Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mathura - Vrindavan

A long line of picturesque ghats - with their steps leading to the water's edge, arched gateways and temple spires extending along the right bank of the River Yamuna, emphasis the sacred character of the town of Mathura. The birth place of Lord Krishna, "the best known, best loved and most complex of Lord Vishnu's manifestations" - Mathura is today an important place of pilgrimage. The city stretches along the right bank of the Yamuna and the continuous line of ghats along the river makes a splendid spectacle when viewed from the opposite bank.

Mathura / Vrindavan
RADHA MADANA-MOHANA TEMPLE
This famous temple was established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and was the first temple to be built in Vrindavana, which at that time was just a forest. The original Deity of Madana-mohana was taken to Karauli in Rajasthan for safety during the attack on Vrindavana by the soldiers of the fanatical Muslim Emperor, Aurangzeb.
JAIPUR TEMPLE
This temple was built by the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Madhav, in 1917 after thirty years of hard labour. It is one of Vrindavan's most opulent and grandiose temples. The fine hand carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship, the huge pillars that hold up the roof are each carved from one solid rock, and the intricately fashioned marble on the alter is reminiscent of the Mughal period. The Maharaja financed the railway line that connects Vrindavana with Mathura, just for the purpose of hauling the huge pieces of sandstone used in the temple construction. The Deities worshiped here are Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Ananda-bihari and Hansa-gopala.
Banke-bihari
means Krishna, the Supreme Enjoyer. This is one of Vrindavana's most popular temples and famous all over India, it was built in 1864. The Deity of Banke-bihari was discovered in Nidhuvana by Swami Haridasa. A contemporary of the six Gosvamis, Swami Haridasa known for his devotional bhajanas, was the guru of the famous musician Tansen.

RADHA VALLABHA TEMPLE
Another very popular temple of Vrindavana whih was founded by Hit Harivamsa Gosvami, who started the Radha Vallabha sect emphasizing devotion to Radharani. In this temple, there is no deity of Radharani, but a crown has been placed next to Krishna to signify Her presence. The original temple of Radha Vallabha was destroyed by the Muslims in 1670 and a new temple was built at the side of the old one.

SEVA KUNJA
This is the sacred place of the rasa dance and also where Lord Krishna offered service to Radharani by decorating Her hair with flowers, as well as massaging and painting Her lotus feet. Radha and Krishna would sometimes spend the night here, dancing with the gopis and enjoying various transcendental pastimes. There is also a small temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna's pastimes called Rang Mahal. Near the entrance to this garden is a kunda created by Lord Krishna. He pushed His foot into the ground just to please Lalitha devi when she was feeling thirsty and wanted to drink water.



RADHA DAMODARA TEMPLE
This is one of the most important temples in Vrindavana. The original Deity was hand carved by Rupa Gosvami and given as a gift to his beloved disciple, Jiva Gosvami, who later built a temple here. The Deity now being worshipped is the pratibhu-murti (replica) and is considered nondifferent from the original Deity. Formerly this spot was in the middle of Seva-kunja and it was the bhajana place of Rupa Gosvami. One can have darsana of the sacred govardhana-sila by asking the pujari and giving a small donation.

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