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Uttar Pradesh: Vindravan - Lord Krishna's Abode
Vindravan is a pilgrim spot for Vaishnavite Hindus. It is only 10 kilometers from Mathura, and the twin cities are toured together. While travellings from Mathura, in the midway about 5 kilometers from Mathura, is the Gita Mandir or Gita temple. The uniqueness of this temple is that the entire holy Gita has been carved out on the pillars of the temple. The architecture of the temple will also win your appreciation. You can also check out the Pagla Baba's mandir.
On the entrance of Vindravan is the 7 storeyed Red sandstone Govinda Dev Ji purana mandir, built by Man Singh. Akbar had also gifted some red sandstone from the Red Fort towards construction of the temple. It boasts of the finest Rajasthani architecture, has intricate carvings, and is the very best of middle age architecture. The walls are 10 feet thick. Arches abound at the ceiling. Meera Bai got her God Lord Krishna at this temple. Aurangzeb had destroyed 4 floors of the temple, and the main deity was shifted to Jaipur. The temple stands in ruins now. Behind this temple stands the Sri Radha Govinda Jiu temple, from where you can get meal prasad on tickets.
Sri RanganathJi: On the right of the market, the Sri Ranganath Ji temple is tall (30 meters), where Lord Vishnu is in Ananta Sajja, or eternal bed. The carvings at the gopuram will take your breath away. The architecture is Dravidian. Goddess Laxmi and Lord Brahma deities are also here.
There is Balaji too, from Tirupati. He is bathed in about 50 kgs of milk every morning. There is heavily adorned Ram , Laxman and Site too. The entrance, however, is of Rajasthani architecture.
There is more. There is a museum, puppet dance, lake, gardens and a golden palm tree too, at the temple.
The Jal Vihar Utsav at the winters, and the Rath ka Mela, are the notable festivals celebrated here.
There is also a Durga temple close to this temple.
Close by is bhajan ashram, also known as Mira Bai ashram. 2000 women perform bhajan and kirtan here, and they are given free food twice daily.
There are so many temples and holy places in Vindravan that it is difficult to cover them all. However, the other important temples that you may attempt are:
Shahji Temple: The deity is a small RadhaRaman, the temple is beautifully decorated in times of Jhulan and Rash. The fountains are also operated at this time.
Vastraharan Ghat: Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, also check out the Kalia mardan temple.
Gopinath Jiu temple, Radha DamodarJi temple (where there is the Govardhan Shila, containing foot mark of the Lord), Nikunja van, ISCON's Sri Shyam ashram, Bankobihari temple, Glass temple, Lala babu's temple, Shyamsundar temple, etc. are some of the other places pilgrims flock to.
You can even hire an auto for upwards Rs.200 and visit Mathura from Vindravan