Vrindavan, around 15 km from Mathura, is a major place of pilgrimage, on the banks of Yamuna . Attracting about 5 lakhs pilgrims every year, it is noted for its numerous temples- both old and modern. Vrindavan is synonymous with the innocent mirth and child like playfulness of Shri Krishna. Vrindavan, the dusty little town known for the temples, big and small, famous and remote strewn all over the place. It is the town of 4,000 temples where the sounds of celebrations for Lord Krishna is constantly resounded. From the Delhi-Agra highway near Mathura, one can see the red temple that marks the place of Krishna's birth. However, it is only when one ventures a few miles down to Vrindavan that Krishna's real home is discovered.
Vrindavana is 145 km (90 miles) south of Delhi and 55 km (30 miles) north of Agra, just off the Delhi-Agra Road. It is 14 km or a 25-minute auto-rickshaw ride from Mathura. It has a small-town type atmosphere with narrow streets and not much motor traffic. There are said to be over 5,000 temples in Vrindavana. This town is located within the forest of Vrindavana and is known as Pancakrosi Vrindavana.
Vrindavan is situated in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh around 151 km south of Delhi. It extends latitude 27°33¢ in the North to longitude 77°44¢ in the East. Vrindavan is situated on the New Delhi-Chennai and New Delhi-Mumbai main railway line. A meter-gauge line connects Vrindavan to Mathura. There are quite a good number of passenger trains plying between these two places
The name 'Vrindavan' is derived from 'Vrinda', another name for the sacred tulsi (basil) plant. A legend has it that the entire place was a tulsi grove at one time. According to another tradition, it was named after Vrinda Devi, one of Krishna's playmates. The earliest known shrine in Vrindavan is said to have been built by the local gosains in a large garden called Nidhiban, later named Seva Kunj. According to tradition, Emperor Akbar was taken blindfolded inside the grove where he had some kind of a spiritual experience. As a result, he acknowledged the spot as being holy ground.
The four temples that were built in honour of his visit are Govind Deva, Madan Mohan, Gopinath, and Jugal Kishore. The first is an impressive edifice built in red sandstone. Architecturally this temple is one of the finest in North India.
Although Vrindavan is not actually the place where lord Krishna is believed to have been born, it is here that he is said to have spent a great deal of time during his growing age. He used indulged in the playful acts with the Gopis, such as hiding their clothes as they bathed in the river.
Vrindavan ,is a place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days , played the flutesporting with the Gopis and where Radhika pined for her lover.
Visit the Govind Dev Temple built in 1590 and a testimony to the architectural splendour of medieval India. Proceed toRangaji Temple Vrindavan’s longest temple constructed in 1851 with a 50 feet tall ‘Dhwaja Stambha ’ believed to be gold plated. Continue to Madan Mohan Temple situated near Kali Ghat , Glass Temple and the Bankey Bihari Temple one of the oldest temples built in 1921.
Temples to visit in Vrindavan
There are around 5,00 temples to visit in and around Vrindavan. Most temples in the town of Vrindavan are associated with several of the leelas of Krishna at Vrindavan. Vrindavan became a center of religion from the 15th century onward. The Ramanuja Sampradaya and the Nimbarka Vishnava Sampradaya (performing Sankirtans primarily) and the Madhva sampradaya (which worships Krishna without Radha) , the Vallabha and Chaitanya traditions are the leading Vaishnava sampradayas here.
Krishna Balarama Mandir
This beautiful temple has Deities of Gaura-Nitai (left altar), Krishna Balarama (middle altar), and Radha-Shyama-sundara (Radha-Krishna on right altar).
While staying in Chatikara it is said that Krishna and Balarama would come with the cowherd boys to Raman Reti daily to play. It is also said that Krishna and Radhaji would meet here every night, before going to Vrindavana to enjoy Their pastimes. This area is located a few km from the main downtown area. The Krishna Balarama Temple is located in Raman Reti.
Raman Reti (Krishna-Balarama) Trees
There are two trees. These two intertwined trees are white and black. The black tree is said to represent Krishna and the white tree, Balarama. They are known as the Krishna-Balarama trees.
Kaliya Mardan Temple
It is located near the Kali Ghat and is the oldest existent temple in Vrindavan today. The temple is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya. Adaita Acarya discovered the original Deity of Madana Mohana at the base of an old vat tree, when visited Vrindavana. He entrusted the worship of Madana Mohana to His disciple, Purusottama Chaube, who then gave the Deity to Sanatana Goswami. Sanatana Goswami spend 43 years in Vrindavana. Worshiped along with Madana Mohana are Radharani and Lalita, who were sent to Vrindavana by Purusottama Jena, the son of Maharaja Prataparudra.
This 60 foot high temple was opened in 1580 on a 50 foot hill called Aditya Tila, next to the Yamuna. Ram Das Kapoor paid to build the temple. One day a ship he owned, loaded with merchandise, went aground in the Yamuna. He was advised by Sanatana Goswami to pray to Madana Mohana for help. The ship came free and the owner of the ship made a big profit, which he used to built this temple.
There is the ancient Jugal Bihari Temple here. This temple is over 400 years old. Haridas, who was a Rajput and a disciple of the grandson of Hit Harivamsa, founded it. This temple is close to the Vrindavana parikrama path.
Imli Tala means the shade of the tamarind tree. Imli means 'tamarind' and tala mean 'tree'. There is a small temple here with Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krishna Deities.
Kishorivan (Hari Nikunj)
Kishorivan is considered like Seva Kunja and Nidhivana. Located here are a Rasa Mandal and the samadhi of Harirama Vyasa. The area of Kishorivan is about 1½ acres. It is next to Seva Kunja. The entrance to this kunja (forest grove) is near Loi Bazaar.
Radha Damodara Temple
This temple was founded by Jiva Goswami. The main Deities here are Sri Radha-Damodara. Other Deities worshiped here are the Radha-Vrindavana Candra Deities of Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami, the Radha-Madhava Deities of Jayadeva Goswami, and the Radha-Chalacikana Deities of Bhugarbha Goswami. The original Deities were all moved to Jaipur. When the original Deities are moved, the replacement Deity is called a pratibhu-murti and is considered as good as the original Deity.
Radha Shyamasundara Temple
These are the Deities of Syamananda Prabhu. Darshan is from 8.30 to 11 am and 5 to 8 pm. It is one of the seven major temples in Vrindavana. Syamananda's samadhi is across the street and down from the entrance of the temple.
Seva Kunja (Nikunjavan)
Krishna would massage Radhaji's feet and decorate her hair with flowers here. Once Krishna pushed his flute into the ground here and created a small kund, called Lalita Kund, to satisfy Lalita Sakhi's thirst. No one is allowed within the enclosure at night. The numerous monkeys that are there during the day also leave at night
Ban Khandi Mahadeva Siva Temple
Banke Bihari Temple
This temple was established by Haridas Swami, a contemporary of the six Goswami's. He discovered the Banke Bihari Deity at Nidhivana, where Banke Bihari was originally worshiped. Banke Bihari was moved here when this temple was constructed in 1864. This is the most popular temple in Vrindavana, especially in the month of Sravana, during Jhulan Yatra. The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples. Every few minutes the curtain is pulled shut and then opened again. The Dieties do not get up until 9 am. The temple has mangala-arati only one day a year. Only one day a year can the lotus feet of the Deity be seen, on Akhyaya Tritiya.
The temple has mangala-arati only one day a year. Only one day a year can the lotus feet of the Deity be seen, on Akhyaya Tritiya.
This is the most sacred river in Indian. The main reason it is so sacred is because it flows through Vrindavana and Mathura, and was thus intimately connected to Lord Krishna's pastimes. One who bathes in the Yamuna can be purified of all sinful reactions and attain love of Godhead.
The deities at the temple are popularly known as the Chhote Radha Raman. Noted for its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculpture, the temple has twelve spiral columns each 15 feet high.
Radha Vallabh Temple
The famous Radha Vallabh Temple set up by the Radha - Vallabh sect, has the crown of Radha-Rani placed next to the Shri Krishna idol in the sanctum.
The Jaipur Temple which was built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917, is a richly embellished
Radha Gopinatha Temple
Gopinathji was originally installed in Vrindavana by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Krishna. When the Muslims raided Vrindavana, the original Gopinath Deity was taken to Jaipur. The Gopinath Deity in Jaipur and Lord Krishna are said to exactly resemble each other from Their shoulders down to the waist.
On the altar are deities of Srimati Radharani and Her sister, Ananga Manjari, Madhu Pandita's samadhi is next to the temple.
Gopal Bhatta Goswami established this temple. The Deity of Sri Radha-Raman was manifested from one of Gopal Bhatta Goswami's shalagram-shilas on the full moon day of Vaisakha (April/ May) in 1542. This event is celebrated every year (May) by bathing the Deity with 100 litres of milk and other auspicious items. The remnants of this abhiseka (bathing) are like nectar. Gopal Bhatta Goswami's other shalagram-shilas are worshiped on the altar here. The appearance place of the Sri Radha-Raman Deity is next to the temple. Radha-Ramanji is one of the few original Deities of the Goswami's still in Vrindavana. The standard of worship in this temple is very high.
Radha Gokulananda Temple
In this temple you can see the Radha-Vinod Deities of Lokanath Goswami, Radha-Gokulananda Deities of Viswanath Cakravarti, Caitanya Mahaprabhu Deity of Narottama Dasa Thakur, Vijaya Govinda Deities of Baladeva Vidyabhushana, and the Govardhana-shila given by Lord Caitanya to Raghunath Dasa Goswami. The samadhis of Lokanath Goswami, Narottama Dasa, and Viswanath Cakravarti are in front of the temple. Viswanath Cakravarti arranged to have this temple built.
This is one of the four oldest temples in Vrindavana. It was constructed in 1627, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir. The Deity of Krishna in this temple, Jugal Kishor, was installed by Hariram Vyas. Sri Madhava, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, initiated him. This temple was abandoned, after the soldiers of Emperor Aurangzeb desecrated it in 1670. There is no worship done in this temple, but it is interesting architecturally.
Lord Krishna killed the Kesi demon here. Kesi Ghat is on the bank of the Yamuna. If you bath here you get the benediction of bathing in all off the holy places. There is an arati performed here every day at sunset.
Gopisvara Mahadeva Temple
The Siva-linga in this temple was installed by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Krishna. Every morning from 4 am to noon, thousands of people pour Yamuna water over the linga. It is said that the big pipal tree here is a kalpavriksya tree and will fulfil all desires. This temple is in the Vamsivata area.
Krishna rested here after killing the Kesi demon. Some people say that the Gopis' clothes were stolen here by Krishna and other say that this pastime happened 14 km up the
Dhira Samira Ghata
Radha and Krishna are said to enjoy pastimes in the gardens that were once here.
Dhira-samira means “the place where there is a gentle breeze.” It is said that at this place the wind moves very slowly, for the pleasure of Radha and Krishna.
This temple was built in 1590 and took several thousand men five full years to build. The original Govindaji Deity was found about 450 years ago by Rupa Goswami. Govindaji was removed from this temple when the Muslim emperor Aurangzeb tried to destroy it. The original Deity is now in Jaipur, in a temple right outside the King of Jaipur's palace.
This temple was originally seven stories high, with an altar of marble, silver and gold. A sculptured lotus flower weighing several tons decorates the main hall. On meeting Rupa Goswami, Man Singh from Jaipur, a general in Emperor Akbar's army, built this magnificent temple. Aurangzeb and his army later destroyed part of the temple. When few stories remained, all of a sudden the ground began to shake violently and Aurangzeb's men were terrified and ran for their lives, never to return.
The Deities on the altar in this temple are Govindaji in the middle, to His left is Lord Caitanya, and to His right is Lord Nityananda. Below are small Radha and Krishna Deities. Below Them are Lord Jagannath and a Govardhana
New Radha Govinda Temple
Because the soldiers of Aurangzeb desecrated the main temple, it is believed that worship cannot continue in that temple. Therefore this temple was established behind the original Govindaji temple and it contains the pratibhu Deities of Radha Govinda. The original Deities of Govinda were brought to Jaipur. The pratibhu Deities are considered to be the same as the originals.
How To Get There This temple is directly behind and slightly to the right of the Govindaji temple. To get here you go around the Govindaji temple and there is small road just behind the temple.
Temple Timings Darshan is from 7.30 to 10.30 am and 5.30 to 7.30 pm in the summer, and in the winter 8 to 11.30 am and 4.30 to 7.30 pm.
Katyayani Devi Temple
It is accepted by the local people that Uddhava discussed Krishna with Vidura at this place. It is also said that Prayag Raja Tirtha (in Allahabad) took bathe here in the form of a black horse, to be purified. It is possible to bath here during the rainy season, but normally it is dry. Not many people come to this area of Vrindavana.
Vaha (Vihar) Kunda
Near Davanala Kunda is Kalidhari garden, which is where Krishna is said to have come after swallowing the forest fire. In this garden is Vaha (Vihar) Kunda.
The gopis are said to have crossed the Yamuna at this place, to get the benediction of Durvasa Muni, that they would always have the association of Krishna. The Gopis cooked a sumptuous feast for Durvasa Muni. He was so pleased that he blessed them all, especially Radharani, that whatever they cooked would be like nectar and that whoever ate their cooking would have a long life, without disease. This ghata is a good distance from the Yamuna at the present time.
Adi Badri Ghata
It is said that Vyasadeva wrote the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam at this place.
It is said that Krishna disguised himself as a boatman at this place and took the Gopis across the Yamuna.
About twelve hundred widows live at this temple. Each woman chants the names of God a fixed period of time each day. Usually Bengali widows stay here.
Radha Krishna Temple (Pagal Baba Ashram)
The beautiful white marble temple is dedicated to Radha and Krishna. On the different floors of the temple are Deities of several avataras of Vishnu, such as Lakshmi-Narayana, Vamana, and Sita-Rama. There is a great view of the surrounding area of Vrindavana and Mathura from the roof of this temple.
The Gita Mandir is a large red sandstone temple that is halfway between Vrindavana and Mathura on the main Vrindavana to Mathura Road. The pious Birla family, who have built many Vishnu temples all over India, constructed it. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna in the mood of speaking the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. There is a pillar called the Gita Stambha in the temple courtyard that has all the verses of the Bhagavad Gita engraved on it.
It is customary for devotees to walk around the town of Vrindhavana. There is a parikrama path that goes around the town. It takes two or three hours to go around the town.