Barsana, 2019.01.07 (VT): Barsana’s Radha Rani temple, also known as ‘Ladli temple’, is one of Braj’s most popular temples, however, few visitors know about the deity Vijay Ladli, as Her Darshan is reserved for the temple sevaiyats. The story of how this secret deity came to be in the temple, relates to the historic ‘Battle of Barsana’.
Many deities had already been moved to safe keeping with the Rajput kings but, even Aurangzeb did not attack Barsana. Barsana remained safe from Mughal attacks for many years due to its location near Deeg-Bharatpur -The Mughal leaders were reluctant to clash with the strong state of Deeg-Bharatpur, which was ruled by King Surajmal.
But, after King Surajmal, the throne was held by his one year old son and factions jesting for power weakened the state. At this time, Shah Alam II was the Mughal emporer. He was the 16th Mughal emporer and ruled from Delhi. He sent Commander Najaf Khan to attack Deeg-Bharatpur and the ‘Battle of Barsana’ was fought on 30th October 1773.
The Bharatpur army was forced to retreat. Hearing this news, the temple sevaiyats took the Deity to Sheopur. The villagers fled. The next day, the Mughal army looted and burned so many houses that it is said that the fire could be seen for miles and lasted for a week.
The Radha Rani temple priests did not allow the temple to remain vacant. They installed another deity, who they called ‘Vijay Ladli’. Within a few months, a compromise was reached between the state of Bharatpur and the Mughal empire. After a some months, the original deity was brought back and Vijay Ladli was moved to the temple’s inner sanctum.
Ladli ji temple’s Jagdish Goswami said that, despite the common belief that Vijay Ladli is brought out for abhishek during Radha Rani’s appearance day celebrations, Vijay Ladli is never shown to the public.
Radha Rani’s Lila of leaving the Barsana temple led to more people being given the opportunity to serve Her. The Radha Rani from Barsana was taken the to Sheopur Fort, where King Kishordas, presided. King Kishordas was a Rajput king.
The king was a devotee of Radha Rani and had visited Barsana several times before becoming king. He organized worship for Radha Rani’s deity in the fort temple, which is known by the name of ‘Radha Kunj’. The worship in this temple continues to this day and some believe that the Deity is the original one from Barsana, although the majority view is that the Barsana Deity returned after nine or ten months.