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Where to Stay

•  International Rest House, Shri Krishna-Balram Temple, Raman Reti, Ph : (0565)2442478

•  Jaipuria Smriti Bhavan, Govardhan Darwaza, Ph : 2442388

•  Yatrika, Near Municipal Committee

•  Jeevan Vallabh Yatri Niwas, Biharipura

•  More Bhavan, Govardhan Darwaza

•  Manorama Goyanka Guest House, Ph : (0565)2442493

•  Geet Govind Tourist Complex, Nandanvan, Ph : (0565)2442517

•  Sri Ram Vishanti Grah, Ph : (0565)2442833

•  Govind Mohan Guest House, Ph : (0565)2442456

•  Meera Mohan Guest House, Ph ; (0565)2442233

•  Bharati Guest House

•  Sri Banke Bihari Guest House, Ph : (0565)2443529, 2443530

•  Dharmashalas : In Vrindavan there are nearly 200 dharmashalas, many of which are run by trusts.

•  Shubham Guest House, Vidyapeeth Chauraha, Ph : 2443011, 2456025

•  Sriji Palace Guest House, Chatikara Marg, Ph : 2540864

•  MVT Guest House, Ramanreti Marg, Ph : 2540050

•  Balaji Ashram, Ramanreti Marg, Ph : 2540424

•  Sri Krishna-Balram Guest House, Ramanreti Marg, Ph : 2540021

•  Agrasen Ashram, Parikrama Marg, Ph : 2540186

•  Sri Radhey Shyam Ashram, Parikrama Marg, Ph : 2540197

•  Sri Anand Dham, Parikrama Marg, Ph : 2340849, 2540414

•  Sri Dhanuka Ashram, Parikrama Marg, Ph : 2540075



Virndavan

Vrindavan, just 15 km from Mathura, is another major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples - both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the wood where he frolicked with the gopis and tenderly wooed Radha.

Vrindavan today, is noted for its numerous temples. The most important are :

The Madan Mohan Temple located near the Kali Ghat which was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. This is the oldest existent temple in Vrindavan today. The temple is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya. The original idol of Lord Madan Gopal was shifted from the shrine to Karauli in Rajasthan for safe keeping, during Aurangzeb's rule. Today, replica of the image is worshipped at the temple.

The Banke Bihari Temple built in 1864 is the most popular shrine at Vrindavan. The image of Banke Bihari was discovered in Nidhi Vana by Swami Haridas Ji, the great Krishna devotee, belonging to the Nimbarka sect.

The famous Radha Vallab Temple set up by the Radha-Vallab sect, has the crown of Radha-Rani placed next to the Shri Krishna idol in the sanctum.

The Jaipur Temple which was built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917, is a richly embellished and opulent temple. The fine hand - carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship. The temple is dedicated to Shri Radha-Madhav.

The Shahji Temple, another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller, 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.

The Rangaji Temple, built in 1851, is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji depicted as Lord Vishnu in his Sheshashayi pose, resting on the coils of the sacred Shesha-nag. The temple built in the Dravidian style has a tall gopuram (gateway) of six storeys and a gold plated Dhwaja Stambha, 50 feet high. A water tank and a picturesque garden lie within the temple enclosure. The annual festival of Jal Vihar of the presiding deity is performed with great pomp and splendour at the tank. The temple is also famous for its 'Brahmotsav' celebration in March-April, more popularly known as the 'Rath ka Mela'. The ten day long celebrations are marked by the pulling of the rath (the chariot car) by the devotees from the temple to the adjoining gardens.

The Govind Deo Temple was once a magnificent seven storeyed structure built in the form of a Greek cross. It is said that the Emperor Akbar donated some of the red sandstone that had been brought for the Red Fort at Agra, for the construction of this temple. Built at the astronomical cost of one Crore rupees in 1590 by his general Man Singh, the temple combines western, Hindu and Muslim architectural elements in its structure.

The Shri Krishna-Balram Temple built by the International Society for Shri Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is one the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan today. The principal deities of this temple are Shri Krishna - Balram and Shri Radha - Shyam Sundar. Adjoining the temple is the samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON sect, built in pure white marble.

Other places of interest include the Sriji Temple, Jugal Kishore Temple, Kesi Ghat, Lal Babu Temple, Raj Ghat, Meera Bai Temple, Imli Tal, Kaliya Ghat, Raman Reti, Varah Ghat and Chir Ghat.

The Seva Kunj is where Lord Krishna once performed the Raaslila with Radha Rani and the Gopis and Nidhi Van where the divine couple rested. The samadhi of Swami Haridasji is situated here.

The Sri Radha Shyam Sundar Temple situated at Parikrama Marg, Vrindavan, was built by Sri Anand Swaroop Kela in 2001. The principal deities of this temple are Sri Radha Shyam Sundar Ji, Sri Ved Bhagwan Ji, Sri Agam Bhagwa and Sri Gopeshwar Mahadev

How to go

Vrindavan is connected to Mathura and all other places of Braj by rail and bus services.

Lyrical expressions of Braj culture


Sanjhee : This is the colourful art of decorating the ground with flowers. The story goes that Shri Krishna in order to please Radha, decorated the floor with flowers one evening and thereafter this art was known as Sanjhee.

Raaslila : According to the Bhagwat Purana, Shri Krishna along with the gopis had danced the Raas on the banks of the Yamuna at Vrindavan. When the gopis felt conceited about Lord Krishna dancing with them, he disappeared from their midst. In the agony of separation from the beloved Krishna, the gopis recalled and enacted his lilas (divine episodes of his life) which in course of time came to be known as the Raaslila. The Raaslila in its present form is ascribed to Swami Haridas and Shri Narayan Bhatt. Only young Brahmin boys of 13 to 14 years of age can perform the Raaslila. The charming childhood pranks of Shri Krishna constitute the main theme of these dramas.

Charkula : This is a traditional folk dance of Braj, where a female dancer balances a column of lighted lamps over her head while dancing. The charkula, a tapered wooden column with four to five circular tiers has earthen lamps on each level. The number of lamps can range from 51 to 108 at times. The dancer with her face veiled, moves with swift, graceful movements while balancing the 40 to 50 kilogram charkula on her head. A dramatic dance that is visually attractive, it is performed on the Dooj of Holi, to the accompaniment of Rasiya songs rendered by the menfolk.

Rasiya : This is the rich tradition of folk-songs that is found in the Braj area. Rasiya songs describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Shri Krishna. It is an inseparable part of the Holi celebrations and all other festive occasions at Braj. The Rasiya is sung to the rhythm of huge drums, locally known as bumb.


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