“Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo.. “ these couplets still resonate with the divine devotion of Meerabai. She was the biggest mortal believer of Lord Krishna. She is also one of the key saints of the ‘bhakti movement’ in India from the Vaishnav denomination. Visiting the famous Meerabai Temple in Chittorgarh brings forth many legends related to the Meerabai story.
List of Contents
- 1 The Legend of Meerabai | Meerabai story – Was Meera Real?
- 2 Visiting Meerabai Temple, Chittorgarh
- 3 Other Places to Visit in Chittorgarh
- 4 Interesting facts about Meerabai:
- 5 How to reach Chittorgarh?
- 6 Final Thoughts on Meerabai Temple, Chittorgarh
The Legend of Meerabai | Meerabai story – Was Meera Real?
Meerabai or Mirabai was born in the year 1498. Since childhood, she was drawn towards worshipping Lord Krishna. One day when a saint visited her home with an idol of Lord Krishna, the young Meera was enchanted by the idol. She wanted to have it. The saint gave her the idol but on the condition that she will have to pray daily. Since that day Meerabai started worshipping the idol of Lord Krishna like no other person in her family.
The original name of Meera was Mihira. The legends of the Meerabai story are not pure fiction some are validated and some are not. Yes, Meera was a person in real. She was born in a royal Rajput family in Kudki town of Pali district, Rajasthan. However, she lived most of her childhood days in Merta.
Was Meerabai Married? Who was her husband?
Meerabai was married to Bhoj Raj, the crown prince of the Mewar kingdom in 1516. As Meera idolized Krishna as her husband so this marriage was against her will. She was the daughter-in-law of Rana Sanga. However, in just two years she became widowed. Her deep devotion towards Lord Krishna and disregard for the societal norms were the main reasons for her strained relations with her in-laws.
The persecution done by in-laws towards Meerabai took several forms. According to one legend, a glass filled with poison was sent to her which she drank taking the name of her Lord. Miraculously the poison didn’t work. As per second folklore, she was sent a basket full of snakes but it turned out to be a basket full of flowers.
In another account, it is said that after Rana Sanga passed away, the new king Vikram Singh had asked Meerabai to drown herself. She tried also but she started floating. With the increasing persecutions by her in-laws, Meerabai started visiting pilgrimage sites like Dwarka & Vrindavan.
How Did Meerabai Die?
It is said that in the year 1547 Meerabai miraculously merged with Lord Krishna’s idol in Dwarka. Truly the best ending for such a devotee.
Is Meera and Rukmini same?
Often, confusion between Meera & Rukmini or Meera & Radha happens. Actually, Meera, Rukmini & Radha are three different entities. Rukmini was the actual wife of Lord Krishna. Radha & Krishna were childhood friends and for whom it is famous that both loved each other very much. Meerabai on the other hand was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. Also, Meerabai was born much later than Lord Krishna’s era.
Visiting Meerabai Temple, Chittorgarh
The brave-heart city of Chittorgarh (Chittor) is located near the City of Lakes, Udaipur. Chittorgarh gained much of its glory and extended its boundaries at the time of Rana Kumbha & Rana Sanga. Chittor Fort is the largest in India & Asia. This small city in Rajasthan has been a witness to numerous historical events in the past. Rani Padmini’s jauhar story along with thousands of other women to protect self-dignity is one such courageous historical event. Furthermore, the exemplary attempt of Maharana Pratap to free his motherland took place here. If one wants to see the actual temple where Meerabai used to sit and worship Lord Krishna then the temple is inside the Chittor fort complex.
The original name of the temple is Kumbha-Shyam Temple. Locals popularly call it Meerabai Temple. The actual Meerabai temple is a smaller structure in this temple complex. A chatri in front of this temple was the place where Meerabai sat all day long and chant bhajans for her beloved deity. Despite being a widow princess, she didn’t bother about commoners visiting the temple. This adversely impacted her relationship with her in-laws.
Meerabai Temple Architecture
The temple complex is still in relatively good condition than the other fort area. There are three temples in the complex. Rana Kumbha constructed the biggest temple is of Vishnu or Varaha. The second temple is that of Meerabai (Meerabai mandir) while the third one is a Kali Mata temple. The Meerabai temple architecture is similar to the Indo-Aryan style. With the temple base made on an elevated plinth. There is a sculpture of Garuda at the beginning of this temple. One can also see sculptures of 8 of Chittor’s rulers. The top of the temple is slightly conical while the sides have sculptures of God & Goddesses and local motifs. The sanctum-sanctorum of Meerabai Temple in Chittor has an idol of Meerabai along with Lord Krishna.
On visiting Meerabai Mandir, guides often also narrate the event when Emperor Akbar visited Meera bai. Akbar had a secular ideology. He was always eager to learn more about different religions. Akbar met Meerabai in this very temple. He was dressed as a sage while Tansen accompanied him. On seeing her devotion and hearing bhajans from Meerabai he had gifted her a pearl necklace.
Other Places to Visit in Chittorgarh
- Maharani Shri Padmini Palace/ Rani Padmavati Palace
- Chittor Fort
- Rana Kumbha Palace
- Jauhar Sthal
- Vijay Stambh
- Keerti Stambh
- Gaumukh Kund
- Kumbha Shyam Temple
- Meerabai Temple
Interesting facts about Meerabai:
Apart from being an ardent devotee to Lord Krishna, Meerabai also was a great poet. Her poems are called ‘Meerabai ke Pad (padavali)’ or Meerabai bhajans. These find mention in Brihad Pada Sangraha. Some of these bhajans by Meerabai are adapted as devotional songs. The most famous Meera Bai song is “पायो जी मैंने राम रतन धन पायो” (Payo ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo). While few others bhajans include Pag ghungharu bandh Meera Nachi Re, and the song sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ‘Sanson Ki Mala Pe..‘.
How to reach Chittorgarh?
Chittorgarh lies in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. One can easily reach here by road from Udaipur in 1.5 hrs. The nearest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur. Alternatively, Chittor is also well connected via railways.
Final Thoughts on Meerabai Temple, Chittorgarh
Hope you found this article about the Meerabai story and the Meera temple interesting, if so, then let us know in the comment section below.
Feature photo of Meera: By Treesa.rose – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0