Vrindavana: The Land of Krishna
Vrindavana, along with the nearby city of Mathura is most intimately connected with Krishna.
Vrindavana is one of the most important holy places in India because this is where Lord Krishna performed his childhood lila (pastimes). Krishna’s father Vasudeva brought him here from Mathura out of fear of King Kamsa. Vasudeva gave him to Nanda and Yashoda, who brought him up as their foster son. King Kamsa, fearful of a prophesy that he would be slain by Krishna, subsequently sent many demons including Putana and Aghasura to kill the Lord. However, Krishna vanquished all of them very easily. Krishna performed many other pastimes here with his mother and father, his brother Lord Balarama, his cowherd boyfriends (gopas) and his cowherd girlfriends (gopis), including his eternal constort, Radha. When he left Vrindavana for Mathura, the residents of Vrindavana were heart-broken. He killed his uncle Kamsa, and later became the King of Dwarka.
The Yamuna River, considered to be one of the most sacred rivers, flows through Vrindavana and Mathura, and was thus intimately connected to Lord Krishna’s pastimes. The surrounding area is called “Vraj”, and includes twelve sacred forests, and the famous Govardhana Hill. It also includes Varshana, the birth place of Radharani.
Vrindavana was largely unknown and hardly existed until the Fifteenth Century when it was re-established by six saints of the Bengali Vaishnava tradition, known as “The Six Goswamis”.
Currently, Vrindavana is a thriving town with over 5000 temples, mostly of Lord Krishna. There are seven principle temples, all dating back at least 400 years. They are: Radha Damodara, Govindaji, Madana Mohana, Radha Vallabha, Radha Gokulananda, Radha Gopinath, Radha Shyamasundara, Banki Bihari and Radha Raman. There are also many modern temples such as the Krishna Balarama Mandir, run by ISKCON.
In Vrindavana there are many peacocks, as well as cows, pigs and monkeys. Most of the residents of Vrindavana as well as visiting pilgrims, are devotees of Krishna and His eternal consort, Radharani. They can often be heard enthusiastically greeting each other by saying “Radhe! Radhe!” Even the trees are engraved with the name of Radharani. It is said that without Radharani’s permission, no one can enter this land and see it as it is, a replica of the spiritual world.
Vrindavana is 84 miles south of Delhi and 7 miles from Mathura.