Lord Krishna signifies more than a religious cult or a philosophy towards life. The Indian village of Vrindavan is believed by many Hindus to be the physical manifestation of ‘heaven’ as well as the place in which the deity Krishna assumed human form thousands of years ago and lived a single life as a man. It also indicates true and passionate love and the desire to celebrate each day of life as if it were our last. Vrindavan is located in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district and is known as the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood.
There are a lot of places to visit in Vrindavan since the existence of temples, markets, and other street-side attractions make sure that you do not get bored in Mathura Vrindavan, even on a day trip.
1. Banke Bihari Mandir
Timings: All Days 7:45 AM – 12:00 PM; 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Shri Banke Bihari Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. As you come in the presence of the Banke Bihari Temple, you are confronted with the stunning Rajasthani- style edifice of the temple, which is adorned with arched windows and meticulous stonework. The image of Lord Krishna in the temple appears in the form of a child and is seen standing in the Tribhanga position. One interesting fact about the Banke Bihari temple is that there are no bells or conchs in the premises, as the Lord does not like the sound of these instruments. Divine invocations are performed by peaceful chants of ‘Radha Naam’. The word ‘Banke’ means bent in three places, while the word ‘Bihari’ means supreme enjoyer. The idol in Banke Bihari Temple was originally worshipped under the name of Kunj- Bihari which means enjoyer of lakes. The sewa of the Bihariji is unique in its own way. It is performed in three parts every day ie Shringar, Rajbhog and Shayan. While Shringar (which includes bath, dressing and adornment with jewellery like crown and necklaces) and Rajbhog (feast) are offered in the forenoon, Shayan Sewa (Shayan means sleep) is offered in the evening. One of the holiest places when it comes to the worship of Lord Krishna, the Banke Bihari Temple is thronged by devotees all through the year.
2. Prem Mandir
Timings : 8:30 AM to 12 Noon, 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Prem Mandir is a massive temple that was shaped by Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj in the year 2001. Known as “Temple of God’s love”, this grand religious place is dedicated to Radha Krishna as well as Sita Ram. Located in Vrindavan, the holy city in the district of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, the temple is enveloped with piousness and serenity. This newly constructed temple is the most beautiful in the entire Brij area and is crowded with devotees during the time of the Aarti. Made out of white marble and adorned with very intricate carvings, this temple is also famous for its architectural beauty. Statues of Shri Krishna and his admirers, portraying essential occasions surrounding the Lord’s life, cover the main temple. Various scenes from Krishna’s life, like raising the Govardhan Mountain, have been depicted on the periphery of the Prem Mandir. The lighting of the temple further glorifies its spectacular look, especially during the night. The colored water twists and twirls to the tunes of the kirtans of Radha Krishna being played nearby and are an audio-visual delight.
3. ISKCON Vrindavan Temple
Timings : Summer: 4:30 AM – 12:45 PM and 4:30 PM – 8:00 PM Winter: 4:30 AM – 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM – 8:15 PM
Also known as Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir, ISKCON Vrindavan is a dream fulfilled of Swami Prabhupada, who wished to build a temple for the brothers – Krishna and Balaram – in the same holy city where they played together several centuries ago. Located in the Raman Reti area of Vrindavan, ISKCON temple has become the major attraction in the city and is thronged by devotees from nearby Delhi and all over the world. The three altars at ISKCON Vrindavan are the seats of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Shri Krishna and Balaram and Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara along with Lalita and Vishakha. The presiding deity of the temple, however, is Lord Krishna-Balaram. There are two idols on the central slab of the temple which depict Krishna and Balarama, who were brothers. On the right dais are the idols of their friends. On the left side is a statue of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Nityananda, and of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his spiritual coach Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Krishna-Balaram Mandir implements great ethics of hygiene and deity adoration in the whole of Vrindavan.
4. Radha Raman Temple
Timings : 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM and 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mangla Aart: 4:00 AM in winter and 5:30 AM in summer
Located about 2 kilometers from the Vrindavan Railway Station is one of the most revered early modern Hindu temples in Vrindavan, the Radha Raman Temple. The temple is known to have the original Shaligram deity of Krishna alongside Radharani, which is the self-manifested deity from Shaligram Shila and has a mystical smile on his face. The Radha Raman temple complex also has the samadhi of Gopal Bhatta, located right next to the appearance place of Radha Raman. Radha Raman Temple is said to be one of the most significant among the 7 temples of Thakur of Vrindavan. It holds importance especially among the followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. The temple was beautifully crafted when it was established in 1542 but was renovated later in 1826 by Shah Behari Lallji. Another interesting fact about this temple is that even though it is dedicated to and named after Radha, there is no deity of Radha Rani in the temple. There is only a crown kept next to Krishna to signify her presence.
5. Sri Ranganatha Temple
Timings : Summer: 5:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Winter: 5:30 AM – 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Sri Ranganath Temple, is situated on the Vrindavan – Mathura Marg. It is dedicated to Lord Sri Goda Ranagamannar – a South Indian Vaishnava Saint, and Lord Ranganatha – an incarnation of Lord Krishna. The highlight of the temple is the idol of Krishna present in the form of the groom with Goda (Andal) as his bride. Goda, also known as Andal in South India, was a famous 8th century Vaishnava Saint known for composing “Tiruppuvai”. It is a hymn for her beloved Lord Krishna and his birthplace Vrindavan. It is believed that seeing her dedication to him, Lord Krishna answered her prayers by agreeing to become her groom. This form of Krishna and Andal is idolized at the Rangji Mandir in Mathura-Vrindavan. This is one of the largest temples in North India and one of the 108 Divyadesams of the Vaishnavas. Devotees visit in large number during the annual Sri Brahmotsav festival in March-April.
6. Sri Sri Radha Gokulnanda Temple
Timings : 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Mangla Aarti: 5:00 AM in Summers, 6:00 AM in Winters
Situated between Keshi Ghat and Radha Raman Temple in Vrindavan, Radha Gokulananda Temple was created by Lokanath Goswami and contains idols of Radha Vinoda, Radha Gokulananda and Lord Chaitanya. The Radha Gokulnanda temple houses a Govardhana-shila that was given by Lord Chaitanya to Raghunath Dasa Gosvami. This shila bears the thumbprint of Lord Caitanya. Originally, there was no Deity of Radharani in this temple. Jahnava Devi had a deity of Radha made in Jagannatha Puri and installed it next to Radha-Vinoda. This original deity of Radha-Vinoda is now being worshipped in Jaipur