Vrindavan

Vrindavan, the place where Lord Krishna played out his ‘leela’ (लीला), lies at some distance from the River Yamuna and is connected with Mathura by a branch railway. Vrindavan represents the holy forest—the “forest of Vrinda” wherein Lord Krishna sported. Krishna’s child-life, his sports among the cowherds, his wondrous music with his flute, his various miracles and sportive actions all portrayed in Bhagavat Puran (भागवत पुराण) have been carried out in Vrindavan. Temples dedicated to various deities in Hindu pantheon are prime tourist attractions in Vrindavan. The town has numerous temples said to number one thousand and is surrounded by beautiful forests and pleasure-spots. The most famous of the present temples of Vrindavan is the Govind Dev Temple, built by Raja Man Singh in 1590 AD. It is a magnificent temple constructed of red sandstone and contains fine sculptures.

A noteworthy temple is the Ranganath Temple, built in the last century by rich merchants of Tamil Nadu. It is in South Indian style with a ‘gopuram’ and other Dravidian architecture features. It has got a fine gold pillar in its compound. Its festivals are carried on in South Indian fashion with a Car festival. Other temples are : Gopinath Temple, built in red sandstone at the same time as the Govind Dev Temple; Madan Mohan Temple with a beautiful image of Krishna; Banke Bihari Temple, built in white stone possessing a splendid gateway; Seva Kunj Temple situated in a dense forest with romantic surroundings; Shah Bihariji Temple, built in Muslim style and said to resemble the Taj Mahal; Radha Mohan Temple, built by the followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Bengal, with a charming image of Sri Krishna in Shaligram (शालिग्राम) stone. There is a Shiva temple also in Vrindavan, known as Gopeshwar Mahadev. It is said that no Hindu should leave Vrindavan without worshipping at this Shiva shrine.

The best time for ‘darshan’ (दर्शन) of Vrindavan temples is the rainy season, the month of Shrawan (श्रावण), when pilgrims from all parts of the country swarm the streets of Vrindavan, the abode of Sri Krishna’s early gambols and miracles.

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