Lord Shiva as Gopeshwar
This is the oldest temple in Vrindavan. Gopesvara Mahadeva is Lord Siva.On a pleasant night of Sharat Poornima, when Krishna ji was performing Maharasa on the banks of Yamuna near Vamshivat in Vrindavan, Lord Shiv along with mother Parvati reached their to participate in Rasa. Mother Parvati was readily granted entry into Rasa Mandal but Shiv was detained at the outskirts of Vrindavan by Vrinda Devi, the presiding deity of Vrindavan. Vrinda Devi explained to Him, There is no male in Vrindavan other than Krishna,The spirit of Rasa is to please Raseshwari Shri Radha as a sakhi (friend) so as to maximize the bliss or Rasa Ras. A male devotee, however exalted he may be, can never develop this sakhibhav and is thus not worthy of entering into Rasa Mandal.Shiv was left with no option but to sit at the entry point of Vrindavan and watching the magnificent Leela of Divinity. Determined as he was, Shiv meditated intensely on Raseshwari Shri Radhey Herself seeking her grace, Knowing His determination Devi Radha, the merciful universal Mother, dispatched her confident Lalita to initiate Shiv in Sakhibhav. Lalita explained to Shiv the secret of Raas Leela and advised him to take a dip in holy Yamuna which will induct Sakhibhav in Him. On taking the dip, Shiv emerged as a young charming gopi and was taken into Raas Mandal by Lalita herself in her gopi form to one corner of the raas sthali. Lord Shiva stood there and prayed to Sri Sri Radha Krishna for getting prema-bhakti.
Then the raas started. Lord Krishna danced with all the gopis. He also danced very elegantly with Lord Shiva disguised as a gopi.
Then after some time, when they rested, the Lord Krishna said 'I'm not getting the usual pleasure from our raas. Something is not right. I think there is another man in our midst." Then He asked Lalita devi to check all the gopis and make sure no man was lurking amongst them dressed as one of them.
Lalita devi went around and lifted the veils of all the hundreds of gopis but couldn't find any man disguised as a woman. She came and reported to Krishna, "I have not found any man, but there is one gopi with three eyes." she said puzzled.
Lord Krishna asked her to bring her to Him. When the Lord saw the Shiva gopi, He laughed heartily and addressed him, "O Gopeshwar, I am very pleased to see you in the form of a gopi. But you know that this raas is not for grihastas (householders). Therefore, since you have already participated and fulfilled your desire, now I offer you the post of raas dwaar paal (gatekeeper of the raas). I also give you the blessing that henceforth, all the gopis will offer respect to you and seek your blessing to get gopi bhava."
From that time, Gopeshwar Mahadeva has been worshipped in Vrindavan in the form of a Shiva linga in the mornings. In the evenings, the shiva-linga is decorated beautifully as a gopi.The temple is situated near Vamshivat and is thronged by a large number of devotees everyday. Those who wish to enjoy the bliss of Raas Leela must seek grace of Gopeshwar and pray for induction into Sakhibhav. Lord Shiv is therefore considered the Guru of all Vaishnavas.
Sri Gopeshwar Mahadeva ki Jai !!
Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!