Vrindavan One Day ItineraryPlanning a one day visit to any popular tourist place is next to impossible, but sometimes circumstances do not allow the luxury of extra time and things get packed! The Golden Triangle circuit of North India (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) has long been famous with tourists, both Indian and international. The more religious oriented take a slight detour from this tried and tested route and prefer to visit other places in the vicinity, which are equally well known for temples, ancient places of worship and historical buildings and ruins.
A popular example of this type of sightseeing tour is the route that covers Mathura-Gokul-Vrindavan-Govardhan-Fatehpur Sikri. These are usually planned as 2-3 day trips that enable visitors to enjoy the surroundings and see the places in leisure.
Visit to VrindavanAlso known as Krishna Janmabhoomi or Braj Bhoomi, the ‘holy land’ extends from Kotban near Hodel, about 90 kms from Delhi on the Delhi-Mathura highway up to Runakuta which is famous for its association with Surdas, the famous poet-singer devotee of Krishna.
Vrindavan is a dusty town along the banks of the Yamuna about 15 kms away from Mathura but is home to about 4000 ancient and modern temples dedicated to Radha and Krishna. Hence, keeping Mathura as the point to start your Vrindavan visit is a matter of great convenience as distances are easier to cover. It is of course virtually impossible to cover all the places of interest in a day’s time but limiting the stops to those most unique and seeped in legend, history and heritage will allow you time to enjoy Vrindavan’s divinity and come back satisfied.
A visitor to Braj Bhoomi has to keep in mind that this area covers two tracts on either side of the Yamuna – on the eastern side lie Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo and Bajna while Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, Barsana and Nandgaon are on the western side. The NH-2 bifurcates most of these places but they are all easily accessible from Mathura.
Accommodation and BookingsVrindavan has not many choices of hotel rooms and safety is an important aspect for travellers. Mathura has a fair choice of budget and luxury hotels and rest houses which offer clean, convenient accommodation and decent food choices. Since the summer months are hot and cooler weather brings monsoons as well as lakhs of devotees to Vrindavan, it is better to have confirmed hotel bookings before leaving on the trip. Even though this is a suggested one-day trip to Vrindavan, having a place to rest and relax will help if you are planning additional trips to adjoining cities and towns of tourist interest.
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Suggested Itinerary for a Day TripSince the aim is to cover as much area and see as many places as possible within a day in reasonable amount of comfort, an area of around 50 kms radius around Vrindavan is ideal. It is better to have your own vehicle with good driver or a hired vehicle from a reputed cab agency. Always carry along a map of the area for easier location of places and to know distances.
- Start from Mathura - since most of the temples in Vrindavan are open to visitors and morning worship from around 8 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to 8 pm, the remaining time can be usefully utilized to cover other places around Vrindavan.
- Proceed to Shanidev temple, about 40 kms from Vrindavan. As the name denotes, this temple is devoted to Shani Bhagwan and there is a rush of devotees on Saturdays for the morning pooja
- Drive down to Nandgaon, home of Krishna’s father Nandbaba to whom a small temple is dedicated
- Pan Sarovar, one of the four holy lakes around Vrindavan
- Next stop is at Barsana, birth place of Radha. The Prem Sarovar where Radha and Krishna first met is situated here.
- A visit to Vrindavan is incomplete without seeing Govardhan Parvat (Mount Govardhan), the small hill that legend says Krishna held aloft the ‘giri’ for seven whole days to shelter people in Gokul and Vrindavan when Lord Indra unleashed his wrath in the form of torrential rains and thunder on the people of Braj. The road from Gokul to Govardhan is a single road not very broad but lined on either side with beautiful fields and tiny villages tucked among them. A circumambulatory (circular) trip around the hill is a rejuvenating experience as is the visit to the small temple at the top of the hill where during Janmashtami devotees gather in large numbers to sing and dance especially during the evening aarti. The sight of the town from the hill in the night time is a beautiful experience and one literally feels a sense of spirituality and elevation! From Govardhana, it is back to Mathura for a brief mid-day break. After a meal and feeling refreshed, it is time for the second leg of the trip.
- Gokul is a small village about 10 kms from Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna, where Krishna’s foster parents, Yashodama and Nandbaba brought him up. The house where Krishna lived is almost 5000 years old and in a broken down state but contains a small prayer room for devotees to offer prayers. It is a trip back in time and history.
- Mahavan – Krishna’s cradle, the places where Krishna spent his early childhood
- Baldeo, the spot where a temple dedicated to Krishna’s brother Balarama is located
- Gokul Nathji and Mathura Nathji temples
A suggested list of temples to visit
- Ranga ji temple, constructed in 1851 and believed to be the longest; it houses the ‘dhwaja sthamba’ a pillar made entirely on gold on which is inscribed famous verses from the Bhagavad Gita
- Govind Dev temple, built in 1590
- Radha Ballabh Mandir
- Madan Mohan temple, a 16th century marvel
- Banke Bihari temple – the present temple was built in the early 19th century as the earlier one was destroyed and plundered by the ravages of time and foreign invasions.
- Krishna Balaram Mandir, run by the ISKCON Trust, was inaugurated in the mid 1970s and is one of the cleanest and well maintained places of worship with many facilities and amenities for pilgrims and tourists. The evening aarti or worship attracts many devotees due to the soulful singing of bhajans and songs in praise of Krishna.
- Kesi Ghat, on the banks of the Yamuna where Krishna slew the demon Kesi and then bathed in the Yamuna. In the evening, lamps are list and offered to the river goddess in worship.
- Seva Kunj, a small grove with tulsi (vrinda) shrubs, where the deity of Radharaman is worshipped.
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