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Uttar Pradesh: Gokul in Vindravan
Gokul is the Braja Bhumi of Lord Sri Krishna, the place where he exercised his supreme powers to kill evil and save His mankind. The original Gokul has been lost in the hands of time, and the new Gokul have been built 2 kilometers off the original place, near river Yamuna.
It is 18 kilometers from Mathura, and can be reached by a boat or by road. It starts from Mahavan, and entrance is a Nand dwar. Travel for half a kilometer more and you will reach the old temple of Srinanda Bhawan (Killa), onn the ghats of Yamuna. There is also the Chaura Shikhamba built in Buddhist style, comprising 84 pillars. Rohini (mother of Lord Balaram), Birth place of Balaram, Shyamlalji Mandir, Durga (Singhabahini) temple. Ukhal Bandhan, Putna killing place, Makhan chor gali etc can also be visited. Just outside the temple is the Brahman ghat, where mother Yashoda viewed the universe in ord Krishna's open mouth.
3 kilometers from Mahavan, which is generally trekked, is Gokul.
It was developed in 1479 to 1531, in the age of Bhallav Achariya. The place sees thousands of pilgrims during the festival times of Janmastami, Annakut and trinvat mela. 8.5 kilometers from Mahavan is Baldev , temple of Balaram and his wife Revati Devi. Nearby is Khir Sagar or Balbhadra Kund.
Avail UP road transport buses from Mathura bus stand on 7 in the morning, to travel 160 kilometers within 100 rs. It will take you to the 12 forest tour. En route will be Gita Mandir, and it will reach Vindravan at 8am. Thereafter, it will reach Nanda Gaon, 56 kilometers away. The temple is on a hillock, and is built on the 12th century. It is known as Sri Nanda Baba Mandir. You can see the lake from the mandir. Close by is Sanket Van, where Krishna and Radha conversed by signs. There is a radha krishna temple too. There is also Varsana, which was Brahma Sarin before, the birth place of Radha. Climb up 252 steps to reach the radha krishna temple, decorated with rich carvings.
There is also the Ladli Ji temple in Barsana built in 1675 AD. Nearby is the Prem Sarovar, the lake where Krishna and Radha met for the first time. Nature is soothing. There is also a temple of Madho Singh. The birthday of Sri Radha in July August is the biggest festival here.
25 kilometers off Mathura on Dig road is Giri Govardhan. Legend has it that once Indra was angry and gave incessant heavy rains to the people for seven days and seven nights. Sri Krishna Used the mountain as a giant umbrella for the period, using a finger of his as the umbrella stand. The temple at the hilltop was built in 1520. 5 kilometers off to the north is the twin lakes, Radha Kund and Shyam Kund. Pilgrims take holy bath here. There is also the Senotap, adorned with fresco, and the Chattis.
There is a UP tourism Bungalow here too.
Sanatan Goswami had started a Teerth Parikrama (holy trekking) of Braja Bhumi covering 269 kilometers. This parirama is followed even today, and it is advised that if you are game, then take this to soak in the true flavor of Braja Bhumi. Today Bharat Sevashram organises this trip. 22 days on foot or 9 days on motorised vehicles. It starts on the first Ekadashi after Janmashtami. It is organized on the month of Kattick too, by Gurei Math and Purana MadanMohan temple. They charge Rs.200 for the 22 days trip on foot. For those who have difficulty walking, horse carriage may be arranged on seperate fair. Duli is also an option. You can also complete the trip in 10 days on horse carriage, at more or less Rs.5000. Contact Bharat Sevashram in Vindravan or LaxmiNarayan Brajabasi at purana Govinda temple Vindravan for more details.
Kansa Vadh Lila is a major festival here, celebrated in Shula Dashami of Aghrahayan month. It ends at Vishranti ghat. The killing of Kansa is enacted. Other important celebrations are Jhulan, Janmashami and Holi.
How to reach: It is reached from Mathura or Vindravan
Where to stay: If you take the holy trekking, staying will be organized by the organisers.