Exquisite descriptions of the elaborate finery worn by Krishna and Radha form the central theme for temple verse, categorized as “shringar ke pad.” This verse describes the charming tilt of Krishna’s turban in shades of red and pink, decorated with a crescent-shaped head ornament. Matching the shades of Krishna’s turban is Radha’s sari with its zari border. Fortunate is the devotee who is blessed with the sight of such unmatched beauty and colour.
Pyari Ko Shringar
With utmost tenderness and care, Krishna himself adorns Radha. He lovingly weaves strands of pearls into her hair, through which her earrings gleam. As she dons her many pleated zari lehnga or skirt and her coordinated doshala or shawl, the women of Braj look on in awe at Krishna, the quintessence of pleasure.
Jhule Hain Rang Hindorna
Sheer pleasure and bliss take on rosy hues as Krishna and Radha enjoy the sensuous swing of the hindola. The glitter and gleam of their ornaments and attire add warmth and radiance to the colourful sight. Warming the heart of the beholder, the rhythm of the mrindang and the brilliant taan-s sung by Radha’s companions enhance the beauty of the moment.
Maiyya Ab Hindor
This verse describes the elaborate preparations for the celebration of Teej, a festival that celebrates the fertility and abundance associated with the arrival of the rains. Radha reminds her mother to summon the most skilled artisans to create a gem-studded swing or hindola. Saris in deep royal hues are to be specially dyed and printed for her and her many companions, who will receive them as gifts from the elders of the clan. She is to be bedecked in finery that will outshine the shringar of all her companions. Her hands are to be decorated with henna or mehndi of the richest hue, and special sweets are to be cooked and served for the festival.
Aaj Sakhi Radhika
Radha and Krishna lovingly adorn each other in clothes and ornaments made from flowers such as juhi and kadamb. Clusters of the kadamb are used for Krishna’s kundal or earrings and Radha wears a lehnga made from lotus flowers. Resplendent in her finery, Radhika is the queen of the Raas.
In the Krishna temples of Northern India, service or sewa of the deity could consist of making offerings of food (bhog), music (raga) and finery (shringar). Devotees take the greatest delight in dressing up the images elaborately for each of the eight watches of the day, as well as for different seasons. The two verses rendered here are probably offered as part of musical service or raga sewa and describe the floral decorations or phool shringar.
Resplendent in floral finery, Shri Radha sits encircled by her sakhi-s in a flower-bedecked phool bangle. She wears a sari and choli made of flowers and pearls, and her armlet, nose-ring, and necklace are all crafted from flowers too. Flowers adorn her forehead and flowers have been braided into her veni or plaited hair. Surdas offers his body, soul and his very being in tribute at the feet of the Divine Couple, Shri Radha and Shri Krishna, as they sit together in a floral arbour.
While the first of the verses or pada-s is sung ad lib, the second is set to ektaal, a rhythmic cycle of twelve beats. It details Laadli ji or ‘Darling’ Radha’s ornaments such as her jhumka-s or dangling earrings, nose-ring, champakali necklace, bracelets and anklets; all exquisitely created from flowers and petals to match her beauty and delicacy.
Sakhi Hariyaro Sawan Aayo
In the Indian tradition, different seasons are associated with certain colours. Mustard or basanti yellow, is thus, the colour of Basant or spring, saffron or kesariya for the celebration of Holi, and green, symbolising fertility and verdure, is the colour most often associated with the month of Sawan - the monsoon.
This verse describes Krishna, Radha and the gopi-s, attired in verdant green to match the greenery that heralds the arrival of Sawan. The green of Krishna’s clothes blends harmoniously with the sheen of peacock feathers, and His green turban matches the lush green of the saris and choli-s worn by the gopi-s. Written by Rasik Pritam, one of the many great poets of the Vallabh Sampradaya, this verse celebrates the arrival of Sawan.
|2.||Shakhi Hariyaro Sawan Aayo||10.19|
|3.||Rahi jhuk lal gulabi paag||07.10|
|4.||Pyari Ko Shringar||07.26|
|5.||Jhule Hain Rang Hindorna||11.25|
|6.||Maiyya Ab Hindor||11.16|
|7.||Aaj Sakhi Radhika||13.01|