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Govardhan
 


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Govardhan Hill is situated some 20 km west of Mathura. It is one of the most frequently visited places in Vraja-mandala. It is not surprising because from the time of Sri Krisna's pastimes 5000 years ago, only three things remained as they were: dust of Vrindavan, Yamuna River and Govardhan Hill.

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Giriraj (another name of Govardhan) is the best of Krisna's servants because it supplies Krisna, Balarama and cowherd boys fresh grass for their cows, fruits, roots, minerals and beautiful scenery for their wonderful pastimes.

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The Appearance
of Govardhan in Vraja

It is said in the Adivaraha-purana, that during the advent of Ramacandra, the monkeys and bears brought large rocks and stones from many places to construct a bridge to Lanka. Hanuman was carrying Govardhan to the ocean, having uprooted him from Uttarancala, when he heard a divine sound that announced: "The bridge is now complete and no more rocks are required..."

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...Hearing this Hanumanji became sad and put Giriraj down. Giriraj also became very unhappy and said to Hanumanji: "You have deprived me of the touch of Sri Rama's lotus feet," and he was ready to curse him. But Hanumanji replied: "Please forgive me. In the next Dvapara-yuga, your desire will be fulfilled...

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...Svayam Bhagavan, Sri Krisna will stop the worship of Indra and worship you instead." Saying this Hanumanji leapt into the air and arrived at Sri Ramacandra's side. Lord Rama declared: "All those rocks which have been assembled to build the bridge, have been delivered by the touch of My feet. But I shall fulfill the desire of Govardhan by holding him on My hand and make him famous as the best Haridas."

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The Garga-samhita relates different story from a different kalpa:
Pulatsya Muni once reached Dronacala Hill. Govardhan, the son of Dronacala, was very beautiful, fragrant, smooth and full of green trees and creepers. Muni desired to bring him to his residence in Kasi, because there was no such a hill around. He asked Dronacala to give him Govardhan so that he can perform his sahdana-bhajan peacefully on beautiful Govardhan in Kasi...

display enlarged image in new window ...Dronacala could not refuse, fearing the curse of the Muni, but at the same time did not wanted to loose his beloved son. But Govardhan agreed to go under one condition: If Pulatsya will put him down somewhere on the way, he will not go further and remain there. The Risi accepted his condition and by his mystic power raised him on his palm and proceeded to Kasi...
display enlarged image in new window ...As they reached Vraja, thoughts of Krisna entered Govardhan's mind and he became very heavy. The Risi could no longer carry him and was forced to put him down for refreshment and answer the call of nature. After the Risi took bath, ate something and rested, he tried to lift him again and continue his journey. But Govardhan refused. The Risi could not move him even when he employed all his power and finally, in great anger, cursed him saying: "You will diminish in size of one sesame seed every day." Govardhan accepted the curse, knowing that Krisna's lilas are near, but in fact diminishes every day since than...
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...But who can say whether this is due to the Risi's curse or due to separation from his Lord Sri Krisna.

display enlarged image in new window Govardhan Hill was about 3 km high 5000 years ago . Presently at its highest point the hill is just 25 m high and 11 km long. Govardhan Hill is said to resemble a peacock. Radha-kund and Syama-kund are his eyes, Manasi-Ganga and Govardhan town his waist and the Apsara-kund and Nava-kund is the tail (punch).

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59. Airavata-kund
60. Samadhis
61. Mukharavinda, Vitthala's samadhi
62. Dandavat-sila
63. Jatipur village
64. Gulala-kund
65. Gantholi
66. Vilachu-kund
67. Sakhi-sthali
68. Nima Gaon
69. Uddhava-kund
70. Siva-khari
71. Radha-Kunjabihari Gaudiya Math

Govardhan
1. Radha-kund
2. Syama-kund
3. Lalita-kund
4. Mukhara
5. Kusuma-sarovara
6. Uddhava Temple
7. Ashoka-vana
8. Narada-kund
9. Ratna-kund
10. Rasa-sthali
11. Ratna-simhasan
12. Krisna's footprint
13. Gval-pokhara
14. Sant Nivas
15. Jugal-kund
16. Kilola-kund
17. Panca-tirtha-kund
18. Mukharavinda
19. Cakra-tirtha (Cakaleswara,
bhajan-kutir of Sanatana Gosvami)
20. Manasi-ganga
21. Brahma-kund
22. Manasidevi Temple
23. Harideva Temple
24. Govardhan Town
25. Rinamocan-kund
26. Dana-gati Giriraj Mandir
27. Radharani's footprint
28. Laksmi-Narayan Temple
29. Dani-raja Temple
30. ISKCON Temple
31. Papamocan-kund
32. Danivartan-kund
33. Candra-sarovara
34. Parasauli
35. Gauri-kund
36. Aniyor village
37. Gopal Raj Temple
38. Siva Temple
39. Balarama (Dauji) Temple
40. Sankarsana-kund
41. Gopala-prakata sthali
42. Govinda-kund
43. Nipa-kund, Radha-Govinda Temple
44. Madhavendra Puri's bhajan-kutir,
Indra-tila
45. Doka-dauji Temple
46. Balarama-mukut sila
47. Nrsimha Temple
48. Nava-kund
49. Apsara-kund
50. Puncharika Lautha Baba Temple
51. Syama-dhaka
52. Mani-kandali Cave
53. Nathji Temple
54. Airavata's footprint
55. Indra-puja
56. Indra-kund
57. Surabhi-kund
58. Rudra-kund, Hariju-kund
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On the way to Govardhan on Delhi-Agra road is a village called Chatikara where Nanda Maharaja stayed for some time while traveling from Gokula to Nandagram. Today we can see there a really interesting road sign...

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Half way there we pass by the biggest banyan tree in whole Vraja.

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Govardhan-parikram (circumambulating of Govardhan Hill) should traditionally begin near Manasi-ganga, on the waist of Govardhan. But riksas from Vrindavan will usually take you to the crossing near Radha-kund and most devotees start their parikrama from there.

display enlarged image in new window Kusuma-sarovara
A 25-minute walk from Radha-kund is Kusuma-sarovara, our first stop.
display enlarged image in new window Kusuma means "flower," and kusuma-vana is a forest of flowers. Srimati Radhika used to come here on the pretext of picking flowers with her girlfriends, but Her real intent was to meet Sri Krisna, with whom She would have love-quarrels (keli-kalada) and sarcastic exchanges full of rasa.
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Many pastimes took place here at Kusuma-sarovara: One morning, Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis arrived on the bank of the lake to pick the fragrant flowers that bloomed here in abundance. Seeing a branch full of flowers, She pulled it down with one hand and started to pick flowers with the other...

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...Knowing that Srimati Radharani was coming, playful Krisna had climbed that tree and had stationed Himself on that very branch. Using all His weight to push that branch down, He had hidden Himself so that Srimati Radharani would not see Him...

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...Radharani became absorbed in picking flowers from that branch when Krisna suddenly shifted to another branch. At once the first branch sprung up, lifting Srimati Radharani with it...

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...Radhika cried out for help and Sri Krisna immediately leapt from the tree and caught the hanging Srimati Radharani in His arms...

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...Seeing this, the sakhis began clapping and laughing loudly, but Radhika began to scold Him.

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Tortoises living in the Kusuma-sarovara are said to be the great sages, living for centuries in their bodies and meditating on the divine pastimes of Radha and Krisna.

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Some say that if you feed tortoise you will became healthy.

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Nowadays, it is a good place to take bath and even swim as this is the best swimming spot in the Vraja area.

Furthermore, where in the whole world one can get the following benediction: "Anyone who bathes in sanctified waters of this lake becomes eligible to witness that ambrosial eightfold pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila) of Sri Sri Radha and Krisna."

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The present ghatas were built by Javaraha Singh, the Maharaja of Bharatpur, who looted the treasury of Delhi in 1767 and with that money built beautiful ghatas and sandstone monuments...

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...To the west of Sarovara is the tomb of his father, Raja Surajamala, one of the most famous Jat warriors in India's history, with the tombs of his two queens.

The Raja as built it mostly for the glorification of his family, as you can see on the wall paintings...

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...Bigger paintings are showing events from the history of his family and smaller ones are depicting the pastimes of Sri Krisna.

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...The pure devotional atmosphere has been ruined to some extend, but the wise man will take the milk part, leaving the water, as swan (hansa) is capable of doing...

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It is said that Astavakra Muni left his body on the bank of Kusuma-sarovara, while doing penances on its banks and waiting for the appearance of Radha and Krisna. The small Siva-linga temple on the western bank of the kund marks the spot, where he gave up his body after being blessed with Their divine darsan.

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During Lord Chaitanya's times this place was known as Sumanah-sarovara. It is stated in Caitanya-caritamrita, that Sri Caitanya also took bath there.

Nearby is the temple of Dauji.

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Also at this place is a temple dedicated to Uddhava. This temple was established by Krishna's great-grandson about 4,800 years ago. It is a peaceful place. Uddhava is the cousin of Lord Krisna. He is the son of Vasudeva's brother and almost the same age as Krisna. His body resembles Krisna's body almost exactly...

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...After delivering Krisna's message to the gopis, Uddhava realized their exalted position and prayed: "Let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vrindavan, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their feet." Uddhava remains there in the form of the grass known as gulma-lata.

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Ashoka-lata, a kunja (forest grove) is also on the bank of Kusuma-sarovara. This is where Krisna braided Srimati Radharani's hair. This pastimes is described by Krisnadas Kaviraj Gosvami in Govida-lilamrita. There is small temple on the left of Kusuma-sarovara, by the road, that marks the place where Krisna decorated Radharani's hair.

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Samadhi further on the way.

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Narada-kund
About four hundred meters little off the road south-east of Kusuma-sarovara is Narada-kund.

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After Narada Muni heard the glories of supreme gopi-bhava from the mouth of Vrindadevi, a strong desire to serve Radha and Krisna in the form of gopi arose in his heart. He received a gopala-mantra from Brahma and begin his sadhana-bhajana...

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...After performing worship for many yugas Yogamaya Paurnamasi dipped Naradaji in Kusuma-sarovara and he received a body of the gopi...

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...Thereafter he obtained the qualification to perform seva of the Divine Couple...

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...Seeing Narada there in the form of a gopi, Sri Krishna requested him to stay at Narada-vana and write bhakti-sastras...

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...Although Narada had been cursed by Daksa not to be able to stay in one place, Krisna informed Narada that because Vrindavan-dhama is not a part of the material world, the curse of Daksa would not apply here...

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..After another bath in Kusuma-sarovara, he changed back to he male form and returned to this place, where he wrote the famous treatise on devotional service known as the Narada-bhakti-sutra.

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There is a small temple of Narada Muni with friendly pujaris.

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Some say that Narada must have also instructed Prahlada Maharaja here in the womb of his mother, since it is said that he took her to his ashram and instructed little Prahlada in her womb for some time. In any other place it would not be possible for Narada to stay for some time and it is concluded that he must have done it here, in Vraja, where Daksa's curse had no effect.

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It is a highly beneficial to have darsan of this Narada-kund.

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Syama-kutir and Ratna-simhasana
Situated in the forest of Syama-vana (black forest) there is a very beautiful place known as Syama-kutir.

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This area is also known as Ratna-simhasana, because there used to be a fabulous throne here, made entirely from precious gems like diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Srimati Radharani, the queen of Vraja, used to sit on this Ratna-simhasana, surrounded by thousands of Her girlfriends.

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Upon request, the friendly pujaris will show you the small room inside the building that mark the actual place of Ratna-simhasana.

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On the full moon day after Siva-caturdasi (Siva-ratri), Sri Krisna and Sri Balarama were playing Holi with the gopis using syringes to squirt each other with water of many colors...

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...The sweet music and melodious ragas filled the air and Srimati Radhika sat down on the nearby Ratna-simhasana throne. At this time servant of Kuvera named Sankhacuda, who considered Bhagavan Sri Krisna to be an ordinary human being, tried to abduct these extremely beautiful gopis...

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...In voices of distress, they started to call out: "Krisna, Krisna". Sri Krisna ran to the call of the gopis with great speed and killed Sankhacuda with His fist...

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...He took the jewel from the demon's forehead and gave it to Sri Balarama, who sent it to Srimati Radharani through Dhanistha...

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...Ratna-kund (lake) is said to mark the spot where the demon Sankhacuda (Sankhasura) carried off Radharani, who was sitting on jeweled throne.

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Rasa-sthali

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The concrete circle with a seal on it is the place where Krisna and gopis would dance.

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Syama-kutir is situated amidst thick clusters of trees near Ratna-simhasana...

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...Here Sri Syamasundara smeared His body with syama-colored musk, dressed Himself in syama-colored clothes and ornaments and entered a syama-colored nikunja...

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...Even the gopis were not able to recognize Him.

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Syama of course means "black" or "dark".

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It is really one of the most beautiful spots on Govardhana-parikrama. Interestingly enough, the whole area of rasa-dance pastimes is even today protected by fence-like barrier of cactuses. This can be seen on enlarged image behind the tree.

display enlarged image in new window A bhajani-sila, which emits sweet sound when tapped, is nearby.
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Syama-kutir also marks the spot where Govardhan Hill first start to appear above the ground. From this point on Govardhan Hill actually begins to rise until it reaches its highest point just before Aniyor village.

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This place is famous, because the actual lotus footprint of Lord Krisna is impressed upon one of the rocks of Govardhan Hill.

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It is said that even the rock of Govardhan Hill began to melt when Krisna played His flute...

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...and that is how this footprint came to be.

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Little further Govardhan is emerging even more from the ground...

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...and beautiful cows and bulls reminds us of Krisna's pastimes...

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...as we approach one of the many places near Govardhan where cowherd boys used eat with Krisna.

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Gval-pokhara (Gopal-kund)
Gval or gowala means cowherd boy and pokhara means pool or kund.

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After an early lunch at Gval-pokhara, Krisna would manage to slip away from the company of the cowherd boys and head off to Radha-kund where he would meet with Srimati Radharani and the gopis.

display enlarged image in new window The pilgrims on the way...
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...can see different ways of worship of Govardhan Hill. Simple ones...

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...and of course more sophisticated ones (govardhana-silas).

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On our way (further away on the left side of the parikrama road and the places at the picture) we can see Jugal-kund, where Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men would stay on their way from Gokula to Nandagram and Kilola-kund (Kalenvana) where Krisna would play ball with His cowherd friends and enjoy water pastimes with the gopis. Passing by the ear of Govardhan we proceed to the Govardhan town...

display enlarged image in new window Just as one enters the town of Govardhan, on the right side of the road, is beautiful palace built by the kings of Bharatapura.
display enlarged image in new window ...At the side of this palace it is the Panca-tirtha-kund, which contains the water of five (panca) holy rivers: Narmada, Gomati, Sarayu, Kanchi and Vetri...
display enlarged image in new window ...The Building in front is known as the Bharatpur Raja's Chatri.
display enlarged image in new window ...Although it is generally not open to the public, ISKCON sometimes holds its annual boat festival there.
display enlarged image in new window Manasi-ganga
Mana means "mind" and Ganga refers to the Ganges River. Krisna was once tending the cows with the cowherd boys. Demon Vatsasura came in disguise as a calf and wanted to kill Krisna. Krisna however was aware of him, took him by his hind legs, whipped him around and threw him up into a tree...
display enlarged image in new window ...Because Krisna killed a demon in the shape of a calf, the cowherd boys asked Him to take bath in Ganga in order to purify Himself. Not wanting to leave Vraja, Krisna informed cowherd boys that He would call the river Ganges to appear in Vraja. Krishna entered into meditation and Ganges manifested in front of Him in the form of Manasi-ganga.
display enlarged image in new window On another occasion Nanda and Yasoda, hearing of the glories of the Ganges river, had a desire to bathe in it. They heard how Garuda captured a snake and on his way accidentally touched his tail in Ganga's waters. The snake was transformed into four armed form of Vaikuntha resident and amazed Garuda took him right there...
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...Seeing the arrangements made for the journey, Krisna informed Nanda and Yasoda that there is no need to go out of the Vraja, since all holy places are present there...

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...When Krisna arrived with Nanda, Yasoda and others on the shore of Manasi-ganga, Ganga-Mata personified appeared from the water and offered prayers to the Lord. When the inhabitants of Vrindavan saw Ganga, they offered obeisances to her and took bath in her waters.

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Many pastimes of Krisna and gopis took place on Manasi-ganga and most famous is the one where Krisna disguised as an old boatman made gopis to feed Him with sweets and milk, massage His legs and arms to continue rowing and finally throw all their pots, jewels and bracelets to the water to prevent heavy boat from sinking...

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...When He suggested that the boat is still too heavy and they should sacrifice their clothes and threw them also in the water, the gopis refused, but when He arranged for a storm and embraced Radharani for protection, He was finally exposed.

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Chakra-tirtha, which was created by the Sudarsana-chakra, is embedded in the northern bank of Manasi-ganga.

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The temple of Chakaleswar Siva-linga is at Manasi-ganga. It is one of the five presiding Siva-lingas worshiped in Vrindavan.

display enlarged image in new window There are many interesting places around Manasi-ganga. One of them is bhajan-kutir of Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana Gosvami would perform Govardhana-parikrama as his daily vow...
display enlarged image in new window ... When Sanatana was thinking about moving from this place because of mosquitoes, Siva (Chakaleswar) disguised as a brahmana came to told him that mosquitoes would no longer disturb him. Even now this place is almost free from mosquitoes.
display enlarged image in new window Deity of Nanda Maharaja in nearby Temple...
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Mukharavinda Temple
There are two silas in this temple. One sila is marked with the outline of Krishna's crown (Mukut-sila)...

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... According to Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja the other sila is the mouth of Govardhan (Mukharavinda-sila). Pilgrims pour a lot of milk every day to this Govardhana-sila.

display enlarged image in new window Nearby Brahma-kundwas formed by the water that was collected after Lord Brahma bathed Lord Krishna. This is where Lord Brahma offered his prayers after he took the cowherd boys away and hid them to test the power of Krishna. It is located on the southern bank of Manasi-ganga.
display enlarged image in new window Manasi-devi Temple is located on the bank of Brahma-kund. Manasi-devi is the presiding deity of Manasi-ganga, and one of the four main goddesses of Vraja-dhama. The others are Vrindadevi, in Kamavan; Yogamaya Devi in Vrindavan; and Pataleswari Devi in Mathura.
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The Harideva Temple, near Manasi-ganga, was established by Krishna's great-grandson 4,800 years ago. Harideva is one of the four presiding Deities of Vrindavan. The temple is a two-minute walk from the southern bank of Manasi-ganga. The temple was built by King Bhagandas of Jaipur, whose son, Rajaman Singh, built the Govindaji Temple in the sixteenth century during the reign of Emperor Akbar. The original Deity of Harideva was moved to the town of Rajdhani near Kanpur when Aurangzeb sent his soldiers to destroy the Deities and temples of Vraja. But the Deity is no longer in Rajdhani.

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One day Srimati Radharani and the gopis were waiting for Krisna to come and meet them. As they were waiting, the gopis started to feel intense separation from Krisna and they began to chant: "Harideva, Harideva, Harideva!" over and over again and their feeling intensified to the point of almost giving up their lives. Suddenly Krisna appeared in this beautiful Deity form of seven-year-old boy holding Govardhan Hill in His left hand and flute in the other. The ecstasy of Radharani and the gopis knew no bounds. Since than Radharani and gopis would come here every day and worshiped Govardhana-natha Harideva with many offerings.

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„Mad with ecstatic love, the Lord came to the village known as Govardhan. It was there that He saw the Deity of Harideva and offered His obeisances...

...than He began to dance before the Deity. Hearing of the Lord's wonderful activities, all people came to see Him...”

Caitanya-caritamrita 18.17.20

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Sri Harideva is presiding Deity of Giriraj-Govardhan and no Govardhana-parikrama is complete without His darsan. Manasi-ganga is traditionally the starting and ending point of the Govardhana-parikrama. Therefore after bathing in Manasi-ganga and taking darsan of Harideva, we went to the parikrama path and continued to the town through the market...

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...where we bought few delicious samosas and sweets. This shop is really famous for their savories and sweets. Although we were very careful about not eating and drinking in unknown places, we made exception here.

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We have reached the crossing of Mathura road and the Laksmi-Narayana Temple on our left. This is one of the 108 Divya Desam Temples mentioned by the Alwars as being one of the most important temples in India.

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Govardhan at Dana-gati.

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At Dana-gati, where once used to be just a narrow pass used by gopis when they wanted to take their milk products to the other side of Govardhan...

display enlarged image in new window ...and Krisna blocked their way and demanded a tax...
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...we have also seen Baba doing dandavats around Govardhan...

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...and manufacturing of tulasi japa beads.

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Than we have stayed for some time on the opposite side near Radharani's footprints...

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...listened to krsna-katha...

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...from different speakers...

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...and sang kirtans on our way.

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ISKCON Temple
This beautiful property was formerly owned by Maharaja Chattarpur from Madhya Pradesh...

display enlarged image in new window ...who was worshiping a beautiful Govardhana-sila in a small shrine. When devotees moved in, they continued the worship of this Deity. During digging of large hole for the underground water tank, the devotees discovered a Govardhana-sila that turned out to be exactly the same size and shape as the existing Krisna-sila...
display enlarged image in new window ...this sila was whitish in color and now it is worshiped as Balarama at Krisna's side.
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From the temple roof there is a good view of Dani-raja Temple on the top of the Hill dedicated to Krisna's tax pastime...

display enlarged image in new window ...The temple has been abandoned and the priests have moved the worship to a new temple of Dana-gati Giriraj Mandir at the crossing of Mathura road...
display enlarged image in new window ...Since devotes from gaudiya-vaisnava sampradaya never step on Govardhan Hill as Sri Caitanya taught, the priests maybe wanted Deity to move down to be visited by more devotees. Or maybe there is some other reason...
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Dana-gati (where Krisna's tax pastimes took place) is a busy place, and therefore we will listen to the Krsna's tax pastimes on our way to Danivartan-kund. Once on the bank of Govinda-kund, Sri Bhaguri Risi was performing yajna for the pleasure of Supreme Lord. From the other side of Dana-gati, Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis were bringing yogurt, milk, butter, rabadi and many other kinds of milk-sweets...

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...Krisna with Subala, Madhumangala and other boys obstructed the path and forcibly demanded toll. Sakhas and gopis began to taunt each other with sarcastic remarks.
Krisna standing in tribanga form asked: "What are you carrying?"
"Milk, yogurt and butter for the yajna of Bhaguri Risi," gopis replied.
Madhumangala promptly said: "Quickly pay the dana (tax) and move on..."

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...Lalita, filled with sarcasm, asked, "What dana? We have never paid any dana before."
But Krisna insisted: "You can pass only after paying dana."
Radharani replied: "Since when you have become dani here? Did you inherited this place from your father?"
"Don't be so insolent! I am Vrindavanesvara, the ruler of Vrindavan!"
"How is that?"

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"Vrinda is My wedded wife. The property of the wife is also property of the husband. Vrindavan is the kingdom of Vrindadevi, therefore it is My kingdom as well."
"Accha?" Lalita answered haughtily. "We have never heard anything about this. Let us see what Vrindadevi says."
She turned towards Vrindadevi and smilingly asked: "Vrinde! Is this 'black one' your husband?"

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Vrinda replied: "Never! I have never seen this guy. This is my kingdom and I have handled it to Vrindavanesvari Srimati Radhika."
All the sakhis burst out laughing and Sri Krisna became embarrassed. But He still demanded dana to be paid. After this prema-kalaha, or love quarrel, the gopis exchanged dan of prema at Danivartan-kund.

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Danivartan-kund
(Dana-nivartana-kunda)
Once when Radharani and Her girlfriends were at Radha-kund, one of the Radharani's pet parrots informed Her of a great sacrifice being conducted at Govinda-kund. Taking bath and dressing very nicely, Radharani and all Her girlfriends left Govinda-kund, carrying golden pots of milk products on their heads...

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...Meanwhile, Krisna's pet parrot told Him, that Srimati Radharani was proceeding towards Govinda-kund along with Her girlfriends. When Radharani and the gopis arrived, Krisna challenged them to stop and pay the tax: "You are regularly using this pathway to sell your milk products but you never ever pay the tax!"

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...He told Radharani that each of Her assistants must pay a handful of diamond as a tax and by His clever use of words the argument turned erotic, suggesting that Radharani must pay extra tax for all the beautiful parts of her body.
Radharani became angry and walked away, but Krisna forcibly stopped Her...

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...He told Radharani that She could go, but Lalita must stay as a hostage to make sure they would return to pay tax. Lalita in furry threatened them by calling mother Yasoda and Radharani's mother in law Jatila. Finally Nandimukhi, Radharani's close companion, convinced Krisna to release Radharani, because Her reputation as a chaste lady would be ruined and assured Him, that gopis would return next day to this kund to pay tax in full...

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...However, the gopis were feeling very angry at Krisna for threatening them in this way. Next day, Lalita, Visakha and hundreds of gopis hid themselves around this lake. When Krisna arrived with a few cowherd boys, the gopis pounced at them, beat them, tied them up to the tree and humiliated them in various ways...

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...Lalita than demanded that Krisna pay tax to Srimati Radharani, the queen of Vrindavan, because His cows were eating the grass of Her forests. Lalita than brought Radhika and forced Krisna to bow down to Her lotus feet, ask forgiveness and accept Her as the queen of Vrindavan. So this is the lake (kund) where tax (dani) have been returned (nivartana).

display enlarged image in new window The various tax pastimes went on almost daily because due to the influence of Yogamaya, the gopis would forget the previous days episode. They are described in Dana-keli-cintamani by Raghunath das Gosvami, Dana-keli-kamudhi by Sanatan Gosvami and other vaisnava literature.
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"When Sri Caitanya saw Govardhana Hill, He immediately offered obeisances, falling down on the ground like the rod. He embraced one piece of the rock from Govardhana Hill and become mad. Just by seeing Govardhan hill Sri Caitanya became ecstatic with love for Krisna. While dancing and dancing, He recited the verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam..."
Caitanya-caritamrita

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Govardhana-lila
Once on seeing His father, Nanda Baba, and all the inhabitants of Vrindavan collecting various items for the annual Indra-puja, Sri Krisna convinced them to stop and worship Govardhana Hill instead. Krisna explained that Govardhan provides them with everything they need for living and by worshiping this sacred hill all good fortune would automatically come to them...

display enlarged image in new window ...Following Krisna's advice, brajavasis cooked thousands of wonderful preparations and placed them here, in area between Danivartan-kund and Aniyor village. There were literally thousands of hills made of samosas, kacoris, rice, halva, puris, sweetballs, lakes of subjis, sweet rice and innumerable other preparations for the pleasure of Govardhan Hill...
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...When puja was to began , Krisna suddenly expanded Himself into gigantic body of Giriraj. He declared that He is Govardhan Himself and started to eat all the preparations made by brajavasis. He dunked the water from various kundas and still unsatisfied started to call: "Aniyor! Aniyor! (Bring me more! Bring me more!)" The village near Sankarsana-kund is until now called Aniyor...

display enlarged image in new window ...Gigantic Govardhan finished all that was prepared and still unsatisfied called: "Aniyor! Aniyor!" Brajavasis became little worried: "We are poor villagers, whatever we had, we have presented before you! Please be satisfied with that."
"Aniyor! Aniyor!"
Than somebody suggested, that the Supreme Lord will be satisfied with tulasi leaves and water form the Ganges...
display enlarged image in new window ...They gave him tulasi leaves and when He dunked Manasi-ganga, Kusuma-sarovara and other kundas, He finally exclaimed: "Tripto 'smi! Tripto 'smi! (Now I am satisfied! Now I am satisfied!)" and wiped His hands and mouth with his cloth. He told brajavasis to ask for a boon. They requested for only one: "May this lala of ours always remain happy and live a very long life." By "lala" they of course meant non other than Sri Krisna...
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...When the four handed form of Giriraj disappeared, Krisna told brajavasis: "Did you ever had a darsan of Lord Indra? And Giriraj is very kind, He came personally to see you. He fulfills everyone's desires." After Govardhana-puja all the brajavasis became very satisfied and felt that their lives were successful. Nanda Maharaja called brahmanas to perform huge yajna (sacrifice) and all the demigods attended. All except Indra...

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...Indra felt insulted and thought how to teach a lesson to those cowherds. Under the influence of false pride he became enraged and sent samvartaka clouds to Vrindavan. Samvartaka are the clouds that are used at the end of each kalpa to destroy the whole cosmic manifestation. Torrents of rain, thunder, lighting and sever wind attacked Vrindavan and created a havoc...

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...Terrified brajavasis approached Sri Krisna for protection. With his left hand Krisna lifted Govardhan Hill and held it like an umbrella over the whole Vrindavan. For seven days they remained sheltered by Govardhan and they were simply astonished how Krisna may had lifted the whole mountain as easy as child lifts the mushroom...

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...When Indra saw that a small little boy holds the whole hill on the little finger of His left hand, he was baffled by His mystic power and called the clouds back. The rain stopped, sky was cleared and Krisna asked the brajavasis to return to their homes. Than He gently placed Govardhan at the place where it was before. Nanda Baba, mother Yasoda and boys embraced Krisna and gopis began to sing beautiful songs about Him...

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...Indra realized his mistake and went to his guru for advice. "This is serious offence, I cannot help you! But you may try to see Lord Brahma and ask him for a Surabhi cow. Krisna is very fond of the cows and Surabhi may persuade Him to forgive you." Indra rushed to Brahmaloka and got the Surabhi from Lord Brahma. Than he came and pleaded Krisna for forgiveness. Krisna stood there, looking at Indra and Indra didn't know, if he is being forgiven...

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...Airavata, Indra's elephant, made abhisek of Krisna with the water of celestial Ganga he brought in his trunk, Surabhi poured over Him his milk and offered to him beautiful prayers. The water from this bathing ceremony created the famous Govinda-kund. Than all the demigods came and together they performed puja with golden paraphernalia, jewels and other precious items...

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...Lord Brahma coroneted Krisna with golden crown and declared Him to be the real Indra (the king) of all the demigods and living beings. Than the demigods departed. After getting all the calves together, brajavasis returned to Krisna and saw all those golden paraphernalia. They wondered where all those things came from. Nanda Baba became somewhat worried: "I only hope that Krisna didn't steel it somewhere, in some temple. We know he was stealing butter as a small child..."

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…But Krisna's fatty brahmana friend Madhumangala told them: "Do not worry. When everybody run away I could not. You know I am not so quick. I could not run and I have seen what happened. "First cow came and started to talk to Krisna, than elephant with Ganges water. After while a guy with four head came and started to worship Krisna with all of those golden things. Then another one came...

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...He was far out! He had eyes all over his body, and than the one with snakes came, all this far out people came and started to worship Krisna. And after they bathed Krisna, they left just shortly before you came."
Krisna's boyfriends didn't know what to think about this funny brahmana boy, but they stopped worrying, picked up those camaras, ghee lamps, conshells and umbrellas, had Krisna seated on the throne and spontaneously started to worship Him like that...

display enlarged image in new window ...Krisna began to smile, enjoying their company. Demigods watching the scene and seeing Krisna's beaming smile were struck with wonder, since during their worship, Krisna just officially stood and didn't show much concern. Suddenly the voice from the sky announced: "Nanda Maharaja, you should now coronate your son as the King of the cows and the King of Vraja..."
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...Nanda Baba then coroneted Him with all the inhabitants of Vrindavan saying: "Krisna, You are our protector and You have protected the cows of Vrindavan. Therefore, we will call you Govinda". Before Krisna was Gopal (a small cowherd boy) and how, He became Govinda (one who gives pleasure to the cows). Thus Nanda Baba coroneted Krisna and gave him the name Govinda.

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In memory of Nanda Maharaja's Annakut ceremony, devotees in the temples and in their homes celebrate Govardhan-puja by making Govardhan Hill out of halva. They circumambulate it and hear about Krisna's Govardhan pastimes. The Govardhan made of halva may be huge as this one or small in case of home celebration.

display enlarged image in new window Surabhi-vana
Surabhi-vana used to be a large forest surrounding Govinda-kund. Surabhi cows were grazing here on the fresh grass.
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Near Surabhi-vana there is a very old temple of Madan-mohan, where the cowherds bring their herds to rest.

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Bhajan-kutir of Madhavendra Puri
is on the bank of Govinda-kund.
"Once, Sri Madhavendra Puri traveled to Vrindavan, where he came upon the hill known as Govardhan. Madhavendra Puri was almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, and he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell to the ground. He could not discriminate whether he was in a proper place or not. After circumambulating the hill, Madhavendra Puri went to Govinda-kund and took his bath...

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...He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was sitting beneath a tree, an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before Madhavendra Puri, and, smiling, addressed Him as follows. "Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don't you beg some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you undergoing?" When he saw the beauty of that boy, Madhavendra Puri became very satisfied. Hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst...

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...Madhavendra Puri said: "Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know that I was fasting?" The boy replied: "Sir, I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village, no one fasts. "In this village a person can beg food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all his eatables. "The women who come here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you." The boy continued: "I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you." Saying this, the boy left the place...

display enlarged image in new window ...Indeed, He suddenly could be seen no more, and Madhavendra Puri's heart was filled with wonder. After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri washed the pot and put it aside. He looked toward the path, but the boy never returned. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep. He sat and chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and at the end of the night he dozed a little, and his external activities stopped. In a dream Madhavendra Puri saw the very same boy. The boy came before him and, holding his hand, took him to a bush in the jungle. The boy showed Madhavendra Puri the bush and said: "I reside in this bush, and because of this I suffer very much from severe cold, rain showers, winds and scorching heat...
display enlarged image in new window ..."Please bring the people of the village and get them to take Me out of this bush. Then have them situate Me nicely on top of the hill. "Please construct a temple on top of that hill," the boy continued, "and install Me in that temple. After this, wash Me with large quantities of cold water so that My body may be cleansed. "For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering, `When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?'...
display enlarged image in new window ..."I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My audience all fallen souls will be delivered. "My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhan Hill. I was installed by Vajra, and here I am the authority. "When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear of the attack. "Since the priest went away, I have been staying in this bush...
display enlarged image in new window ...It is very good that you have come here. Now just remove Me with care." After saying this, the boy disappeared. Then Madhavendra Puri woke up and began to consider his dream. Madhavendra Puri began to lament: "I saw Lord Krisna directly, but I could not recognize Him!" Thus he fell down on the ground in ecstatic love. Madhavendra Puri cried for some time, but then he fixed his mind on executing the order of Gopala. Thus he became tranquil."
Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 4.21-46
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Gopala-prakata sthali
(Sringara sthali)

This is the actual spot where Srila Madhavendra Puri discovered the beautiful Gopala Deity now known as Sri Nathji. The Deity of Gopal was originally installed by Vajranabha 4800 years ago and it is very special and beautiful...

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...After Madhavendra Puri left Vrindavan, two brahmanas from Bengal served the Deity. After time had passed, Raghunath das Gosvami saw that there was a need to find a devotee to serve Gopala. He gave it to Vitthala, the son of Vallabhacarya.

Inside Gopala-prakata-sthali.

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Bhajani-sila behind Gopala-prakata-sthali makes different sounds when tapped on different places.

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Due to the fear of invaders, Sri Nathji was taken to Nathdwar by Ranaraj Singh of Mewar, in 17th century. Nathji Temple in Nathdwar is said to be the second riches temple in India, after the Balaji temple in Tirupati. The original temple where Madhavendra Puri worshipped Sri Gopala is on the top of the Govardhan Hill. It is called Gopal Raj Temple (the white building above Sankarsana-kund on the picture). Presently, there is a Govardhana-sila worshipped in the temple.

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Aniyor
In the ancient village of Aniyor we can see the Temple of Lord Balarama (Dauji) also known as Sankarsana Mandir. The Deity was installed by Vajranabha...

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...Deity is from the black stone and next to Him is smaller Krisna, His younger brother...

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...When Aurangzeb sent his troops to destroy Vrindavan's temples, this Deity was hidden in nearby Sankarsana-kund. It is said in Adi-purana that one who takes bath in Sankarsana-kund is freed from the sin of killing the cow.

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Indra-tila is a small hill at the side of Govinda-kund where Lord Indra, Brahma and other demigods stood during Krisna's abhisek. The hill is surrounded by many buildings and it is very small now.

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In temple next to Madhavendra's bhajan-kutir on the Govinda-kund there is self manifested pratibhu-murti of Lord Gopala. The worship is managed by Gosvamis of Govindaji Mandir from Jaipur.

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Radha-Govinda Mandir
The Deity of Sri Govindadev in this temple on the banks of Govinda-kund was originally installed by Vajranabha 5000 years ago.

Nipa-kund
Just behind Radha-Govinda Mandir there is small lake called Nipa-kund. There used to by many kadamba trees on the banks of this kund. Many of their leaves were in the shape of cups. Krisna and the cowherd boys used to take lunch here on the banks of this kund and use the leaves of kadamba trees as cups...

display enlarged image in new window ...Once gopis were passing this way and Krisna blocked their way demanding tax. Gopis wanted to go on and threatened Krisna to tell king Kamsa about it. Krisna replied He was not afraid of Kamsa and He would kill him and threw his dead body on Govardhan Hill. Gopis laughed and leaving their pots with milk on the ground, returned home. Krisna then fed the boys with butter and yogurt.
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Doka-dauji Temple. Dauji means "elder brother". Once Balarama, Krisna's elder brother, was so intently looking at Krisna's movements during rasa-lila, that He turned blackish and the Deity became known as Doka, "staring", Dauji...

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... On the left side there is an impression of Lord Balarama's crown (mukut) on a rock known as Balarama-mukut-sila.

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On our way on the left side of the parikrama-road we have passed by many interesting place like Gauri-kund, Parasauli and Sringara Mandir without visiting them. So let us now at least hear about them on our way to Punchari. Further away on the left side of the parikrama road near Sankarsana-kund there is Gauri-kund, where used to be a Temple of Goddess Gauri, Siva's wife. Vidagdha-madhava-nataka describe an amusing pastime that took place here...

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...One day Abhimanyu, the husband of Radharani, decided to bring Her to Mathura to keep Her away form Krisna. He went to Paurnamasi and asked Her for Her blessing to do so. She told him that whatever he had heard were just rumors. She convinced Abhimanyu not to go to Mathura and return home. Abhimanyu then requested Paurnamasi to have Radharani start worshipping Gauridevi...

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His mother, Jatila, had told him, that Candravali had started worshiping Gauridevi and her husband Govardhana-malla had become very rich. Radharani immediately left for the Gauridevi Temple, but Krisna came and blocked Her path. After a long argument Radha chastised Krisna and went to pick flowers for Gauridevi. Meanwhile Abhimanyu heard that Radha and Krisna were together at Gauri-kund. With his mother Jatila he left there, hoping to catch Radha and Krisna together. Krisna then went to the Temple and dressed up like Goddess Gauri, and stood in front of the deity. Radharani entered the temple and began to worship Goddess...

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...Abhimanyu came rushing into the temple. Gauridevi (actually Krisna) then told Abhimanyu that there is a great danger awaiting him. Full of fear Abhimanyu asked the Goddess what the disaster is and she pointed to Vrindadevi to explain it. Vrindadevi then told him that Kamsa plans to cut off his head in two days and offer it to Lord Siva. Radharani then begged Gauridevi to save him. Goddess told Radharani that the benediction She is asking for is not possible to get from her...

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...Radharani pleaded saying that She could not live without Her swami (lord). Gauri said that she would help him if Radharani promised that She would never leave Vraja and would always render service to her. Abhimanyu promised Gauridevi that he would never take Radharani away form Vraja and that She would always serve her faithfully. Jatila then praised Radharani having saved Abhimanyu's life.

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About 2 km away from our way on the left side of Aniyor village we were passing Parasauli. Parasauli is a place where the vasanti rasa-lila of Krisna and His beloved gopis took place. This rasa-dance continued for an entire night of Brahmaji, but it seemed that it was over in only a few moments. The moon in the sky have become stunned upon seeing the dance and was unable to move the whole night. Therefore this place is also called Candra-sarovara ("Lake of the Moon").

display enlarged image in new window In the western corner of the sarovara is Sringara Mandira, where Krisna personally decorated Radharani. Suradas-kuti and samadhi are situated also in this area. Suradas was a natural poet. He was blind, yet he would compose poems with sweet beautiful descriptions of the different srngaras or outfits of Sri Nathji Deity...
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One day pujari did not dress Sri Nathji at all and Deity remained completely naked. He opened the doors of the altar and asked Suradas to compose a poem describing Deity's sringara. Suradas remained silent for some time and than laughed loudly and to everyone's amazement sang: "Aj bhaya hari nangam naga (Today Sri Hari remained undressed and naked...)"

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Since we went on Govardhana-parikrama shortly after the monsoon ended, the water blocked our way at Apsara-vana...

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...but one helpful village boy helped us to find a way to Apsara-kund and Nava-kund.

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Punchari - the tail of Govardhan (this time without water)

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Nava-kund (Navala-kund)
Navala means "young" or "ever youthful" and this lake received its name after ever-youthful Sri Krisna. Once Radha and Krisna were absorbed in ecstasy of the rasa dance and than Krisna looked at the beautiful Radharani and simply melted into this lake. Radharani than looked at tribanga-lalita form of Krisna and melted into Apsara-kund. The waters of these two kundas are simply melted forms of Radha-Krisna prema.

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This kund is sometimes called Punchari-kund, since it is directly at the Punchari (tail) of Govardhan Hill.

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Narasimha Mandir
Near the banks of Nava-kund is a temple with the black stone Deity of Nrsimhadev...

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...Upon request, the pujari may lift the Deity's dress to reveal Hiranyakasipu being ripped. Prahlada Maharaja is standing nearby...

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...From the top of Narasimha Mandir one can get wonderful view of Apsara-vana, a forest surrounding the tail of Govardhan from the side of Govinda-kund.

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Apsara-kund
When the demigods came bath Lord Krisna, 108 kundas were created by the water form His abhisek. Apsara-kund was created when the seven main Apsaras (heavenly dancing girls) came to perform their abhisek of Lord Krisna.

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Srimati Radharani is extremely beautiful apsara or transcendental damsel and Apsara-kund received its name after Her. Eternally youthful Nandanandana is right next to Her in the form of Navala-kund.

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On the bank of Apsara-kund there is Apsara-bihari Temple, Dauji Temple and small Apsara-isvara (Siva-linga) shrine.

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It is said that twenty four main incarnations of Lord Visnu eternally
perform their pastimes on the bank of this kund. Krisna used to
come here and for the pleasure of His boyfriends He manifested
some of these forms and enjoy His pastimes...

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...Once He manifested
twelve-armed Visnu form in front of the gopis and Subal took form
of Garuda. On another occasion He became Varaha and started to
dig the Earth. Than He became Ramacandra and cowherd boy became
monkeys.

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Punchari-ka Lautha Baba
(Puncarika-lata Baba)

Lautha Baba is one of the Krisna's cowherd boys. One day he cooked nice meal for Krisna and Balarama. Suddenly, Krisna passed by on Akrura's chariot heading to Mathura. Lautha invited Krisna and Balarama for this meal, but Krisna replied: "I am just coming", with the promise that He would return the very next day...

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... Since this time Lautha Baba is sitting in this very same spot facing the road and eagerly waiting for Krisna and Balarama to return. He is not eating anything and he waits for Krisna to start eating together. The Deity looks like Hanuman at first glance and in fact Lautha Baba is considered nondifferent from Hanuman.

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Sutala-vana and Kadamba-vana
Sutala-vana is another rasa-sthali, a place where rasa-lila took place. At the time of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, there used to be whole forest of kadamba trees. In 1992 some of them were already half-dry.

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Kadamba represents Radharani because of its wonderful flowers. One of Radharani's names is Gandharvika, because She is the source of all kinds of beautiful scents. The enchanting fragrances of Her body resemble that of kadamba and any time Krisna sees and smells kadamba flowers, He is reminded of Radharani.

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Tamala tree with its dark colored bark represent Krisna. Gopis in their mood of separation sometimes embrace tamal trees saying: "Oh, it is Krisna! He has come!" And sometimes Krisna stands there as He would be a tamal tree and Radharani would talk to Him in Her mood of separation mistaken Him to be a tamal tree.

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All around Vraja, there are many kadamba and tamal trees standing side by side - tamal and kadamba - and brajavasis bow down to them and worship them as Radha and Krisna.

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Some of the trees may be over 5000 years old and they have personally witnessed Krisna's manifested pastimes. We can pray to them to be able to see the Krisna's pastimes as they did.

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Raghava Pandit's Cave
(Mani-kandali Cave)

In this cave Radha and Krisna used to meet and enjoy their intimate pastimes together. Raghava Pandit, an associate of Mahaprabhu, used this cave as his bhajan-kutir to perform his nirjana-bhajana (secluded bhajana).

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Raghava Pandit always lived at Govardhan and Srila Rupa Gosvami arranged for Srinivasa Acarya and Narottama Thakur to go on Vraja-mandala parikrama with Raghava Pandit.

Inside his bhajan-kutir cave.

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Than the parikrama road continues on the opposite side of the Govardhan Hill...

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...and on our way listen to some more Krisna-katha...

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Sanatana Gosvami used to perform parikrama of Govardhan every day, even in his old age. Once, while doing parikrama in the summer heat, the soil under his feet was burning hot and there was not shade to be found. Suddenly, a cowherd boy came and held a yellow shawl over Sanatana to give him shade. With the other corner of the shawl, He started fanning Gosvamiji's face...

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...His whole body became cool by the touch of that boy, who said to him: "Baba, in this old age, there is no need for you to perform parikrama of Govardhan and undergo so much hardship." Sanatana replied that he could not give it up as it is a part of his daily vows...

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...Seeing that Sanatana was determined to continue, the boy brought a rock from Govardhan Hill marked with stick and the lotus feet of Krisna and gave it to Sanatana: "Take this Govardhana-sila, perform parikrama of this sila for seven times and you will receive the same benefit as doing whole Govardhana-parikrama..."

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...Saying this the boy gave the sila to Sanatana and disappeared. The boy was no other than Giridhari, the lifter of Govardhan. Sanatana's sila used to reside in Radha-Damodara Temple in Vrindavan, but nowadays it is in the Radha-Damodara Temple in Jaipur.

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The pratibhu-vigraha of this sila is present in Radha-Damodara Mandir in Vrindavan. One can easily receive the results of performing Govardhana-parikrama by circumambulating the sila or whole Radha-Damodara Mandir four times.

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On our right side there is Indra-puja shrine on the Govardhan Hill and Airavata's footprint impressed upon the rock right next to it. Krisna was walking on Govardhan Hill seeing the damage caused to Vrindavan created by Indra's torrents of rain...

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...On seeing Krisna, Indra fell down and offered obeisances at this place. He shed so many tears, that they created a lake called Indra-kund on the opposite side of parikrama path.

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Doka-dauji Temple can be seen from the both sides of the Hill.

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Surabhi-kund
This kund, filled with sweet water lies on the left side of the parikram path.
It was created by heavenly Surabhi cow, brought by Indra from Brahmaloka, to pacify Krisna after Indra realized his mistake....

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...Surabhi came forward to Krisna with the milk in her udder and requested Krisna to forgive Indra. Only then Krisna was appeased...

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...Later out of greed to have darsan of Sri Krisna's lila, Surabhi resided at this place for the duration of Krisna's manifest vraja-lila. Maharaja Vajranabha built this Surabhi-kund in her memory...

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...Similarly as Indra was forgiven, by taking bath and performing acaman at Surabhi-kund, all ones aparadhas (offences) are forgiven by taking bath here...

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...and Vraja-sevika simply cannot miss such an opportunity…

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Surabhi-kund was recently nicely repaired.

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Kadamba-vana...

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...with the cows resting in shadow.

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Thereafter we are passing along Rudra-kund on our left side little futher away from the road. Here Mahadeva (Siva) became so absorbed in meditation on Krisna's lilas, that he began to weep...

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...Rudana means "tears" and this kund is sometimes called Rudana-kund, since it was created by Rudra's tears.

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Siva Temple at this place is called Bole Baba Mandir.

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Siva-linga in the shrine.

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There is also greater lake at this place surrounding Rudra-kund named after one of Krisna's friends called Hariju-kund. It is said that here Radha and Krisna enjoy bathing together.

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Nearby there is Airavata-kund created by Indra's elephant Airavata, who brought water of celestial Ganga in his trunk and stored it here for the bathing ceremony of Sri Krisna at Govinda-kund.

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Just before Jatipur there are plenty of samadhis.

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Jatipur is named after Madhavendra Puri, who was sannyasi (yati or jati) and who used to reside here. It was here at Jatipur that he performed abhisek and annakuta festival for Sri Nathji.

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Mukharavinda
Here is another Mukharavinda or lotus mouth of Govardhan. This particular Mukharavinda is accepted by the Vallabha-sampradaya who manage the temple of Gopalaji. The same sampradaya is also looking after the original Gopala Deity known as Sri Nathji at Nathdwar in Rajasthan...

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...Six Gosvamis had very good relationships with Sri Vitthalacarya, the son of Vallabhacarya and they have entrusted the responsibility of the seva to the sons of Sri Vallabhacarya...

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...Vitthalanatha's samadhi and Vallabhacarya's bhaitaka (sitting place) are nearby.

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Dandavat-sila It is said that anyone who circumambulate this Govardhana-sila for seven times and offers full dandavats will be relieved of all offences that may have been committed during parikrama...

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...It is also said that the priests who serve in the temples on top of the Govardhan Hill come here to rid themselves of offences they may have committed for having climbed on the sacred hill. Since we have unintentionally stepped on many stones around Govardhan on our way we had happily circumambulated the sila.

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Vilachu-kund
On our left side further away from the road we have just passed by Vilachu-kund. Once Srimati Radharani lost Her anklebell here...

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...She was searching for it when Krisna suddenly appeared and asked Her jokingly, if She was looking for His flute that had been lost. Radharani asked Krisna not to joke, but to help Her find the lost anklet...

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...Krisna persisted in joking and Radharani became angry. In order to pacify Her, Krisna started to dig up the earth with his bare hands. To Radharani's amazement He dug up all types of anklebells, some gold, some silver, besides all kinds of priceless gems...

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...Krisna than smiled an asked Radharani which one belonged to Her. Feeling great happiness, Radha and Krisna embraced one another.

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Beautiful tamal and kadamba on the bank of Vilachu-kund.

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To get to the Vilachu-kund one has to go from the parikram road into the fields...

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Just between this place...

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...and ancient Laksmi-Narayan Temple.

display enlarged image in new window As we are approaching Govardhan town...
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...Giriraj again disappears from our sight.

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After going through Govardhan town for the second time we can see Manasi-ganga, this time from the other side of parikrama road.

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On the opposite side of Manasi-ganga we are passing on our left side by Sakhi-sthali (Kadamba-khandi), where Candravali used to live with her 64 sakhis. Within this village is a lake known as Lilavati-kund (Sakhi-kund), which was dug by the girlfriends of Candravali. There is always transcendental competition going on between Radharani and Candravali to gain Krisna's attention.

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Out of all gopis, eight (asta-sakhis) are prominent. Out of them, two are even more prominent: Radharani and Candravali and out of them Radharani is the most prominent and dearly beloved by Sri Krisna.

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Srila Rupa Gosvami has explained that Candravali expands herself to became Rukmini in the Dvaraka-lila and gopis headed by Candravali expand themselves to become the queens headed by Rukmini.

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To ordinary people, this competition of gopis is most confusing. One day a brajavasi came to Raghunath das Gosvami who was doing his bhajana on the banks of Radha-kund and brought him some buttermilk. Raghunath asked him from where he had got it and brajavasi joyfully said: "I brought it form Sakhi-sthali." Hearing this Raghunath angrily ordered brajavasi to leave...

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...Brajavasi could not understand Raghunatha's mood and fled. Raghunath das Gosvami is an intimate maidservant in Srimati Radharani's own group (svapaksa) and just hearing about the place of Candravali (Radharani's rival) made him act in this way.

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Uddhava-kund
This kund is situated exactly west of Kusuma-sarovara. Skanda-purana quoted in Srimad-Bhagavatam Mahatmya, gives a very interesting description of this place. Vajranabha Maharaja manifested Uddhava-kund under the guidance of Sandilya and other risis. Uddhava always resides here as a grass and shrubs in order to be sprinkled by the foot-dust of gopis.

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After the disappearance of Lord Krisna, His queens in Dvaraka were greatly afflicted by sorrow. Once, Vajranabha came here with them and together they performed a very loud snakirtana. In that maha-sankirtana, all the parikaras (associates) of Krisna started to appear one by one. All of them joined the kirtan and Arjuna began to dance and play mridanga...

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...Suddenly, maha-bhagavata Uddhava emerged from the grass and he also became immersed in dancing. How could Krisna now remain behind when this maha-sankirtana was taking place? Krisna along with Radharani and other sakhis appeared and after some time again disappeared. Uddhava thus pacified the queens at this place.

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The Deities in the temple at Uddhava-kund are believed to have been installed five thousands years ago by Vajranabha.

display enlarged image in new window On the horizon we can see the towers of Kusuma-sarovara's monuments on the opposite side of Govardhana-parikrama road, indicating that we are getting close to the end of our parikrama.
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Pilgrims performing parikrama proceed along the path until they arrive at Sri Radha-kund, where our journey around Govardhan Hill ends.

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"Jaya Radha-Madhava, kunja bihari,
Gopijana-vallabha girivara-dhari...
"

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Radha-kund is the most dear place of Radharani, because it is here, in the groves surrounding Her sacred bathing pool, that She enjoys the most intimate loving exchanges with Sri Krisna.

display enlarged image in new window Syama-kund (further away) and Radha-kund are eyes of the Govardhan Hill. Krisnadas Kaviraj Gosvami has mentioned that anyone who under the guidance of gopis bathes in the sacred waters of Radha-kund even once in his life, will be blessed by Lord Krisna to achieve the same mood of ecstatic love as that of Srimati Radharani. In order to actually enter Radha-kund, one must be above the bodily concept and completely free from all offences.
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No frivolous splashing in the sacred waters, no material consciousness. Sometimes it may be better to take only three drops on ones head since that is as good as taking bath. Some of the residents of Radha-kund can be seen sitting by the water and with the help of lota (cup) taking its water and pouring it on themselves, not daring to touch the sacred kund with their feet.

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Radha-kund is considered liquid form (prema svarupa) of Srimati Radharani. To achieve the actual darsan of Radha-kund is exactly the same as having darsan of Srimati Radharani Herself.

The places and pastimes of Radha-kund are described in separate article. And it is definitively worth to read it...

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"This attractive place is surrounded by various kinds of trees - kadambas, rows of campakas, excellent new asokas, numerous mango trees, punnagas, bakulas, lavangas and malati creepers. It is the best of all places, where the two ponds of Radha and Madhava meet along one edge. May I find shelter here, at the favorite place of the two lover's pleasure pastimes."
(Vraja-vilasa-stava 52,
Raghunath das Gosvami)

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"May very fragrant Radha-kund, on the shore of which, in a pleasant courtyard Queen Radha and Her friends sweetly joke with Lord Krishna, the moon of Vraja, be my shelter."

(Raghunath das Gosvami)

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"May very fragrant Radha-kund, where the passionate divine couple daily plays with Their passionate friends in the charming lotus scented water, be my shelter."

(Raghunath das Gosvami)

display enlarged image in new window "May the left arm of Sri Krisna, whose eyes are like the petals of a lotus flower, always protect you. With His left arm He raised Govardhan Hill as if it were a toy."

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 2.1.62
display enlarged image in new window "O my friends, this Giriraj is the topmost among Sri Hari's servants and is absorbed in supreme bliss, always being touched by Sri Balarama and Sri Krisna's lotus feet. Giriraja serves and satisfies Sri Krisna, Balarama and cowherd boys and the cows by providing them with water from his pure sarovaras, lush grass, fruits, roots and various minerals like gairika."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.18

English texts, selection of images, design:
Tattva-darsi das
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book "Holy Places of India",
which contains many additional information useful for travelers. It can be found on:
www.spiritualguides.net
Some texts are based on "Braja Mandala Parikrama"
by Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj
and "Govardhana Parikrama" by Rajasekhara das
.

Photographs from his travels:
Radha-raman das, Pavan-suta das, Priti-vardhana das, Tattva-darsi das and bhakta Zbynek

Optimization of the images:
Malati devi dasi

 


Published:
August 2004
 
How did you like this article?
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How many readers expressed it: 320



Utpal Sen
2014-08-28

fine


pooja
2014-08-06

beautiful pictures i mean its very beautiful i am not able to express my feelings when i saw these pictures jai shri krishn really feeling with full of joy and enthusiasm thnx alot for sharing a good information


G. Anita Raj
2014-05-20

Hare Krishna. Thank you so much for these magical pictures. We are very grateful to you. Please add more and more pictures.


SUSHIL SYAL
2014-04-14

IT'S SHEAR ESCTASY


Ramachandran
2013-11-03

Beautiful Picture well shot with clarity and easly understanding Caption


Shirisha Cherukupalli
2013-10-23

You have made by day by posting lot of information about shri kirshna... Thank you for all your efforts


Kamal Jung Kunwar
2013-08-31

Hare Krishna, Very beautiful place and beautiful pictures. I feel very great seeing this Govardhan Parbat and Brindaban.


jayakrishna
2013-06-12

this is very beautiful collection of krishna radha's sweet memories


m sharma
2013-05-31

You all involved in this initiative are doing a wonderful job by spreading krishna bhakti by these pictures and history through various messages.


aloke biswas
2013-05-21

Beautiful & i suggest you to add more such picture

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