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49. BILVAVANA (Belvan/Srivana)
In the past there were many ball-shaped fruits called bael-fruit in this forest. Krishna and Balarama would eat bael-fruit here. Bilva is another name for bael. Krishna would come here and have picnics with His friends. The forest of Bilvavana has a circumference of 5 km.There is a temple here with a three foot high beautiful Deity of Lakshmi with her hands folded. Laksmi, the goddess of forrtune, being desirous of attaining the position of a gopi, so She would be able to participate in the rasa dance, stays in the Bilvavana forest performing austerities. She wanted to be able to associate with Krishna. Krishna told Laksmi Devi it was not possible for her to be admitted into the rasa-lila pastimes in her present condition and status, and then she would have to be born as a gopi in Braj a. The temple here is not far from the Yamuna, all by itself in a field. There is nothing to see here but this temple.Bilvavana can be visited alongwith Maan Sarovara and Bhandiravana. You can also come here after going to Gokula. Not many people visit this place.
How to Get Here: This forest is 16 km from Mathura on the other side of the Yamuna. \i is about an hour and fifteen minutes car ride from Vrindavana, To get here you go over the bridge in Mathura and take the Hathras Road (the main road) straight to Raya. When you reach Raya you make a left turn onto the road to Mat over the railroad tracks. You then go about 8 km until you reach a road that goes left and back like a V. There is busy roadside market here. You take this road for a few km until you come to the turnoff to Bilavana. After you make the turnoff you follow the road around through the small village here for about a minute. You then leave the village and the Laksmi temple is about a minute out of town, in the middle of nowhere.