South of Delhi, near the place of Krishna's birth, is the town of 5,000 temples where the sounds of celebration constantly
resound. Vrindavan was the actual place where Krishna spent his childhood. In some ways, it has retained the characteristics
of a village with its narrow streets and many cows that wander around freely. The village had once belonged to cowherds and
still the Hindus who live here revere the cows.
Vrindavan is such a pious place where the flower of devotion can bloom fully. In Braj, there is no spot at all which is not related to the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Here one views the pastimes of Radha and Krsna in the literature, culture, music and the devotional atmosphere The essence of Vrindavan is presented in the enchanting sagas of Radha and Krsna. They stand as a timeless beacon – that sheds a wonderful light that has endured through the centuries and even still today, fascinating people from the world over.
Although Vrindavan is not actually where Krishna is believed to have been born, it is here that he performed many of his naughty childhood antics playing with ball with his fellow cowherds, stealing butter from the homes of the villagers and hiding the clothes of cow herding girls (the gopis) as they bathed in the river. However, today the scenery of the city is not much the same as the river has now meandered away while the flourishing woods have long since disappeared. Despite some wooded parkland that has been maintained, the details of Krishna's life have been shrouded by the myths and legends and the only witness to his validity as a historical figure is borne out by ancient scriptures like the Mahabharata that records great battles that were once waged in this region.
Place to SeeBANKEY BIHARI TEMPLE: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Bankey Bihari Templeis one of the oldest and most visited temples in Vrindavan. Built in 1864 by Swami Haridas, the temple holds the idol of Lord Krishna in jet black color in the Tribhanga posture as the presiding deity. Every year in the month of Shravana from July to August, a number of devotees throng to the temple. The basic structure of the temple consists of a big hall and an inner sanctorum housing the deity. In order to reach the inner recesses of the temple, one has to climb a flight of steps as it is imposed on a big platform. On the day of JhulanYatra, Lord Krishna along with Radha is placed in a golden swing decorated aesthetically with garlands and flowers. The curtains in front of the deity are raised and closed every few minutes as it is said that if one would see the idol of Lord Bihari for a longer time, he may get unconscious.
ISKCON TEMPLE: ISKCON or International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a worldwide confederation which was established in 1975 by Swami Prabhupada. With an aim to spread knowledge and serve the mankind by the teachings of the Bhagwad Gita and other holy Vedic scriptures, the ISKCON Temple is one of the most sought after religious attractions in the city among the devotees from all the parts of the world. Built aesthetically in white marble, the temple boasts of its marvelous architecture and interiors. The main deity here is Krishna and Balaram and hence it is also known as Sri Krishna BalaramMandir. Blessed with divine spirituality, the temple offers an ethereal feeling and spiritual enlightment to the devotees.
MADAN MOHAN TEMPLE:Designated as one of the oldest temples in Vrindavan, the Madan Mohan Temple was built in 1580 by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. Located near the Kali Ghat, this religious structure is places on a hill top at 50 feet known as Aditya Tila. Presently the replica of Lord Madan Mohan is worshipped in the temple as the original idol was shifted to Karauli in Rajasthan in 1670 to save it from the cruel hands of Aurangzeb. The devotees can also visit the BhajanKuthir of SanatanaGoswami and his Samadhi at one side of the temple.
KESI GHAT:Located on the holy banks of River Yamuna, the KesiGhat is frequently visited by the tourists from far and wide and is one of the famous places in Vrindavan. It is believed that Lord Krishna killed a demon named Kesi at this place and Lord took a bath at this ghat. Thus the place is considered sacred and a number of devotees take a holy dip here. Every evening the ghat remains abuzz with devotees as ritualistic aarti is performed here for River Yamuna which is worth a watch. A temple tour to the holy city of Vrindavan is incomplete without taking a dip at the KesiGhat.
RANGAJI TEMPLE:Renowned for its exquisite Dravidian style of architecture, the Rangaji Temple was built in 1851 by Seth Radha Krishna and Govinda Das. Characterized by 6 storey lofty gopuram and 50 feet high gold plated DhwajaStambha, the temple presents an admirable blend of different architectural styles. Distinguished as the largest temple in Vrindavan, it is dedicated to Lord Rangaji or Ranganatha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. At the entrance of the temple, there are two electronic puppet shows taken from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The most prominent feature of the temple is the 15 m gold plated pillar standing majestically in the central enclosure and looks stupendous. A water tank and a beautiful garden are also located in the temple premises.
RADHA DAMODARA TEMPLE:Located in the middle of the SevaKunj, Radha Damodara Temple, the beautiful temple was thought of by SrilaPrabhupada and was established by JivaGoswami in the year 1542. The main deity of the temple is Radha Damodara which was carved by the own hands of RupaGoswami. It is one of the oldest temples in Vrindavan and its wonderful architecture and spiritual ambience draws a number of devotees here. An annual festival known as the CandanaYatra is celebrated here that makes the temple loaded with huge followers to join the festivities.
How to ReachBy Rail:Though Vrindavan has a small railway station but only passenger trains halt here. The major nearest rail head is at Mathura which is just 14 km away. Several trains connect it from major cities across India such as Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Agra, Kolkata, Pune etc. From the station, the visitors can either take a taxi or catch the passenger train to reach Vrindavan.
By Road:There are several state owned buses that ply from the neighboring cities of Mathura, Delhi, Agra and Haridwar to reach Vrindavan. Getting the city from Mathura is quite easier as there are frequent buses and taxis to reach various destinations in the country and there are autos and taxis available from Mathura to Vrindavanthroughout the day.
By Air:The nearest airport to Vrindavan is at Agra which is at a distance of 67 km from it. There are regular flights from the Agra Airport to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. From the airport, the travelers can take a taxi to reach Vrindavan. Besides, the International Airport in Delhi is at a distance of about 150 km from Vrindavan.