Vrindavan, Mathura, India

Places to Visit in Vrindavan

Vrindavan, around 15 km from Mathura, is a little town and a major place of pilgrimage on the banks of Yamuna. Attracting about 500 000 pilgrims every year, mainly during major festivals like Janmashtami, Holi and Radhashtami, it is noted for its numerous temples, both old and modern, big and small (allegedly 5000 altogether). Vrindavan is synonymous with the childhood pastimes of Sri Krishna.

The name 'Vrindavan' is derived from 'Vrinda', another name for the sacred tulsi (basil) plant. It is said 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 consorts. The earliest known shrine in Vrindavan is said to have been built by the local Gosvamis in a large garden called Nidhiban. According to tradition, Mughal 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 main temples of attraction in Vrindavan are...

Madan Mohan Temple

Located on the riverside is the oldest structure in Vrindavan. This famous temple was established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and was the first Gosvami temple built in Vrindavan, which at that time was just a forest. The original Deity of Madana Mohana was discovered at the base of an old vat (banyan) tree by Advaita Acarya, when He visited Vrindavan. He entrusted the worship of Madana Mohana to His disciple, Purusottama Chaube, who then gave the Deity to Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana Gosvami spend 43 years in Vrindavan. Worshiped along with Madana Mohana are Radharani and Lalita, who were sent to Vrindavan by Purusottama Jena, the son of Maharaja Prataparudra.


Govinda Dev Temple

Govindaji Mandir is a grand seven-story structure, with an altar of marble, silver and gold. Architecturally this temple is one of the finest in North India. A sculptured lotus flower weighing several tons decorates the main hall ceiling.It was built in 1590 by Raja Man Singh from Jaipur, a general in Akbar's army, who was inspired to do it after meeting Rupa Gosvami. It was said to have cost ten million rupees and several thousand men were working for five full years to complete it. Akbar himself had donated the red sandstone for its construction. In 1670, during the rule of a later Mughal king, Aurangzeb, it was plundered and destroyed leaving only three stories of the original temple. During this attack, 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.


Jugal Kisore Temple (Kesi ghata temple)

Jugal Kishore is one of the oldest temples of Vrindavan, completed in 1627. After Akbar's visit to Vrindavan in the year 1570, he gave permission for four temples to be built by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, which were Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and Jugal Kisore. It is sometimes called the Kesi ghata temple, as it is located next to this ghata.


Sri Ranganatha (Rangaji) Temple

It is 30 meters high with three gopurams (gateways), a tall shikhara (crown) and gold-plated decorations. This South Indian style temple was built by the wealthy Seth family of Mathura in 1851 and is dedicated to Lord Sri Ranganatha or Rangaji, a form of Lord Vishnu lying down on the Sesa Naga (divine serpent).This temple has a traditional South Indian gopuram (gateway), a Rajput-styled (architectural style prevailing in the present Indian state of Rajasthan) entrance gate and an Italian-influenced colonnade. One of the enclosures within the precincts of this magnificent temple has a 15-meter-high pillar made of gold. It is one of Vrindavan's largest temples and is surrounded by high walls. Once a year there is a grand car festival (Ratha Yatra) known as Brahmotsava during the month of Caitra (March-April). This festival lasts for 10 days. At the entrance, there is an electronic puppet show about stories of Krishna and a small museum.


Banke Bihari Temple

Banke Bihari Templebuilt in 1864. There are curtains in front of the richly decorated murti. After the main prayers the curtains are drawn apart to give darsan (viewing) to a long line of devotees. The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples but every few minutes it is pulled shut and then opened again. The Deities do not get up until 9 AM. The temple has mangala-arati only one day a year and only once a year can the lotus feet of the Deity be seen, on Akhyaya Tritiya. Many devotees come every day, especially in the month of Sravana, during Jhulan Yatra, the swing festival. The murti is said to have been discovered by the musician-saint Svami Hari Das in Nidhi Van, a kadamba grove where Banke Bihari was originally worshiped. A contemporary of the Six Gosvamis, Svami Haridasa, known for his bhajans, was the guru of the famous musician Tansen.


Radharamana Temple

This is the famous temple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Radharamana means "one who gives pleasure to Radha". It is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The seva puja of Radharamana was established in 1542, after the Deity self-manifested from a salagram-sila on the full moon day of Vaisakha (April/May). This event is celebrated every year by bathing the Deity with 100 liters of milk and other auspicious items. The remnants of this abhiseka (bathing) are like nectar. Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's other shalagram-shilas are worshiped on the altar here. The appearance place of Sri Radharaman Deity is next to the temple. Radharamanji is one of the few original Deities of the Gosvamis still in Vrindavan. The standard of worship is very high. Also kept in this temple is the wooden sitting place (hoki) and shawl (chaddar) or Lord Caitanya that He gave as a gift to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There is no Deity of Radharani in this temple, but a crown is kept next to Krishna signifying Her presence. Gopal Bhatta's samadhi is located here. The fires for cooking in the temple kitchen have been burning continuously since the Deity was installed over 460 years ago and the cooking still follows cookbooks from that time.


Banke

This is the famous temple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Radharamana means "one who gives pleasure to Radha". It is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The seva puja of Radharamana was established in 1542, after the Deity self-manifested from a salagram-sila on the full moon day of Vaisakha (April/May). This event is celebrated every year by bathing the Deity with 100 liters of milk and other auspicious items. The remnants of this abhiseka (bathing) are like nectar. Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's other shalagram-shilas are worshiped on the altar here. The appearance place of Sri Radharaman Deity is next to the temple. Radharamanji is one of the few original Deities of the Gosvamis still in Vrindavan. The standard of worship is very high. Also kept in this temple is the wooden sitting place (hoki) and shawl (chaddar) or Lord Caitanya that He gave as a gift to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There is no Deity of Radharani in this temple, but a crown is kept next to Krishna signifying Her presence. Gopal Bhatta's samadhi is located here. The fires for cooking in the temple kitchen have been burning continuously since the Deity was installed over 460 years ago and the cooking still follows cookbooks from that time


Radha Damodara Temple

This is one of the most important temples in Vrindavan. The original Deity was hand carved by Rupa Gosvami and given as a gift to his beloved disciple, Jiva Gosvami, who later built a temple. Formerly this spot was in the middle of Seva-kunja and it was the bhajan place (where he performed his devotional activities) of Rupa Gosvami. Other Deities here are Vrindavan Candra worshiped by Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Radha-Madhava of Jayadeva Gosvami and Radha-Chalacikana of Bhugarbha Gosvami. When the original Deities are moved, the replacement Deity is called a pratibhu-murti and is considered as good as the original Deity. The samadhis of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraj Gosvami are here. Srila Prabhupada spent here most of his six years (1959 to 1965) before coming to America. He translated the first three cantos of the Srimad-Bhagavatam here.


Sri Radha Gokulananda Mandir

There are the Radha-Vinoda Deities of Lokanath Gosvami, Radha-Gokulananda Deities of Visvanath Cakravarti, Caitanya Mahaprabhu Deity of Narottama Dasa Thakur, Vijaya Govinda Deities of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and the Govardhan-shila given to Raghunath Dasa Gosvami by Sri Caitanya. Also, the samadhis of Srila Lokanath Gosvami, Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, and Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura are here. Visvanath Cakravarti arranged to have this temple built.


Radha Vallabha Temple

Banke Bihari Templebuilt in 1864. There are curtains in front of the richly decorated murti. After the main prayers the curtains are drawn apart to give darsan (viewing) to a long line of devotees. The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples but every few minutes it is pulled shut and then opened again. The Deities do not get up until 9 AM. The temple has mangal


Radha-Syamasundara

In the temple are the Deities of Syamananda Prabhu. Darsan is from 8.30 to 11 am and 5 to 8 pm. It is one of the seven major temples in Vrindavan. Syamananda's samadhi is across the street and down from the entrance of the temple.


Sri Gopesvara Mahadeva Mandir

This is the oldest temple in Vrindavan. Gopesvara Mahadeva is Lord Siva, who came to Vrindavan to become a gopi of Krishna. Here Vrinda Devi blessed him and allowed him to enter the rasa dance of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna then offered Lord Siva the guardianship of the Rasa mandala and placed him at its entrance.Ever since, all Vaisnavas pray first for his mercy to become a servant of the servant of the gopis.Vajranabha, the great grandson of Krishna, also installed the Siva-linga in this temple. 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 kalpavriksa tree and will fulfill all desires. This temple is in the Vamsivata area.


Jaipur Temple

One of Vrindavan's most opulent temples, was built by the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Madhav, in 1917 after 30 years of labor. The fine hand-carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship, the huge pillars that hold up the roof are each carved from one solid rock, and the intricately fashioned marble on the altar is reminiscent of the Mughal period. The Maharaja financed the railway line that connects Vrindavan with Mathura, just for the purpose of hauling the huge pieces of sandstone used in the temple construction. The Deities worshiped here are Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Ananda-bihari and Hansa-gopala.


Shahji Temple

Another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweler, Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow. 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. The `Basanti Kamra' - the darbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and fine paintings


Seva Kunj & Nidhi Van (Nidhuban, Nidhuvan)

Where Lord Krishna performed the Rasalila with Radharani decorating her hair with flowers and her lotus feet. Radha and Krishna would sometimes spend the night here, dancing with the gopis and enjoying transcendental pastimes. There is also a small temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna's pastimes called Rang Mahal. Today this place is surrounded by temples. The Seva Kunja road leads to Srila Jiva Gosvami's Radha Damodar Temple, Srila Syamananda Gosvami's Radha Syamasundara Temple, and Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraj Gosvami's Radha-Vrindavan-Candra Temple. Krishna rested with His beloved Sri Radha. The shrine inside has a bed, which is decorated with flowers by the priest every evening. No one is allowed to stay inside after dusk because according to popular belief the Lord visits the spot with Sri Radha. The samadhi (memorial) of Svami Hari Das is also within this complex. All the groves of Vrindavan are notorious for monkeys that have a special fascination for cameras and spectacles.


Imlitala tree (tamarind)

Srila Sanatana Gosvami established the worship of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to sit daily under the Imlitala and chant japa. Deities of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna are installed under this tree.


Gopinath Temple

This Deity worshipped by Madhu Pandita, one of the close associates of Lord Chaitanya. The Gopinatha Deity was originally installed by Vajarnaba, Lord Krishna;s grandson, 5,000 years ago . During the oppression of Aurangzeb, the original deities of Gopinathji, Radhika and Jahnava also proceeded to Jaipur together with other deities. The Pratibhu Vigrahas now preside in the temple built by Nand Kumar Vasu. Jahnava Thakurani is seated on the left side of Gopinath, and Lalita Sakhi and a small deity of Radhika are seated on His right. The deity of Mahaprabhu Shri Gaurasundara is in a separate chamber.


ISKCON Temple ( Krishna Balram Temple )

Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir is a Gaudiya Vaishnava temple in the holy city of Vrindavan. It is one of the main ISKCON temples in India and internationally. Devotees from all over the world can be seen here year-round, which adds color to this ancient ethnic holy city.


Prem Mandir

It is one of the most mordern temple built recently in Vrindavan. Southern and Western combination of cultures and dreams of Kripaluji Maharaj has become a reality in Vrindavan.


Vaishno Devi Temple

It is one of the recently built temple in Vrindavan in the honour of Godess Vaishno devi. The highlight of the temple of course remains the 140+ ft tall image of the eight-armed Maa riding a 50ft tall Lion with Hanumanji’s Statute infront of Maa with folded hands seeking Maa’s blessings.. A Mandir having Asthdhatu’s Murti (6 ½ “) tall in Maa’s honour is below the statue, within the precincts of this 11-acre land.


Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir

World's tallest temple under-construction at Vrindavan, The temple has a footprint of about 5 acres and rises to a height of about 700 feet (213 meters or 70 floors) and a built-up area of 5,40,000 sq. ft.[3] A look-alike of the verdant forests of Vrindavan will be recreated around this magnificent temple. It will be spread over a sprawling 26 acres, it will consist of the twelve forests (dvadashakanana) of Braj, with varieties of lush vegetation, green pastures, elegant vistas of fruit bearing trees, flower laden creepers serenaded by bird songs, clear water lakes with lotuses and lilies and water falls that tumble from small artificial hillocks - all recreated from descriptions in the SrimadBhagavatam and other source books of Lord Sri Krishna - to transport the visitors to Krishna's times in Vrindavan.


Garud Govind Temple

Banke Bihari Templebuilt in 1864. There are curtains in front of the richly decorated murti. After the main prayers the curtains are drawn apart to give darsan (viewing) to a long line of devotees. The curtain before the Deities is not left open like at other temples but every few minutes it is pulled shut and then opened again. The Deities do not get up until 9 AM. The temple has manga


Pagal Baba Mandir

It is located on the way to Mathura. It is built with the lavish donations of the devout and pious public by an ardent saint called pagal Baba of Gyan Gudri. Many commercial magnets and industrialists have donated lavishly to making it a glorious place of worship and to attract both tourists and theists.


The Kesavdeo Temple

This sacred shrine unfortunately became the target of Muslim bigots during the raids of Mohammud Gazni in 1017, and again it was destroyed by Sikander Lodi and Aurangazeb. Though it was razed to the ground, it was built anew by the devout Hindus soon after its destruction. Does this not establish the fact that bigotry can never suppress the invincible religious spirit of Hindus?


Akshaya Patra

When the Pandavas began their exile in the forest, Yudhishtra was despondent at his inability to feed the holy sages and others who accompanied him. At this, Dhaumya, the priest of the Pandavas, counselled him to pray to Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira's prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.Akshaya Patra, Durvasaa and ShriKrishna, This heartbreaking incident brought to fore the determination that: No one within a ten mile radius of our centre should go hungry. In June 2000, this inspiration was given the form of The Akshaya Patra Foundation to feed the children of Government schools with a thoughtful and conscientious vision of “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger".


Rasa lila

The Rasa lila (IAST rāsa-līlā) (Hindi: रासलीला) or Rasa dance is part of the traditional story of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana and literature such as the Gita Govinda, where he dances with Radha and hersakhis.The rasa lila takes place one night when the gopis of Vrindavan, upon hearing the sound of Krishna's flute, sneak away from their households and families to the forest to dance with Krishna throughout the night, which Krishna supernaturally stretches to the length of one Night of Brahma, a Hindu unit of time lasting approximately 4.32 billion years.In the Bhagavata Purana it is stated that whoever faithfully hears or describes the Rasa lila attains Krishna's pure loving devotion


Vrindadana Parikrama

It is customary for devotees to walk around the town of Vrindavana. There is a parikrama path that goes around the town. This path is one street over from the ISKCON temple. It usually takes two to three hours to go around Vrindavana. The parikrama path is 10 km (6 miles). Some of the places passed on the way are: Mohana Ter, Kaliya Ghata, Madana Mohana Temple, Imli Tala, Sringara Vat, and Keshi Ghata. The main day that people do parikrama of Vrindavana is on Ekadasi (the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon). It is customary to do this walk with bare feet, which is fairly painless, even for one who never walks in bare feet.