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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Vraja Mandala > Vraja Mandala Parikrama > 15.GOVARDHANA HILL

15.GOVARDHANA HILL

 

"Krishna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna are identical. The identity of Krishna and Govardhana Hill is still honoured, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temple." {Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.35 purport)Of all the devotees of Lord Krishna, Govardhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities. Presently at its highest point the hill is just 80 feet high.How to Get Here: Govardhana Hill is 26 km (14 miles) west of Mathura.By car it takes about forty-five minutes to get to Govardhana Hill from Vrindavana. As Govardhana Hill and Radha-Kunda are right next to each other, both can easily be visited on the same trip.

 

Transcendental Body of Govardhana

 

Govardhana is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha-Kunda and Syama-Kunda are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers. A peacock often curves its neck and puts his head under its stomach. Govardhana Hill is shaped in this pose of a peacock. In Govinda-lilamrita, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami says that Govardhana Hill is shaped like a peacock and that Radha-Kunda and Syama-Kunda are its eyes.

 

It is considered as an important form of worship to walk around Govardhana Hill. In the Adi Varaha Parana it is said, "Anyone who performs Govardhana parikrama will never have to take birth in this world again."

 

How Govardhana Hill Came to Braja

 

Govardhana Hill was about 16 miles (29 km) high, 5,000 years ago. But because of the curse of Pulastya Muni, it is sinking the height of a mustard seed daily. In Satya Yuga, Pulastya Muni approached Dronacala, the king of the mountains, and asked him for his son Govardhana. Dronacala was depressed and almost started to cry, pleading with the sage that he could not bear the separation from his son Govardhana. The sage became furious and was going to curse Dronacala. Govardhana then spoke and said he would go with the sage, under the condition that wherever the sage would put him down, he would remain.Pqlastya Muni then took Govardhana and started for his ashrama. While passing through Braja Mandala he put Govardhana down to answer the call of nature. When he returned, he found that he could not move Govardhana. He became very angry and then cursed Govardhana to shrink the size of a mustard seed daily. At that time Govardhana Hill was very large. It is said that Govardha.na at that time was 115 km (64 miles) long, 72 km (40 miles) wide and 29 km (16 miles) high. Now the hill is only 80 feet high at its highest point.

 

Govardhana Puja Story

 

During Dwapara Yuga, Lord Krishna convinced the cowherd men to worship Govardhana, instead of doing a sacrifice to please Lord Indra, the king of heaven, who is charge of the rain. Krishna told the cowherd men that Govardhana Hill was supplying so many necessities and should be worshiped instead."His reasons for discouraging the sacrifice performed to please Indra were twofold. First, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita there is no need to worship for demigods for any material advancement; all results derived from worshiping the demigods are simply temporary, and only those who are less intelligent are interested with temporary results. Secondly, whatever temporary result one derives from worshiping for demigods is actually granted by the permission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."Lord Caitanya has recommended that since Krishna is worshipable, so His land, Vrindavana and Govardhana Hill, are also worshipable. To confirm this statement. Lord Krishna said that Govardhana Puja has been going on, and is known as Annakuta. In all the temples of Vrindavana or outside of Vrindavana, huge quantities of food are prepared in this ceremony and are very sumptuously distributed to the general population."The cowherd men headed by Nanda Maharaja performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men called in learned brahmanas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasadam. The inhabitants of Vrindavana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. The gopis also dressed themselves very luxuriantly and sat is bull-driven carts, chanting the glories of Krishna's pastimes. Assembled there to act as priests for Govardhana Puja, the brahamans offered their blessing to the cowherd men and their wives, the gopis. When everything was complete, Krishna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna Himself are identical.

 

Then Krishna began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Krishna and Govardhana Hill is still honoured, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temples. Devotees therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship. The form of Krishna who began to eat the offering was separately constituted, and Krishna Himslef along with other inhabitants of Vrindavana began to offer obeisances to the Deity as well as Govardhana Hill," {Krishna Book, Chap. 24)After the cowherd men worshiped Govardhana Hill, Lord Indra became angry that he was not worshiped. He then sent torrents of rain upon Vrindavana. The residents of Vrindavana then approached Lord Krishna for help. Krishna then lifted Govardhana Hill and held it over the residents of Vrindavana like an umbrella."The inhabitants of Vrindavana and their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomforts. They were simply astonished to see how Krishna was holding up the mountain with the little finger t His left hand. Seeing the extraordinary mystic power of Krishna, Indra, the King of heaven, was thunderstruck and baffled in his determination. He immediately called for all the clouds and asked them to desist." {Krishna Book)After this, Indra came along with a Sarabhi cow and offered prayers to Lord Krishna and then worshiped Him.

 

Lord Caitanya at Govardhana Hill (From Caitanya Caritamrita)

 

When Lord Caitanya saw Govardhana Hill, He immediately offered obeisances, falling down on the ground like a rod. He embraced one piece of rock from Govardhana Hill and became mad.Just by seeing Govardhana Hill, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became ecstatic with love of Krishna. While dancing and dancing, He recited the following verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam."Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O My friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama as well as Their calves, cows and cowherd friends with all kinds of necessities - water for drinking, very soft grass, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respect to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant."

 

Lord Caitanya first bathed in Mansi Ganga and then took darshan of Harideva before doing Govardhana parikrama.Lord Caitanya instructed: "One should remain in Vrindavana for only a short time and then return as soon as possible. Also, do not climb Govardhana Hill to see the Gopala Deity."

 

Govardhana Shilas

 

Devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temple. This worship is as good as Deity worship. Lord Krishna has appeared as Govardhana-Shilas ( a stone from the hill), so that His devotees may render service to him. It is important that not just anyone takes a rock from Govardhana Hill. The right to worship Govardhana-shilas should be given only by the guru (spiritual master). So his permission should be taken before beginning worship.

 

The Four Ghatas of Govardhana

 

There are four path?, (ghatis) on which the gopis would go over Govardhana Hill. They are Dan Ghati, Prema Ghati, Syama Ghati and Govinda Ghati.

 

Parikrama Rules

 

1.One should not wear shoes or items made of leather.

2.One should not wear clothes that are dirty or were slept in.

3.One should bathe and brush their teeth before beginning.

4.One should respect everyone and everything during parikrama.

5.One should try to avoid stepping on any living entity on the path.

6.If one becomes sick, one can stop and continue the parikrama the next day, but one should complete the parikrama, if possible.

7.Women should not perform parikrama during their menstruation.

 

GOVARDHANA PARIKRAMA

 

Rupa Gosvami stated in his Mathura-mahatmya that one should first bathe in Manasi Ganga and then take darshan of Harideva before starting parikrama. There are many important spots that can be visited while going around Govardhana Hill.The parikrama (circumambulation) route around Govardhana Hill is 25 km (14 miles). There is also a 40 km (24 miles) outer parikrama path. Sanatana Gosvami would do the outer parikrama while he was staying at Govardhana Hill.The average person goes around Govardhana Hill in six or seven hours. People can go as fast as four hours, if they walk very fast. It is not unusual for some people to take eight hours or more. If you visit several places while going around

 

Govardhana Hill, it can take more than 12 hours to do parikrama. It would be difficult to visit all the places in this book in one day, even if you went by taxi around Govardhana Hill.The normal starting and ending place for Govardhana parikrama is Mansi Ganga which is in the town for Govardhana. The town of Govardhana is in the middle of Govardhana Hill.Once you leave the town of Govardhana after bathing in Manasi Ganga, you can see Govardhana Hill on your right. You then walk to the end of Govardhana Hill, to the town of Punchari. You then proceed along the other side of Govardhana Hill until you reach the town of Govardhana again. From there you proceed to Radha-Kunda, which is at the other end of Govardhana Hill. When you reach Radha-Kunda you are about three-fourths of the way around Govardhana. After going around Radha-Kunda you then walk to Kusuma Sarovara. You then return to the town of Govardhana and end the parikrama at Manasi Ganga.

 

Kusuma Sarovara and Ashoka-tala

 

Kusuma Sarovara is a 25 minute walk from Radha-Kunda. Kusuma means "flower," and here the gopis would pick flowers for Krishna. Kusuma Sarovara is the best swimming spot in Braja. After you go to Radha-Kunda you could spend a relaxing hour here. It is a peaceful place, which not many people visit.During Lord Caitanya's time this place was known as Sumanah Sarovara. It is stated in the Caitanya Caritamrita that Lord Caitanya took bath here. The ghatas at this kunda were built by Jawahir Singh around 1764. Kusuma Sarovara is 460 feet long and the platforms go out 60 feet into the water.On the upper level are three tombs. The main tomb of Raja Suraj Mall has beautiful paintings on its ceiling depicting the pastimes of Krishna. There are also some paintings of Raja Suraj Mall in his court. The other tombs are those of his two queens, Kishori and Hansiya.It is said that Asta Vakra Muni left his body on the bank of Kusuma Sarovara. The small Siva linga temple on the western bank of the kunda marks the spot where he gave up his body.Ashoka-lata, a kunja (forest grove) is also on the bank of Kusuma Sarovara. This is where Krishna braided Srimati Radharani's hair. This pastime is described by Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami in his Govinda Lilamrita. There is a small temple, on the left of Kusuma Sarovara, by the road, that marks the place where Krishna decorated Radharani's hair.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is about two km from Radha-Kunda. It is between Radha-Kunda and the town of Govardhana. It is a large kunda with some impressive architecture, so it is very difficult to miss. Everyone knows where it is located.

 

Uddhava Temple

 

Near Kusuma Sarovara is a temple dedicated to Uddhava that was established by Krishna's great-grandson about 4900 years ago. Uddhava remains here in the form of grass. Krishna sent Uddhava to Vrindavana, with a message to the residents to pacify their deep feeling of separation.After delivering Krishna's message to the gopis Uddhava realized their exalted position and he prayed, "The gopis of Vrindavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukanda, Krishna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrindavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet." {Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.61)Uddhava is the cousin of Lord Krishna. He is the son of Vasudeva's brother and was almost the same age as Krishna. His bodily features resembled Krishna's almost exactly.

 

How to Get Here: This temple is next to Kusuma Sarovara. It has a good sized wall around it. If you are standing on the road, it is in the left back corner of Kusuma Sarovara. The temple is in a courtyard surrounded by a high wall. What looks to be the main entrance is almost always locked. The entrance door is a normal sized door on your left as you approach the building.

 

Narada Vana

 

Narada Vana is near Kusuma Sarovara. Narada Muni is said to have written the Narada-bhakti sutras here. He performed tapasya here after being instructed by Vrinda Devi to do so. He

desired to witness the conjugal pastimes of Radha Krishna at Radha-Kunda, but he could not do so because he was in a male body. After being blessed by Vrinda Devi, he took a female body after bathing in Kusuma Sarovara. He then witnessed the pastimes of Radha and Krishna at Radha-Kunda. Lord Krishna then instructed him to write about the glories of bhakti, devotional service.There is a good sized kunda here called Narada-Kunda. There is a temple here, with a deity of Narda Muni. Not many people visit this place.

 

How to Get Here: To get here from Kusuma Sarovara you walk a short distance (80 m) towards the town of Govardhana (away from Radha-Kunda. On the left is a dirt road. From the road it is about 400 m (a 5 minute walk) to Narada Vana. When you reach the end of the dirt road, the Narada temple is on the right and Narada-Kunda is directly in front of you, behind some trees.

 

Syamavan and Syama Kutir (Ratna Simhasana)

 

Syamavan is known as the black forest. At Syama Kutir (also known as Ratna Simhasana) there is a kunda called Ratna-Kunda. This kunda is said to mark the spot where the demon Sankhacuda (Sankhasura) carried off Radharani, who was sitting on the Ratna Simhasana (jeweled throne). It is said that he carried the Ratna Simhasana to Lagamohan Tirtha and left it there, in fear, because Krishna was pursuing him.The concrete circle with a seal on it was pointed out to me to be the place where Krishna and the gopis would dance. If you go to the back side of the temple building, there is a small room which I was told marks the spot of the Ratna Simhasana.Right outside of the entrance to the ashrama, about 7 m (20 ft) into the trees, is the imprint of Krishna's left foot. The rock that is embedded into the ground here is painted red where the footprint is located.

 

How to Get Here: This place is in the woods, across from the Sant Nivas Ashrama, about 3/4 km from Kusuma Sarovara. Sant Nivas Ashrama is the first good sized building that you will see on your left and is a fairly active place. Just before you rea'ch Sant Nivas there is a dirt road (which is the first of two) that goes off into the woods. You walk 120 m into the woods and then you make a right turn onto the path that goes to the right. You walk 115 m and there is an ashrama and temple directly in front of you, which at first may seem totally deserted.About 7 m (20 ft) before the entrance to this ashrama 7 m (20 ft) into the trees is the imprint of Krishna left foot.

 

Story of Sankhacuda (Sankhasura)

 

"At that time, while they were so much absorbed, almost in madness, a demon associate of Kuvera (the treasurer of the heavenly planets) appeared on the scene. The demon's name was Sankhasura because on his head there was a valuable jewel resembling a conchshell. Sankhasura thought that since he belonged to the rich community of Kuvera, he not Krishna and Balarama, should enjoy the company of so many beautiful girls. He therefore decided to take charge of them. He appeared before Krishna and Balarama and the damsels of Vraja and began to lead the girls away to the north. He commanded them as if he were their proprietor and husband despite the presence of Krishna and Balarama. Being forcibly taken away by Sankhasura the damsels of Vraja began to call the names of Krishna and Balarama for protection. The two brothers immediately began to follow them, taking up big logs in Their hands. 'Don't be afraid, don't be afraid.' They called to the gopis. 'We are coming at once to chastise this demon.' Very quickly They reached Sankhasura. Thinking the brothers too powerful, Sankhasura left the company of the gopis and ran for fear of his life. But Krishna would not let him go. He entrusted the gopis to the care of Balarama and followed Sankhasura wherever he fled. Krishna wanted to take the valuable jewel resembling a conchshell from the head of the demon. After following him a very short distance, Krishna caught him, struck his head with his fist and killed him. He then took the valuable jewel and returned. In the presence of all the damsels of Vraja, He presented the valuable jewel to His elder brother Balarama." (Krishna Book, Chap. 34)

 

Gval Pokhara

 

There is a small pond here called Gopala-Kunda. It is said thai Krishna would have lunch with the cowherd boys here. Gval means "cowherd boy." Pokhara is another name for a kunda.

HOW to Get Here: Directly across from Sant Nivas Ashram, there is a Jj J path on the right side of the parikrama path. If you go down this path 170 m you come to Gval Pokhara, on your left.

 

Yugal-Kunda

 

It is said that Nanda Maharaja stayed at this place. There is a small path that goes into the field, about 50 m before the tax gate (toll). This path is next to a broken wall (Im high). At the end of this wall is a 3 m (9 ft) high tower, about 20 m (50 ft) into the fields. From the parikrama path Yugal-Kunda is on the left, about a one minute walk away, behind some trees. You can not see this kunda from the road.

 

Ear of Govardhana

 

Right after the tax-gate (toll) the road forks in two directions.The right road is the correct path. About a half km past the tax gate is a small road side temple on the right side of the road,where the ear of Govardhana is said to be located. Across the street is a brick-colored building with a 7 feet by 40 feet white sign in Hindi. This temple is just before a big modern temple that looks new.

 

GOVARDHANA TOWN

 

The town of Govardhana is a fairly big town in the middle of Govardhana Hill.

 

Pancha Tirtha-Kunda

 

This place is called Pancha Tirtha because five holy places are said to be within its water. They are: Gomati. Narmada, Sarayu, Vetri and Kanchi. The building in front of this kunda is known as the Bharatpur Raja's Chatri.

 

How to Get Here: This place is on the right hand side, just after entering the town of Govardhana. It is set back from the parikrama path, behind a good sized structure that looks like the one at Kusuma Sarovara. It is across the street from Manasi Ganga. Vv'hen 1 came here, it was not possible to enter the enclosure that Pancha Tirtha-Kunda was located in.

 

Manasi Ganga

 

Mana means 'mind" and Ganga is another name for the Ganges River. Manasi Ganga is traditionally the starting and ending point of the circumambulation of Govardhana Hill. In the Mathura-mahatmya it is recommended that you bathe in Manasi Ganga and then take darshan of Harideva before beginning Govardhana parikrama. One starts by bathing and ends by bathing here. This kunda is considered a million times more potent than the Ganges River, because by bathing in the Ganges River one gets liberation and by bathing here one gets "Krishna prema," love of Krishna.It is a good-size lake located in the town of Govardhana. It is in the center of Govardhana Hill. Manasi Ganga used to be a very large lake, but as Govardhana Hill is getting smaller, Manasi Ganga is also getting smaller in the same proportion.

 

How to Get Here: Manasa Ganga is on your right, just as you enter the town of Govardhana. Even though it is a large kunda there are buildings blocking it, so you can barely see it from the road. Everyone knows where this place is located.

 

Story of Manasi-Ganga

 

After Krishna killed Vatasura, who was a demon who took the form of a calf. His friends told Him He had to go bathe in the Ganges for purification. Not wanting to travel all the way to the Ganges, Krishna by His meditation brought the Ganges to this place.Once Nanda and Yasoda, hearing of the glories of the Ganges River, had a desire to bathe in it. The residents of Braja did not want to leave Vrindavana, though Krishna was willing to take them there despite the great distance. They wishfully said, "I wish mother Ganga would come here." To fulfill the desire of His devotees, Krishna entered into meditation and from His mind sprung the kunda known as Manasi Ganga. Krishna told His father that it was not necessary to go to the Ganges, as it was already present in Braja. Krishna then brought His father to Manasi Ganga and they took bath there. It is also said that Radharani and Krishna would go boating on this lake.

 

Boat Pastimes at Mansi Ganga

 

Srimati Radharani and the gopis came to tKe bank of Manasi Ganga and wanted to take a boat across. Manasi Ganga used to be a large lake, but has gotten much smaller over the years. They were carrying their yogurt pots and other milk preparations. Krishna who was disguised as a boatman told them He would take them across. They then bargained for a while over the price. They then settled that the price would be some sweets and butter.He rowed for a while and then just stopped. Srimati Radharani and the gopis asked Him why he had stopped. He told then that He was tired and hungry and He could not go any further, if they did not feed Him. They then offered Him their milk products. He ate everything. He then told them that he would take a nap and that they should massage His arms and legs. They told Him if He did not keep rowing they would throw Him overboard. He then started rowing again.He then stopped again and the gopis asked Him why He had stopped. He told them that the boat was old and that water was coming in, because the weight they were carrying was too heavy. The gopis then threw overboard their yoghurt pots and their jewelry. Then a storm came. The wind began to blow and the waves became upset. Krishna started rocking the boat. Radharani became frightened and put Her arms around the boatman. At this time She realized that the boatman was Krishna. The wind and waves then became calm. Radharani then pulled Krishna's flute from under His clothing, and the gopis could understand that the boatman was Krishna in disguise.This pastime is called Noka-vihar and is described in Gopala Campu by Jiva Goswami. The descriptions of other boat pastimes are also in Vraja Vilasa Stava.

 

Manasi Ganga Area

 

There are several important places on the banks of Manasi Ganga or near by. Close together are the Harideva temple. Manasi Devi temple, and Brahma-Kunda. The Harideva Temple is a minute walk from Manasi Ganga. The Manasi Devi temple and Brahma-Kunda are right next to Mansi Ganga. On the other side of Manasi Ganga, all in the same area are Chakra Tirtha,Chakaleswara Mahadeva Temple and Sanatana Gosvami's bhajana kutir. The Mukharvinda Temple is close to the Govardhana parikrama road, on the bank of Manasi Ganga. Across the road from the Mukharvinda Temple is Pancha Tirtha-Kunda.Manasi Ganga, The Harideva Temple and the Manasi devi temple are usually the first places to be visited when doing Govardhana parikrama. Chakaleswara Mahadeva Temple and Santana Gosvami's bhajana kutir are usually visited after going half way around the hill. The Mukharvinda Temple is usually visited after finishing Govardhana parikrama.The samadhi of Siddha Krishna Dasa Baba, the bhajana guru of Madhusadana Dasa Babaji is next to Manasa Ganga. He wrote many books about practising devotional service. This place is down a side road, not far from Santana Gosvami's bhajana kutir.

 

Harideva Temple

 

The Harideva Temple, near Manasi Ganga, was established by Krishna's great-grandson 4900 years ago. Harideva is one of the four presiding Deities of Vrindavana. Lord Harideva is the presiding Deity for the western petal of the lotus of Braj a Mandala. He is the lifter of Govardhana Hill. This temple is architecturally interesting.After bathing in Manasi Ganga, one is supposed to come and have darshan of Lord Harideva before beginning Govardhana parikrama. Govardhana parikrama without the darshan of Harideva is not considered complete.This temple was built by King Bhagwandas of Jaipur, whose son, raja Man Singh, built the Govindaji Temple in the sixteenth century during the reign of Emperor Akbar. The original Deity of Harideva was moved to the town of Rajdhani near Kanpur, when Aurangzeb sent his soldiers to destroy the Deities and temples of Braja. This Deity of Harideva is no long at Rajdhani.Lord Caitanya danced before this Deity. "Mad with ecstatic love, the Lord came to the village known as Govardhana. It was there that He saw the Deity of Harideva and offered His obeisances unto Him. Harideva is an incarnation of Narayana and His residence is on the western petal of the lotus of Mathura.Mad with ecstatic love, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to dance before the Harideva Deity. Hearing of the Lord's wonderful activities, all the people came to see Him. The people were astonished when they saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's ecstatic love and personal beauty. The priests who served the Harideva Deity offered the Lord a good reception." {Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 18.17.20)

 

How to Get Here: This temple is about a minute walk from the south bank of Manasi Ganga. If you just came from the parikrama path you walk 50 m (30 seconds) and make a left unto a small path. This temple is 50 m away, at the end of the path. Until you are right next to this temple you cannot see it, even though it is a fairly large temple.

 

Brahma-Kunda

 

After Indra bathed Lord Krishna, all the demigods, holy rivers and sages offered prayers to Lord Krishna and then bathed Him. At this time Brahma also bathed Lord Krishna. Brahma-Kunda is the water that collected after Lord Brahma bathed Krishna. Brahma-Kunda is located on the southern bank of Manasi Ganga. Both Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda visited here. At one time there were also kundas created by Indra (east), Yamaraja (south), Varuna (west), and Kuvera (north) around this kunda. These kundas are now gone.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is directly next to the Manasi Devi Temple, close to Manasi Ganga and the Harideva Temple.

 

Manasi Devi Temple

 

The Manasi Devi Temple is on the bank of Manasa Ganga and Brahma-Kunda. The Deity in this temple, Manasi Devi, is the presiding deity of Manasi Ganga and is one of the four main Devi temples in Braja Mandala. The other three important Devi temples are: Yoga Maya in Vrindavana, Patalesvari Devi in Mathura, and Vrinda Devi in Kamyavana.

 

How to Get Here: If you just turned off the road from the parikrama road to go to Manasi Ganga. the Manasi Devi Temple is on the left, up some stairs, after about 100 m. To get here after leaving the Hari Deva temple, you make a left after 10 m (30 ft), onto a path. You follow the path around for

 

Mukharavinda Temple

 

On the bank of Manasi Ganga is the Mukharavinda Temple. There are two shilas in this temple. One shila is marked with the outline of Krishna's crown (mukut-shila). According to haktisiddhanta Maharaja the other shila, which is embedded in the ground, is the mouth of Govardhana (Mukharvinda-shila). Mukharvinda means his lotus mouth. Govardhana has the shape of a peacock with his head tucked into its chest. It is customary to visit this temple after finishing Govardhana parikrama.

 

How to Get Here: This good sized temple is right next to Manasi Ganga, almost directly next to the parikrama path. From the parikrama path you can not see it because the view is blocked by some buildings. From the parikrama path you make a right hand turn next to the structure that looks like the one at Kusuma Sarovara, (Pancha Tirtha-Kunda), just as you enter town. You walk 50 m and make a left turn under an arch. From the road you can see this temple and Manasi-Ganga through the arch. If you are on the same side of Manasa Ganga as the Harideva temple, this temple is at the right hand comer of the kunda.

 

Chakra Tirtha

 

Chakra Tirtha, which was created by the Sudarsana Chakra, is embedded in the northern bank of Manasi Ganga. As Krishna was holding up Govardhana Hill torrents of rain were coming down. Krishna could see that the water would come under the hill and drown everyone. Therefore He had His Sudarsana Chakra stay above the hill for the entire seven days. The Sudarsana Chakra produced heat equal to many suns which consumed all the rain. Also Sesa Naga came and drank up the rain water. After Krishna replaced Govardhana Hill, the Sudarsana Chakra remained on the northern bank of Manasi Ganga. That place is called Chakra Tirtha.The Chakra (disc) of Lord Vishnu is called Sudarsana which means "auspicious vision." The illuminating principles in this World such as the sun. The moon and fire emanate from the effluence of Sudarsana. Similarly, illumination by knowledge also comes from Sudarsana because with the illumination of

Sudarsana one can distinguish one thing from another, the superior from the inferior.At Chakra Tirtha, Radha and Krishna are said to have had their first swing pastime.

 

How to Get Here: This place is the area where the Chakaleswara Mahadeva Temple is located.

 

Chakleswara Mahadeva Temple and Sanatana Goswami's Bhajana Kutir

 

Next to the bhajana kutir of Sanatana Gosvami is the Chakaleswara Siva-linga Temple. This Siva-linga is one of the five presiding Siva-lingas worshiped in Braja Mandala. It protects this part of the holy dhama.The bhajana kutir of Sanatana Goswami is right next to Manasi Ganga. He would perform Govardhana parikrama as a daily vow. When Sanatana was thinking about moving from this place because of mosquitoes. Lord Siva (Chakaleswara) disguised as a brahmana came and told him that mosquitoes would no longer disturb him. Even now this place is almost free from mosquitoes. This place is within Charka Tirtha.While living here, Sanatana Gosvami would do Govardhana parikrama daily and he would often do 1008 dandavats (full obeisances like a stick). Krishna came to him one day and requested that in his old age he should not continue to keep doing daily parikrama. He then gave Sanatana a Govardhana-shila, which had Krishna's and a cow's footprint imprinted in it. This shila is now in Radha Damodara Temple in Vrindavana.Sanatana Gosvami left his body here on the full moon day in the month of Asadha (June-July) in 1558. This day is also known as Guru Purnima. It is customary to worship the spiritual master on this day, because it is the appearance day of Vyasadeva. On this day many devotees gather at Manasi Ganga.

 

How to Get Here: Both these places are right next to each other on the north-eastern side of Manasa Ganga, about 10 m (30 ft) from the water. From the parikrama path (coming from Radha-Kunda) you make a right hand turn next to the structure that looks like Kusuma Sarovara (Pancha Tirtha-Kunda), just as you enter town. You walk down this road about 200 m and you will see a path leading to Manasa Ganga on the left, with a big tree in the middle. This path is just before the road bents to the right. There is an archway about 50 feet past the tree. You go under the archway and walk 50 m taking the tight path. When you enter the temple compound, the Chakleswara Temple is on the left and Sanatana Gosvami's bhajana kutir is a little to your left, in front of you.This place is often visited while doing Govardhana parikrama, after you have gone halfway around the hill. To get to this place from the other side of the Govardhana Hill, you first walk through the town of Govardhana. Just before you leave the town, on the right side of the road you can see Manasi Ganga. At this place the kunda is about 60 feet wide. At this place you turn right and walk about 200 m, following the road around to the right. After turning right you come to the path that leads to this place.

 

Krishna-Balarama and Nanda Maharaja Temple

 

In this temple are the Deities (from left to right) of Nanda Maharaja, Balarama, Krishna, Mother Yasoda and Radharani. It is said that Nanda Maharaja, Krishna, Balarama and the residences of Braja spent the night here after completing Govardhana Puja.How to Get Here: If you just come out to Chakra Tirtha and proceed to the left for about 40 m (120 ft). When the road turns left, on your right hand side in this place.

 

Govardhana Parikrama after Manasi Ganga

 

After taking bath in Mansi Ganga and darshan of Harideva, one takes a right onto the parikrama path and walks through the market. After about 500 m you come to a busy crossing. (T intersection), where you turn right onto the road that goes over Govardhana Hill. After about 300 m, you make a left onto the good sized parikrama road, just after a police station and the Laksmi Narayana Temple (also on the left). You should be careful that you do not go too far on this road or you will go over Govardhana Hill. There is a yellow and blue sign where the parikrama path turns left in Hindi pointing to the left.

 

Laksmi Narayana Temple

 

This is one of the 108 Divya Desam Temples mentioned by the Alwars (Tamil Nadu Vaishnava devotees) as being one of the most important temples in India. The Deities in this temple are considered to be the utsava (festival) Deities of Govardhana Hill. The original Deities in this temple are gone and the present Deities have been worshiped for about 200 years.

 

How to Get Here: From the outside, it is difficult to tell there is an ancient, good sized temple here. This temple is on your left, just before reaching the turnoff for the parikrama path (about four buildings down) to leave the town of Govardhana, and just before going over Govardhana Hill. It is next to the police station (which has a yellow and blue sign). If you need to ask where this temple is located, ask for the police station. This temple is to the right of the police station.

 

Dan Ghati (Krishna Vedi)

 

Dan Ghati means "the place where taxes were collected." Dan Ghatti is a pass to cross to the other side of Govardhana Hill. This place is on top of Govardhana Hill, where the Mathura Road crosses Govardhana Hill. The shape of Govardhana Hill is like a peacock. This place is said to be the narrow stretch of the peacock's neck.The gopis would pass through here with their stock of milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt on their way to the other side of Govardhana Hill. One time, the gopis were crossing Govardhana Hill with their stock of milk products to bring them to a big yajna (sacrifice) that was being conducted at Govinda-Kunda. Krishna, along with the cowherd boys such as Sridama, Madhumangla and Sudama came and blocked the pass. Krishna and his friends told the gopis that they had to pay a tax. The gopis, such as Lalita and Visakha challenged Krishna. They said, who are you to charge us tax. Krishna told them that this place belongs to me, because I am the king of Braja. The gopis tried to get through without paying the tax, but eventually they were forced to give a little of all the items they had. Srila Rupa Gosvami describes this pastime in detail in his book, Dana KeIi Kaumudi.The Dani Raya Temple is on top of Govardhana Hill. At the present time there is no worship in this temple. It is said that Vajranabha built a temple here because of the tax pastimes that took place here. After you leave the town of Govardhana, after a few minutes, you will see this temple on top of Govardhana Hill.

 

How to Get Here: This is the road in the town of Govardhana that the Laksmi Narayana temple is on. This road goes over Govardhana Hill. You are on this road when you make the left turnoff to leave the town of Govardhana.

 

ISKCON Govardhana (Bhaktivedanta Ashrama)

 

This is an old palace with a good size yard and a new stone boundary wall. It is a peaceful place to spend the day, or a good place to rest while doing Govardhana panorama. There are some

very basic living facilities here.

 

How to Get Here: This place is about half a km out of the town of Govardhana, on the left side of the parikrama path. There is a small white stone sign saying Bhaktivedanta Ashrama in the wall. The left gate is a fancy designed black metal gate. Most of the taxi and motor rickshaw drivers outside the Krishna Balarama Mandir know how to get here.

 

Dan-Nivartan-Kunda

 

Dan-nivartan means "the place where the tax was excused." After Krishna had taxed the gopis, the gopis wanted to get revenge. So all the gopis got together and hid in the forest. At that time, Krishna was walking through the forest with just a few friends. The gopis caught Krishna and His friends. They then made Krishna bow down to Srimati Radharani and beg her for forgiveness, as punishment for making them pay a tax.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda (15 ra by 20 m) is on the right side of the parikrama path, right next to Govardhana Hill. It is about 250 m past the ISKCON property and one km outside of the town of Govardhana. The sides of this kunda slope inwards at 45

 

Aniyora (Anaur)

 

After leaving the town of Govardhana, you come to the village of Aniyora. This town is about 3 km (2 miles) from the town of Govardhana on the parikrama path. It is said that the cowherd boys and girls had wonderful pastimes here with Krishna.In Brajavasa, aniyora means "bring more." In this village, the Annakuta festival took place. After the residents of Braja offered a huge feast to Govardhana, Krishna assumed a huge form and declared that He was actually Govardhana Hill. He then ate all the offered food. Govardhana Hill then asked the cowherd men to "bring more." This is why this place is named Aniyora.

 

Sankarsana-Kunda and Balarama Temple

 

Sankarsana is another name for Lord Balarama. Sankarsana is an expansion of Lord Balarama. It is said in the Adi Varaha Parana that by taking bath in this kunda the sin of killing a cow is removed. Not far from this kunda, at Srinagar Stall, is where Madhavendra Puri found the Gopala Deity.Near this kunda is a Balarama temple called the Sankarsana Temple. The Balarama Deity in this temple is said to have been installed by Vajranabha about 4,900 years ago. This Deity was put in Sankarsana-Kunda during a Muslim attack. The present temples about 200 years old. The Deity of Balarama is black and is about 5 feet tall. Next to Balarama is a small Deity of Krishna.The Annakut festival was celebrated in the area between Dan Nivartana-Kunda and Sankarsana-Kunda.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is next to the village of Aniyora. From the road that goes around the village, it is on the right. If you are walking through the village or close to the hill it is on your left. It is about 400 m from Govinda-Kunda.The Balarama temple is a fairly small temple that looks like a house, next to the road that goes through the village.Temple Timings: Darshan times for the Sankarsana Temple are 8 to 11 am and 4 to 8 pm.

 

Gopala Prakata Stall (Sringar Stali)

 

Madhuvendra Puri found the Deity of Gopala at this place while staying at Govinda-Kunda, about 500 years ago. This place is very close to Govardhana Hill, so one has to be careful not to step on Govardhana when coming to this place. Sri Gopala was discovered before Lord Caitanya came to Vrindavana.This Gopala Deity is now known as Sri Nathji and is worshiped at Nathdwar in Rajasthan.

 

How to Get Here: This place is almost right next to Govardhana Hill, below where the old temple of Gopala is located, on the edge of the village of Aniyora. It is about a minute walk from Sankarsana-Kunda.

 

Sri Gopala (Nathji)

 

Sri Gopala (Nathji) is a beautiful black marble Deity of Lord Krishna, standing with His hand upraised lifting Govardhana Hill. Sri Gopala is Lord Krishna in His pastimes of lifting Govardhana Hill. This Deity was originally installed by Vajranabha, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna, 4900 years ago. The Lord's left hand is upraised. His right hand, closed in a fist, rests on His hip. His eyes glance downward affectionately at His devotees. Sri Nathji is a very special and beautiful Deity. The Deity appears in a large black stone from which His form emerges in bas-relief. The stone around the Deity bears several marks: two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks, a parrot by the Lord's head, two sages seated on His right side and a third on His left, and then below the sages is another snake. Around the Lord's neck is a flower garland, resembling a black snake.After Madhavendra Puri left Vrindavana, two brahmans from Bengal served the Gopala Deity. After time had passed, Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami saw that there was a need to find a devotee to serve Gopala. He gave this service to Vithala, the son of Valabhacarya.Due to the fear of attack by the marauding Pathans, Sri Nathji was taken to Nathdwar by Rana Raja Singh of Mewar, in the 17th century. The temple of Sri Nathji in Nathdwar is said to be the second richest temple in India, after the Balaji Temple in Tirupati.

 

Madhavendra Purl Discovers Gopala

 

"Once Sri Madhavendra Puri travelled to Vrindavana, where he came upon the hill known as Govardhana. Madhavendra Puri was almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, and he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell to the ground. He could not discriminate whether he was in a proper place or not. After circumambulating the hill, Madhavendra Puri went to Govinda-Kunda and took his bath. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest."While he was sitting beneath a tree, an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before Madhavendra Puri, and, smiling, addressed him as follows, 'Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don't you beg some food to eat?What kind of meditation are you undergoing?"When he saw the beauty of that boy, Madhavendra Puri became very satisfied. Hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst."Madhavendra Puri said, 'Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know that I was fasting?'"The boy replied, 'Sir, I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village no one fasts. In this village a person can beg food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all his eatables. The women who came here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you. I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you."Saying this, the boy left the place. Indeed, He suddenly could be seen no more, and Madhavendra Puri's heart was filled with wonder."After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri washed the pot and put it aside. He looked towards the path, but the boy never returned. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep. He sat and chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and at the end of the night he dozed a little, and his external activities stopped. In a dream Madhavendra Puri saw the very same boy."The boy came before him and holding his hand, took him to a bush in a jungle. The boy showed Madhavendra Puri the bush and said, 'I reside in this bush, and because of this I suffer very much from severe cold, rain showers, winds, and scorching heat. Please bring the people of the village and get them to take Me out of this bush. Then have them situate Me nicely on top of the hill."Please construct a temple on the top of that hill, 'the boy continued, 'and install Me in that temple. After this, wash Me with large quantities of cold water so that My body may be cleansed. For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering . 'When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me? I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My audience all fallen souls will be delivered. My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajranabha, and here I am the authority. When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear of the attack. Since the priest went away, I have been staying in this bush. It is very good that you come here. Now just remove Me with care.'" (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 4.21-43).Madhavendra then went to the place where this boy instructed him to go and found the Gopala Deity. A grand installation was held for Sri Gopala. What is left of the temple that He was worshiped in can still be seen on the top of Govardhana Hill, not far from Sankarsana-Kunda.

 

Gauri-Kunda

 

Sri Rupa Gosvami the pastime that took place here in Vidagdha Madhava Nataka. One day Abhimanyu, the husband of Radharani, decided to bring Radharani to Mathura to keep her away from Krishna. He went to Puranmasi and asked her for her blessing to do this. She told him that whatever he had heard was just rumors. She convinced Abhimanyu not go to Mathura and to return home. Abhimanyu then requested Puranmasi to have Radharani start worshiping Gauri Devi. His mother, Jatila, had told him that Candravali had started worshiping Gauri Devi and her husband Govardhana Malla had become very rich.Radha then went to worship Gauri Devi. Krishna then came and blocked Her path. After a long argument Radha chastised Krishna and went to pick some flowers for Gauri Devi. Abhimanyu then heard from Padma gopi that Radha and Krishna were together at the Gauri Temple, so he rushed there.Krishna then went to the Gauri Temple and dressed up like Gauri Devi, and stood in front of the deity of Gauri Devi, blocking the real deity of Gauri. After picking some flowers, Radha went and offered prays to Gauri Devi. At this time Abhimanyu came rushing into the temple. Gauri Devi (actually Krishna) then tells Abhimanyu that there is a great danger in store for him. He asked Vrinda Devi to tell him what it is.Vrinda Devi then told him that Kamsa plans to cut off his head in two days. Radharani then begged Gauri Devi to save him. Gauri said she would help him if Radharani promised that she would never leave Braj a and would always render service to me. Abhimanyu promised that this would happen. Abhimanyu then cancelled any plans of going to Mathura.

 

How to Get Here: To get here you make a left from the road that goes around the village of Aniyora, immediately after passing Sankarsana-Kunda. If you are walking through the village of Aniyora it is down a road, on the other side of Sankarsana-Kunda.

 

Govinda-Kunda

 

Govinda-Kunda is about 400 m after the village of Aniyora. This is where Lord Indra offered prayers and bathed Krishna, after Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill. This kunda was made by the bathing ceremony. Krishna's feet were bathed with Ganges water, milk, tulasi manjaris and lotus flowers. This kunda was originally filled with these ingredients from the abhiseka (bathing ceremony).

In the purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 18.37 it is stated. "Govinda-Kunda is exalted for its many spiritual activities. It has here that Indra was defeated by Lord Krishna, and Indra offered his prayers and bathed Lord Govinda. In the Mathura-khanda it is also stated: 'Simply by bathing in Govinda-Kunda, one is awarded liberation. This lake was produced when Bhagavan Sri Krishna was bathed by Lord Indra.""In this way, Krishna was bathed by the milk of the surabhi cows, and Indra was bathed by the water of the celestial Ganges through the trunk of his elephant carrier. After this, the heavenly King Indra, along with the surabhi cows and all the other demigods and their mothers, worshipped Lord Krishna by bathing Him with Ganges water and the milk of the surabhis." {Krishna Book, Chap. 27)While Madhavendra Puri was staying at Govinda-Kunda a beautiful blackish boy came to him and gave him a pot of milk. Later in a dream this same boy came and told him where the Deity of Gopala was located.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is a large kunda (100 m by 100 m), about 400 m out of the town of Aniyora. It is next to Govardhana Hill and from the paved road you may not see it because there are some trees and buildings in the way. If you just came from Sankarsana-Kunda on the dirt path you can not miss it.

 

Gopala Temple

 

This temple is next to Govinda-Kunda. The worship at this temple is supervised by the Gosvamis of the Govindaji temple in Jaipur.

 

Indra-tila

 

This is where Lord Indra and mother Surabhi are said to have bathed Lord Krishna. The water from the bathing gathered in Govinda-Kunda

 

How to Get Here: Indra-tila (hill) is a small hill (about 20 feet high) on the southern bank of Govinda-Kunda. If you are facing Govinda-Kunda and Govardhana, it is in front of you, to your left. It is a little difficult to see it because of the buildings near it.

 

Radha Govinda Temple

 

The Radha Govinda Temple is located between Nipa-Kunda and Govinda-Kunda. The Deity of Govinda in this temple is about three and a half feet tall and is playing a flute. The Deity in this temple is said to have been originally installed by Vajranabha.

 

How to Get Here: If you are standing looking at Govinda-Kunda and Govardhana Hill, this temple is directly behind you. It is a fairly good-sized temple, with a temple tower over the Deities.Temple Timings: Darshan times are 7 to Il am and 4 to 9 pm.

 

Nipa-Kunda

 

There used to be many kadamba trees on the banks of this kunda. Many of their leaves were in the shape of cups. It is said that Krishna and the cowherd boys would use the leaves of these trees to eat on. There is only one kadamba tree here now. Nipa means ''kadamaba trees."This kunda is just about dried up. There is a well next to the kunda where water from Nipa-Kunda can be gotten.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is between the paved road and Govinda-Kunda. If you are standing facing Govinda-Kunda, This kunda is directly behind you, on the other side of the Radha Govinda Temple. Most people do not know about this kunda.

 

Surabhi Van

 

This is the forest where Surabhi (mother cow) and lndra bathed Lord Krishna. In the center of this forest is Govinda-Kunda.

 

Julan (Govardhana) Shila

 

If you proceed along the side of Govardhana Hill you come to a large Govardhana-shila. On the shila is Radha and Krishna sitting on a swing (jula) being pushed by Radha's girlfriends. This shila is not so easy to find.

 

Doka Dauji (Balarama Stali)

 

This small temple is on top of Govardhana Hill. The blacL Deity of Balarama in this temple is in a crouching position. The story of this Deity is that there was once a rasa-lila dance being done near Govardhana Hill. Balarama, who was on top of Govardhana Hill in a crouching position, became so absorbed in watching the rasa dance that he took on a blackish color like Krishna.

At the foot Govardhana, on the left of the small path that leads to the Balarama temple is the impression of Balarama's crown. It is on a rock, about 10 m (30 ft) from the parikrama path.

 

How to Get Here: After leaving Govinda-Kunda, if you walk on the dirt path which is right next to the hill for about five minutes, you will see this temple on top of the hill.

 

Govinda-Kunda to Apsara-Kunda

 

If you get on the main paved parikrama road after leaving Govinda-Kunda, you will pass a small roadside temple with a Deity of Govardhana lying on his back. About 100 m past this temple is a small roadside Ganesh temple on the right. You then go 50 m (150 ft) further and then make a right turn down the dirt path. There is a 15 foot high yellow concrete tank with some water facets near this dirt road. You follow this path around to the left for 100 m and you then come to Navala-Kunda and Apsara-Kunda.

 

Navala-Kunda (Punchari-Kunda)

 

Navala means "evergreen." Govardhana Hill is said to resemble a peacock. This kunda is also called Punchari-Kunda because this area is the tail (punch) of Govardhana. Punchari is part of the area where Krishna performed the spring rasa dance with the gopis. On the bank of this kunda is the Navala-bihari temple.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is right next to Apsara-Kunda. This kunda is at the opposite end of Govardhana Hill from Radha-Kunda.

 

Apsara-Kunda

 

This kunda is at the tail end of Govardhana. Apsara-Kunda is said to have been created when the seven main Apsaras came and bathed Lord Krishna. The beautiful ladies of the heavenly planets are known as Apsaras. This pastime is said to have happened when lndra bathed Krishna. The beautiful forest near Apsara-Kunda is called Apsara Vana. In the Varaha Purana it is said that if you bathe in this kunda you get the benefit of performing hundreds of rajasuya and aswamedha sacrifices.

 

1.Govardhana Temple

2.Ganesh Temple

3.Narasimha Temple

4.Navala Kunda

5.Apsara Kunda

6.Punchari Ka Lautha Tmple

7.Apsara-bjharl Temple

8.Sutala Kunda

9.Nathaji Temple

10.Manl Kandll

 

On the bank of Apsara-Kunda is the Apsara-bihari tempie. To the left of this temple is the Dauji (Balarama) temple. There is also a small Siva temple next to this kunda, with a Siva-linga in it called Apsara Iswara.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is to the left of Navala-Kunda.

 

Narasimha Temple

 

Next to Navala-Kunda, on a small hill, is a Narasimha Temple. You can get a good view of Govardhana Hill from the roof of this temple. You can get an even better view from the top of the temple, if you can get up there.

 

Rasa Stall

 

This place is close to Punchari. Krishna is said to have performed His rasa-lila pastimes here. In this area there are tamal and kadamba trees that are in pairs. These trees are said to date back 5,000 years ago and are said to have witnessed the rasa-lila dance.

Raghava Pandit's Bhajana Kutir and Sutalavana Forest

 

Just after passing Apsara-Kunda, you enter the forest of Sutalavana, and close by is Sutala-Kunda. Next to this kunda is the Sri Nathji temple. This temple is less than a hundred years old.

If you go around the Nathji temple you come to Mani Kandah Cave. It is said that Radha and Krishna used to have pastimes in this cave. The mouth of this cave is now sealed.Raghava Pandita, a close associate of Sri Caitanva Mahaprabhu, used to do bhajana in this cave. He knew most of Krishna's pastime places in Braja. He is described in Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika as being Sri Campakalata Sakhi, one of the eight main gopis. He is one of the main personalities in Bhaktiratnakara, by Narahari Cakravarti.

 

How to Get Here: The Mani Kandali cave is close to Apsara-Kunda. To get here you walk along the side of Apsara-Kunda towards Govardhana Hill. The dirt path bends to the left and you walk about 170 m (170 steps). You will then see a dirt path that goes left towards the main parikrama road, and right toward Govardhana Hill. You take the right path for about 50 m towards Govardhana Hill. To your left will be the Nathji Temple. In front of you and a little to the right, in the woods, is Sutala-Kunda. If you walk straight and then go to the left, around the Nathji Temple, you come to Mani Kandali cave.

 

Punchari Ka Lautha Baba Temple

 

This temple is dedicated to Lautha, a friend of Krishna, who sat and waited for Krishna to return to Vrindavana from Mathura. Because this temple is close to Punchari he has become known as Punchari Ka Lautha. The deity of Lautha is red and he is sitting. This deity is one of the most famous in Braja.When Akrura was taking Krishna away to Mathura, Lautha asked Krishna when He would return. Krishna told him he would return the day after tomorrow. Lautha said he would not eat or drink anything until He returned. He then came to this place and sat down. This deity of Lautha is still waiting for Krishna to return.

 

How to Get Here: This temple is about 70 m from Apsara-Kunda, on the main parikrama path. It is a bigger than average roadside temple. Everyone knows where it is located.

 

Temple Timings: This temple is open all day.

 

Kadamba Van

 

Surabhi-Kunda, Indra-Kunda and Airavata-Kunda are all in Kadamba Van Forest. It is said that Radha and Krishna would meet in this forest and have pastimes here. After you leave the psara-Kunda area you can either walk on the dirt path, close to Govardhana Hill, or follow the paved road.

 

Surabhi-Kunda

 

This place is where Surabhi helped Indra be forgiven for the great offense that he committed against Krishna and the residents of Braja. It is a good-size kunda in the middle of the Kadamba Van forest.Lord Indra asked the Surabhi cow to come with him to ask for the mercy of Lord Krishna, after Indra offended Him. Indra then went before Krishna and offered his obeisances. Then Surabhi approached Lord Krishna and asked Him to forgive Lord Indra."The transcendental surabhi cow, who also came with Indra to see Krishna, offered her respectful obeisances unto Him and worshipped Him. The surabhi offered her prayers to Krishna as follows, 'My dear Lord Krishna, You are the most powerful of all mystic yogis because You are the soul of the complete universe, and from You only all this cosmic manifestation has taken place. Therefore, although Indra tried his best to kill my descendant cows in Vrindavana, they remain under Your shelter, and You have protected them so well. We do not know anyone else as the Supreme, nor do we go to any other god or demigods for protection. Therefore, You are our Indra, You are the Supreme Father of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are the protector and elevator of all the cows, brahmanas, demigods and others who are pure devotees of Your Lordship. O Supersoul of the universe, let us bathe You with our milk because You are our Indra. O Lord, You appear just to diminish the burden of impure activities on the earth." {Krishna Book, Chap 27)

 

How to Get Here: If you are on the inside dirt parikrama path, this kunda is about 1 km from Apsara-Kunda. This kunda is about 30 m (100 ft) to the left of the parikrama path, through a few trees. You will see a red sandstone building about 20 feet high, which is the ghata next to the kunda. This kunda is about 30 m by 30 m It is not such an easy place to find. This kunda is just off the paved parikrama path, on the right.

 

Indra-Kunda

 

It is said that this kunda was made when Indra fell at the feet of Krishna. Tears flowed from his eyes and bathed the feet of Krishna. This water formed this kunda.

 

How to Get Here: If you stand with your back at Surabhi-Kunda and face Govardhana Hill, this kunda is about a 100 metres to the right, close to Govardhana Hill. There is not much left of this kunda and except during the rainy season, it can be difficult to find it.

 

Airavata-Kunda

 

Airavata is the elephant carrier of Lord Indra. Airavata came and put water from the Ganges here, with which he bathed Lord Krishna. This kunda is close to Surabhi-Kunda.

 

How to Get Here: This kunda is on your left hand side, if you continue on the inside parikrama path another 250 m past Surabhi-Kunda. It is a good-sized kunda with a three foot wall around it. It is a very deep kunda, which has almost no water in it. As you walk on the inside parikrama path you pass a large broken down building on the left Airavata-Kunda is about 100 m to the right of this building (if you are facing the building).

 

Rudra-Kunda (Rudan-Kunda)

 

After proceeding on the parikrama path from Airavata-Kunda, for about ten minutes, you come to this kunda. Lord Siva meditated on Krishna here.It is said that Lord Siva shed tears (rudan) of love for Radha and Krishna here. Rudra is another name for Siva. There is a Siva temple close to this kunda. It is said that Radha and Krishna would come and bath in this kunda. This kunda is on the left side of the paved parikrama path in Jeti Pura.

 

Jeti Pura

 

Jeti Pura is named after Madhavendra Puri, who was a sannyasi (in the renounced order), or yati. Yati means "sannyasa." Jeti is the modern corruption. Pura means "town." This town is called Jeti Pura because Madhavendra Puri used to

 

Temple Timings: This temple is open all day.

 

Kadamba Van

 

Surabhi-Kunda, Indra-Kunda and Airavata-Kunda are all in Kadamba Van Forest. It is said that Radha and Krishna would meet in this forest and have pastimes here. After you leave the Apsara-Kunda area you can either walk on the dirt path, close to Govardhana Hill, or follow the paved road.

 

Surabhi-Kunda

 

This place is where Surabhi helped Indra be forgiven for the S great offense that he committed against Krishna and the residents i of Braj a. It is a good-size kunda in the middle of the Kadamba

' Van forest.Lord Indra asked the Surabhi cow to come with him to ask ; for the mercy of Lord Krishna, after Indra offended Him. Indra then went before Krishna and offered his obeisances. Then

: Surabhi approached Lord Krishna and asked Him to forgive ' Lord Indra."The transcendental surabhi cow, who also came with Indra to see Krishna, offered her respectful obeisances unto Him and worshipped Him. The surabhi offered her prayers to Krishna as follows, 'My dear Lord Krishna, You are the most powerful of all mystic yogis because You are the soul of the complete universe, and from You only all this cosmic manifestation has taken place. Therefore, although Indra tried his best to kill my descendant cows in Vrindavana, they remain under Your shelter, and You have protected them so well. We do not know anyone else as the Supreme, nor do we go to any other god or demigods for protection. Therefore, You are our Indra, You are the Supreme Father of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are the protector and elevator of all the cows, brahmanas, demigods and others who are pure devotees of Your Lordship. O Supersoul of the universe, let us bathe You with our milk because You are our Indra. O Lord, You appear just to diminish the burden of impure activities on the earth." (Krishna Book, Chap 27)

 

How to Get Here: If you are on the inside dirt parikrama path, this kunda is about 1 km from Apsara-Kunda. This kunda is about 30 m (100 ft) to the left of the parikrama path, through a few trees. You will see a red sandstone building about 20 feet high, which is the ghata next to the kunda. This kunda is about 30 m by 30 m It is not such an easy place to find. This kunda is just off the paved parikrama path, on the right.

 

Sringa Stali (Mukharavinda)

 

At Sringa Stali devotees pour milk over a large Govardhana-shila. Hundreds of litres of milk are poured on Govardhana daily at this place. This is on the western side of Govardhana Hill. Sri Gopala revealed himself to Madhavendra Puri on the eastern side of the hill. Sri Gopala was worshipped in a temple on top of the hill at this place.The samadhis of Vallabhacarya and his son Vithala are located directly in front of Sringa Stali. The worship of Gopala was entrusted to Vithala.

 

How to Get Here: This place is in the town of Jeti Pura, right next to Govardhana Hill. Once you are in Jeti Pura, everyone knows where this place is located.

 

From Jeti Pura

 

From Sringa Stali you then walk along the side of Govardhana Hill for about two minutes and you come to a small temple that contains the well-dressed Dandavati-shila. From here you make a left and return to the parikrama path. As you leave Jeti Pura you come to Surya-Kunda. This kunda is on the left hand side, a short distance into the fields. This kunda is always dry and is called Sukda-Kunda by the locals.

 

Vilasa Vana and Vilachu-Kunda

 

About halfway between Jeti Pura and the town of Govardhana is the Satya Narayana temple. This temple is a small roadside temple about a km from Jeti Pura. You can see the Deity of Satya Narayana from the road. There is a cold drink stand across the road from this temple.If you proceed into the fields, which you are directly behind the temple, for a km you come to Vilasa Vana and Vilachu-Kunda. On the southern bank of Vilachu-Kunda is a broken stone seat. It is said that Radharani and Krishna would sit there and talk together. The Deity of Harideva was hidden here during the Mughul rule, when the Muslim would destroy temples and Deities.

 

Sakhi Vana and Sakhi Sthali (Sakhikhara)

 

This is the place of Candravali. This place is where she used to meet Krishna. There is a run-down kunda here on the left-hand side of the parikrama path. This kunda is called Sakhi-Kunda. It is said to have been created by the 64 sakhis (girlfriends) of Candravali. Candravali is the transcendental competitor of Srimati Radharani for the attention of Krishna.At this place Candravali lived with her husband, Govardhana Malla, who was a close friend of Abhimanyu. Her 64 sakhis (friends) also lived here. Krishna also had pastimes with the cowherd boys at this place.

 

How to Get Here: This place is about % km (half a mile) from the town of Govardhana. Sakhi-Kunda is a fairly small kunda, which looks like it has not been used for a while. You may not be able to tell it is a kunda at first.

 

Uddhava-Kunda

 

This is the place, where Uddhava, after meeting with the opis, desired to have a future birth as an insignificant clump of !grass in Braja. As you approach Uddhava-Kunda, on the right side there is a small temple with Radha-Krishna Deities. These Deities are said to have been installed by Vajranabha.

 

How to Get Here: This place is a few km past the town of Govardhana, on the right side of the road. You can not see this kunda from the road. This kunda is about a hour walk from the town of Govardhana. It is next to a group of building. This kunda is on the backside of Kusama Sarovara, on the other side of Govardhana Hill.

 

Siva Khari (Siva Pushkarani)

 

You then walk a while until you reach Siva Khari-Kunda, which is on the right hand side of the parikrama path. The word siva with a long i means "jackal."Between the path and the kunda is a very small temple (3 ft high, 4 ft by 4 ft) dedicated to Lord Siva who is known as Ramesvara. Lord Siva stays here to protect Radha-Kunda.There is a story about Siva Khari in the Padma Purana, Vrindavana Mahatmya. Once a female jackal was drinking some water from the kunda here. Some children came and started beating the jackal with some sticks. The jackal hid in a nearby fox hole. The children built a fire in front of the hole to catch the jackal. Srimati Radharani was passing by at this time and heard the cries of the jackal. She said, "No one should be distressed in my favorite place (the area of Radha-Kunda)." Radharani then sent some gopis to chase the children away. The gopis then brought the jackal to Radharani. The jackal fell down before her crying. Srimati Radharani petted the jackal and blessed the jackal with eternal service.

 

How to Get Here: If you are doing Govardhana parikrama, this kunda is on tiie right as you are entering the town around Radha-Kunda. It is about 15 minutes from Uddhava-Kunda. About 35 m after this kunda the parikrama path turns to the left.

 

To get here from Radha-Kunda, you first go to the Radha Kunja-Bihari Gaudiya Math temple, and then you walk backwards on the Govardhana parikrama path about 150 m At the intersection make a right and walk 35 m The body of water on the left side is Siva Khari.

 

Malyahari-Kunda

 

It is said that the gopis, after picking flowers at Kusuma Sarovara, would come here and make them into garlands. Malyahari-Kunda is a small kunda. There is a sweet water well next to this kunda called Malyahari well.At this place Krishna and the gopis had a pastime here which involved pearls. This pastime is described by Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami in his Sri Mukta Charita. Krishna told this story to one of His wives in Dwarka, Satyabhama. Krishna came to Malyahari-Kunda and saw the gopis stringing pearl necklaces. He asked Radharani and the gopis to give Him some pearls to decorate His favorite cows, who were named Harini and Hasini, which they refused to do. Lalita Devi told Him that she did not have even one pearl suitable for decorating His cows.Krishna went home and asked Mother Yasoda for some pearls to plant a garden. She laughed and told me that everyone knows that pearls come from oysters. She eventually gave some pearls and Krishna planted them in a field.-After a few days, some creepers grew, which began to produce some big pearls. The gopis wanted some of these pearls, but Krishna did not give

them even one.

 

The gopis then tried to grow their own pearl garden. They collected all the pearls they had, not even keeping one, and planted them in a field. Not even one pearl grew. Fearing that their elders would punish them, the gopis came to Krishna and asked for some pearls. Krishna told them that they would have to come individually. At first they could not reach an agreement for Krishna to give them some pearls.Krishna then strung some pearls into necklaces and put them in golden boxes. He gave the first box to Radharani and then sent to a box to all the gopis. In return, Radharani sent Krishna some scented garlands, betel nut, and some food that She personally cooked.

 

How to Get Here: If you are doing Govardhana parikrama, you reach here by making a left onto the path just before Siva Khari-Kunda. You walk to the end of the road and make another left. A short distance down the road, on the left, is Malyahari-Kunda.To get here from Radha-Kunda you first go to the Radha Kunja-Bihari Temple. From the Radha Kunja-Bihari Temple you walk 40 m (120 ft) backwards on the Govardhana parikrama path. You turn right onto the cobblestone road, which is just after a big tree surrounded by a low stone wall, on the right hand side of the road. When the road bends to the right after 250 m, on the left side is Malyahari-Kunda.

 

END OF GOVARDHANA PARIKRAMA