Veni Madhav Mandir located at Daranganj close to the sacrosanct Triveni Sangam is one of the oldest shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Prayag. This is one of the Dwadasha Madhav Temples of this historical city.
This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lakshmi Devi has been mentioned in the Matsya Purana, Agni Purana and Padma Purana as the first seat of Lord Vishnu in Prayag. According to the Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu was asked to reside in Prayag after he saved his devotees from the atrocities of a rakshasa named Gajakarna who had managed to swallow the holy waters of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.
A fierce battle raged on in which Lord Vishnu successfully beheaded Gajakarna with his mighty Sudarshana Chakra. As Gajakarna fell on the ground, the waters of the sacred rivers flowed out of his belly and returned to their original courses, much to the delight of the residents of Prayag.
It has been mentioned that one should take a dip in the Triveni Sangam and have darshan of Veni Madhav. This temple has also been mentioned in several religious texts, devotional songs and poems.
The great saint and philosopher Chaitanaya Mahaprabhu went into raptures of ecstasy on having darshan of his beloved Krishna and Lakshmi here. The priests say that he spent three days and three nights in deep meditation at this place (some say he sang and danced in ecstasy). Even the pious Mirabai composed many of her famous bhajans in this shrine.
The rich melody of bhajans, handheld small cymbals, tabla, dholak and tambourine is heard throughout the day. One can either join in or sit in a corner enjoying the mesmerizing music while soaking in the atmosphere of this temple of great antiquity.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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