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29. VARSANA (Barsana)
Varsana is the capital of King Vrishabhanu, the father of Radharani. This is where Srimati Radharani lived and had many pastimes with Krishna. She grew up here. King Vrishabhanu and his family, including Srimati Radharani, lived at Varsana. Varsana is 42 km (25 miles) from Mathura and has a 7 km parikrama path around it.There are four peaks here. Each one of these peaks is a head of Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma wanted to do some personal service for Radha and Krishna, so he incarnated himself as these hills. This is stated in the Padma Purana. There are two hills
here. The white colored one is said to be Lord Brahma and the black coloured one is said to be Lord Vishnu. The main Larily-LaI Temple (Shriji temple) is located on the Brahma hill.
How to Get Here: Varsana is about 42 km (25 miles) northwest of Vrindavana, off the main road that goes between Mathura and Delhi. The easiest way to get here is by taking a taxi, which takes about an hour.Both Varsana and Nandagram are close to each other (about 8 km apart) and can easily be visited in the same day. The Braja Darshana bus goes directly to Varsana at 8 am in the morning. This bus begins at the Vrindavana bus stand. You can also get this bus outside the ISKCON temple. You can also take a bus to Kosi (40 km to 25 miles) and from there get a tempo to here.Getting Around (Vatsana Parikrama): On top of the hill here is the Larily-Lal temple, which is the main temple in Varsana. From there you can do parikrama of the Varsana area. First you can follow the road around through the village to Sankari Kor. When you go through Sankari Kor the hill on your right is the main hill and the hill on your left is Vilas Garh. After going past Sankari Kor you come to the village of Chiksoli (Citra). At the end of this village are Bihar-Kunda and Dohani-Kunda. When you go through the village of Chiksoli, you are at the other end of the main hill, on which the Larily-Lal temple is located. Mayur Kutir is up some steps on top the hill at this place. Up another set of steps is Maan Kutir. At the bottom of the hill here is Krishna-Kunda. From here you can follow the path on top of the hill to Dan MaI and the Kushal Bihari (Jaipur) Temple. If you continue on the path, past the Jaipur temple, you come to the Larily-Lal temple after a five minute walk.
Radha and Krishna's Pastimes
"Whenever Srimati Radharani leaves Her house. She is always well dressed and attractive. It is Her womanly nature to attract Sri Krishna's attention, and upon seeing Her to attractively dressed. Sri Krishna desires to touch Her body. The Lord then finds some fault in Her and prohibits Her from going to a river crossing and stops Her from picicing flowers. Such are the pastimes between Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna. Being a cowherd girl, Srimati Radharani regularly carries a container of milk and often goes to sell it on the other side of the Yamuna. To cross the river, she has to pay the boatman, and the spot where the boatman collects his fares is called the dana-ghati. Lord Sri Krishna stops Her from going, telling Her, "First you have to pay the fee; then You will be allowed to go.' This pastimes is called dana-keli-lila. Similarly, if Srimati Radharani wants to pick a flower, Sri Krishna claims to be the garden's proprietor and prohibits Her. This pastimes is called kila-kincita Radharani's shyness arises due to Sri Krishna's prohibitions and ecstatic loving symptoms called kila-kincita-bhava are manifest at this time. These ecstatic symptoms are explained in the following verse, which is from Srila Rupa Gosvami's Ujjvala-nilamani. 'Pride', ambition, weeping, smiling, envy, fear and anger, are the seven ecstatic loving symptoms manifest by a jubilant shrinking away, and these symptoms are called kila-kincita-bhava. (Caitanya caritamrta Madhya 14)
Larily-Lal Temple (Shriji Mandir)
On top of one of the hills if the Larily-Lal Temple, which is where the original Radha Krishna Deities of Varsana reside. Larily-Lal temple means "the temple of the beloved." The Deities in this temple were installed by Vajranabha. In this temple there are colourful pictures on the walls and ceiling, depicting the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. This temple is an important place to visit.
This temple is on the top of the main peak of the Brahma Hill. It is said that where this temple is located is where King Vrishabhanu, the father of Radharani had his palace.At the foot of the steps that lead to this temple are the Astasakhi temple and the Vrishabhanu, Kirtida, Sridama temple. These temples are said to have been established by Vajranabha.You should be prepared when you go to this temple to be approached heavily for a donation. If you ask a question to anyone or take anything from anyone, be prepared to give a donation. You can exfiect several people to come up to you to either guide you around or to ask you for a donation. You can be almost certain that if a priest comes up to you and starts talking to you in a friendly matter that very quickly the request for a donation will come up.
How to Get Here: If you come by taxi the most likely place for the taxi to park is on the side of the hill close to the steps leading up to this temple, as almost everyone coming to Varsana comes to this temple first. You then walk up about 193 steps to this temple. It is a fairly hard climb and there are men at the bottom of the hill that carry people up the steps in a small palanquin. Temple Timings: Darshan is from 8 am to 12 noon and 4.30 to 8 p.m.
Kushal Bihari (Jaipur) Temple
On the hill next to the main temple, is the Kushal Bihari Temple, built by the king of Jaipur at the turn of the century. You should be careful when you pass this temple, because if you disturb the bees here they may attack you
How to Get Here: This is a large temple on top of the hill. It is about half a km from the main temple in Varsana. From the Larily-Lal Temple, you can walk along the top of the hill to this temple, on a nice path.
At this place the gopis would swing Radha and Krishna. Dan means "charity." At this place is the Dan-bihari Temple.The story about this place is that once there was a poor brahamana who had a daughter of marriageable age. The brahmana was so poor that he had no money to give a suitable dowry for his daughter. The brahmana's wife had a sharp tongue and she sent her husband out to beg and told him not to come back without a suitable dowry. He approached Krishna at this place to help him. Krishna then arranged for him to get golden jewelry equal to the weight of Srimati Radharani.
How to Get Here: This place is on top of the hill here, next to the Kushal Bihari (Jaipur) temple. It is about 20 m (60 feet) from the Kushal Bihari temple, on the same side as Mayur Kutir.
Sankarl Kor (Sakara Gully)
Sankari Kor is the spot where Krishna would stop the gopis to steal their yogurt. Krishna would stand in the middle of the ravine and would demand a tax from the gopis to get by. Krishna would sometimes break Radharani milk pots when she would not pay the tax. Indented in the stones here, you can see the marks of those broken pots. Dan Garh is the place where the taxes were assessed.Sakari means "narrow". This narrow passageway is between the village of Chiksoli (Citra) and the town of Varsana. The path becomes very narrow at this place, with the rock coming down sharply making a V. You have to be careful that you don't all walking through here.This path divides Vilas Garh Hill from the main hill. How to Get Here: If you came down the steps from the Larily-Lal Temple, you make a right. You walk 80 m and make another right. You follow the road around for about 200 m At this point the road turns left and bears to the right. You turn left and go 30 m and make a right. The road goes through the village for 300 m and then becomes a path for 700 m At this point you come to Sankari Kor. You can also have your taxi take you here. By taxi you come to the other side of Sankari Kor, near Mayur Kutir, in the village of Chiksoli.
At Vilas Garh, Radha and Krishna used to have their pastimes. Vilas Garh is one of the four peaks of Brahma-girl. When you go to Sankari Kor, this is the hill on the other side of the pass from the main hill. If you are going from Varsana to Chiksoli it is on your left.
Chiksoli (Citra Village)
This is the village of Citra Devi, one of the eight main gopis. This is where she took birth. This village is next to Varsana, on the other side of Sankari Kor.
How to Get Here: This village is on the other side of Sankari Kor. Varsana is on one side and Chiksoli is on the other. They are virtually right next to each other.
Mayur Kutir (Mor Kutir)
At Mayur Kutir (Mor Kutir) there was a dancing contest between Krishna and a peacock. Srimati Radharani judged their abilities. Another story about this temple is that one time Radharani complained that the forest in this area did not have any beautiful peacocks. Krishna then appeared dressed like a peacock and danced for Radharani and her friends. Mayur means "peacock".
In the small temple of Mayur Kutir there is a beautiful painting of Krishna dancing as a peacock. The paintings on the altar here was done by a blind saint who used to live here.At the bottom of the hill is Krishna-Kunda.
How to Get Here: This is a small red brick building without any windows on the top of the hill. There are two ways to get here. From the Jaipur temple you take the left path going in the direction away from the Larily LaI Temple. You pass a few buildings at the beginning of the path. You walk across a ridge (the top of the hill) about 400 m The path is not obvious. If you just came from Sankari Kor you walk 300 m on the path away from the village of Varsana. Forty metres after passing a small intersection you make a right and follow the road around to the left for 180 m. When the road bears sharply to the left you will see two sets of stairways on your right about 30 m ahead. You take the first stairway (the smaller one). It is a fairly tough climb.'
This place honours the pastime of Srimati Radharani showing the qualities of maan. Maan means "anger." Maan is when Radharani acts angry and feels hurt because of Krishna's neglect.
How to Get Here: This place is close to the Mayur Kutir. If you come from Sankari Kor you take the second larger set to steps (15 of them). When you come up the steps you make a left passing Krishna-Kunda. You then follow the path around for about 20 seconds and you will come to some red rough steps that go up a step hill. It is a tough climb to get here.If you take the main path from the Jaipur temple you come to a set of buildings at the end of the path, after a half a km. You make a left down some steps and walk about 50 feet and the steps leading to this place are on your right.
This is where Srimati Radharani would exhibit maan when she was extremely angry with Krishna.
Gahwar means "cave in the mountain." There are many caves here.
Dohani-Kunda and Bihar-Kunda
At Dohani-Kunda the cows would be milked. Dohani means "to milk." Near Dohani-Kunda, Radharani used to play with the gopis.Near Dohani-Kunda is Bihar-Kunda. At Bihar-Kunda, Radha and Krishna would meet together. Next to this kunda is the Bihariji temple.
How to Get Here: These two kundas are near the village of Chiksoli. They are at the bottom of the hill, not far from the bottom of the steps that go up to Mayur Kutir.
At PiIa Pokhar, Srimati Radharani washed Her hands because of Her touch, the kunda turned a golden-yellow color. PiIa Means "yellow." This kunda is still a golden-yellow color from when Radharani washed her hands here.The story of this place is that Mother Yasoda really loved Srimati Radharani and wanted Her to marry Krishna. So one time when Radharani came to Nandagram, Mother Yasoda put some turmeric paste of Her hands. The custom is that when the bride's father and groom's father have agreed that their children would get married, then the agreement become finalized by applying turmeric paste onto the hands of the future bride. When Radharani saw her yellow hands, she did not know what to do, so she came here and washed her hands in the water of this pond. The water of this pond is still yellow even today. This is also a very peaceful place.
How to Get Here: PiIa Pokhar is across the road from the Larily LaI Temple, at the bottom of the hill. If you just left the place where most people park to go to the Larily LaI Temple, you go back to the main road (about 200 m away). Directly in front of you is a bridge, which you cross. After going about 200 m, directly in front of you is PiIa Pokhar, behind some buildings (a school). It is a large well-kept kunda and is hard to miss.
Trees once grew here that were full of priceless jewels, that were planted by Krishna. The story of this place is that while Radharani was washing her hands at PiIa Pokhar, some people saw her and went and told Her Parents. Her father and mother, Vrishabhanu and Kirtida were very happy that she was engaged to be married to Krishna. So they sent a plate of precious jewels and gems to Nanda and Yasoda.Nanda and Yasoda were very joyful. But then Mother Yasoda realized that to accept the proposal of marriage they had to return a plate of precious jewels and gems to Radharani's parents, and they did not have any. When Krishna found about this, he decided to plant the jewels and gems that were sent by King Vrishabhanu in a field. So that trees would grow that would be full of jewels. Sure enough a big tree grew that was full of priceless jewels.These jewels were sent to King Vrishabhanu and Queen Kirtida to accept the marriage proposal. Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yasoda went to Purnamasi to receive her blessings for the marriage. She told them that if Radharani and Krishna got married at this particular time the marriage would not last. She said that may be in the future they should get married, depending on their astrological charts. So the marriage was stopped.