Vrindavan celebrates the season of love

Vrindavan’s festival calendar keeps things buzzing in the pastoral township where God came to love and be loved as Sri Radha-Krishna. It’s a happening destination round the year. Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, Nandgaon, Gokul, Mahavan, Govardhan and Deeg resonate with five millennia of history and living culture. Krishna, so tied by bonds of love remains in spirit in Braj-bhoomi’s Vrindavan.

It may be the peak of summer, but Vrindavan is as popular a destination as ever.

Jaipur temple, Vrindavan, India

Fragrant retreat

Summer is a byword for flower bowers or Phool-Bangle in Vrindavan. Banke Bihari, Radha Vallabh, Radha Raman, Rangnath and Iskcon temples are regulars with spectacular floral decoration.

It’s an effort to keep the heat and dust away from Priya and Priytamji, the deities. Besides it is reminiscent of the real groves or Kunj of yore.

To add to Vrindavan's festive gaeity, this year, Banke Bihari temple is holding a special 08 day festival, starting August 5th, 2008.

Jasmine, rose, gerbera, oleander, marigold, rajnigandha and lotus find artistic placement all around the deity and even in clothes! Sri Radha Krishna’s clothes and jewellery are made of flowers and buds, topped with sequins sometimes! Black net or light mulmul fabric support the flowers in their dresses, and intricate necklaces, crowns, armlets and anklets, all made of flowers and leaves again, add to the beauty.

Spring is in the air!

Sri Krishna Balaram temple, Vrindavan, IndiaSpring is at the beck and call of Vrindavan Vihari Krishna. Phool Bangle begin on Akshay Teej in May and continue till Savan and beyond. So this is the time to head for Vrindavan! Actually the foral fiesta takes a headstart on Basant Panchmi in spring and wraps up Holi and Rang Panchmi in melodious Rasiya songs, Rasleela, Lathmar Holi, Keech-Holi, Tesu Holi and floral Holi. Janmashtmi, Radha Ashtmi, Sharad Purnima, Jhulan, Annakoot and Kartik are celebrated with gusto. Truly every day in Vrindavan is a celebration.

To add to Vrindavan's festive gaeity, this year, Banke Bihari temple is holding a special 08 day festival, starting August 5th, 2008.

Of food and fun

Sultry summer does nothing to stop day trippers from Delhi, Agra and Lucknow, especially on weekends or around full moon nights.

Monkeys of Vrindavan, India

Cars, rikshaws, people, cattle, monkeys, pigs march together in the world-famed lanes of Vrindavan. Bright shops selling Tulsi jewellery, paraphernalia for worship, smart T-shirts, wrap-around skirts, Kanhai paintings, music cassettes and CDs, peacock feather handicrafts, flowers, lassi, kesariya doodh, rabri, kuliya, peda, samosa, dhokla, chaat, ice-candy, dosa, idli… The place is gaily done up for visitors. Purana Bazar, Loi Bazar and shops around Iskcon make the most of it.

Historically yours

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his six Goswamis, Swami Haridas, Swami Hit-Harivansh and Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya were responsible for reviving Brajbhoomi about 550 years ago. Akbar, intrigued by the land of Krishna-lore visited Vrindavan. He was an ardent admirer of Swami Haridas, preceptor of Tansen, India’s ace musician.

Holi with a difference

Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan has the idol of Swami Haridas’s devotion. Earlier it was housed in Nidhivan, an ancient forest grove on the banks of Yamuna where the Maharaas is said to take place every night even today. Akbar visited Swami Haridas at Nidhivan. Once, Haridas was deep in meditation, experiencing Sri Banke Bihari playing Holi. Akbar approached him, and offered an expensive gift of Irani perfume for the deity’s sringar.

When Haridas surfaced from the divine experience of playing Holi with the Lord, he excitedly told Akbar that the offering of perfume was used by the Lord in his Holi gaiety. When Akbar went inside the temple he was greeted by the perfume that he had brought for the deity!

Playful Krishna

Radha Raman temple, Janmashtmi celebration, Vrindavan, India: with Sharad Goswami and Abhishek Goswami

Radha Raman temple built in the year 542 is hidden in a conglomeration of old buildings, as is Radha Vallabh temple built in the year 670, radiates spine tingling vibrations. Radha Raman is a glorious sight. Lording over silver cows, peacocks and elephants, he looks coyly only in the direction of Radha Rani’s crown.

Devotees croon praises, some simply cry, overcome by his tangible immediacy, yet he has eyes only for Radha Rani. He teases the devotees playfully, and receives added adoration for such a response. His playful teasing reminds the devotee of God’s love for every part of his creation.

Radha Raman temple, birthday celebration, 9th May, 2009

Nawabi opulence

Chote Radha Raman or Shahji’s temple, was built 200 years ago by Lucknow's jewellers Kundan Lal and Phundan Lal Shah. For Basant Panchmi, the deities grace the Basanti Kamra in this palace-temple decked with Belgian chandeliers, mirrors and glass artefacts.

The interiors remind of Lucknow’s Husainabad Imambara.

Yamuna aarti

Kesi ghat is the most popular ghat on river Yamuna in Vrindavan. It has a grand frontage. Yamuna aarti is carried out here as at Mathura’s Vishram ghat in the mornings and evenings, a privileged sight!

'Flames of aarti symbolize burning of ego in devotion to God,' elaborates Goswami Sharad Chandra of Radha Raman temple.

Yamuna chunari manorath utsavs add colour and gaiety several times a year. Boat rides are cheap in Vrindavan and offer a close association with life here. Tortoises by the score wallow around Kesi ghat. On the opposite bank, bird-chorus drifts over open fields, be it morning, noon or dusk.

Vrindavan Parikrama

Radha Raman temple, Vrindavan, India

Vrindavan parikrama is a wonderful way of seeing the whole of Vrindavan in a single go. You can start from any point on the Parikrama Marg. Kesi ghat, Chir ghat, Kadam ghat, Kaliya Dah, Madan Mohan temple on the riverfront, Rangnath, Govind Dev, Gopinath and Katyayni temple on one side, Radha Damodar, Sewa Kunj, Nidhi Van, Radha Raman, Lucknow’s temple and Mirabai temple along with Banke Bihari and Radha Vallabh in the old part of Vrindavan and Iskcon temple at Raman Reti offer unique experiences on the way.

The oldest temples, Madan Mohan, Gopinath and Govind ji, Radha Raman, Radha Damodar, Radha Vallabh and Banke Bihari temples are cultural museums.

Sunset over Yamuna

From a distance...

Vrindavan is a two hour drive from Delhi on National Highway number 2. It’s a smooth drive right up to Agra. Mathura Junction railway station is a busy hub of trains coming and going from all directions in India. When you visit Vrindavan be careful, else you lose your heart to Chitchor Krishna!

Anisha Sharma
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wonderful tour of vraj. the best written and also the most wonderful article so far. keep the great work up.

Rishikesh Barpuzari on Sunday, June 15, 2008

i like your web page. it' is really good. I'm interested in the image of KISHORI JI RADHA RANI.

Amit Goswami on Sunday, November 2, 2008

I enjoyed every moment of the divine music and videos which are superb. God bless you and I wish you get the grace of the supreme lord and Brijeshwri Sri Radhey....Hare Krishna

PT. PARDEEP PUSHKARNA on Saturday, February 28, 2009

i also want to come to vrindavan

payal on Monday, July 13, 2009

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