Vrindavan: A Gateway to the World of Lord Krishna
Women engaged in churning butter, men busy bathing their cows and kids playing at a distance. This image sums up Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh. One look, encounter or journey into this sacred Hindu pilgrimage destination will not do justice to it. You have to delve deeper, know more. Located so close to the Capital of India, it is entirely a different world to explore. Exotic. Rustic. And medieval. To its very core.
With love, romance and mythology enveloping the legendary history of Vrindavan, countless foreigners from different parts of the world love to visit it. After all, Hindu Lord Krishna had played, danced and loved in Vrindavan. Today, Vrindavan Tourism is about witnessing beautiful temples, exotic ghats and boat ride.
Lauded as the home town of Lord Krishna, this famous pilgrimage site is located in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, on the Agra-Delhi highway.
As per the legends, the town regained its lost popularity only after 16th century when it was re-discovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in 1515 during his journey of locating Krishna-related sites. It was previously called as Brindavan where the word ‘Brind’ means ‘holy basil’ and ‘van’ is the ‘grove’. It is believed that initially a grove of basil existed at the site. The famous Nidhivana and Seva Kunj are said to be the part of that grove.
Do not miss tasting the lip-smacking sweets served in the ancient lanes of the town. The refreshing thandai, milk-maid peda and the fiery kachori-sabzi are like a roller-coaster ride for your taste buds.
Following are the main tourist attractions of Vrindavan
Banke Bihari Temple
Located in the heart of the town, this beautiful temple is devoted to Thakurji- a re-incarnation of Lord Krishna. The deity stands in Tribhanga posture with three bends in his body. This posture is seen commonly in Odissi dance. It is the most famous and highly revered temple of Lord Krishna in the country.
It was built in 1864 however; the idol belongs to 1863. This temple was founded by a famous Hindu saint named Haridas. He was an ardent disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Presumably the idol in the temple was also discovered by Haridas himself during 16th century in Nidhivan.
Lord Krishna is looked after like an infant in this temple. He is served three times offerings and is decorated with colourful attires during festivals.? Interestingly, there are no bells or conches kept in this temple as it believed that the God does not like sound of all these.
Radha Raman Temple
The word ‘Radha Raman’ means the ‘lover or admirer of Radha’.? She was the beloved of Lord Krishna and used to live in Barsane. This beautiful temple is about 500-years-old and is devoted to Radha Raman (an incarnation of Lord Krishna as the lover of Radha). The shrine was erected by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, a devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaparabhu.
It is one of the major temples for the followers of Vaishnavism. The presiding deity is believed to have self manifested. The idol is black and shiny in appearance and holding a flute close to his lips. Legend has it that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was once worshipping a shaligram stone. The deity is believed to have self manifested from that stone.
Krishna Balaram Mandir
This is one of the main ISKCON temples in India. It is situated in an area called Raman Reti. The temple was erected in 1975 by Swami Prabhupada, founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Devotees of Lord Krishna from all across the globe are seen in this temple.
The presiding deities in the temple are Lord Krishna along with his beloved Radha called as Radha-shyamasundar, Lord Krishna along with his elder brother Balaram and Gaura-Nitai. Saint Nityananda along with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are addressed as Gaura-Nitai.
Three time aarti is performed in the shrine along with a continuous chanting of ‘Hare Krishna.’ Janmashtami is celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm. The site bears atypical north India architecture. It has a vast courtyard laid with black and white marble stones.? The main entrance is huge with iron gates and a chhatri at its top.
Sprawling over an area of 54 acres, Prem Mandir is a holy complex devoted to Lord Krishna. It is located on the outskirts of the town.? Fifth Jagadguru Shri KripaluJi Maharaj is believed to have set up this temple.
The main building of the complex bears images depicting events from the life of Lord Krishna. The building is white-washed and made of marble. The presiding deities are Lord Krishna along with his beloved Radha and Lord Rama with his consort Goddess Sita. These deities are known for their love and dedication for each other hence giving the temple its name as Prem (love) Mandir.
Shopping in Vrindavan
The town is closely associated with Lord Krishna’s cultural heritage. So, you can find images of his in every shop. Idols of Lord Krishna in various sizes, chains with his image on the lockets and key rings can be bought as a souvenir or for gifts.
One of the most beautiful things sold here are the glass-made pens and pencils. The town is famous for its marble creativity. Devotional objects like holy books, beads, vermilion and incense sticks are the common items to be sold.
When to Reach
North India trips can be really unbearable during summers. Make sure to plan your trip during November- March when the weather is pleasant. Trippers can also plan their trip during the widely celebrated Janmashtami Festival (August- September).
How to Reach
Air: IGI Airport in Delhi is the nearest airport, about 140k away from the site.
Rail: Mathura Railway Station (15km) is the best way to reach the city from any corner of the country. It is connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Agra.
Road: Direct buses run from Delhi and Agra for the destination.
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