Gokul in Braj, Photo journal

There are no crowded roads in Gokul, hardly any traffic, and practically no microphones, unlike Vrindavan.

We were on a trip to Mathura, and had the morning of Bakarid to ourselves as the road to Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex which is adjacent to Shahi Idgah mosque complex had traffic restrictions in view of the rush for morning prayers at the mosque. It was just a few hours but we decided to explore Gokul instead…

Gokul is a village close to the city of Mathura. Krishna spent his baby days in the village of Gokul, before his family shifted to Vrindavan.

Morning in Mathura

Our stay at the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi guest house was a comfortable one, but we rolled out of bed while it was still all dark outside. By 5.00 am. we found at auto, who agreed to take us for Rs. 150 to Gokul and back. 

Thakurani ghat, Gokul

Thakurani ghat, Gokul, Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya ji' s baithak

We reached Gokul in what seemed like ages in the dark pre-dawn winter morning, but it actually took less than an hour. As our auto got close to the temple complex in the village, I heard a high-pitched call of 'Gopal'.

Gopal, is a name of Krishna, and turned out to be a greeting in Gokul, as Radhe Radhe is a greeting in Vrindavan. This was the first time I heard this greeting, so was clueless about it.

The morning was cold and dark but quiet and serene. The sound of our auto disturbed the morning in Gokul, but also brought a panda or a local guide to us. The joyous old man in a dhoti asked if we would like some tea and proceeded to make it. This tea remains the best of all that I have tasted. It was brewed in milk and had a dash of fresh ginger. It was served in a mud-glass, a kulhar.

Pushtimarg baithak, Gokul

Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya ji' s baithak, Gokul

Pushtimarg was born here with the first initiation given to Sri Damodar Das Harsaani.

With daylight, we proceeded to the banks of river Yamuna. We were at the historic Thakurani ghat, where the 17th century, saint Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya was asked by Lord Krishna to give people the message of love and surrender. And Pushtimarg was born here with the first initiation given to Sri Damodar Das Harsaani.

Nandalaya, Gokul

Nandalaya temple, Gokul

Gokul remains a village with mud huts and temples, and loads of legends that palpitate the atmosphere. Nandalaya temple has Krishna's family on the altar. And a silver swing with Bal-Gopal right in front. We got prasad of butter and candied sugar misri. The message we received at this and every temple at Gokul was to celebrate and find joy in everyday life.

Krishna as a child on a silver swing

Krishna on a silver swing in Nandalaya, Gokul

Raman Reti, Gokul

Raman Reti, Gokul

The auto-driver took us to Raman Reti where we found a most well-kept Gaushala, and got steel tumblers full of buttermilk. Deer, peacocks, pigeons and ducks were also living here… There are no crowded roads in Gokul, hardly any traffic, and practically no microphones, unlike Vrindavan.

Raman Reti Ashram, Gokul

Ashram and Gaushala at Raman Reti Gokul

Why is the dust of Gokul-Vrindavan considered sacred?

In a sandy part of the ashram at Raman Reti we were led to make our fistprints in the sand and crown them with five fingerprints. This is how Krishna's footprints look like, a resident at the ashram told us, and shared the reason why the dust of Braj is considered sacred. God came to Braj to love and be loved as Krishna. He lived with the ordinary people, just like them, and walked barefoot here as a cowherd like other Brajwasis.

More: Glimpses of Vrindavan and Bhajans from Vrindavan (Braj sahitya)

Map: Gokul

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Anisha Sharma
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Very well written and illustrated. Brought the instant smaran of Shrimad Gokul. Anandbava www.anandbava.com

Goswami Anandbava on Thursday, April 23, 2009

long to be there :)

Rishi on Thursday, April 30, 2009

I was fortunate to have my grand daughters, whom i call 'choti gopis', with me for a visit to the auspicious and sacred Gokul temple. We had a beautiful experience; enjoyed everything from darshan to Rabri. Also got the name for the upcoming housing project in Delhi as 'Nandalaya'. We love you Kanha.

Ram Dev Bansal on Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gokul is a place of theives. Priests in the temples just demand money from 250 to 5000 & abuse u if you do not give donation... Never give any money to them hearing their honey words.. The priests there just suck... Beware of them.

Abhishek on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

no wonder vallabhacharya ji had warned, 'mlecha-kraanta teertheshu, krishna ev gatir mamah.' yes in gokul, pandas did ask for money, but we had 10 rs notes only and gave those only, and learnt that it helps to go to pilgrim places not in one's best clothes/jewellery etc. if one looks rich, pandas prey.

anisha on Thursday, July 23, 2009

It was really satisfying we got to visit these ancient village and the temple..... One of the biggest drawback is the pandits and the pandas demanding money in the name of religion.... Emotionally blackmailing in the name of religion....Yes it always gives satisfaction when u help others or donate to temple trusts... but when temple priests themselves shows this kind of attitude then it always gives u negative thoughts towards them....Is this the reason why such a place where Lord Krishna spend his childwood not flourishing???

Sagar on Monday, February 8, 2010