Vrindavan is one of the pilgrimage sites of Hinduism and the most sacred place for Vaishnavs, who are the devotees of Lord Krishna. The Vrindavan town is the place of Sri Radha Ji and Sri Krishna Ji, and it is still believed that they visit here every day. It is also the place where the famous Leela of Lord Krishna 'The Raas Leela' happened.
About the City
Vrindavan is located in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh. It is about 10 km from Mathura on Delhi- Agra Highway on NH-44. The distance of Vrindavan from India's capital New Delhi is 160 km. The nearby religious places related to Lord Krishna's and Radha Ji's life are Govardhan Parvat, Nandgaon, Gokul, Barsana, etc. It is the place of Krishna Ji's and Radha Ji's Baal Leela (childhood acts) happened.
Vrinda means Tulsi, and Vana means forest; it is believed that earlier, there was a forest of Tulsi plants. This gave the name to this place, Vrindavan. In Vrindavan, it is believed that Lord Krishna appeared in front of Shri Haridas Ji Maharaj in Nidhivan. One can always hear the chantings like Radhe Radhe and Banke Bihari Laal Ki Jai everywhere in the town. The town is full of monkeys, so be alert. There are numerous stories about this place. There are various times in this spiritual city, and they are mentioned below.
1) Prem Mandir
Prem Mandir is the first famous temple that comes when you are on the route from Mathura to Vrindavan. On 14th January, the day of Makar Sankranti, in 2001, the founding stone of the temple was laid by Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj. After 11 years of construction, it was opened to the public in 2012. This temple is also called the Temple of God's Love.
This temple is famous for its beautiful architecture, carvings, musical light show, and the tableau of various incidents of Lord Krishna's life, which makes this place worth visiting. The best time to come here is in the evening or during the night, between 4 PM to 8 PM.
2) Radha Vallabh Mandir
It is one of the oldest temples of Vrindavan Dham. It was constructed in the year 1585 with red sandstone. The idol in this temple is half Krishna Ji and half Radha Ji, which depicts the belief that Radha and Krishna are the same. It is believed that Lord Shiva gave this mandir as a boon to a brahmin when he appeared before him due to his devotion.
3) ISKCON Temple
This temple is also known as Shri Krishna- Balram Temple. It is the first temple built in India by ISKCON Foundation. The devotees associated with ISKCON Foundation around the world can be seen here. It is a place full of foreigners who are devotees of Lord Krishna. The sanctum has the idols of Krishna, Balram, and Radha Rani in the middle and Gaur- Nitai and Shyam Sundar on the other sides. There is also an idol of Swami Srila Prabhupad, who founded the ISKCON Foundation.
The best thing to see here is the Aarti, where the devotees of Krishna who came from every part of the world chant Krishna bhajans and dance, which makes the ambience very joyful. It is the place where you feel spiritualism like enjoyment and fun and disqualifies the cliché notion of Bhakti as boring.
4) Pagal Baba Mandir
Sant Shrimad Lalan Nath Thakur built Pagal Baba mandir. This temple is 800 feet long and 120 feet wide and has 9 floors. This temple is based on the theme of Sarva Dharma, which depicts glimpses of all four major religions of India, i.e., Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity. The idea behind this is to give the message of unity.
5) Vaishno Devi Temple
It is surprising, but there is also a Vaishno Devi temple in Vrindavan. It was built by J.P. Choudhary. The construction of the temple began in 2004, and after 6 years, it was opened to the public in 2010.
The 141 feet statue of Maa Sherawali, along with Hanuman Ji, makes this place iconic. Inside the temple complex are murals of different gods on the walls and the idol of Maa Durga in the middle. There is also a cave in which one can see the idols of all 9 incarnations of Maa Durga.
One important thing to remember while planning to visit this temple is that this temple remains closed on Saturday and Sunday.
6) Shri Radha Madan Mohan Temple
This temple has been present here since ancient times. It is built on the Aditya mound near the Yamuna River. In the year 1580, Saint Shri Santana Goswami asked Multan's businessman Kapur Ram Das to construct this temple. Another fact about this temple is that at the sanctum, there are idols of Lord Krishna, Radha Ji, and Gopi Lalita, but these idols are replicas of the idols which were set up originally because the original deities were shifted to Karauli of Rajasthan to save it from Aurangzeb's temple vandalism.
7) Shri Radha Raman Temple
Gopal Bhatt Goswami built this temple in 1952, devoted to Radhaa Ji and Krishna Ji. It is believed that Goswami Ji pleased Lord Krishna with his devotion; after that, Krishna Ji appeared here as Shaligram Dev.
8) Ranganatha Temple
It is the largest temple in Vrindavan devoted to Lord Vishnu. This temple is a replica of the Ranganatha mandir of South India, constructed in 1851. Here the idol of Lord Krishna is in the form of a south Indian groom. In this temple, there is a door named Vaikunth Dwaar, which opens only one day in a year on the eve of Vaikunth Ekadashi. The preaching methods and the Pujaris of this temple are all south Indian.
9) Radha Damodar Temple
This temple is a place of great importance for the followers of Gaudiya Sampradaya because various saints of Gaudiya Sampradaya did Seva and bhajans and spent their life here. The main sanctum has the deities of Shri Radha Vrindavan Chandra Ji, Shri Radha Damodar Ji, Shri Radha Madhav Ji, and the very sacred Giriraj Shila.
The story behind Giriraj Shila is that there was a saint Sanatana Goswami Ji who used to go to Govardhan Parvat and do the Parikrama of it, which is around 21km, and then came back to Damodar Mandir every day. Being pleased by his pure devotion and hard work, Lord Krishna gave him Giriraj Shila (part of the stone of Govardhan Parvat) on which the right feet of Krishna Ji, his stick, his flute, and the feet of his cow were inscribed. Lord Krishna told him that you don't have to come here everyday so far, keep this shila in the Damodar Mandir, and said that the 4 parikramas of the temple will be equal to 21 km parikrama of Govardhan Parvat.
There are three samadhi mandirs of 3 saints of Gaudiya Smpradaya in the temple - Shri Krishna Das Kavi Raj Goswami, Shri Roop Goswami Ji, and Shri Jeeva Goswami Ji. Another important fact is that this temple was the place where Shri Srila Prabhupad, founder of ISKCON Foundation, lived and translated the Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta into the English language.
10) Kesi Ghat
Kesi ghat is the ghat on the Yamuna River and is very famous among pilgrims to take baths and attend the Yamuna aarti. According to Hindu Mythology, Kesi was a demon who was half horse and half-human, sent by King Kansh to kill Krishna Ji. On this ghat, Krishna Ji killed Demon Kesi, that named this Kesi Ghat.
Nidhivan is the most mysterious place in Vrindavan. It is the place where Lord Krishna and Radha Ji did Raas Leela, and even today, every night, Krishna Ji and Radha Ji, along with other Gopis, come and perform Raas. This is the reason why no one is allowed to stay in Nidhivan at night.
Whoever has tried to stay at night, it is said they have become of stone, mentally disturbed, or died. The person who dies inside the Nidhivan, their samadhi, is made in the nidhivan after informing his relatives.
It is also very sacred because Swami Shri Haridas Ji, the guru of famous singer Taan Sen of Akbar's court, used to stay here and do bhajans; pleased with his devotion, Lord Krishna and Radha Ji appeared before him and stayed with him. The original form of Shri Krishna Ji and Shri Radha Ji is worshipped in Nidhivan.
Inside Nidhivan, there is a pond named Lalita Kund. The story behind it is that Lalita was the friend of Radha Ji, who felt thirsty during Raas. Then she asked Radha Ji for water, and she stopped her from going out of Nidhivan at night, so she requested Krishna Ji to arrange for water. Then Lord Krishna created a pond for Lalita, which gave this pond the name Lalita Kund.
12) Banke Bihari Temple
Banke Bihari temple is the most visited temple of Vrindavan. Here Lord Krishna is worshipped in his childhood form. Shri Swami Haridas Ji Maharaj founded this temple, and it is the united form of Radha Ji and Krishan Ji.
It is said that Swami Haridas Ji penanced for 12 years, then Yugal Swaroop (duo) that is both Radha Ji and Krishna appeared before him and started to stay with him. Then he told both of them that he was very old and he couldn't do Seva of both of them separately, so both of them united. So, the idol we see in the temple is the united form of Radha-Krishna.
Interesting Facts about Banke Bihari Mandir