Popular as Braj region in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, Vrindavan is reckoned amongst the most religious tourist destinations in India for the Hindi devotees. The abode of Lord Krishna’s childhood Vrindavan is nestled amidst various sacred shrines adjoining the free-flowing waters of River Yamuna. Visitors flock the holy terrain of Vrindavan seeking blessing of all the mythological structures that were built here dedicating to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. Some of these mythical structures are Radha Raman temple, Mirabai temple, Gokulnanda, Banke Bihari temple and ISKCON temple. The lively environs of Vrindavan portray the playful and compassionate nature of Lord Krishna, which witness numerous influxes of pilgrims all over the world.
Vrindavan: An Overview
If you plunge into the history behind Vrindavan, you will come across many religious tales about this mythical heritage land. It is said that the name of Vrindavan was derived from the groves of Brinda (small group of trees) and the word ‘van’ means forest. Therefore, it is also called as Brindavan.
A story also goes about this place depicting that initially Vrindavan was entirely delimited by Tulsi coppice. It is Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who visited this place in the 16th century and rediscovered Vrindavan. During his visit, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu roamed around the entire lush bush of Vrindavan which were associated with Sri Krishna. It is also believed that lord Mahaprabhu was successfully connected to the presence of Lord Krisha while roving around these places using his pious power.
Another interesting fact about Vrindavan is that the place is also famed as “city of widows”. The reason being, plenty of widows move into the adjoining areas after losing their husbands. Over the periods, several NGOs came forward in support of such widows and deprived women.
Today, with rapid urbanization in the nearby vicinity, the thick green bush has been whittled away to a large extent. Consequently, it has virtually curtailed many lives of local faunas including diverse species of birds, monkeys, peacocks and cows.
Located around 142Kms away from the capital city Delhi, the climate of Vrindavan passes through a blend of warm, wet and wintry ambience throughout the year. Summers hits the Braj region in the month of March, which lasts here till the month of May. During summer, the temperature of Vrindavan ranges between 20°C to 44°C. Moving ahead in July, the place experiences a soothing wet climate due to monsoon, which lasts here till September. After a drenched monsoon, winter touches the land of Lord Krishna in the month of October that lasts till February. During winter, visitors enjoy a pleasant weather in Vrindavan when the temperature ranges between 9°C to 30°C.
Best Time to Visit:
Having depicted the seasonal climate of Vrindavan, it can be said that winter is the best time to visit this place. Presence of comfy and favourable weather allures plenty of pilgrims here from the month of September to March.
However, from the perspective a religious and cultural fiesta, devotees should visit Vrindavan during Janmashtami (in the month of August), Holi (in the month of March) and Basant Panchami (in the month of February). All these festivals in Vrindavan are celebrated with great devout sentiments and fervour.
Places to Visit in Vrindavan:
Amongst many other holy shrines in the state Uttar Pradesh, Vrindavan is certainly one of the preferred religious attractions for the Hindu pilgrims. Therefore, while travelling there, you must visit the following in and around places of Vrindavan:
#Govind Dev Temple
As the name suggests, this is a holy shrine of Lord Krishna. Devotees flock this temple seeking blessings of Govind Dev. It is said that the idol of Govind Dev or Lord Krishna was brought to this temple by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who was the Rajput king of Jaipur. Devotees visit this temple since early morning to witness the holy Mangla Aarti that starts at 4.30AM. Additionally, various types of Aartis and other rituals are also performed here throughout the day. Some of the prominent festivals that are celebrated in this temple are Rath Yatra, Janmashtmi, Navratra, Deepawali, Makar Sankranti, Maha Shiv Ratri, Maha Shiv Ratri etc.
Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna with stone inlaid places, Keshi Ghat is considered as the most spiritual Ghats in Vrindavan. Plenty of pilgrims rush here since early morning to take a holy bath into the river water. At the backside of the river there is a temple of Madanmohan, which was formed dedicating to lord Krishna. It is believed that Keshi Ghat was named after a demon horse Keshi, which was sent by Kamsa to kill Lord Krishna. This is the place where Lord Krishna slew the demon horse and took a bath at this Ghat. Thereafter, Keshi Ghat turned to a holy spot for the Hindu devotees.
#Bankey Bihari Temple
This is one more addition to the holy shires in Vrindavan. The temple of Bankey Bihari was built in 1862 by one of the legendary music guru Haridas, who was also known as the preceptor of famous Tansen. In your entire trip to Vrindavan, this is one such temple that can’t be missed. The significance of the temple is its name, which is derived from the Braj language. In this language, the word ‘Bankey’ means “Bent at three places”. On the other hand, the word ‘Bihari’ indicates “Supreme enjoyer”. What distinguishes this temple from any other temples in Vrindavan is the style festival celebrated here. Accordingly to the season and festival, the deity is dressed up and offered prashads. During festival season, the entire temple is embellished with lights and flowers. Another interesting fact about this temple is that no conch or bells are there inside the temple. It is believed that Bankey Bihari did not like the sound of bells or conch.
If you want to witness a blend of temple with mesmerising decoration, Shahji Temple is a must visit for you in Vrindavan. This temple was named after Shah Kundan Lal, who built this temple. He was a famous jeweller in Lucknow. What pull visitors to this temple is its startling carvings and the neo-Dravidian architectural brilliance. Shahji Temple is also famed as Twisted Pillars Temple. The reason being, there are twelve beautiful twisted pillars in the temple that are made of white marble.
There is also an impressive hall inside the temple known as Darbar Kamra Hall of Radha-Raman, which is decorated with astounding wall paintings and majestic chandeliers. The significance of this Kamra hall is that the entire room has yellow decor. However, this hall is opened merely twice in a year. First during Vasant Panchami, and next at the time of Jhulan Yatra swing festival.
Similar to Shahji Temple, Ranganathaji Temple is also visited for its Dravidian style architectural brilliance. This temple was built decades back in 1851 dedicating to Lord Ranganath, which is another name of Lord Vishnu. With Lord Vishnu, his consort Goddess Lakshmi is also worshiped in this temple. The best time to visit Ranganathaji Temple is during March-April when a ten-day long Brahmotsava Festival of Sri Ranganatha is celebrated with great enthusiasm and spirit. The method of worship in this temple is followed as per the system formed by Ramanujacarya. In this temple, you can see only the South Indian brahmanas who takes care of the entire worship procedure.
Your holy trip to Vrindavan cannot be completed without visiting the ISKCON Temple. In order to spread the awareness of Bhagavad Gita and Vedic scriptures all over the world, the majestic temple of ISKCON was established here in 1975. The key attractions of this temple are the seats of Shri Krishna and Balaram, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara. ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan is also known as Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir. During Janmashtmi and Jhulan Yatra, the temple witnesses a large number of footfalls from various parts of the sphere.
Located in the Brij area, Prem Mandir is a newly structured shrine, which is popular for its striking decor, white marble and architectural brilliance. Every day, the temple witnesses a good number of crowds during prayer time. Once you access to the temple periphery, you can see various scenes that will take you through the journey of Lord Krishna’s life. One of the major attractions of this temple is its doors that can be opened in any direction.
Besides, the presence of musical fountain with dazzling light leaves you a picturesque impact amidst the holy shrine. Visitors can also enjoy an array of quality vegetarian food in the cafeteria within the temple premises.
#Radha Raman Temple
Every temple in Vrindavan gives you a unique experience. Therefore, all the holy shrines in Vrindavan gather a good number of crowds throughout the year. Radha Raman Temple is one such magnificent temple that you can’t skip during your visit. This temple was built in 1542 by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. One of the phenomenal sides of this temple is that you won’t find any deity of Radha in this temple. Only a golden plate is there, which is placed next to lord Krishna on which the name of Radharani is carved. Accordingly the name of Radharani is worshiped in the temple. It is believed that the deity of Radha-Raman is self-manifested.
# Gopesvar Mahadev Temple
This temple was built dedicating to Lord Shiva who was allowed by Vrinda Devi to take part in the rasa dance with Krishna as his Gopi. Gopesvar Mahadev Temple is considered amongst the oldest temples in Vrindavan. Devotees pour holly waters of the river Yamuna on the Shiva Lingam. There is a giant Peepal tree as well in the periphery of the temple, which is believed to be a tree that fulfils the wishes of devotees.
The list of temples in Vrindavan in quite elongated. Gokulnanda Temple is one more addition to this list. It is said that when the original place of worship of Radha-Vinoda fell apart, another shrine was formed by Viswanath Cakravarti, which further gained its popularity as Gokulananda.
In this temple you can see an array of deities including Radha Gokulananda of Vishwanath Cakravarti, Vijaya Govinda of Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Radha-Vinoda of Lokanatha Goswami. Besides, one Govardhana-shila is also there inside the temple, which was given to Raghunath Dasa Gosvami by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
#Madan Mohan Temple
Situated adjacent to Kali Ghat, Madan Mohan Temple is unquestionably one of the significant temples to be visited in Vrindavan. This temple was established by Kapur Ram Das of Multan, and it is closely connected to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to the historic saga of this temple, the original deity of Lord Madan Gopal was shifted to Rajasthan for safe keeping of the deity from the Mugal emperor Aurangzeb. Therefore, a replica of Madan Mohan’s image is worshiped at this temple.
#Jugal Kisore Temple
Situated next to Kesi Ghat, Jugal Kisore Temple was built in 1627. It is said that in 1570 when Akbar visited the terrain of Vrindavan, he granted the construction of four Temples. Jugal Kisore is one of these temples, which was built by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Other three temples are Gopinatha, Govindaji and Madana-Mohana temple. Since the temple is situated near the Kesi Ghat, sometimes Jugal Kisore Temple is also called as Kesi Ghat Temple.
One of the illusive parts of this temple is its name Jaipur Temple, which is not located in Jaipur but in Vrindavan. It is said that the construction of Jaipur Temple took 30 long years for its completion. This temple was built in 1917 by the king of Jaipur, Sawai Madhav. Jaipur Temple is one amongst the popular temples in Vrindavan. Ananda-bihari, Hansa-Gopala and Sri Sri Radha-Madhava are the key deities worshiped in this temple.
#Radha Vallabha Temple
Every temple in Vrindavan carries a distinct tales of its existence. Situated near Banke Bihari Temple, Radha Vallabha Temple was constructed in 1626 by a Bengali devotee called Sundara Das. However, the temple was founded by a disciple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami called Harivamsa Gosvami. This temple not only pulls ample of Hindu pilgrims, but also many travellers from different parts of the country. At Radha Vallabha Temple, the first offering is always made to Radha and then to lord Krishna.
#Seva Kunj and Nidhuban
Popular as the holy site of Raslila, Seva Kunj and Nidhuban is a must visit in Vrindavan for every traveller. Seva Kunj is also famed as Nikunj Van (woods). It is believed that every night Radha and Lord Krishna both visit this place to perform Raslila. Therefore, after dark, no one is allowed to enter the garden premises. There is also a mandir (temple) of RadhaKrishn at Seva Kunj, which houses a bed dedicating to Radha-Krishna. Every morning the shrine is decorated by the temple priest.
The holy river Yamuna doesn’t require a special introduction for its existence. It is reckoned amongst the most sacred rivers in the Hindu mythology. The holy water of Yamuna flows from the twin holy cities of Vrindavan and Mathura. Every day, numbers of Hindu devotees rush to the bank of the river Yamuna and take a holy deep in the river water. It is believed that taking a bath in Yamuna not only purifies their bodies, but also rectifies their sins to a great extent.
All these places cited above are great places to explore in Vrindavan. In addition, one can also visit some other holy places like Pagal Baba Temple, Gopinath Temple, Imli tala in Vrindavan and Mathura. These places truly portray a spiritual and religious symbol of Hinduism and Indian culture.
How to reach:
Being one of the popular religious hubs for the Hindu devotees, Vrindavan is visited by ample of pilgrims throughout the calendar. People travel here from various parts of the country. This signifies the level of connectivity the place has with other parts of the sphere. Have a look into the important modes of transport to reach Vrindavan:
By Air: Located around 144Kms away from Vrindavan, the nearest well-connected airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), New Delhi. You will get regular flights from various cities of India and abroad to reach IGIA. In addition, Agra airport is also there within 67Kms reach from the destination. From airport, one can easily hire a cab or taxi to travel till Vrindavan. The travel distance from IGIA to Vrindavan is nearly 123Kms that can be completed in 2.10-2.45hours time.
By Train: Located in the Mathura district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the place has its own railway station called Vrindavan railway station, which is operated by North Central railway. This railway station is in regular touch with most of the key cities like Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Nagpur, Jaipur and Agra. Mathura Vrindavan passenger train is also there through which you can reach your destination in 30-35 minutes time. Once you reach the city, you can hire a car or an auto-rickshaw to travel further.
By Road: The holy land of Vrindavan has convenient road connectivity between Mathura and other important tourist destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Haridwar and Delhi. Several regular buses are there that travel between Delhi and Mathura. Once you reach Mathura by bus, deboard at Chatikara Road. From Chatikara Road, get into an auto-rickshaw to travel further till Vrindavan. The distance between Delhi to Vrindavan is nearly 164Kms that can be travelled in 3-4 hours time. Visitors can also hire a cab to reach Vrindavan via Taj Express Highway, which will take around two and half hours time. If you want to commute within the holy city, rented vehicles, cycle and auto-rickshaws are also available.
Places to stay:
Keeping in mind the mounting footfalls of pilgrims, several budget and luxury hotels are set up in the holy city of Vrindavan. Some of the comfy hotels with all the amenities here may cost you around INR 2000 and more. Shubham Hotel and Giriraj Kripa Athithi Bhawan are two great places with quality accommodations and amenities. Some other budget accommodations are also there that can be availed with a price range between INR 500-INR2000. However, depending on the season of your visit and amenities you avail, the charges may vary.
Some of the accommodations are recommended here for your convenience:
#Nidhivan Sarovar Portico Vrindavan
Address: Khasra No. 797, Gopalgarh Tehra Road,
Vrindavan, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281121
#Krishna International Hotel
Address: MVT – Bhaktivedanta Asharm, Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg,
Near MVT Iskcon Temple, Vrindavan,
Uttar Pradesh 281121
#Ananda Krishna Van
Address: Near Iskcon, Madhuvan Colony,
Vrindavan, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh 281124
#Hotel Vrindavan Garden
Address: Mathura Road Vrindavan near R K Mission Hospital,
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh 281121
Address: Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg, Opp. Prem Mandir,
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh 281121
#Hotel The Shubham
Address: Gandhi Marg, Vidyapeeth Crossing,
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh 281121
In addition, some other budget accommodations that you may refer in Vrindavan are Shree Radha Shyam Palace, Yamuna Dham and Satyam Dham.
Food and Cuisine:
Being a religious hub, the eatables in Vrindavan perfectly matches the pure vegetarian. There are many hotels in Vrindavan where platters are served even without garlic or onion. Some of the commonly preferred food in Vrindavan includes Pakoras, Lassi, Chhole-Poori, Hing ki Kachori and Aloo-Puri. In addition, some other delicacies that one must try here are Chana- Bhatura, Rabri, Jalebi, Kheer, Kalakand, Laddos, Khurchan, Balushai Pedhe etc.
While roving around the city, visitors can step into the following eateries for scrumptious Chinese, Italian and Indian cuisines:
#Bharti Food Restaurant
Food Type: Indian
Time: 7AM to 10:30PM
Locations: Near Harikunj Chauraha, Raman Reti RD, Vrindavan
Charges: INR 400 (for two)
Food Type: Chinese, South-Indian, Indian and Italian
Location: Behind Krishna-Balaram Mandir, Vrindavan
Charges: INR 400 (for two)
So, make a plan of your next sanctified trip to Vrindavan and be a part of religious Parikrama, perform pooja and rituals, make offerings and meet the saints. Don’t forget to take a holy deep in the river Yamuna.