The fortnight of ‘Shraddha paksha’ is celebrated in a very special way in Vrindavan temples which display ‘Sanjhi’ artworks at this time. The intricate, mystic artworks create a marvelous atmosphere that is enhanced by the melodies of ‘Sanjhi Samaj Kirtan’.
While the rituals of Shraddha Paksha are being observed for paying tribute to ancestors and praying for their peace and happiness; every auspicious, regular and commercial program is kept in abeyance. It is believed that the fortnight of the Shraddha Paksha is related to death and hence it is considered an ominous period. But, here in Vrindavan, the temples display the ‘Sanjhi art’, depicting the different pastimes of the Divine Couple, Shri RadhaKrishna.
Sanjhi Art is a traditional artform of Braj in which motifs associated with Krishna’s Leela are created using with colours. The designs are sometimes formed using stencils and powdered colour and sometimes with cow dung and flower petals. The artist puts a great effort into creating a beautiful artwork that has a short lifespan and is created solely for the viewing pleasure of Shri Krishna.
According to Vaishnav theology, Sanjhi is an the integral part of Braj culture. The first Sanjhis were the depiction of the Divine Lila of Krishna made in Rangoli designs by Radha Rani to command the Lord’s love and attention. This artform flourished during Mughal era under the rule of emperor Akbar (16th – 17th century) and glimpses of Sanjhi are found in many of the Mughal Miniatures.
Bhatt ji ka Mandir, Radha Ballabh, Radharaman and Yashomati Nandan Mandir are the main temples where ‘Sanjhi’ has been displayed traditionally. A Sanjhi Mela is also organized at Brahma Kund, under the guidance of Braj Culture Research Institute, where all the different forms of Sanjhi are displayed.
Sanjhi design 2018
This year, the tradition of ‘Sanjhi Mahotsava’ was introduced at Shri Shyam Sundar temple for the first time. The vocal artist Shri Tarun Das mesmerized devotees with his melodious Sanjhi kirtan. He was assisted by Shri Krishna Gopal on pakhawaj (drum).
Talking to ‘Vrindavan Today’, Prabhupada Shri Krishna Gopalananda Dev Goswami ji Maharaj, the Chief sevait of the temple said, “Sanjhi Mahotsava is being celebrated in our temple for the first time. We felt that the best practices of the other temples should always be adopted, as this pleases the Divine Couple of Vrindavan.” He added, “It is about the pleasure of the Lordships. There is no harm in introducing a new tradition. Vrindavan is above all the rituals and sampradayas.” The ‘Sanjhi art’ was displayed for the first time on Tuesday, and it will be again displayed on 9th October in the temple premises.