Tourist Places in Uttar Pradesh – Mathura

Vrindavan: Noted for its numerous temples, both old and modern, Vrindavan isjust 15 km from Mathura and is another major place of pilgrimage. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the woods where he frolicked with the gopis and wooed Radha. The Madan Mohan Temple is a popular place of worship here, which was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. This is the oldest existent temple in Vrindavan today, located near the Kali Ghat. The temple is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya. The presiding deity is Lord Madan Gopal. The Banke-Bihari Temple built in 1864 ls *^e most popular shrine at Vrindavan. The JSOl,

image of Banke-Bihari was discovered in Nidhi Vana by Swami Haridas. The famous Radha-Vallabh Temple set up by the Radha- Vallabh sect, houses the idol of Shri Krishna in the sanctum. The Jaipur Temple which was built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917, is outstandingly embellished and grand. The temple is dedicated to Shri Radha Madhav. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is based at the intricately carved white-marble Krishna Balaram temple complex. The Shahji Temple, another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876, which is noted for its inimitable architecture and exceptional marble sculpture. The ‘Basanti Kamra1 or the darbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and fine paintings.

Govardhan: The Govardhan or Govardhana Hill is intertwined with many interesting legends. The hill is assumed to be in the shape of a peacock when it curves its neck and puts his head under its stomach. It is said that in Satya Yuga, the great sage known as Pulastya Muni approached Dronakala, the king of the mountains, and asked him for his son Govardhana. Dronakala agreed to give his son on condition that if the sage kept Govardhan down, the mountain would remain at that place, hoping that in this way the sage would not be able to take Govardhan too faraway from him.

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Finally, while the sage was passing through Braja Mandala, he had to put Govardhana down to finish his toilette and on his return,

he could not move the Govardhana. The sage got angry and cursed Govardhan that it would shrink by the size of a mustard seed daily. It is said that Govardhana Hill was once 115 km long, 72 km wide and 29 km high. Today, the hill is only 80 ft high. Yet another legend states that at the time when the army of Lord Rama was constructing the bridge to Lanka, Hanuman carried off Govardhana from the abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas to help build the bridge. On the •way, when he was passing through Braja Mandala, he was informed that no more stones were needed and thus, Hanuman left Govardhana there. Govardhana felt lost and desperate for he was away from both Lord Shiva and Lord Rama. Rama answered his prayers by promising to come to him in his next incarnation and thus, in Dwapar Yuga, when he took birth as Sri Krishna, he held Govardhana up for seven days and nights to save the residents of Braja.


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