Gopisvara Mahadeva dressed in a beautiful gopi’s attire (Above)
Bhuteshvara Mahadeva at Mathura
Four ancient deities of Lord Shiva residing at Mathura are known as dik-palas, “protectors of the directions.” They stay in Mathura to protect the dhama. Bhuteshvara Mahadeva protects from the western side.
The tradition amongst the vaishnavas is that when coming to Vraja one must first go to Mathura to take permission from him to enter the dhama. The reasons for this are described by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Mathura-Mahatmya (texts 234-238), wherein he has quoted the following verses from the Adi-varaha Purana recounting Krishna’s words about Bhuteshvara Mahadeva:
“O deva! You will be the protector of Mathura. O greatest of the gods! Whoever sees you will attain My abode. By seeing Bhuteshvara Mahadeva, all sins are destroyed. O Vasudha, one who sees him, achieves the land of Mathura. In Mathura is the deity of Lord Bhuteshvara, who grants liberation even to the sinful. This Bhuteshvara deity is very dear to Me.How is it possible for a sinful person who tries to worship Me but will not worship Bhutesvara shiva, to attain devotion to Me? Those who are bewildered by My maya, who are the lowest of men, will not meditate on, bow down before, or offer prayers to Lord Bhuteshvara.”
Also, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 17.191) by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes how Lord Caitanya visited Bhuteshvara Mahadeva in the following way:
स्वयंभू, विश्राम, दीर्घ-विष्णु, भूतेश्वर महाविद्या, गोकर्णादि देखिला विस्तार
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited all the holy places on the banks of the Yamuna, including Svayambhu, Vishrama-ghata, Dirgha Vishnu, Bhuteshvara, Mahadeva and Gokarna.
Gopeshvara Mahadeva at Vrindavana
Gopishvara Mahadeva is one of the most prominent deities in the Gaudiya-sampradaya and is mentioned in many Gaudiya literatures, being a very ancient protector of Sri Vrindavana Dhama. It is said that one cannot enter Vrindavana without his permission. His glories are sung throughout the Gosvami literatures:
श्रीमद–गोपीश्वरम वंदे शंकरम करुणामयम
सर्व–क्लेश–हरम देवम वृंदारण्य–रति–प्रदम
I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Gopishvara, who is merciful Lord shiva himself. He removes troubles and grants spiritual love in Vrindavana. (Sri Bhakti Ratnakar 5.3741)
In the song Vraja-dhama-mahimamrta, the following line is sung:
जय जय गोपेश्वर वृन्दावन-माझ
“All glories, all glories to Gopishvara shiva, who resides in the holy dhama of Vrindavana.”
Kameshvara Mahadeva at Kamyavana
Kama means “desire”. It is said that Kameshvara Mahadeva is the fulfiller of one’s desires.
Srila Narahari Cakravarti has described Kameshvara Mahadeva in his Bhakti-ratnakara (5.841): See here the most powerful Shiva as Kameshvara.
Kameshvara Mahadeva resides in Kamyavan in the western part of Vraja-mandala. According to the tradition in Vraja, Vrishabhanu Maharaja worshipped Kameshvara to get a daughter. He already had a son, Sridama but now, he wanted a daughter. Kameshvara granted his desire and he obtained Srimati Radharani as is daughter.
Chakaleshvara Mahadeva at Govardhana Hill
On the northern bank of Manasi Ganga, by Govardhana hill is a group of five Shiva-lingas that are famous by the name Chakaleshvara Mahadeva. These five Shiva-lingas are considered to be Lord Shiva’s five faces. They protect the area of Govardhan. This part of Manasi Ganga is known as Chakra-tirtha and because he stays at this place, this shiva-linga was originally known as Chakareshvara, but now he is known as Chakaleshvara. It is said that this place is called Chakra-tirtha because when Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill, He requested the Sudarshana Chakra to appear above the mountain to dry up all the rain coming down on Govardhana, so that the Vrajavasis standing underneath would not drown. After Indra withdrew the Samvartaka clouds that he had sent to destroy Vraja, and the danger was over, Sudarshana requested Krishna to give him a place to rest. Krishna gave him this place on the northern bank of Manasi Ganga.
The present temple of Chakaleshvara Mahadeva is recent; the original one was destroyed by the Muslims. However, the deities here are very old and are said to have been installed by Krishna’s great-grandson Vajranabha.
Nandeshvara Mahadeva at Nandagaon
The palace of Nanda Maharaja is situated atop Nandeshvara hill in Nandagaon. This hill is a form of Lord Shiva, who performed tapasya for several thousands of years to enter into the Lord Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja. When the Lord was pleased with him Shiva asked for a boon of getting a chance to witness the Vraja pastimes of Lord Krishna by becoming a hill or a stone. Reciprocating with this desire, Lord Krishna granted him this form in Nandagaon.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes in Vraja-riti-cintamani (1.15):
तत-तच्छिरोभूतम अपार-शोभम नंदीश्वरम साधु-गण वदन्ति
नंदीश्वरम च यदीय-रूपं श्री-नंद-राजालय-राजमानम
The devotees declare that Nandisvara hill, the form of Lord Shiva now shining as Nanda Maharaja’s capital, is an endlessly beautiful crown decorating Vrindavana. Lord Shiva has stayed at Nandagaon in the form of Nandeshvara Mahadeva and even today, the carnamrta and maha-prasada of Lord Krishna is first offered to him.