If you are planning to visit Vrindavan, I’m sure you have love for Lord Krishna & Radhe in your heart or you have an eye to appreciate the beauty of magnificent, ancient and deeply revered temples.
This year 2017, I happened to be in India during the Holi festival. I decided to celebrate Holi with God at Mathura-Vrindavan. I booked my room almost 15 days before online. In fact, that was the only room available on the site at that time. During the festive season one must book hotel about a month in advance.
How to reach : Reaching Vrindavan is not a problem. It’s 4-5 hrs train journey from New Delhi to Mathura and takes about half an hour from Mathura to Vrindavan. I think 2-3 days are enough to explore Vrindhavan – Mathura. One must prefer to stay in Vrindavan.
Pandit Pitche – Ready reckoner for foreigners visiting Vrindavan
- As Vrindavan is a religious city, alcohol is banned in Mathura-Vrindavan.
- During the Holi festival and New year eve, you will find heavy rush. Book your hotels well in advance.
- Please limit your passion of photography outside the temples, Photography is strictly prohibited inside all temples. Your mobile phone or camera can be confiscated. I remember, ISKON temple is one of the exceptions.
- Don’t forget the monkey menace, prevalent in many temples and almost all the narrow lanes of Vrindavan. Be cautious of monkeys, they may snatch anything interesting in your hands, especially sunglasses, mobiles, small handbags, food items in your hand.
- No need to wear shoes or expensive slippers at least during rush time, they might get lost as thousands of pilgrims visit daily. Choose some cheap ones, which you can afford to lose.
- Beware of Pick Pockets at crowded places. Especially, take care of your mobile phone. Keep only Rs 200-300 with change of Rs 10 with you in a zip lock. Take back-up of your photos daily, before any unfortunate event happens.
- Take care of yourself only on the day of the Holi festival, people throw colours at each other. Sometimes, it becomes nasty on that day. Better be safe than sorry. I preferred to stay in my hotel room.
- Suggest you buy printed T-Shirts, short Kurta which will give unforgettable colours to your memories. Buy some for your friends at home, they are inexpensive yet valuable.
- Instead of Thank you, Namaste, Good Morning in Vrindavan greet everyone with Radhe Radhe. You can make them your own.
What to see?
Prem Mandir: I started from Prem Mandir, No bags, selfie-sticks are allowed inside. They need to be deposited at the entry gate. As you enter, you will find various statues depicting a story of Lord Krishna. It is picturesque outside the main temple.
ISKON Temple: God can’t look more beautiful than we find in ISKON temples. It’s mesmerizing. I suggest when you visit here, spend some time sitting with them and recite “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. Notice them, how contented they are in loving the GOD.
Shahji Temple: The grandeur of Shah Ji Temple welcomes you with magnificent architecture. One of the biggest temples, its ribbon curved marble pillars and paintings in the sanctum temple which are carved out of black and white marble stones. It makes me wonder how they have built it in 1876. Lord Krishna here referred as ‘Chote Radha Raman’.
Nidhivan: Nidhivan is a sacred temple of Bankey Bihariji which is surrounded by huge bushy forests. It’s believed that these bushes are ‘Gopis’(friends) of Shri Krishna and at night, they perform ‘Rasleela’(Dance) with Shree Krishna and Radha Rani. Hence, they are revered and temple is closed after sunset. From here, the Bankey Bihariji idol was unearthed in 1860s. When you visit this temple, take blessings from the bushes which stay lush green all the year round.
Bankey Bihariji Temple: The Bankey Bihariji Temple is amongst the holiest and famous temple of Krishna in India. Shri Swami Haridasji installed Bankey Bihari ji appeared in Nidhivan. There is no bells or conch in the temple. You will feel eternal bliss, love & blessings showering on as soon as you meet Lord Shri Krishna (Bankey Bihariji). Especially during Holi festival, you will definitely feel as you are in Heaven.
Radha Raman Temple: Sri Radha Raman temple is the most revered temple which was built around 1542. The idols of Radha Ramanji were self-manifested.
Shree Rangji Temple: Largest temple built in 1851 in Dravidian style. This kind of temple architecture reminiscent of South Indian temples which is dedicated Lord Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu)
Mirabai Temple: Mirabai was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. She came to Vrindavan in 1524 in search of Lord Krishna. She was married in Royal Family of Chittor where it was not acceptable to sing songs in temples for Lord Krishna. After the death of her husband, his brother tried to kill her many times. Lord Krishna saved her every time miraculously.
Shri Dwarikadhishji (Thakurji) Temple at Mathura: On my way back to Delhi I visited Mathura and visited the Shri Dwarikadhishji Temple (King of Dwarka, Lord Krishna). The Rajasthani style vibrant yellow colour entrance leads to the courtyard. The murals on the walls, paintings on the roof using gold make it unique and immensely attractive.
What and where to eat at Vrindavan?
Brijwasi: If you want to buy Peda (sweets made of milk) for home, buy from Brijvasi in Vrindavan/Mathura. Good quality sweets are also available from the outlet in ISKON temple.
Ammaji Resturant: It is most referred and famous restaurant. Google it or ask anybody, you will find the way to reach there. Paneer Cheela (Indian Cheese Pan Cake): The market, on the way to Bankey Bihariji Temple has Paneer Cheela street food outlet. I had to wait 20 minutes to get mine. Lassi (Sweet Curd Shake): It is available at every corner. I got the best Lassi nearby Shree Rangji Temple.
There are various local delicacies other than I mentioned. Tell me about your favourite ones in the comments section.
About the Author: Shivendra is an “Oil & Gas Professional” and a fabulous company to hangout with. He is an avid solo traveler and always encourages yatripandit.com. He provides expert consultancy in Process Safety and Flare Technologies. You can check his work at http://www.processblogs.com. In addition, he loves to mentors students in unlocking their minds and hearts and encouraging them to create the lives they dream to live. He believes, “travelling alone helps to you to find your TRUE self.”
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Radhe Radhe !!