan to devotees in the moonlight. Devotees eagerly anticipate this moment throughout the year, but this year, due to the lunar eclipse, this cherished tradition will not take place.
On October 28, the doors of the Banke Bihari Temple will close after 3:30 pm, dashing the hopes of devotees longing to witness Banke Bihari in the moonlight.
Normal Darshan Resumes on October 29
After 3:25 pm on October 28, an aarti will be conducted, followed by the temple’s closure at 3:30 pm. Devotees will have to wait until the next day, Sunday, October 29, to see Banke Bihari ji under normal circumstances.
Change in Banke Bihari Temple Darshan Timings on Sharad Purnima
On Sharad Purnima, October 28, the darshan of Rajbhog Seva will commence at the usual time of 7:45 am. The temple doors will close after Rajbhog Aarti at 10:55 am, an hour earlier than usual. Similarly, the darshan of Shayanakhob Seva, typically beginning at 4:30 pm, will open at 12:30 pm on this day. The doors will close after Shayanakhob Aarti at 3:25 pm. Devotees will only be able to witness darshan again at the regular time of 7:45 am on October 29 due to the sutak period.
Similar Changes at Tirumala Temple
The Tirumala Temple in Andhra Pradesh will also be closed due to the evening eclipse on October 28. No visitors will be allowed after 7 pm.
Banke Bihari Temple: History
Banke Bihari Temple was built in 1864 with the assistance of Swami Haridas, a devout follower of Lord Krishna. Swami Haridas performed his devotion in Nidhivan, and Lord Krishna appeared in the form of a black idol in Nidhivan, inspiring the temple’s construction.
Why the Curtain at Banke Bihari Temple?
The Banke Bihari Temple is known for its miraculous occurrences, one of which involves the repeated drawing of a curtain during darshan. This tradition stems from a devotee’s encounter with Lord Banke Bihari, where the Lord, moved by the devotee’s affection, walked alongside him. Upon realizing the absence of the idol in the temple, the priests implored the Lord to return, giving rise to the tradition of veiling the idol during darshan.