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Mathura,Gokulam, Vrindavan Mukti Dwarka Rukmini Dwarka Bhet Dwarka Moola Dwaraka Pushkar
Sudama Dwarka Nathdwara Kankroli Dwarka Prabhasa Theertha Dakore Dwarka Contact


<>(Please note: in some places, I have used “Adiyen” which is a Tamil word meaning “dasa” or servant of the Lord .  This humble word in used instead of “I” which crops up my ego.)

     <>Prostrating at the feet of all the devotees of , aidyen wishes to share “ KRISHNA ANU YAATIRAI” (Nava Dwaraka and Mathura,Vrindavan )experiences with  devotees.   Before I proceed, I take this opportunity to thank one and all for providing relevant information regarding the temples for which I shall remain indebted forever. The  information being shared with you has been compiled from various books/CD and information gathered at the holy places.  I humbly request your pardon for any discrepancies and request you to enlighten me with the necessary information which would be of  use to other pilgrims.

<>        I profusely thank Sri.U.Ve. Velukudi Swamigal for his discourse on his yaatrai to Vrindavan during Sep’2008 which kindled the inert desire in me to visit Vrindavan again.  The abundant information shared by Swami about Braj Bhoomi supported by various other info gathered from websites formed the basis for my spiritual adventure. The book”BRAJ MANDALA PARIKRAMA”- published by ISKCON which we purchased in Vrindavan gives abundant information about the holy dham.  I sincerely prostrate to these mahaans who are doing yomen service in reviving our culture and enhancing Bhakti cult manifold. 

        By God’ s grace, Adiyen decided to undertake a yaatrai visiting important places connected to  Sri  Krishna. –Mathura, Gokulam, Vrindavan, Goverdhanagiri for the Lord’s various pastimes during HIS childhood and Nava Dwarka which the Lord created and ruled for many years until He ascended to Sri Vaikuntam.  We also visited Pushkar which is near Udaipur(6 hours).  <>

The Nava Dwarkas are ;-

1)      Mukti Dwarka (Gomti Dwarka)-main temple located in Dwarka in Gujarat

2)      Rukmini Dwarka (4 kms from Dwarka)

3)      Bhet Dwarka ( in an island 8 kms from Dwarka)

4)      Moola Dwaraka (Rajkot-Dwarka route)

5)      Sudama Dwarka (Porbandhar)

6)       Nathdwara (near Udaipur in Rajasthan)

7)       Kankroli Dwarka (near Nathdwara)

8)      Prabhasa Theertha (Veravel near Somnath)

9)      Dakore Dwarka (near Ahmedabad)

        We had planned and booked our   circular journey tickets(which is cheaper compared to individual tickets)  for visiting these places.  Though the reservation was done two months in advance , few tickets were not confirmed till the date of journey as AC coaches were full.

        Amidst domestic tensions like elders ill health, daughter’s results and waitlisted tickets , we surrendered to Perumal through Hanuman for HIS grace and resolved to do Sundarakanda parayanam after our return from the trip.  With HIS abundant grace,  all our  tensions were eased out. My daughter scored 94 % and the news was communicated while adiyen was worshipping DWARAKADEESH at Dwaraka .

        This was our second visit to Dwaraka and third visit to Vrindavan. Way back in 2000 during our pilgrimage to  Dwaraka, we visited only 4 Dwarakas -Gomti Dwaraka(the main temple), Bhet Dwaraka, Rukmini Dwaraka (all these are around Dwaraka) and Dakore Dwaraka near Ahmedabad.  At that time, we prayed to Sri Dwarakadeesh to grace us by making us visit the remaining Dwarakas .  After offering morning prayers to our deities and taking elders’ blessings, we boarded A.P.Express at 0725 hours on 19/05/09

<>                                                Details of Circular Journey


Trn No.

Train Name









To visit Mathura,Vrindavan



Mewar Exp



To visit Nathdwara



Udz Gwl exp



To visit Pushkar



Ala Hazrat



To visit Dakore Dwarka






To visit Mukti Dwaraka (Prabhasa kshetra/Somnath)






To visit Sudama Dwaraka, Mool Dwaraka, Gomti Dwaraka, Rukmini Dwaraka,Bhet Dwaraka



Okha PUri exp



To return to Secunderabad



Ahm-Sec summer special



Journey ends

                                                                Details of our trip




Travel Base

Where to stay




Mathura (Sri  Krishna janmasthan, Nandgaon, Barsana,Goverdhan,Vrindavan

ISKCON, Gokulam-every temple is important)


Mathura- 140 kms on Agra-Delhi route


ISKCON guest huz, choultries








Kankroli Dwarka



30 kms from MavlI, 65 kms from-Udaipur

20kms frm Nathdwara


Udaipur/ Nathdwara

Nathdwara/ udaipur hotels *



11 kms from Ajmer


Ajmer *


Dakore Dwaraka

Near Nadiad-

Ahmedabad / Baroda

ISKCON guest huz / hotel/retiring room




Moola Dwaraka



Choultry *



Gomti Dwarka(main )

Rukmini Dwarka

Bhet Dwarka



ISKCON guest huz, choultries


Our route: Secunderabad- Mathura -(by train-A.P.Express)

                 Mathura-Vrindavan-Mathura (by road-Car)

                 Mathura-Mavli (near Udaipur)- (by train-Mewar Express)

                 Mavli-Nathdwara-Kankroli Dwarka-Udaipur (by road-car)

                 Udaipur-Ajmer-(by train-Udaipur-Gwalior exp)

                 Ajmer-Pushkar-Ajmer (by road-car)

                 Ajmer-Ahmedabad (by train-Ala Hazrat Express)

                 Ahmedabad-Nadiad(by train-local train)

                 Nadiad- Dakore Dwarka(by road-share auto)

                 Dakore Dwarka-Ahmedabad (by road-bus)

                 Ahmedabad-Somnath/Veraval (by train-Somnath Express)

                 Veraval-Porbandhar-Mool Dwarka-Dwarka (by road-car)

                 Dwarka-Rukmini Dwarka –Bhet Dwarka (by road-car)

                 Dwarka-Ahmedabad (by train-Okha Puri Express)

                 Ahmedabad-Secunderabad (by train-Secunderabad summer special)


Mathura and Vrindavan are in Uttar Pradesh. And the  9 Dwarkas mentioned above are  scattered over the states of Gujarat including Saurashtra and Rajasthan. Though there are package tours conducted from Chennai for Rs 9500/- spread over 10 days, Adiyen could not join because their schedule did not coincide with our vacation.  Hence as usual, I wished to adventure on my own gathering information from various sources.

In this writeup, Adiyen has started with a brief introduction of  the place visited, its importance, location, how to reach, accommodation facilities, the sthalavaralaaru (history of the places) , important info like parikrama(pradakshina) details and finally our tour experience. 




                         Popularly known as Vraj Bhumi and Goloka Vaikuntam, this is the most sacred dham spread over 84 kos i.e.168 miles-42 miles on each direction with Mathura as the center. Vraja mandal comprises of Mathura,  Goverdhan,Gokulam,Vrindavan and its surrounding 12 forests.  The Supreme Lord manifested Himself along with HIS attendants and enacted various pastimes 5000 years ago in Dwapara yugam . Sri Krishnavataaram is the poorna avataram of  Vishnu. Every inch in this place is  sacred because of its association with Sri Krishna’s Thiruvadi (as He walked over all these places).   Anyone who visits this sacred place is bestowed with Krishna Bhakti and attains moksham . This is one of the seven mukthi tharum kshetrams , the rest being Ayodhya,  Mayapur, Kasi,Kanchi, Puri, Dwarka.  Every inch of this place is considered very sacred due to its association with  Sri Krishna.  Lord eternally resides in this place. 

                    There are 108 Vaishnava divya desams (sacred shrines glorified by the12 Azhwar saints of South India out of which Braj bhoomi comprises of 2 divya desams They are Mathura(Vada Mathura in Tamil meaning Mathura of North) comprising of Mathura, Vrindavan and Goverdhan giri and Thiru aayarpaadi(Gokulam). The devotional outpourings are known as pasurams in Tamil.


Mathura has been glorified by 5 Azhwars with 50 pasurams dedicated to this place., the details of which are given here:- 

 Periazhwar(16 pasurams),  Andal(19 pasurams)-, Thondaradipodi Azhwar (1 pasuram), Thirumangai Azhwar(4 pasurams) and Nammazhwar(10 pasurams)


Likewise Thiruaayarpaadi  (Gokulam) has been glorified in 22 pasurams by 3 Azhwars –

Andal,(5 pasurams) Periazhwar (10 pasurams) and Thirumangai Azhwar(7 pasurams). 


As per Varaha Puranam, the benefit of visiting 600 million thirthas is attained by visiting the theerthams in Mathura.  It also states that circumbulating Mathura bestows the benefit of circumbulating 100 times all the holy places  in the world. It also says that even seeing a person who has returned from Mathura will cleanse us of all sins. As per Padma Puranam, residing in Mathura for atleast one day will bestow Hari bhakti. Anyone who leaves his mortal coils  in Mathura will attain moksham.

<>Mathura also known as Madhuvanam was the dwelling place of Madhu, the demon who was killed by the  Lord because of which HE is known as MADHUSUDANAN”.  <>

It is mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatham that  in Krita Yugam, Dhruva did penanace at this place Madhuvanam situated on the banks of River Yamuna for six months and had Lord’s darshan.   In Treta Yugam, Sri Rama’s brother Shatrugna killed Lavanasuran and ruled this place for 12 years as per Rama’s instructions. In Dwapara yugam, Krishna sanctified this place by appearing here as the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva.

Akbar named this town as Fakirabad and promised the residents that  there would be no slaughtering of animals and meat eating would not be allowed in Vraj bhoomi.

LOCATION:- Mathura is 100 kms south of Delhi in Agra-Delhi route and almost all Delhi bound  trains stop in this junction for few minutes.  It takes about 3-4 hours to reach Mathura from Delhi but since it is an important junction, one can alight at Mathura itself for visiting   Krishna’s birthplace.  

HOW TO REACH:- The temples in Mathura can be visited by hiring autos/ tangas/ car.  There are buses to Vrindavan , Gokulam ,Goverdhan (Manasi Ganga) from Mathura station itself.  One can hire any vehicle of  one’s preference and visit the temples in Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokulam .  Mathura and Gokulam are located on either sides of River Yamuna.  Vrindavan is beyond Gokulam.  Vrindavan is 12 kms from Mathura and Goverdhan is around 10 kms from Mathura (pl. note that the routes are different). Goverdhan is 24 kms from Vrindavan. 

STAY FACILITIES:-  Many lodges are available at Mathura starting from Rs.300/-onwards.  Food can be had at any of the Vegetarian hotels.  

IMPORTANT PLACES :- There are about  5000 temples in Vraj Bhumi out of which few important places are mentioned below. It takes about a fortnight to visit all the places in Vraj Bhumi .  

TRANSPORT FACILITIES:- There are state run and private buses to Vrindavan and Goverdhan.  Share autos are also available. One can also engage auto or car for visiting important places in Mathura, Goverdhan and Brindavan.  For sight seeing in Mathura, autos charge approx. Rs.300/- . For directly going to Brindavan without stopping anywhere, they charge around Rs. 150/- and cars charge about Rs.200/-.Share autos charge Rs.10/- to Vrindavan and Rs.20/- to Goverdhan. Buses and autos are available round the clock.

Important places in Mathura

<>Sri Krishna Janmasthan        

Kesavji temple  

Dwarkadeesh temple      

Akroor ghat

Vishram ghat

Kothra Kund 

Kamsa Tila,

Ranga Bhoomi

Adi Varaha temple

Samyavan Theerth(Naga Theerth)

Dhruva Tila




ü  Sri KrishnaJanmasthan – birth place of   Sri Krishna – 1 km from Mathura railway station- well guarded by security –filming equipments and mobiles not allowed inside . Apart from the sannidhi, there is a small room in which Devaki and Vasudeva were kept under house arrest.  It was here that Sri Krishna Paramatma was born . After Ram janma bhoomi conflict , security has been tightened here as there is a mosque beside the temple. 

Even today, on Gokulastami, in this temple, thirumanjanam(abhishekam) is performed to  Sri Krishna headed by the representatives of Vaishnava sampradayams. The thirumanjanam for the utsavar starts around 9 P.M. and goes on upto midnight and special poojas are performed for the Lord . Thirumanjam with huge quantities of milk, curd, butter, ghee etc are done to the Lord .  During that time, curtain is drawn in  front of the garbagriham obstructing clear view of the moolavar.  At the stroke of 12,  the curtain is drawn, and maha aarthi with shodasa upacharam is offered to the  along with chappan bhog(56 items of various food items) . In all other temples in Braj bhoomi, Thirumanjanam is offered to the utsava murthis of Radha and Krishna except in Sri Krishna Janmasthan where abhishekam is done only to Sri Krishna.

STHALAPURANAM:-  Krishna appeared as the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva  on the 8th day (ashtami) of dark fortnight in the month of Sravana  .  HIS parents were under house arrest by Kamsa. This was  Vishnu’s POORNA AVATAAR”  exhibiting all HIS immeasurable  divine qualities for the purpose of reducing Mother Earth’s burden from evil people and protecting the pious people.   It was here that the Lord first exhibited HIS Vishnu form holding sankhu, chakram , padmam, gadam in HIS four hands, wearing peethambaram, adorning kausthubam sporting Srivatsam on HIS thirumaarbhu to Devaki and Vasudeva and reminded them of their two previous births and added that this would be their last birth and attain moksham.

ü  Kothra Kund / pavitra Kund:-  This is beside SriKrishna janmabhoomi. Here Krishna’s parents used to wash their clothes .  This was part of the prison in those days.

ü  Madhuvanam :-  Lavanasuran’s gufa which is very dark is located here. Bit difficult to approach the gufa.

ü  Kesavji temple- the temple of Adikesava Perumal whom  Krishna’s ancestors worshipped

ü  Dwarkadeesh temple- this 150 year old  huge temple was constructed by the devote Marwadi who constructed Rangaji mandir in Vrindavan.  In this temple ,   Krishna is seen with Rukmini and Satyabhama.  In the month of Sravana, utsavam is performed.   Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated grandly.  The temple follows Vallabhacharyar Vaishnava Sampradayam. 

ü  Visram Ghat:- where  Lord rested after killing Kamsa.  While going to Sandipa muni’s ashram for pursuing studies,  Krishna left HIS kreetam(crown) at this place.  This is the most important of the 24 theerthas in Mathura.  Having bath on Sukla paksha Dvidityiyai (2nd day after Amavasya) in the month of Karthigai is very auspicious as it is the appearance day of River Yamuna.  The pithrus get redeemed and reach Vaikuntam.   Usually , people start Braj bhoomi parikrama from this place. This ghat  is on the way to Vrindavan.

ü  Dhruva Tila:-   The place where Dhruva performed austerities.  Kamsa was cremated at this place. As there is no proper path to reach this place, it is suggested to offer respects from Vishram Ghat

ü  Ranga Bhoomi(Yuddha bhoomi) :- Krishna fought with 2 wrestlers, Mushtikan and Chanuran at this place.

ü  Kamsa Tila:-    Kamsa was killed by  Krishna at this place

ü  Adi Varaha temple:-  The diety was installed by Kapila Muni in Krita Yugam who later handed it over to Indra .  Indra gifted this idol to Ishvaku kings at Ayodhya.  When Shatrugna was ruling Mathura, he brought this idol from Ayodhya to Mathura for worship.

<> ü  Talavanam:-  Denukasuran was killed by Balarama at this place.  Earlier this place was full of jackfruit trees but now there is only one tree.  All other trees fell on the asura whereas this tree on which  Krishna was leaning was not uprooted. <>

ü  Kumudavanam:- This place is full of kumuda flowers and lotus with which  Krishna used to dress up the gopis.

ü  Samyavan Theerth(Naga Theerth):-  This is on the banks of Yamuna and is the place from where carrying  Krishna in a basket, Vasudeva crossed Yamuna to reach Gokulam


Imp.places in Gokulam:-  Gokulam is also known as Mahavanam. Gokulam means ‘Gohu kulam” meaning herd of cows.  Immediately after HIS birth in Mathura, the  was shifted to Gokulam and stayed in this place upto the age of 5.  All the leelas of  Krishna as a toddler and kid took place here. Presently , we can see Purana Gokul and  Naya Gokul and it is advisable to visit both the places.  Some of the important places in and around Gokulam are:-


ü  Nanda bhavan:- This is the residence of    Krishna’s foster parents-Nanda Maharaja and Yasodha devi.   Krishna spent HIS early childhood until they moved to Vrindavan.  It is here that Perumal performed various leelas by showing the entire Universe to Yasodha when HE  was ordered to open the mouth. , it was here that the Supreme  who is unattainable even to the rishis performing severe austerity to have HIS darshan, was tied to a mortar by HIS mother, Yasodha.  There is a sannidhi for Radha  Krishnar along with HIS parents and brother. The places where  Krishna killed Putana, Trinavrat, Sakutasuran and other demons, the places where  Lord crawled and played can be seen. In Gokulam, every house is a temple.  We can find the locals inviting the pilgrims to their temple referring to some act or the other of Sri  Krishna.  The houses are on either sides of the narrow lane and one has to walk to see the places where the demonness, Putana was killed.

ü  BHADRAVANAM:-  The 2 asuras,Vatasuran who disguised as a calf and Kabithasuran who had taken the form of Vilam pazham tree ( wood apple tree) were killed here.

ü  VENU KOOPAM:- With HIS divine will,  Krishna summoned all the sacred waters to purify HIMSELF from killing a cow (Vatasuran had disguised as a cow). (Same reference given for Manasi Ganga too)

ü  BRAHMANDA GHAT:- Where the  showed the entire Universe to Mother Yasodha who was chastising HIM for having eaten mud.

ü  UKAL BANDHAN:-     Here the  was tied to a mortar by Yasodha .  Thus, HE came to be known as “Damodaran”

ü  RAMAN RETI :-  where  Krishna played with his friends.  We can find Raman Reti at Vrindavan and Gokulam too.

Imp. Places in and around Vrindavan

Kalinga ghat  

Kadamba vruksh  

Seva Kunj    

Nidhi Van     

Radha Damodar temple  

Radha Gopinath temple

Radha Govindaji temple    

Rangaji Mandir

Yamuna River  

ABOUT VRINDAVAN:- Out of the 12 forests in Braja Mandala, Vrindavan is the largest and is considered as the most sacred place in the world.  Vrindavana is described by our acharyas as the topmost transcendental realm that has inconceivable natural beauty.Vrindavan in the earth planet is considered on par with Sri Vaikuntam as  Krishna eternally resides in this place.  Anyone who does devotional service in Vrindavan will never get entangled in the cycle of births and deaths as he would attain Vaikuntam/ moksham. This place has been praised by many scriptures and Puranas. Great sages including Sri Vaishnava acharyars have expressed their desire to be born as atleast grass in Vrindavan and enjoy Krishna anubhavam.  As every inch of this place has been blessed with Krishna’s paadhadhooli (dust from the Lotus feet of Sri Krishna), even today it is considered the most sacred place .  Even the trees and shrubs in this place are considered sacred.  That is why we find many devotees visiting Vrindavan to have sparsham (touch) of the holy land. Many devotees do parikrama circumbulation /pradakshinam) around Vrindavan especially on Ekadasis and during the month of Karthigai. (Oct-Nov) 

“Vrinda” means tulasi.  As the place is full of tulasi plants, it is known as Vrindavan.  It is also known as Brindavan- brinda meaning herd/ crowd. As the name suggests, we can find herds of cows, crowds of devotees in this place.   Brinda also means “Niranji mull” in Tamil (a type of grass).  When  Krishna decided to manifest in Vrindavan, HE Changed the entire forest area into grass area to enable the cows to graze.  Vrindavan is as worshippable as the Lord.  This is the ideal place to execute Bhakti as the whole place naturally vibrates with  Krishna bhakti  and all the people are inclined to love  Krishna.   Krishna is equally inclined to love them.  

As per Gaudiya Sampradaya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , who was an incarnation of Radha and  Krishna ,visited Vrindavan and stayed for 2 months and did parikrama of all the 12 forests and Goverdhana giri. Over passage of time, all the important places connected to Sri Krishna leela  disappeared. The  decided to unveil all the places of HIS pastimes through Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.   When SriKrishna and Radha took the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, their assistant gopis also appeared in this world to assist Mahaprabhu in HIS mission.   

Mahaprabhu discovered Radha Kunda. He later deputed his foremost disciples, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami to reside in Vrindavan and to revive all the holy places connected to Sri  Krishna’s pastimes .  These disciples did all the ground work possible and  Lord HIMSELF intervened and revealed various places.  Today more than 75% of the temples we find in Vrindavan were constructed by Gaudiya Sampradaya out of which 7 temples are very important .


Some of the  important temples in   Vrindavan are mentioned below:-

  <>ISKCON, Vrindavan:-    ISKCON(International Society for  Krishna Consciousness) popularly known as “HARE  KRISHNAS” has its headquarters at Vrindavan.   There is a guesthouse adjacent to the temple where excellent stay facilities are available for devotees.  Life Members of ISKCON are given preference and the accommodation has to be booked in advance either thru their website or thru phone. This place is always flooded with visitors from India and abroad.  As Vrindavan is considered to be the most sacred dham , every ISKCON devotee has a strong desire to spend atleast few days in this place and indulge fully in Krishna Bhakti.  Hence, accommodation should be booked in advance.  For life members, the maintenance charges for non-Ac room is Rs.150/- and Rs.450/- for AC accommodation and for non-members charges are bit high subject to availability of rooms.   Devotees can have Prashad-breakfast at 9A.M and lunch at 3 P.M. for a very nominal amount of Rs.20/-. For life members, they don’t charge anything.  <>

Staying at ISKCON guest house is preferable due to the proximity to their temple and 24 hours non-stop kirtan of Hare  Krishna Mahamantra thus getting fully charged with devotional fervour.  A yaatrai (Trip) to Vrindavan is incomplete without a visit to ISKCON.     Pure unalloyed bhakti by the devotees including foreigners expecting nothing but ’s grace can be felt here.  Non-stop kirtans goes on round the clock which vibrates our entire body .  

They follow Gaudiya Sampradaya (the Vaishnaya sampradaya established by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago.  The founder acharyar of Gaudiya Sampradaya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the reincarnation of Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani who manifested in India at Mayapur near Kolkatta 500 years back and demonstrated that Prema Bhakti like the Gopikas was the easiest way to attain . He gave the Hare Krishna  Mahamantra  without any discretion towards caste, creed. 

This mission in disciple succession was later taken over by Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharyar of the famous ISKCON (International Society for  Krishna Consciousness) of Gaudiya Sampradaya started the movement in his late 60s and within a span of 11 years by 1978, inspired few thousands of devotees both in India and abroad through his innumerable books by translating Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita and various other Vedic literatures and established many temples.  He united the people from varied backgrounds and gave them the real goal of life and means to attain that goal.Today, there are more than 1000 temples under ISKCON and his  teachings are scrupulously followed by his devotees.  

This is one of the biggest and lavish temples in Vrindavan well guarded by security. Cameras ,mobiles and camcorders can be deposited in the counter near the entrance.  Soon after entering the temple premises, we come across Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi mandir.  The worship in the temple starts with the aarthi reciting Guru Ashtaka (prayers to Guru)  to his golden idol in the Samadhi mandir. Opposite to this, we can find HIS memories and shop selling prashad, books and other pooja articles etc.

On the way to the garbagriham, we pass by an open place on either sides of this, we find beautiful paintings depicting  Krishna’s pastimes .  The shrines of the  Lordship are housed in a rectangular hall.  There are 4 sannidhis in the temple-

ü  Srila Prabhupada sannidhi on the left –seen meditating on the Lord .

ü  Sannidhi of Gaurang and Nitai (Sri Chaintanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda) along with the idols of Srila Prabhupad and his guru, Sri Bhakti Saraswathi Takur. Nityananda is the reincarnation of Balarama, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the reincarnation of Radha and Krishna.  They reincarnated to spread that prema bhakti is superior to other modes of bhakti at the time when Muslims were dominating us and Hinduism was losing its identity due to the misinterpretations by various athesits

ü  Sri Krishna-Balarama sannidhi in the centre- Sri Krishna in HIS beautiful shyamala varnam (blackish form) holding flute and Balarama in white with his arms around Sri Krishna.

ü  Sri Radha- Krishna seen with the 2 foremost sakhis (Attendants)-Lalitha and Visakha flanking them.   As per Gaudiya Sampradayam, Radha and  Krishna are always attended by 8 important sakhis who perform various kainkaryams to the ships. (This can be seen at ISKCON Mayapur and ISKCON Tirupati). 

On the way to the guest house , on the right side, we can find Srila Prabhupad’s residence.  Before construction of this temple, Srila Prabhupada used to stay in Radha Damodar temple premises at Imlitala in Vrindavan.  At the time of construction of this temple , a separate house for Srila Prabhupad was constructed wherein he spent his last days writing many books and inspiring many devotees and attained moksham at this place. The articles used by Srila Prabhupad- utensils, pen, cot, dress, slippers, spectacles etc are well preserved here.   This is open to visitors during particular time in the morning and evening. It also has a library. 

Like in other ISKCON temples worldwide, the temple program starts at 3.40 A.M. with aarthi to Srila Prabhupad in HIS Samadhi mandir, followed by aarthi to the Lordships.  This is followed by Tulasi aarthi, doing pradakshinam to Tulasi devi, doing japa meditation etc. followed by Srimad Bhagavatham classes.  All other aarthis like Shringar aarthi, rajbhog aarthi, uthapana aarthi, sayana aarthi are done to the Lordships daily.   Non-stop kirtan goes on everyday and night.


Kalinga Ghat and Kadamba vruksh (Tree)       - where  Lord performed Kalinga narthanam and subdued the venomous snake- located near Kadamba vruksh.    The incident is known to everyone .  

<>While Saubari muni was meditating at this place, Garuda was eating away the fish from this lake.  This infuriated the rishi who cursed that Garuda would die if he entered this place again.  Garuda is a natural enemy to the snakes. A deal was entered between them wherein the snakes  promised  to  voluntarily offer food to him daily and thus prevent Garuda from killing the snakes unnecessarily.  The ever envious snake Kalinga offended Garuda by eating away Garuda’s portion of food.  When Garuda started chasing him, Kalinga along with his family came to this place and hid himself from Garuda as he knew about his  curse. Due to its presence, the water and the air surrounding this place  became poisonous. Even birds would faint and die due to the poisonous fumes generated by Kalinga when they flew over this place. The trees on the banks were completely dry.  There was no sign of life here.   <>

Once Krishna and his friends happened to reach this place while gazing the cows and to quench their thirst, Krishna’s friends drank water from this lake and fell dead.  By HIS mere glance , Krishna revived their lives and decided to kill the snake.  As HE had to dive into water, Krishna climbed upon a nearby Kadamba tree  and by His touch, the tree bounced back to life. (This tree is still alive till date.).  Krishna dived into the waters and got entangled in the snake’s coils for many hours and did not come up.  The startled gopis rushed to Yasoda to inform about this. All the gopis . cows, parents were weeping profusely as their Krishna was missing and were about to jump into the river but were stopped by Balarama as he knew Krishna’s might.   Meantime, the child Sri Krishna fought with the snake underneath the water for a long time. The snake coiled round  Krishna but Krishna freed HIMSELF from the coils and subdued the snake by kicking and smashing  the hoods of the snake( which was like dancing) until it started vomiting blood.  Krishna emerged out of the water and was seen stamping on the hoods of Kalinga.    The wives of the snake prayed to  Krishna to save their husband and the snake also repented for his misdeeds.   Krishna conceded to the request and ordered Kalinga  to leave the place immediately and assured that henceforth he need not fear Garuda as He has placed HIS holy feet on the snake.  The snakes offered various gems and pearls to Krishna as thanksgiving. There is a small temple with   Krishna seen dancing on the snake on the banks of the river.  

Nidhi Vanam:- This is where  Sri  Krishna performed Rasakreedai with gopikas. Of all the places in Vrindavan, the area where the rasa lila of Radha and  Krishna was performed is most glorious.  As  Krishna promised th gopis  during Vastra abharanam episode to be with them on every Pournami,  Krishna satisfied the gopis’ desire. This pure act has been glorified by great saints like Suka brahma and other rishis.  Raasakreedai is a purely sathvic spiritual dance in which Paramatma-  Krishna would expand into innumerable forms  and dance with the Jeevatmas- gopis. Each gopi would be dancing with  Krishna.  In the Srimad Bhagavatam, it is mentioned that when  Krishna used to play flute, all the gopis used to leave their work as it is and join  Krishna .  In the moonlit garden,  Krishna used to dance with each gopi.  Each gopi used to think that she was most fortunate and was more dearer to Krishna because Krishna was dancing with her.  The moment the thought occurred,  Krishna used to disappear.   The dejected gopis used to lament and cry  profusely searching for  Krishna . They used to recollect the Lord’s various pastimes and pray for HIS association.  This is the famous “GOPIKA GEETHAM” and reciting this will enhance Krishna bhakti. Sri Krishna would  once again appear in front of them and the raasakreedai would continue.     Krishna did this to enhance the bhakti of the gopis  while demonstrating that he doesn’t entertain any evil quality like ego etc.  Krishna used to lay HIS head on the laps of the gopis and the gopis used to lie down on Krishna’s lap and relax.


Entry to this garden after sunset is strictly forbidden as there is a strong belief that  even now,   Krishna does raasaleela here and any mortal who stays here at that time would loose  eyesight as our mortal eyes cannot withstand the divinity.  The garden comprises of many varieties of Tulasi shrubs having 2 leaves together and these varieties cannot be usually seen anywhere.  These are known as Radha- Krishna leaves.  Plucking of these leaves is strictly prohibited. Care is taken to ensure that the leaves are not touched by anyone/doesn’t fall on the ground.    The whole place is considered very sacred.  There are also trees from which bansi (flute) is made.  There are few samadhis in this place out of which  the Samadhi of Haridas Thakur is worth mentioning.  He was an amsam of Lalitha, the foremost assistant/sakhi(friend) of Radharani,. He identified this place.  He used to converse with Perumal and used to meditate upon the Lord always. He discovered the Radha Krishna idol known as Banke bihari which is now housed in a small temple in the garden itself.   Banke Bihari is the form in which Radha  Krishna are together . 


SEVA KUNJ:-  This place is closed after sunset.  Everyone including monkeys leave the place at sunset because it is believed that   Krishna plays with the gopis in the evening.  The local people say that they can hear the sound of anklets and music in the evenings. Like Nidhivan, there are many Tulasi shrubs in this place and is considered as sacred as Nidhivan.  During  Rasakreedai, when Radharani used to get tired ,  Krishna used to take care of her in this place. There is a small temple dedicated to Radha Damodar in this garden.    The pujari informed that every night , they leave sandal paste, flowers and sweets as offerings to the  Lord and when they open the temple the following day, the offerings would be disturbed and scattered all round.  This proves the presence of the  Lord in this place.  Normally the pujari asks for some donation for the night pooja.


IMLI- TALA:-  Imli Tala means “tamarind tree”.    Krishna along with gopis used to relax under this tree which was earlier on the banks of River Yamuna. Now as the river has dried up , it is farther. As the water level has reduced now, it is now opposite to Yamuna River. In gopis’ absence,  Krishna used to sit alone under this tree and recollect the pleasant moments HE had with the gopis.  Presently, at Imli tala , we find Radha Damodar temple, Srila Prabhupad’s residence, samadhis of  Jiva Goswami and Rupa Goswami.


Radha Damodar Temple: -This is the place while doing Rasa lila ,  Krishna was bound by the ropes of affection by Radharani and known as Damodaran.  At this place there is a beautiful temple dedicated to Radha and Damodaran.  The goverdhana shila worshipped by  Sanatana Goswami, one of the foremost disciples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is kept in this sannidhi and circumbulating this sannidhi is equivalent to doing pradakshinam around Goverdhana giri itself.


            In order to revive Bhakti cult through Madhurya Rasa (Prema Bhakti- love for God) , Sri  Krishna and Radha Rani manifested as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Mayapur in West Bengal 500 years ago. To assist Mahaprabhu , Balarama manifested as Nityananda, the foremost attendants of Radha rani –Lalitha, Visakha and other gopis along with  their subordinates known as “Manjaris” appeared as the six Goswamis of Vrindavan-namely, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Jiva Goswami Raghunatha Goswami,Gopala bhatta Swami(he was from Srirangam), Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami.  The two brothers Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis   were assigned the task of writing books on the preachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and their nephew Jive Goswami was entrusted with the job of finding out the lost sites of  Lord Krishna .  These disciples spent most of the time in Vrindavan to discover and identify the  sites of  Krishna leela. Later it was here that Srila Prabhupad stayed for 6 years after taking sanyasam and started translating Srimad Bhagavatam and various books like “Nectar of Devotion”.  He was inspired by Rupa Goswami to spread the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu along with his teachings to the western countries.  Two rooms were used by Prabhupad – one for cooking and the other for writing and staying .  Everyday he used to offer prashad to the deities in this temple and after honouring the prashad, he used to write books.


Diety details:- The temple houses the idols of Radha, Damodaran and the Goverdhana shila worshipped by Sanatana Goswami.


                    APPEARANCE OF  RADHA DAMODAR DIETIES:-In 1542, Jiva Goswami received the idol of Damodaran from Rupa Goswami and installed it on sukla dasami in the month of Magha (Feb-March).  He purchased land for construction of the temple and was regularly offering prayers to the Lord.  Subsequently, the idols of Radharani and Lalitha (the foremost attendant of Radharani)  were found in the sea by a fisherman at Bengal while he was catching fish in his net.  He handed over the same to the Nawab of Bengal who was instructed in his dream  to hand over the idols to Jiva Goswami in Vrindavan. The king personally went to Vrindavan and handed over the deities to Jiva Goswami with full honours.   Jiva Goswami could not distinguish the 2 idols.  That night Radharani appeared in his dream and revealed HER identity.  Accordingly, the following morning Jiva Goswami installed the deities in their proper places and worshipped them.


                   PRESENCE OF GOVERDHANA SHILA:-  Sanatana Goswami used to do Goverdhanagiri parikrama daily even in his old age.  Seeing his pitiable condition,   Krishna appeared as a cowherd boy and gave a small stone with HIS holy feet imbibed on it informing him that doing parikrama to this shila was equivalent to doing parikrama to Goverdhana giri.  This shila was later kept in this temple. 



SRI RADHA RAMAN TEMPLE : This temple is near Nidhi Van.  Gopala Bhatta, son of a Srirangam priest became a disciple of Mahaprabhu  and was serving at Vrindavan.  During his saalagrama yaatrai, while he was offering oblations in Gandaki river, 12 shaalagramas jumped into his hand.  Thinking that he was not fit to have these, with humility , he placed back the shilas in the water but again the saalaagramas jumped into his hand .  Thinking it to be the divine will, he brought them to Vrindavan and  regularly worshipped them.  Looking at deities in other temples, the devotee was dejected that he could not dress up his Saalagrama shilas in that way.  The next day, to his astonishment, he found that one of the big saalagramams broke open and from it emerged a small, beautiful vigraham of   Krishna with flute. He named the diety as RadhaRaman.  There is no separate vigraham for Radha. A crown is placed in her place.  Every year during May, abhishekam is performed using more than 100 litres of milk.


When we visited this temple, jhoola seva was going on after evening aarthi and the assembled devotees were singing aarthi songs .  Beside Perumal’s sannidhi there is a small room dedicated to the blessed devotee because of whom we are able to have darshan of this Perumal. 


Sri Rangaji temple: A very big temple in South Indian style constructed 160 years ago. The presiding diety is Sri Ranganathar in Nindra Thirukkolam (Standing posture).Like in Srivilliputtur, here Perumal is  seen with Godha Devi(Sri Andal) and Garudan in sama asaanam (standing on the same peetam).  The temple also houses shrines of Lord Venkateswara , Sri Ramanujar, Sri Thirukachhinambigal.   In the temple precints, there  are 108 houses constructed for the temple kainkarya kaarars who migrated to this place from Tamilnadu.  This is one of the richest temples in Vrindavan.  Food arrangements and staying facilities are provided by the temple management for bhagavatha groups visiting this place on prior intimation . This temple is 2 kms from Kalinga Ghat.  All utsavams including Adhyanautsavam  as per agama shastras are performed here.


Yamuna river – River Yamuna, considered as one of the seven sacred rivers flows through Mathura, Vrindavan and Gokulam.  On the way to Gokulam, we can find the river in full view.    Yamuna is glorified by Andal as “Thooya Peruneer Yamunai ” As the Lord   bathed in Yamuna, she is considered  as “Thooya Peruneer” and more sacred than Ganges.  Ganges is the water collected from Perumal’s Thiruvadi but Yamunai had to opportunity to bathe the Lord .  Yamuna relieves us from all sins whereas her brother Yama punishes for our sins.   


       Sri Velukudi Swamin in his discourse referring to Sri Pillai Lokacharyar’s vaakyanams ( explanations ) describes  Yamunai as more sacred than Godavari.  He elaborated  this saying that Yamuna involved herself in  Krishna kainkaryam by giving way to Vasudevar while crossing the river without  fearing Kamsa whose palace  was near her banks  whereas Godavari lost the opportunity of not doing Rama kainkaryam out of fear for Ravana though he was very far away in Lanka.  Godavari lost her purity because when Rama called out trees, rivers, mountains to know about Sitadevi’s whereabouts, Godavari remained silent.  But Godavari is still considered to be one of the seven sacred rivers because of her name “GODHAvari” reflecting Andal’s name.  Swamin says that a holy bath in Yamunai will instill bhakti and  courage . Even if one is not able to have bath, one should atleast sprinkle the holy waters. Presently, construction work is going on in Vrindavan and Gokulam.


SRI RADHA GOVINDAJI TEMPLE:- The deities were discovered by Rupa Goswami with the help of Krishna who had come in the disguise of a cowherd boy and showed the place.  Raghunatha Bhatta financed for the construction of the temple while Akbar contributed red sandstone for temple construction.   Earlier a seven storey structure housing the deities of Radha and Govinda . Ghee lamps lit in this temple on all the storeys used to be visible in Agra.Later Aurangzeb invaded this place to plunder the abundant wealth of gold ornaments .  To prevent sacrilege, the deities were transported to Jaipur.  The evil, angry, fanatic king Aurangzeb demolished three floors of the temple structure and massacred the sculptures.  Later a replica of the original deities was sanctified and till date worship is being offered to the new idols.  We visited this temple during our first visit.  Nearby there is a choultry which charges very minimum amount for accommodation.   


Ø  Nandgaon     :- This is 40 miles from Gokulam .  Fom the age of 5 upto the age of 10 years, Krishna resided in this place. At this place,  Krishna enacted His childhoold pastimes like stealing butter and  playing with gopis. Shiva transformed into a hill in which Krishna’s house was built and thus offered service to the Lord. One can engage an auto to visit Nandgaon, Barsana, Goverdhana and all other important places from Vrindavan.

             The important places to be visited are:-

Ø  Nand Bhavan:-  The palace where  Krishna stayed with HIS foster parents-Yasoda and Nandagopalan located on a small hillock.  A flight of steps leads us to the palace.  Here one can see the mortar used by Yasoda for churning milk. Krishna Kundam:- Nand Maharaj used to bathe  Krishna and Balarama in this place.   When Udhava visited Vrindavan to convey  Krishna’s message to the gopis, he had bath in this kund.

Ø  Akroor Ghat:- This can be accessed either from Mathura or Vrindavan.  This is the spot where Akroor stopped while taking Krishna and Balarama to Mathura from Nandgaon.  There is a small temple dedicated to the three of them.  Krishna gave darshan to Akrurar while the latter was offering evening oblations .


Sage Narada revealed Krishna’s birth details and identity to Kamsan which enhanced his  fear .  He decided to kill Krishna and balarama immediately and plotted a plan to kill the brothers.  He arranged for a dhanur yaagam and sent a Brahmin named Akrooran, to invite  Krishna and Balarama to Mathura  .  He had made all sorts of arrangement like deploying the mad elephant, Kuvalayapeetam, at the entrance to kill  Krishna, wrestlers Denuka and Chanura to fight with  Krishna .  Akrooran, who was longing to see  Krishna seized this opportunity and left for Vrindavan.  He was duly honoured by the yadavas including  Krishna and Balaraman and requested  Krishna’s parents to send the boys to Mathura as Kamsa had invited them for Dhanuryaagam.  After convincing the grief stricken gopis,  Krishna and Balarama left for Mathura in Akroorar’s chariot. While driving the chariot, he was constantly contemplating on the Supreme  and was driving very slowly.  In the  evening, Akroorar stopped the chariot under a tree requesting  Krishna and Balarama to remain seated while he would finish his  evening oblations.  When Akroorar was having a dip in Yamuna, to his astonishment, underneath the water he saw Krishna and Balarama seated in the chariot. Bewildered, he immediately raised and was astonished to see them in the chariot.  He once again took a holy dip and at that time saw Sri  Krishna as Vishnu in Srivaikuntam (Vaikuntanathan) , and Mahalakshmi Thayar pressing HIS tender lotus feet.   When he got up , he once again saw  Krishna seated in the chariot along with Balaraman.  Akroorar was immensely satisfied with Perumal’s kataksham on him.  Prostrating at the Lord’s feet, he continued to drive the chariot  and reached Mathura.  Thus, at this place   Krishna showed HIS swaroopam to HIS bhakta.  Hence, a bath at this ghat would enhance  Krishna bhakti .

Ø  Surya Kund:- Sun God forgot himself seeing the leelas of  Krishna and was blessed with  Krishna darshanam in Tribhangi form(with 3 curves)

Ø  Nand Baitak:- The Yadavas headed by Nanda Maharaj used to assemble here and discuss all matters relating to their village  and welfare

Ø  Yasodha Kundam:- Mother Yasoda used to bathe  Krishna here.  Nearby there is a small temple of Narasimhar

Ø  Charan Pahadi:- To call the cows,  Krishna used to stand on a rock and play flute.  Hearing the music, the rock melted and thus  Krishna’s thiruvadi was imbibed on it.


Barsana(VARSANA)      :- Barsana is 10 kilometres from Nandgaon and 42 kms from Mathura.  This is the birth place of Radha Rani . The palace of Vrishabanu is built on a small hillock.  .Srimad Bhagavatam, Naalayira Divya prabhandam and Vishnu Puranam do not glorify Radharani  but most of  the north Indian scriptures and bhajans take her name.  Radha Rani is Bhakti-personified.   .  When Radharani was born to King Vrishabanu, the baby did not open the eyes for many days  and everyone was perplexed.  It so happened that Mother Yasoda carrying child  Krishna visited Vrishabanu;’s residence to see Vrishabanu’s wife, the girl child who was lying on her mother’s lap immediately opened her eyes on seeing  Krishna.   She was the foremost devotee of the  Lord and even today, we can find the local people including rickshaw pullers calling out “Radhey Radhey”.  The uttering of the name “Radha” instills devotion and that’s why in Vrindavan, we find devotees taking Radha’s name than  Krishna’s.  The appearance day of Radharani falls on the 15th day after Sri  Krishna Janmashtami. Though azhwars have not mentioned Radha’s name in their pasurams, north Indian literatures glorify Radha as the foremost devotee and almost all  Krishna bhajans include Radharani.


Out of the many hills and hillocks in Braj bhoomi, three are considered to be very sacred.  The light coloured hill at Barsana on which Radharani’s palace is constructed is considered to be Brahma personified, the darkish hill at Goverdhana is Vishnu and the reddish hill at Nandgaon on which Nanda maharaja’s palace is built is Shiva personified.


Some of the important places in and around Barsana are:-

Ø  MOR KUTIR:- We can find many peacocks here.   Krishna and Radharani  used to imitate like the peacocks while playing

Ø  SANKIRI KOL:- This is exactly in the middle of BArsana and Nandgaon.  It was  Krishna’s practice to stop the gopis at this place and collect tax.  On one such occasion, when Radharani was stopped, she got angry and broke the pot containing curd.  It is believed that those pieces are still here.  It is difficult to approach this place because of bushes and thorns.  (Similar incident is related to Dhan Gati near Goverdhana)

Ø  SANKETH:- meeting point of  Krishna with the gopis

Ø  BAKASURAN VADHAM IN KATHIRAVANAM:-   Krishna killed the asura who had come in the form of a crane.


Goverdhanagiri :-

Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is situated in the middle of the town Goverdhan which  is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Autos charge app. Rs 300/- to go to Goverdhan from Vrindavan.  Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill. This is considered as the most sacred place like Vrindavan . 


APPEARANCE OF GOVERDHAN HILL :- In Satya yugam, the first yugam , Pulastya Muni approached Vindhya Hills, the king of mountains to give his son Goverdhana to him. The rishi desired to take the mountain to Kashi and do meditation sitting on it.   When the mountain was reluctant, the sage was annoyed and was about to curse it.  At that time, his son Goverdhana intervened and expressed his willingness to accompany the rishi on the condition that the rishi should not put him down until he reaches the destination and in case the rishi, for any reason, places him down, he would not move from that place.  The sage agreed to this condition and with his spiritual powers carried the hill from Vindhyas. When it was dusk, the rishi placed the hill to offer evening oblations. After finishing his rituals, when the rishi tried to lift the hill, he could not do so.   Goverdhana reminded him of the condition and said that it would continue to be in the same place.  The annoyed rishi cursed the hill that it would shrink by the size of a  mustard seed every day.   As per the scriptures, 5000 years ago, Goverdhana hill was about 29 km high, 115 kms long and 72 kms wide.  Now the hill is only 80 feet high at its highest point and at some places it is in the ground level. The circumference is  25 km.



Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had Sri  Krishna sambandham everyday during   Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have.   Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes.  Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies  Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities. In Srimad Bhagavatham,  the Lord mentions  that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical.   As per the scriptures,   Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends.  (I wonder how   Krishna walked 50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear . This makes me recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam “Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale enge iru….” ., azhwar’s feelings when he expresses  mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.)  . 


It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains.    Krishna ,who  was 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods.  The  Lord added that  Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity.   The Supreme  suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and  Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed.   On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas  performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.   On Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered.  Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain,declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF  .  HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced  by  Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.  The gopas returned happily.  


The identity of Sri  Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small stones from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship.   (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking the stones) . As   Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers  perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today  . On Ekadashis and during the month of Sravana and Karthika, devotees throng to do pradakshinam.


Indra was furious and could not tolerate this humility. There was heavy downpour of rain followed by thunder and storm.  The gopas approached  Krishna for help.  The Lord  who is Bhakta vatsalan- lifted the Goverdhana Hill with HIS little finger on HIS left hand like an umbrella and all the gopas with their cattle took shelter of the .  The inhabitants of Vrindavana along with their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomfort.  Seeing the extraordinary powers of the , Indra was baffled in his determination and was humbled. He approached the  Lord with Surabhi cow, begged for forgiveness for his ignorance and performed milk abhishekam to the Lord  .  He praised the Lord  as “GOVINDA”- the protector of cows and did Govindabhishekam.  As Goverdhanagiri had the fortune to be held by the Lord  , the hill is known as “Giriraj”- the king of all mountains. 


To commemorate the above incident,  Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord.  Even today, on the following day after Deepavali, Annakoota festival is celebrated at Goverdhanagiri and at Nathdwara. The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the  Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties  food preparations (chappan bhog) .  All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriaj.




Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock.  Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck.  Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers.  As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing the hill.  There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill . 



(Performing Pradikshana to the Holy Hill )


Varaha Purana states that anyone who performs Goverdhana parikrama will not take birth in this world again. The normal starting and ending place for Goverdhana parikrama is Manasi Ganga.  For a normal person, it would take 4-6 hours to circumbulate the hill.  On important days like Ekadashi , many devotees do parikrama around the hill while some exalted devotees do parikrama daily. Parikrama has to be done after having bath and one has to be pure in all aspects,  wearing clean clothes and without slippers.  It is advisable to start doing parikrama in the early morning  by 3 A.M. or in the evenings.  Parikrama should never be left incomplete.  Few temples may remain closed but mere visit to these temples itself will bestow  Krishna bhakti.  Some advanced  devotees  do “DHANDVARTH PARIKRAMA” starting from Manasi Ganga to Goverdhana hill and ending at Manasi Ganga.  They prostrate fully with their right hand extended, mark the place where the hand touched with a stone, get up , again prostrate from where they left. This would take nearly  days to complete.  There are some devotees who do 108 namsaskaarams at every place.  They would take more than a month to complete this type of pradakshinam.  When they are tired, they remain in the same place, have whatever food is offered to them at that place and relax.  I sincerely wish to place the dust from the feet of such devotees on my head with reverence.   Persons who are not accustomed to walking 21 kms also do not find it difficult to walk and get inspired looking at  the bhakti fervour and zeal amongst fellow devotees. The followers of Vallabhacharya of Pushti Marg, followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and other Gaudiya Vaishnavas do parikrama regularly.  Most of the temples in Braj bhoomi follow either Gaudiya Sampradayam or Pushti Vaisnava Sampradayam.


As   Krishna advised the gopas to do parikrama to the hill, even today, many devotees  do parikrama around the hill.  There are 2 paths- inner and outer parikrama path.  Inner path (a narrow muddy path ) is approximately 21 kms and outer path(road path)  is about 25 kms.  Parikrama usually starts by having a dip in Manasi Ganga, offering prayers to Harideva (goverdhana shila) on the way and ends at Manasi Ganga. There is no time restriction for doing parikrama and most of the devotees do it in the evening and continue the whole night.  Devotees first have their bath or sprinkle water from Manasi Ganga and walk about half a kilometer to the hill.  There is a police chowk beside which is a Lakshmi Narayana temple considered as one of the 108 divya desams. From here the parikrama ( Pradikshana) path starts .  As any good deed done here gives manifold benefit, one can exchange rupee for small  coins and give to the wayside deprived/aged/ handicapped underpriveleged. The parikrama ends at Manasi ganga and Devotees usually  have bath in Radha Kund and Shyam Kund after finishing parikrama.



During his visit to Vrindavan,  Chaitanya Mahaprabhu  bathed in Manasi Ganga, offered prayers to Harideva and circumbulated Goverdhana giri.  He restrained from climbing the hill saying that it was equivalent to  Krishna and climbing the hill was an offence.   Hence, we find fencing all around the Goverdhana hill.  He fell into ecstasy by the mere sight of the hill.  The six Goswamis of Vrindavan who were the direct disciples of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many other devotees like Vallabhacharya, Madhavendra puri etc. used to do parikrama daily.   Sanatana Goswami, one of  foremost disciples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to do outer parikrama daily even in his advanced age.  Lord  pitied him and appeared as a small cowherd boy and gave  a stone (shila) with HIS thiruvadi and cow’s hoof imbibed on it advising him  to do parikrama to the small stone as it was the same as Giriraj.   This shila is presently in Radha Damodara temple at Imlitala  in Vrindavan which also houses the Samadhi of Sanatana Goswami.


A small stone on which  (Perumal’s) HOLY FEET ( Thiruvadi) are imbibed is placed in the temple in front of Goverdhana giri and doing parikrama (pradikshinam /circumbulation) to this shila  is considered as equivalent to pradakshinam done to Goverdhana Giri.   On the gopuram , little   Krishna lifting the Goverdhana giri thus giving shelter to the gopas and cattle is beautifully sculpted.  Presently, Goverdhanagiri is 80 feet high and 8 kms wide . It is spread over 25 kms and it takes about 4 -5 hours to do pradakshinam. 


Some of the important  holy places around  Giriraj Goverdhan Hill which we come across are Manasi Ganga, Brahma Kunda, Haridev temple, Manasi Devi temple, Chakra theertha, Sanatana Goswami’s bhajan kuitr, Chakleswar Mahadev temple(no mosquitoes present here), Kusum Sarovar, Asoka Tala, Uddhava temple, Dhan gati, Narada vanam, Mukharavinda, Shyam Kutir , Govinda Kunda,  Aniyora, Nipa Kunda, Radha Govinda temple, Indra Tila, Gopala temple, Surabhi Van, Julan Shila, Doka Dauji, Apsara Kunda, Navala Kunda Narasimha Temple, Rasa Stali, Sutalavana forest, Punchari Ka Lautha Baba temple, Kadambha Van, Indra Kunda, Airavata Kunda, Rudra Kunda, Jeti Pura, Vilasa Vana , Vilachu Kunda, Sakhi Vana, Sakhi Sthali, Uddhava Kunda, Siva Khari, Malayahari KUnda, ISKCON, Goverdhan etc.To visit all these places would take 3days. If one does parikrama in the night, he may not be able to visit few temples as it would be closed. 


To visit all the above places, one must be accompanied by a local devotee guide who can take us to all the temples  as few temples/ places are off the parikrama marg.  Or one can find out the details from the pujaris of nearby temples or shopkeepers.  Most of the temples remain closed in the nights except the important temples which are on the parikrama marg. Even if one is not able to visit all the above temples/ places, one MUST ATLEAST VISIT THE FOLLOWING PLACES:-




3)      VISIT LAKSHMI NARAYANA TEMPLE which is at the beginning of the parikrama marg (path) and all other temples which are on the pathway itself

4)      VISIT MUKHARAVINDA TEMPLE where devotees offer milk and sweets to the diety. These are sold outside the temple. THIS temple remains open even in the nights.

5)      VISIT SHRINATHJI TEMPLE/GOVERDHANA SHILA TEMPLE which is opposite to Goverdhana giri on the main road and offer milk abHIShekam to the goverdhana shilas.  THIS temple remains open even in the nights.



For the convenience of devotees who come by vehicles,  there is a Tar  road and a wide foot path for pilgrims to walk on in the outer ring. The inner parikrama path is a soft sand road which is soothing to the feet because of the soft sand compared to the road path.  Doing parikrama in the inner path would save about 3-4 kilometres of walking.  All along the parikrama path, there are many shops selling mineral water,  refreshments and fresh fruit juice.  Devotees can relax here .  (Like the wayside shops we see while trekking Tirumala Hills). Small water tanks have been constructed to provide water to the pilgrims.  As there are no street lights, only the lights from the shop illuminate the path.   It is advisable to carry a small torch (these are also sold on the wayside) .


It is suggested to note down the important temples to be visited while going to this place.  “Braja Mandala Parikrama” , a book published by ISKCON gives complete details about all the important places in and around Vrindavan, Mathura. 


A brief description about the above mentioned important places is given below:-


Manasi Ganga:- this is opposite to Goverdhanagiri. Mana means “mind” and Gangä is the Ganges River.  To purify HIMSELF from  killing Vatasura who was in the form of calf,  Krishna by HIS Meditation brought Ganges to this place.   When Nanda Maharaja along with the gopis wanted to go to Ganges for having bath,  Krishna restrained them from traveling so far suggesting them to have bath in Manasi Ganga.  There are interesting stories connected to the boat pastimes of Radharani and  Krishna.   This kunda is considered a million times more potent than Ganges River, because by bathing in the Ganges River one gets liberation but by bathing in Manasi Ganga one gets “Krishna prema,” the only desire of the Vaishnavas. It is a good-sized lake located in the town of Govardhana. Even though it is a large kunda, there are buildings blocking it and hence not visible from road. Manasi Ganga used to be a very large lake, but as Govardhana Hill is getting smaller, Manasi Ganga is also getting smaller in the same proportion.  Pilgrims usually start Goverdhana parikrama from this place and end it here.  A dip in this lake will absolve us of all sins. 


HARIDEVA TEMPLE:- Established by Vajranabha,  Krishna’s great grandson 4900 years ago, this is one of the four presiding deities of Vrindavana.  Pilgrims usually have bath in Manasi Ganga and visit Harideva temple before starting Goverdhana parikrama.  Goverdhana parikrama without darshan of Harideva is considered incomplete.


BRAHMA KUNDA:- THIS is next to Manasi Devi temple close to Harideva temple.  The water collected from Abhishekam performed to Lord Krishna by Brahma is Brahma Kunda.


MANASI DEVI TEMPLE:- Manasi Devi is the presiding diety of Manasi Ganga and is one of the four important Devi temples in Braja mandala.  The other 3 temples are Yogamaya temple in Vrindavan, Patalesvari devi in Mathura and Vrinda Devi in Kamyavana.


LAKSHMI NARAYAN TEMPLE:-   This temple is located on the right side of  the police chowk  at the beginning of parikrama marg.    This is considered as one of the 108 divya desam temples sung by azhwars. Periazhwar has dedicated  11 pasurams on Goverdhana giri Pasuram 3(5) in Periazhwar Thirumozhi ending with ‘Goverdhanum enrum kotrai kudai” ( umbrella) while doing mangalasaasana to Vadamathura divya desam.   The original dieties are not in existence now the present dieties considered to be the utsava murthis of goverdhana hill are worshipped since 200 years. 


Radha Kund and Shyam Kund :- Lakes created by Sri  Krishna and Radha during their pastimes.  By killing the terrific demon, Aristasura who was in the form of bull, the gopis informed  Krishna that HE was afflicted with dosha of killing bull.  To get rid of this sin, they suggested  Krishna to have bath in all the holy rivers.   Krishna however said that it was not required and with HIS sankalpam stuck the earth with HIS heel . Water from all the holy rivers sprang up and  Krishna had bath. This is Shyam Kund.   Krishna informed the gopis that by siding the asura in the form of bull, they also accumulated sin.  To get rid of this sin, the gopis headed by Radharani started digging the earth with their bangles beside Shyam Kund.  To fill the water in the tank, they started digging route from Manasi Ganga.  Conceding the sacred rivers’ request, Radharani allowed them to fill this tank.  Radha Kund appeared at midnight on Bahulastami, of the waning moon in the month of Kartikai (Oct-Nov).  Thousands of devotees have bath in this kund on this day. As per Varaha Purana, by bathing in Radha Kunda, the sin of killing a cow, man or a Brahmana is immediately removed and one attains the punya of performing a rajasuya and asvamedha yajna. There are 8 gardens each around Radha Kunda and Shyam Kunda representing the eight friends of Radharani and  Krishna respectively. 


KUSUMA SAROVAR AND ASOkA TALA :-  At this place, the gopis used to pluck various flowers and offer it to  Krishna.  On the banks of kusuma sarovar is asoka tala where  Krishna braided radharani’s hair.


UDDHAVA TEMPLE:-  This is near Kusuma Sarovar constructed by  Krishna’s great grandson, Vajranabha.   Krishna sent message to the gopis at Vrindavan through Uddhava pacifying their deep feeling of separation.  Seeing the exalted position of the gopis, who had forsaken everything to take shelter of the lotus feet of  Krishna, Uddhava wished to be born as either bush or creeper or grass in Vrindavan so that he would be blessed when the gopis trample over him.  Uddhava remains here in the form of grass.


NARADA VANAM:- .This is near Kusuma Sarovar. There is a temple for Narada near Narada Kund  Narada rishi desired to witness the conjugal pastimes of Radha  Krishna and reached this place.  He was however obstructed entry by Vrinda Devi as he was in the male form.  With the blessings of Narada Muni, the rishi took a female body after bathing in Kusuma Sarovar and witnessed the pastimes of Radha and  Krishna .   Krishna blessed him and ordered him to write a commentary on bhakti which is known as “Narada Bhakti Sutra”


Dan Ghati- This temple is on the road where Lakshmi Narayan temple is located.  “Dan” means the place where taxes are collected.   Krishna and HIS friends used to stop the gopis who pass by this place for selling their diary products and collect taxes for development of Goverdhan.  The gopis were forced to part with butter, milk, curd as tax.  There is Dani Raya temple constructed by Vajranabha as a remembrance of this pastime on top of Goverdhana Hill. Presently there is no worship in this temple. There is another place near Barsana with the same name where Krishna bestowed a Brahmin with gold equal to Radha’s weight for performing his daughter’s marriage. The balance used by Krishna for weighing is kept in that place.


ISKCON Goverdhana :- This is located on the left side of the parikrama path.  The name “Bhaktivedanta Ashrama” is written on a white stone .  There are some minimum basic facilities available here . We can have prashad at this place . Two Goverdhana shilas (one black and one white) are kept in the altar and are worshipped as Krishna and Balarama respectively.   A good place to relax ,chant and have prashad.


DAN NIVARTAN KUNDA :-This is on the right side of the parikrama path being the place  where the gopis punished  Krishna for collecting tax.


SYAMAVAN AND SYAMA KUTIR (Ratna Simhasan):-  The demon Sankhasura , who was an associate of Kubera, carried away Radharani who was sitting on a Ratna Simhasan . When  Krishna chased him, he left Radharani along with Ratna simhasan at Lagamohan Tirtha.   Krishna chased and killed  Sankhasura and presented the jewel resembling a conch shell to Balarama.  Syama Kutir is the place where  Krishna whose complexion is blackish covered HIS whole body with kasthuri and black blanket and frightened the gopis who could not recognize HIM.


GVAL POKHARA /GOPALA KUNDA-  Krishna used to have lunch with this cowherd friends at this place. “Gval” means cowherd. On the right side of the parikrama path, there is a mud road after crossing Sant Nivas Ashram, this is located.


YUGAL KUNDA:- This is on the left side of the parikrama path. Nanda Maharaja stayed in this place.


EAR OF GOVERDHANA :- Half a kilometer past the toll gate, there is a temple on the right side which is considered as the ear of Goverdhana.



ANIYORA:- THIS village is 3 kilometres from Goverdhan town on the parikrama path.   In this village which is around the Goverdhana giri, food was offered to the hill as per  Krishna’s insistence.  Since  Krishna assuming the form of a huge hill consumed the entire offerings and asked for “more” , this place came to be known as Aniyora. Even today Annakuta festival takes place at this place. 


SANKARSANA KUNDA AND BALARAMA TEMPLE:-  As per Varaha Puranam, the sin of killing a cow will be absolved by having bath in this kund.  There is a temple dedicated to Balarama near this kunda.  It is about half a kilometer from Govinda Kunda.                      




When Madhavendra Puri visited Vrindavan , he came to Goverdhan for circumbulating the hill.  After finishing HIS parikrama, he had bath in Govinda Kunda and was relaxing under a tree when  Krishna appeared as a small cowherd boy with a pot of milk and offered it to Madhavendra Puri saying that no one should starve in HIS place and HE takes care of the devotees who visit this place.  The cowherd boy requested the devotee to have the pot o milk saying that HE would come in the evening to take back the pot.  By looking at the boy , Puri’s hunger was satisfied but as the boy insisted he drank the pot of milk, cleaned the pot and waited for the boy to return to take the pot.  Awaiting the boy’s return, Madhavendra Puri dozed off to sleep and in HIS dream, the boy appeared .  In the dream, the boy informed the devotee that HE was Gopala, the lifter of Goverdhana Hill , residing in a nearby bush and suffering from cold, rain and scorching heat.  The  advised the devotee to construct a temple on top of the hill and give HIM holy bath with plenty of cold water and milk   As per the Lord’s instructions, Madhavendra Puri discovered the idol and installed it in a temple .  After Madhavendra Puri left Vrindavan, the worship was handed over to 2 Bengali Brahmins and during Mughal attack, the idol was thrown away in a nearby bush by a priest and the whereabouts about the idol remained unknown for several years.  Later,  Lord appeared in Sri Vallabhacharyar’s dream, gave instructions about HIS whereabouts and  the idol was once again revived.  Due to fear of attack by Pathans, this idol was taken to Nathdwar by Rana Raja Singh of Mewar in 17th century.  Thus, we now find this idol at Nathdwar in Rajasthan.


INDRA TILA, GOVINDA KUNDA and GOPALA TEMPLE:- There is a tank about 400 m from Aniyora..   Indra who was defeated by  Krishna repented for his deeds accepted the Lord’s Supremacy and performed “GOVINDABHISHEKAM” with Ganges and milk of Surabhi, the celestial cow. Indra Tila is the place where Indra did abhishekam to the .   The water from abhishekam got  collected in Govinda Kunda.   The Gopala temple is supervised by Goswamis from Jaipur.


RADHA GOVINDA TEMPLE: the idol is about 3.5 feet tall and is playing a flute.  THIS temple is near Govinda Kunda and  was constructed by Vajranabha.


NIPA KUNDA:- THIS is also near Govinda Kunda and was the place where  Krishna used to have food with HIS friends by using the leaves of the kadamba trees as cups (Nipa= cup)


SURABHI VAN:- Previously the entire area was like forest and the place where Indra bathed  Krishna with Surabhi is known as Surabhi Van.  Govinda Kunda is in the centre of this forest.


JULAN(GOVERDHANA) SHILA:- A large Goverdhana shila on which the figures of Radha and  Krishna sitting on a swing(jhoola) is sculpted.  To check from nearby resident for location of this shila.


DOKA DAUJI (BALARAMA STALI):- This temple is at a 5 minute walk from Govinda Kunda  dedicated to Balarama who is seen in a crouching position as he wanted to see Krishna from the hilltop.  This temple is located on top of Goverdhan Hill.


APSARA KUNDA AND NAVALA KUNDA (PUNCHARI KUNDA) :Apsara Kunda is said to have been created by seven main Apsaras when they came to bathe  Krishna.  A bath in this kunda will bestow the benefit of performing hundreds of rajasuya and aswamdedha sacrifices.   On its banks is Apsara Bihari temple, Dauji temple(Balarama temple), Siva temple and Navala Kunda..  Navala means “evergreen”.  As mentioned earlier, goverdhana hill resembles a peacock and this is the tail of Goverdhana. Punchari means tail.    This is located beside Apsara Kunda on the opposite end of Goverdhana hill from Radha Kunda. 



MUKHARAVINDA TEMPLE:- This temple is next to parikrama marg.  All the devotees doing parikram MUST  this temple .  There are 2 Goverdhana shilas in this temple.  One is marked with the outline of  Krishna’s crown(mukut-shila) and the other shila is embedded in the ground is considered as the mouth of Goverdhana(Mukharavinda shila).   Devotees offer milk and sweets to these shilas.  Parikrama of goverdhan without visiting this place is incomplete.  Even pilgrims who go by vehicle for doing parikrama get down at this place and offer prayers.  This temple remains open even in the nights.


CHAKRA THEERTHA :-  Krishna with HIS little finger was holding the Goverdhana Hill and protecting HIS folks from rain.  As the  surrounding ground was getting filled up with rain water,  Krishna summoned Sudarshana Chakra to quench the rain waters with its heat and thus protected  the gopas from getting drowned . Adiseshan also did HIS part by drinking the remaining water.  After  Krishna replaced Goverdhana Hill, Sudarshana chakra remained on the northern bank of Manasi Ganga which is now known as Chakra Theerth. At this place, Radha and  Krishna are believed to have their first swing pastime.


CHAKLESWARA MAHADEVA TEMPLE and SANATANA GOSWAMI’S BHAJAN KUTIR:-  This temple is located on the parikrama marg itself.  Here there is a shrine for Shiva linga known as Chakleswar which is one of the five presiding Siva lingas worshipped in Braja Mandala.  When Sanatana Goswami who was residing in a nearby kutir planned to shift due to menace of mosquitoes, we are told that there Shiva assured that there would be no mosquitoes here and requested Sanatana Goswami to stay here.  This temple remains open in the night. 

 KRISHNA-BALARAMA AND NANDA MAHARAJA TEMPLE:- This temple is near Chakra theertha and is the place where  Krishna stayed with HIS parents after completing Goverdhana puja.


MALYAHARI KUNDA :- This  is near Radha Kunda. It is said that Gopis after plucking flowers from Kusum sarovara would come to this place and make garlands for  Krishna.  Once  Krishna saw the gopis stringing pearls in a twine.  The gopis refused to give pearls to  Krishna when HE wanted to make similar strings for HIS cows.   Krishna returned home and dug a hole in the courtyard and put few pearls in it.  After some days, it grew into a big tree with many pearls with which the   made pearl chains for HIS cows.   The gopis imitated  Krishna and put all their pearls in the hole dug by them.  To their dismay, nothing grew.  They were afraid to face the wrath at home and prayed to  Krishna for help.   Krishna satisfied their wish. In return, Radharani presented  Krishna with betel nuts, scented garlands and some food which she personally cooked. 


GOVERDHAN temple:- This temple is situated opposite to Goverdhana giri. Pilgrims usually visit this temple and offer milk to the small Goverdhana shila  as a mark of completion of parikrama. A small stone on which Perumal’s Thiruvadi are imbibed is placed in the temple and doing parikrama (pradikshinam/circumbulation) to this shila  is considered as equivalent to pradakshinam done to Goverdhana Giri.   On the gopuram , little   Krishna lifting the Goverdhana giriri and giving shelter to the gopas and cattle is beautifully sculpted.  Presently, Goverdhanagiri is 80 feet high and 8 kms wide . It is spread over 25 kms and it takes about 4 -5 hours to do pradakshinam. 


KAMYAVANAM:-  Also known as Kamavanam meaning “love” for God,  this is located at a distance of 50 miles from  Vrindavan on Rajasthan border.  This is considered as the end of Braj Bhoomi.   Here,  Kamam which means desire  is for  Krishna kaamam.  That is  Krishna bhakti.


  Krishna along with HIS friends used to travel from Nandgaon to Vrindavan and from there HE used to come to this place for gazing cows.  The holy marks of the Lord’s feet are imbibed on various rocks in this place. Here the Lord exhibited HIS qualities of Soulabhyam and  Souseelyam .  Some of the important places are Vimala Kundam, Yaksha Prashnam, Vrinda Devi temple, Gaya Kundam, LUka Luka kundam, Charan Pahadi, Pisalini shila, Vyomasuran gufa, Bhojana Thali, Ksheerasagaram.  Ram ghat and Cheerghat are located on Mathura-Delhi route near Kamyavanam.  A brief description of these places is given below:- some of the places may be difficult to locate . Hence it is advisable to take local guide for visiting these places.  Else, we can go with ISKCON devotees when they do Braj Mandal Parikrama during the auspicious month of Karthigai (Nov-Dec) which they call as month of Damodaran or trip organized by Sri.Velukudi Swami.

Ø  Vimala Kundam:- Vimala means “without dosham”. As per Varaha Puranam, all sins are destroyed . Taking bath in this kundam is equal to taking bath seven times in Pushkar.  It was here that Durvasa rishi along with his 60,000 disciples came to have bath when he was sent to Pandavas by Duryodhana for testing.   Krishna had a morsel of food from the akshayapaathiram and was satisfied from hunger.  As the Lord  of the Universe was stomach-full, Durvasa rishi did not feel hungry and left the place without returning to Pandavas.  Thus  Krishna saved the Pandavas from Durvasar’s wrath.

Ø  Chaurasi Khamba: This is Nanda Maharaja’s palace with 84 beautifully sculpted pillars

Ø  Radha Govidna, Radha-Gopinatha, Radha Madanmohan temples:- Due to fear of attack by Muslims, these original deities which were in Vrindavan were transported to Jaipur.  On the way, the deities were kept here for 3 days.  Replica idols are being worshipped now.

Ø  Vrinda Devi:- She is the presiding diety of Vrindavan. She is red in colour with big black eyes and 10 arms which are always covered by dress.  When this idol was being transported to Jaipur along with other idols, she refused to move from this place and continues to stay here.

Ø  Gaya Kundam:- This kundam was created by  Krishna when HIS parents wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Gaya for offering oblations to the departed ancestors.   Krishna refrained them from going and summoned Palguni river , Gayasuran to this place and HE placed HIS Thiruvadi as Vishnu paadam.  This place was certified to be more pious than Gaya by Brahma .

Ø  Setubandhu Rameswaram:- A stone bridge with the help of monkeys was constructed by  Krishna to enable the gopis to cross the lake.  This was a demonstration of bridge constructed across the sea during Ramavataram.

Ø  Dharma Kunda/Yaksha Prashnam:- Yudhishtira revived all his brothers who lay dead by answering to the 124 questions posed by Yama, the  of Dharma.

Ø  Kameshwara Mahadeva Temple:- King Vajranabha who prayed to Shiva for progeny was blessed with 3 children- Radharani, her elder brother and younger sister

Ø  Charan Kunda:-  Krishna washed HIS feet here

Ø  Lukaluki kundam:-  Krishna used to play water sports here.   Krishna used to play hide and seek with the gopis, dive into the river and pull the gopis legs from inside.

Ø  Charan Pahadi:- Near lukaluki kundam, a flight of 200 steps leads us to a beautiful temple in which  Krishna is seen with one leg folded with a calf around playing flute.  There is an interesting incident connected with this.  The gopas were feeling elated and proud that  Krishna was playing with them.   Krishna suddenly disappeared and the gopas were perplexed due to  Krishna’s absence.  They were worried to face  Krishna’s parents  and were desperately searching .   Krishna played HIS flute and drew the gopas attention to the hillock on which HE was sitting.

Ø  Vyomasura gufa:- With the intention of  killing  Krishna, Vyomasura disguised as a cowherd boy and started hiding  Krishna’s friends in a nearby cave and closing the entrance of the cave with boulders.   Krishna fought with the asura, killed him and retrieved HIS friends.

Ø  Pisalini shila:- A rock near Vyomasura’s cave from where  Krishna and HIS friends used to slide down and play.

Ø  Bhojana Thali:- The marks of the vessels fixed to the ground  from which  Krishna had food is still there.  

Ø  Ksheerasagaram:- Here, the milk which was overflowing from  Krishna’s mouth got collected in  a kunda .  There is a white streak from where He is said to have spilled down to the kunda.

Ø  Ram Ghat: This is near Kamyavanam on MathuraDelhi route.  Here Balarama who wanted to quench his thirst by drinking water from Yamuna scraped the river’s course with his plough and changed the course of the river towards his place from the natural course.  This can be seen even now. This episode is mentioned in 65th chapter in 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Ø  Cheerghat:- As per Sri Velukudi Swami, this is the place where Vastrabha haranam of the gopis took place. Some opine it took place in Vrindavan whereas most of them claim this place to be the place where the incident took place.  5 lakh gopis residing in Vrindavan desired to marry  Krishna and undertook a vow praying to Kaathyayini in this place.   Krishna appeared and took away their clothes by tying few of them to the tree, tying few clothes around HIS waist and head.  Krishna did not concede to the gopis pleas and only when the gopis raised both the hands in total surrender (Saranagathi),  Krishna returned the clothes.


This is near the near Kamyavanam. All the gopis wished to have child Sri Krishna as their husband and hence performed Kaathiyayani pooja during Dec-January by offering prayers to the goddess after having bath early in the morning at this place. One early morning,   Krishna who is the antaryami (present in everyone) , appeared before them all alone while having bath and stole away their clothes.  HE climbed the kadamba tree on the banks of River Yamuna and tied the clothes to the branches of the tree and HE HIMSELF wore few clothes. The gopis were shocked to find their clothes missing and were taken aback by  Krishna’s presence.  They were feeling shy and requested  Krishna to give back the clothes.  The  Lord did not return back the clothes despite their various requests.  The gopis surrendered to  Krishna by raising both the hands and started praying to HIM .   Krishna then returned back the clothes saying that they were very dear to HIM and promised to be with them on  the night of every full moon .   Thus,  Krishna showed that HE could be easily attained through saranagathi.  The temple of Kaarthyayini whom the gopis worshipped is nearby.


In the present age, Kali yugam, Sri Andal , one of the 12 Azhwars(Vaishnava saints) residing in Srivilliputtur developed intense love for  Krishna by hearing to the various pastimes of  Krishna from her foster-father,Periazhwar.   To attain the , she decided to do similar  pooja . With gopi bhaavam (like the gopis), at Srivilliputtur in Tamilnadu, she performed pooja in the early morning for one month during  Dhanur Maasam (Dec-January which is proclaimed by Perumal as the BEST ), with her friends. Her devotional outpourings are Thiruppavai comprising of 30 pasurams( Stanzas) which is rectied daily in all the SriVaishnava houses and “Naachiyar Thirumozhi” comprising of 143 pasurams. In Naachiyar Thirumozhi , she concludes with “Brindavanathai Kandomey”-( found Brindavan)  and finally became ONE with the  Sri Ranganathar  at Srirangam.  Thiruppavai is the quintessence of all Vedas and is recited everyday in Srivaishnava houses. In the first 29 pasurams, she sang in Gopika bhaavam and only in the last pasuram, she concluded the pasuram  as Periazhwar’s daughter.

This episode demonstrates that the jeevatma who is ever eager to be with Paramatma, can attain the latter only if it does sarangathi like the gopis.  The  gets pleased with the devotee who lifts HIS hand in desperation seeking the Lord’s feet alone for solace. 



OUR EXPERIENCE AT VRINDAVAN:- On 20/05/09, we reached Mathura at 0630 hours by A.P.Express and took a Maruthi Omni (Rs.200/-)  to ISKCON, Vrindavan.  Being life member of ISKCON, we had already booked  our accommodation in ISKCON guest house for 2 days . After 40 minutes drive, we reached ISKCON and had to wait for some time as maintenance was going on.  Checked into one of the AC rooms at 0900 hours.


It  was Ekadashi.  After finishing Nitynusandanam (morning rituals like recitation of Suprabhatam, and important pasurams from Naalayira Divyaprabhandam,recitation of Sundara Kandam  and doing manasika thiruvaaradhanai to our deities at our house, we  went to  Krishna-Balarama  temple in ISKCON.


 We were immersed in the  darshan of  the beautiful vigrahams of Shyamasundaran with Balaram. We just could not take our eyes off from the divya mangala thirumeni of Perumal.  Shringar Aarthi at 09 A.M. was already over and the temple was kept open for visitors. Non-stop kirtan of Hare Krishna Mahamantra was going on and we were mesmerized in  the chanting and waited in the temple itself for the noon aarthi known as” RAJBHOG AARTHI”.  During this time, maha neivedyam is offered to Perumal and the aarthi with shodasa upacharams(16 types of upacharam) goes on amidst chanting of Mahamantra accompanied by musical instruments.  At 1300 hours the temple doors were closed but chanting was continuously going on.  Meanwhile, we checked up with the Information centre at ISKCON to visit nearby  places around Vrindavan- The receptionist suggested that we could take an auto for Rs. 200/- the next morning at 6A.M. to visit Barsana, Nandgaon, Goverdhanagiri, Radha Kund ,Shyam kund , Manasi Ganga  and return to the guest house by noon. In the evening, he suggested that enroute to Mathura (as we had to take the night train to Udaipur), we could take a cab for Rs. 350/- to go to Gokulam and proceed to Mathura and visit important places like Akroor ghat, Vishram ghat, Kesavji temple and  Krishna janmasthan. We agreed to this and thanked the devotee for the help and requested the devotee to make the necessary arrangements.


However, adiyen was having second thoughts about leaving the children and visiting all these places and decided to do Goverdhana giri parikrama the next morning. Though we planned to cover all the places in Vrindavan , Gokulam and Mathura , we could not do so due to our children’s ill health.  We had to satisfy ourselves by maanasika smaranam of these places which we visited earlier and had to be content by visiting only the nearby places. In this trip we wanted to emphasize more on satsang and hence decided to participate in all the aarthis and chant  divya naamams of the Lord and chant  Maha mantra as much as possible.


We relaxed for 2 hours and went to have prashad  at 3p.m.. Being Ekadashi, only saagudhana (jevvarasi) preparations, groundnuts, fruits and buttermilk were served for lunch. After partaking prashad, we hired a rickshaw to visit the nearby places in Vrindavan for Rs.100/-.  Visited  River Yamuna, Imli Tala, Radha Damodar temple, RadhaRaman temple, Nidhi Van , Banke Bihari temple, Seva Kunj, Kalinga Ghat.


Drove back to ISKCON to participate in the evening aarthi.  Spent the rest of the evening in ISKCON temple by participating in evening and night aarthis upto 10 P.M. Adiyen happened to meet a tamil speaking  ISKCON devotee from Srilanka  with whom I  disclosed my urge of doing Parikrama (pradakshinam)around the sacred Goverdhana giri.  He said that it would take 6 hours to cover the 25 kms area around the hill.  As we had to leave Vrindavan by evening, he suggested that we could do Vrindavan parikrama which is 10-12 kms  and is as sacred as Goverdhanagiri parikrama. We thanked him for the suggestion and felt it was Lord’s desire to do so.   He was glad to know that we have already been initiated by our guru, Sri Mudaliandan Swami  belonging to Sri Sampradaya headed by Sri Ramanujar  , the foremost of all Vaishnava Acharyars  and apart from following our customs, we regularly listen to kirtans by exalted devotees of ISKCON like Sri Lokanatha swami Maharaj, Sri Aindra Prabhu,  Sri Vinod Pandey, Sri Agnidev Swami   and were inspired . He shared some information that Gaudiya Sampradya is also based on Ramanujar’s teachings with more emphasis on Nama Kirtan.Ultimately  every Jeevatamas goal is to leave this samsaric world having Lord’s holy names in his heart .So chanting Ashtaksharam ,Dwayam , Mahamantra must be every jeevatmas goal . The Mahamantra is chanted all over and without any inhibitions you swoon to Lord’s HOLY names .


OUR EXPERIENCE ON VRINDAVAN PARIKRAMA:- The next morning (21st May), we participated in the early morning aarthi at 4 A.M. in ISKCON.  Chanting Mahamantra and listening to bhajans in our IPOD  and singing the bhajans sung by Sri.Manjapra Mohan, “ Krishna Govinda Gopijana Vallabha”, “ “Govinda Madhava Gopala Kesava….” and bhajans by Sri Erode Rajamani Rama  “Krishna Govinda …”  , Adiyen accompanied by my wife started off for Vrindavan parikrama from ISKCON at 5 A.M.  Few devotees had already started doing parikrama chanting on their beads. Like most of the devotees, we started our parikrama (pradakshina) from ISKCON temple.  2 streets from ISKCON, on the right side is the Parikrama Marg.  A small sign board displays “Parikrama Marg:.


We passed through  Krishna-Balarama tree which is on a small lane.  Everywhere  the sign board is displayed.  The entire area is calm and serene with cows gazing, peacocks on the trees , cuckoos , monkeys clinging to electric wires and jumping from tree to tree.  How fortunate the ancestors of  these animals must have been!!!!   The cows supplied enough milk to  Krishna, peacocks with their cooing must have intimated  Krishna about the asuras’ arrival with their sounds, monkeys as a token of gratitude for their Rama kainkaryam were fed sumptuously with butter by  Krishna .


Even for the slightest sound, the peacocks sitting on tree tops  were cooing as if intimating its fellow peacocks about any intruder’s arrival.    Walked  along the banks of River Yamuna and visited  various temples on the way including Kalinga ghat .  As the sun was just rising on the horizon, we decided to offer oblations to Sun God.  Took  a boatride to the middle of the river Yamuna  chanting Lord’s names , had a dip in the holy river and performed Sandhya vandanam.  The boat man charged Rs.50/- per head  for a 20 minute ride.  On the way we came across Kalinga ghat and few other places which we visited last evening. It took nearly 3 hours for finishing our parikrama covering  a distance of 12 kms because we walked slowly. We traveled through the roads and the

Market places of Vraja. Walking in Vraja is more ecstatic than traveling by any other means as it brings us very close to this transcendental place.  On the way, we purchased few japa malas, japa mala  bags , gopi chandan etc.  As we wanted to break our fast being Dwadashi, we had some delicious lassi topped with thick cream served in mud pots on the way.  (Aidyen recollected Velukudi Swami’s discourse saying about  Krishna drinking all the curd kept in mud pot and throwing it down with a sound thus ensuring that it is completely broken).  Reached ISKCON at 0845 hours and joined the packed crowd of devotees listening to Srimad Bhagavatam.  After partaking prashad , we relaxed for some time.   In the noon, we attended Raj Bhog Aarthi and participated in kirtan . 


As we were tired after finishing parikrama and as we could not take our children, we decided  to check out late in the evening and directly head to Mathura station .  In the evening, due to   Krishna’s grace, we were blessed to see Sri Aindra Swami, the famous ISKCON devotee who mesmerizes everyone with his excellent kirtans every evening. He is noted for doing kirtan 24 hours non stop.    We always desired to have his darshan while listening to his kirtans regularly at our home .  Our joy knew no bounds when we happened to see him directly and he reciprocated by  advising us to keep chanting Lord’s names  as much as possible.  He referred to the incident when Yasoda was trying to tie  Krishna with a rope to the grinding mortar and fell short of 2 inches. Though she attached other ropes , it was still short of 2 inches.  Sri Aindra Prabhu referred to these 2 inches as “FAITH” and “DEVOTION”.  He advised us to have faith and devotion to the Lord and chant as much as possible on beads.  We took his autograph on a sloka book given to our children by Sri.Sowmya Narayanan Swami during their summer camp at Ahobila Mutt.  (Sri Sowmya Narayanan Swamigal gives discourse on our rich heritage and he had come to Secunderabad to give discourse during Sri Lakshmi Narasimha swami Jayanthi Utsavams held every year at Keyes High School in Secunderabad.  My children were fortunate to be in his company at Ahobila Mutt for 10 days  and during that time, he affectionately taught our sampradayam and Desikar slokams.  We are greatly indebted to Swami .) Due to security threat, carrying mobiles, camera and videocam are strictly prohibited.  We had to satisfy ourselves with the video recordings which we had taken during 2006. Before leaving prayed to   Krishna to enable us to do Goverdhana parikrama at the earliest. ( And that happened in just 3 months )


Hired a car to Mathura station for Rs.270/- and reached station at 8.00 P.M.   Mewar Express to Udaipur from Delhi was delayed by 1 hour and we had to wait for nearly 3 hours in the station itself.  Boarded the train at 11.30 P.M. 



 (Adiyen wishes to share our parikrama experience to this hill recently on 1st August, 2009.)


Before leaving Vrindavan, Adiyen prayed to Perumal to give me an opportunity at the earliest to do pradikshinam /parikrama to Goverdhanagiri.  The Lord  graced me immediately.  I was nominated by Department of Atomic Energy , Govt of India for a  Management  Executive training course at MDI, Gurgaon situated near Delhi for 21 days from 19th July to 8th August.-. During this time, Adiyen was able to visit Vrindavan twice during  every weekend. The urge to do parikrama was intense in me and my wife joined me for the same. On 1st August,  I received her  at Mathura , proceeded to Vrindavan.  Advance reservation of accommodation at ISKCON was not possible  because it was festive day and as there were many devotees, we were informed that room may be allotted based on availability.  But with  Krishna’s grace, luckily we were allotted a room.  We left the room immediately as we were keen to start parikrama immediately.  Had darshan of  Krishna-Balarama and Radha-  Krishna with a prayer to give us shakti and bhakti to do the parikrama.  


While purchasing few books from ISKCON bookstall, Adiyen disclosed my intention of doing Goverdhanagiri parikrama to the sadhu who was selling the books and requested for his advise.  .   He informed us the greatness of Goverdhanagiri, directions for reaching the hill, the rules to be followed for doing parikrama.  He also added that as the hill is very sacred, footwear and leather articles are strictly prohibited and suggested us to start parikrama in the evening after attending Jhoolan yaatra ( Swing Festival ) at 5 P.M. . He said it would take minimum 4 to 6 hours to finish the parikrama. He advised that it may not be possible to do the parikrama in the daytime due to the scorching heat as it has to be done on bare feet and suggested us to do in the evening or next day morning. He informed that many devotees keep doing parikrama the whole night. He advised us to take an auto to Goverdhan, get down at Manasi Ganga and  either have a dip or sprinkle some water from Manasi Ganga before starting the parikrama.


As it was 10 A.M. , we were asked to have breakfast and then visit the temples nearby and in the evening after jhoolan seva, we could go to Goverdhan Hill.  By  Krishna’s grace, we spotted the book “the complete guide to Braja Mandala Parikrama” which gives all the details about Braj Dham.   After having prashad, we went to Kesi Ghat, collected Yamuna water  ,visited Sri Rangaji Mandir and returned to ISKCON Temple .


Druing the month of Sravanam, 4 days before Pournami, Jhoolan yaatra(oonjahl seva)-swing festival is celebrated in all over Braj Bhoomi. Only once in a year, in all Temples in Vrindavan ,  Utsava Moorthies  of Sri Radha and Sri  Krishna are placed in jhoolan (oonjal seva) and the devotees are allowed to pull the swing.  At this time, usually married girls visit their parents place and enjoy playing in swing (as the weather is very pleasant after rains) and on the fourth day , being Pournami, they tie raksha bandhan to their brothers (rakhi) and go back to their husband’s place.  In all the temples in Vrindavan, jhoolan yatra is performed for only one day except in ISKCON where it continues for 4 days upto Pournami.  We had the opportunity to hold the string and make the Lordships swing.  After taking   Krishna’s blessings, left the temple around 6 P.M. 


PARIKRAMA:- After having some  lime juice , took a share auto to Goverdhanagiri (Rs30/ -per head) . At the highway, we were asked to change into another auto and after one hour’s drive , reached Manasi Ganga via Radha kund at 7.45 P.M.  A 8 minute walk along the busy narrow street on the right side from the main road  led us to Manasi Ganga.  There are many shops on the wayside selling milk and sweets.  As it was dark,  sprinkled sacred water from Manasi Ganga and offered namaskaram to Manasi Devi. Recollected the appearance of the lake and Lord’s compassion for devotees like us .  We could hear bhajans from the nearby manasi devi temple.  As we were keen in completing the parikrama, we did not visit the fully packed temple and offered our prayers from there itself.  On the way, we purchased some milk and offered to the small Goverdhana shila placed under a tree and lit a lamp praying for successful completion of parikrama.  It was dark but there were many enthusiastic advanced devotees chanting loudly “Radhe Radhe” which enhanced our determination in doing the parikrama.  Some devotees were doing dhandvart parikrama (prostrating on the ground fully with their entire body with right hand stretched forth , getting up and continuing from where they kept their hand. We were astonished to hear that they do this for the entire parikrama.  I humbly prostrate in front of those exalted devotees and pray for their association.  Imagine the faith and sincerity in performing pradakshina all the night . Offered obesiances to their devotion and prayed  to give us steadfast devotion .We came back to the main road and as per the directions, proceeded towards the hill.  The main road was overcrowded  with devotees and vehicles. Crossing the road itself took more than 15 minutes.  We were under the impression that being festive season, there were lots of people doing shopping but little did we realize that they were going to do parikrama.  On either sides of the road, most of the  shops provide facility to keep luggages and slippers of the pilgrims in safe custody. Purchased water bottle from a nearby shop as we thought that none would be available on the way.


 We reached police chowk and were near the starting point of the parikrama path.  A sign board in green displays “PARIKRAMA MARG” . The Lakshmi Narayana temple was closed.  We were bewildered to see the sea of devotees at the entrance. Like other devotees, we prostrated at the entrance.   The chants of Shri Krishna Govinda  harey Murari Hey Nath Naarayana vasudeva … !! Radhey Radhey Shaam sey Miladey were vibrating ,,all over .  As any dhaan done here gives manifold benefit, devotees usually exchange rupees with 1 rupee coins which the vendors sell for a commission of 10%.  On enquiry, they said enroute there would be  under privileged ones(like in Tirumala hill)  .   Exchanged some money .The crowd reminded us of the crowd in Tirumala during New Year and Brahmotsavam.  Being Sravana month, Saturday coupled with Ekadashi, there was heavy crowd.  Also, it happened to be the day on which the Lord appeared to Sri Vallabhacharya.  It looked as if the entire BrijBhoomi was here.   We started our parikrama at 9 P.M. . For the convenience of devotees who come by vehicles,  there is a thar road and a wide foot path for pilgrims to walk on. Few devotees who were unable to walk were taken in rickshaws and tempos .   The whole area vibrated with bhakti.  The moon was also shining brightly making it easy to find the path.   We joined with the devotees uttering “RADHEY RADHEY SHYAM MILADEY….”, some were singing and dancing .  Some devotees had hired actors who were dorning the roles of mythological persons like Rama, Hanuman, and were entertaining the crowd by delivering dialogues from Ramayan and singing. Few others were dressed like Krishna and were enacting Krishna’s childhood pastimes.  The whole path was overcrowded with devotees like how we see the rush in Tirumala queue. Everyone was immersed in Krishna and Radha and were walking briskly .


Adiyen was listening and singing to Hare Krishna kirtans in my IPOD while my wife starting chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra on beads.   All along the way, there are many shops selling refreshments with places to relax . (it was similar to the shops we find while trekking Tirumala Hills) and there were roadside vendors preparing fresh sweet lemon juice. There are water tanks on the wayside .   Volunteers were offering water to the devotees. After about a mile, few devotees took to the sand  route on their right. We were told that it was inner parikrama marg and by taking this route we would save 3-4 kms.  This route is comparatively better than the thar road because of the soft sand .  Everyone was immersed in uttering the Lord’s holy names and were walking without any gossip.  Wewere fortunate to see such devotees amidst us.   This boosted our bhakti and energy . We rejuvenated ourselves with the fresh sweet lemon juice once a while  and relaxed for some time on the way.  In the parikrama marg, we came across less fortunate persons  afflicted with disease/age/deformity  asking for money ..  All that we could do was to sympathize looking at them and pray God for their well being and give some money. There are no street lights.  The lights from the shops illuminate the way. The moon was shining and illuminating the path. The inner parikrama is comparatively dark as there is no lighting and no shop nearby.  Hence it is advisable to carry a torch with us.    The torch which we were carrying came handy and was useful to not only us but also to the fellow devotees. While doing parikrama, we came across many temples.  It was only due to the grace of  Krishna , we could complete the parikrama quickly .  We were walking quickly and were not feeling tired at all.  We ourselves were surprised with our zeal to do parikrama.  Because for doing Vrindavan parikrama covering 10-12 kms , we took 3 hours whereas we covered 21 kms within 4 hours.  Adiyen has to admit that I didn’t know much about the temples and simply followed the crowd.  Looking at thousands of devotees doing parikrama boosted our spirits and we completed the parikrama within 4 hours. By 1A.M. we had finished the parikrama . After having some light food in a wayside Vegetarian hotel (in Vrindavan and Goverdhan, we have only vegetarian restaurants and they don’t use onions and garlic).  As there is no direct bus to Vrindavan and at that time as no auto was available to Vrindavan, we went to Mathura by bus and from there proceeded to Vrindavan by taking an auto.  Reached ISKCON guest house at 3 A..M.  Thanking   Krishna and Radharani profusely, we retired for the night.





LOCATION: Located on Mavli-Udaipur route- 30 kms from Mavli

                        and 65 kms from Udaipur.



Every day there are 6 sevas to the . The darshan timings at Nathdwara are :-

6.00A.M.-6.15 A.M.(kakada aarthi)

9.00 A.M. TO 9.15 A.M.(Shringar aarthi)

11.30 A.M. TO  11.45 A.M.(raj bhog aarthi)

04.15- 04.30 P.M. (Uthappana aarthi)

06.00- 06.15 P.M. (sandhya aarthi)

08.00-08.15 P.M. ( sayana aarthi)






Kankroli Dwaraka (12 kms from Nathdwara)- one of the 9 Dwarakas

Rajsamund Lake :    near Kankroli- famous for its dam and architecture

Chathur Bhuj temple: Temple for  Vishnu with 4 hands

Ekaling temple:      A huge lingam made from a single rock


WHERE TO STAY:- The above places can be visited within a day.  We can straight away drive to Nathdwara, checkin in any hotel or ashram  for refreshing  and finish visiting the above places and go back to Udaipur  for boarding train/ flight.  Udaipur is well connected to major cities and hence it is advisable to go back to Udaipur.


WHERE TO EAT:- Prashad can be had from Nathdwara and Kankroli temples for a nominal amount of Rs.25/ per thali.  Hotel Sankalp Restaurant provides good South Indian food.


ANY OTHER INFO:- Cameras, camcorder, mobiles strictly NOT ALLOWED


STHALAPURANAM:- Nathdwara is considered to be one of the 9 dwarakas and the presiding diety here is  SHRI SHRINATHJI .  Here the  is seen in blackish form with HIS left hand raised upwards with little finger pointing upwards, HIS right hand closed in a fist rests on HIS hip.  HIS eyes glance downward affectionately at HIS devotees. Shrinathji is very special and beautiful diety. There is a diamond on the chin of the Lord.  This idol is swayambhu (self manifested and not carved by anyone).  As the Lord is the combined form of Radharani and Gopala, HE is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.( “SHRI” indicates Thayar ). The  Lord is also known as “Banke Bhihari”.  This vigraham was earlier in Vrindavan near Goverdhana giri and is related to one of  Sri  Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan lifting Goverdhana hill. 


*      LIFTING OF GOVERDHANA HILL:- To briefly recapitulate, Nanda Maharaja after consulting the other elderly gopas, decided to do pooja and give offerings to  Indra, the king of devas , as they thought that Indra was responsible for timely rains  and  good yield of their crops.  When the discussion was thus going on, child Sri  Krishna , who was only 7 years old , intervened saying that Indra was not responsible for the cattle prosperity and it was Goverdhana giri which was responsible for the same as it provides the necessary grass to cattle, and crops to the gopas.    Krishna suggested that they should therefore give their offerings to Goverdhana giri and all the gopas including Nanda Maharaj accepted to this proposal.    An auspicious day was selected and all the gopas assembled in front of Goverdhana giri with heaps of offerings.    Krishna advised them to close their eyes and everyone obeyed.  Then   Krishna assumed a huge form  and with wide opened mouth, He consumed the entire offering.  When it was finished,   Krishna resumed HIS original child form and joined the gopis.  The gopis were pleased to see that their offerings were accepted and happily returned home.   Indra was naturally upset that no offering was made and decided to punish the gopis by sending torrential rains accompanied by thunder storms.  Not knowing what to do, all the vraj vasis( gopis) approached Sri  Krishna for help with their cattle and children.   The child  Krishna assured them and to their astonishment, lifted the Goverdhana giri with HIS left hand little finger and all the residents of Vrindavan along with their cattle  took shelter  under the hill . (recollected Nammazhwar’s pasuram”KUNDRAM ENDHI KULIR MAZHAI KAATHAVAN”)    Krishna thus stood in this form for 7 days.  Indra thus humbled realized HIS folly and surrendered at  Krishna’s feet for forgiveness. Repenting for not realizing who  Krishna was, he prayed to  Krishna for forgiveness  which is known as Govinda Stuthi.   Krishna came to be known as “GOVINDA”- the protector of cows.  Indra  did Govinda abhishekam to   Krishna with Kamadhenu , the divine cow and left the place.


*      SHRINATHJI (GOPALA ) DIETY DETAILS:- To mark this incident, Vajranabha constructed  a temple at the foot of the hill.  Due to passage of time, this idol disappeared and the whereabouts remained unknown for many years.  After many years,  appeared as Gopala in Madhavendra Puri’s dream, informed him about HIS whereabouts and a temple was constructed (pl. refer to the notes on Goverdhan Hill for more info).  When Aurangzeb  invaded Mathura and  Vrindavan, the idol disappeared into the hill and could not be traced out.  Even today, in Mathura, Vrindavan, we can find many old temples in ruins and the sculptures disfigured by Aurangzeb.


After many years,  appeared to Sri Vallabhacharyar in his dream and informed HIS whereabouts.  When Sri Vallabacharyar reached Goverdhanagiri, the idol emerged out by itself and was glorified by Vallabhacharyar.  Perumal advised Vallabhacharyar, who was a very great devotee to carry Him to Mewar in Rajasthan.  Vallabacharyar arranged a cart for Perumal and left for Mewar. Rana Raja Singh of Mewar helped Vallabhacharyar .   After 2 months, the cart reached the present Nathdwara enroute to Mewar in the 17th century. But on the way to Mewar, the cart stopped suddenly at this place and did not move an inch.  Vallabacharyar heard a divine voice say that Perumal wished to stay in this place itself as it was the place where HIS dear devotee, Meera bhai stayed. ( The story of Meera bhai is well known to all of us. To briefly recapitulate, Mira bhai was fondly attached to  Krishna’s idol given by her father.  As a child, she always used to play with the , dress Him up and sing songs in praise of the  and considered  Krishna to be her spouse.  She exhibited bhakti like the gopis of Vrindavan.  The king of Mewar impressed with her bhakti married her despite having many queens.  Though she  was the queen of Mewar, she was totally disinterested in material comforts and always used to be in service of the Lord.  In fact with every passing day, her bhakti enhanced and was totally immersed in  Krishna Bhakti.  She was unmindful of all the hardships and tortures implicated on her by the annoyed  king and her co-sisters. They tried to kill her in many ways by even giving her poisoned milk.  Mira offered the milk to her Lord and drank it.    Krishna’s Thirumeni turned blue as HE consumed the poison but nothing happened to her.  The king realized HIS folly and begged for forgiveness .  Mira felt that it was not fit for her to remain there  and left the palace and stayed in this place.  ) The   Vallabhacharyar with the help of Mewar king constructed a beautiful temple for the Lord


*      SRI VALLABHACHARYAR:- Vallabhacharyar, the founder of Pushti sect was born to poor parents in Rajasthan.  He was like a burnt  log of wood with deformed body at the time of HIS birth.  The parents decided to abandon the child .On their way, they happened to pass by a yagnam where fire sacrifice was going on.  Suddenly a jyothi appeared from the yagnam and entered into the child’s body .  The child was immediately transformed into a beautiful child.   Right from his childhood , he developed great bhakti for the Lord.  He had a dream in which  appeared and ordered him to go to Goverdhana giri and bring back the hidden idol..  Vallabhacharyar obeyed and to everyone’s bewilderment, when he reached Goverdhana giri, an idol sprang out suddenly.


(This reminds me of an incident connected to Melkote Perumal.  Melkote is a small village near Mysore on the banks of Kalyani Pushkarini .  When Sri Ramanujar arrived here, there was no temple.  Perumal appeared in his dream and informed the whereabouts about the moolavar and utsavar. With the help of the local king, the pathway to the hill which was filled with bushes and throns were cleared and a temple was constructed in which the  moolavar Thirunarayanan was placed in the sanctum sanctorum according to vedic rituals.  As there was no utsavar, Udayavar prayed to Perumal for disclosing HIS whereabouts.  Acharyar learnt from the  local residents that the  utsavar was with Delhi Sultan . The utsava murthi named Sampathkumaran,  appeared in Sri Ramanujar’s dream. Sri Ramanujar  went to Delhi and  requested the king to return the idol.As there were many such idols which the king brought by looting various temples, he asked our acharyar to locate the idol. Ramanujar was taken to a storeroom where many idols were kept.  But as none matched with his divine vision of the Lord, acharyar was disheartened.  Then he heard that there was an idol with the princess with whom she played with. With the king’s permission, Ramanujar went to the palace to see the vigraham and LO , the vigraham jumped up from the place and suddenly moved towards  Sri Ramanujar and sat on his lap. Hence the Lord  is known a “CHELLA PILLAI”. As the princess was obsessed with the idol, she secretely followed our acharyar and finally Lord accepted her at HIS thiruvadi.  At melkote, the utsava vigraham of  Sri Ramanujar has Chella Pillai on his shoulders with the princess near the Lord’s thiruvadi ) 


As mentioned earlier, Perumal instructed him to take Him away to Mewar  and the later developments have already been mentioned above.  Vallabhacharyar used to please the Lord with his kirtans which was later followed by his disciples.  In a corner of the temple, the photographs of Sri Vallabhacharyar along with his descendants are displayed.  Even today, bhog is offered to Perumal on behalf of Sri Vallabhacharyar. 6 sevas are performed daily.


NATHDWARA TEMPLE DETAILS:- Nathdwara is a small town in Mavli-Udiapur route.  Situated in the heart of the town, SHRINATHJI  temple is the main attraction with hundreds of visitors thronging to the temple daily. This  is the second richest temple in India, first being Tirumala temple.  Opposite to the temple is the  information centre who guide the pilgrims for prashad, timings etc.  Near the entrance of the temple, we can find  many vendors selling varieties of vegetables and fruits.  .


***  There is a unique practice followed in this temple.  Devotees can offer milk, varieties of fruits,vegetables , milk in the kitchen which would be used for Perumal’s bhog (neivedyam-food offering).  Milk is to be given at a different place and vegetables , fruits in another place.


It is customary for the local devotees to pray to the  Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it gets fulfilled, people offer to change the flag.  The temple has 5 persons who are authorized to change the flag which is a hereditary right for them.  While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord . 


There is   a big photograph of Perumal “SHRI SHRINATHJI” hung  on a wall and pointed out to the nose ring worn by Perumal and a diamond stone studded on Perumal’s chin.  It was for taking this diamond that Aurangzeb invaded Mathura but his attempts became futile because  Lord disappeared from that place. In the garbagriham, Perumal gives darshan as  Krishna-Radharani together  and hence is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI.  The cart which carried the Lord is preserved in a separate room.   Even today, this event is celebrated every year.  A new cart is made and  is rested on the cart. In the adjacent room, there are  2 mortars- one  made of gold and the other made of silver.  Once in eight days, chandan(sandal paste ) for the  is ground using these mortars. 




Boarded Mewar Express at Mathura  to reach Udaipur on 22/05/09.  While discussing with my co-passenger, Shri.Sharma and his friends who were Rajasthanis,  Adiyen disclosed my intention of visiting Nath Dwara and Kankroli Dwaraka.  They suggested me to get down at MAVLI station itself as Nathdwara is only 30 kms from MAVLI and 65 kms from Udaipur. They informed us the temple timings ( in Gujarat and Rajasthan, most of the temples would be open for darshan only for short intervals, say 10 to 15 minutes at the time of aarthi and the curtains would be drawn.  In case we miss to have darshan at that time, we have to wait till the next darshan.) and suggested that we could  take a cab to Nathdwara, check in one of the hotels for refreshing, visit the temple, proceed to  Kankroli Dwaraka, visit the temple, go to the famous Rajasmund lake , visit Charbhuj temple, Ekaling temple and  return to  Udaipur by evening for sight seeing as our train to Ajmer was at  11 P.M. adding that we could buy prashad for lunch for a nominal amount in the temple itself  They also got down at Mavli, arranged a car after negotiating on our behalf for Rs.1,000/- to visit the above places.  We profusely thanked God for the timely help and thanked them for their intervention , took photograph with them as remembrance, and  got into the car. 


A 40 minutes drive took us to Nathdwara.  Took a room in Lakshmi Lodge,  one of the hotels opposite car parking(a big open ground) on the way to  temple. For one hour, we paid  nominal amount of Rs.100/- for the same.  It was 10 A.M. by the time we finished our chores .  A five minute walk along the narrow streets led to the temple.  This reminded us of Pandirpur Divya Kshetram .  As the next darshan was at 11.30 A.M. , we decided to wait in the temple premises. 



Usually we find vendors selling coconuts,tulasi and flowers in front of the temple. But here vendors sell varieties of fruits,vegetables , milk in the kitchen which would be used for Perumal’s bhog (neivedyam-food offering).  Purchased 11 varieties of fruits and 11 varieties of vegetables and 2 pots of milk and handed over the same in the kitchen godown.   (I wished I could have brought some rice , cereals, sugar , jaggery, dry fruits  for the offering.)  Milk has to be given at a different place and vegetables , fruits in another place.  Cows move about freely outside the temple.  It was a typical Gokulam scene –serene atmosphere with vendors doing their business as god’s seva without any competition and cows moving around freely inside and outside the temple.


A panda (authorized pujari) offered to sell some prashad (rice,dal, rotis with varieties of vegetables, sweet preparations) for Rs.25/- per plate.  Paid money for 2 palates and were advised by him to wait in front of the garbagriham after darshan.  Like in Puri, the pandas have hereditary right for their share in temple prashad daily and they in turn sell it to the devotees .  Another similarity is like in Jagannath Puri, here many varieties of food are offered to the Lord .  Many devotees were waiting to have darshan.  There is a separate queue for ladies and gents. 


As we were waiting near the entrance, an elderly person came forward and offered to guide us . He gave us information about the temple which we could not get any where . 

He took us to the first floor of the temple where kirtan was going on  while the temple flag was being changed.  He informed that it was customary for the local devotees to pray to the  Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it was fulfilled, people offer to change the flag.  The temple has 5 persons who are authorized to change the flag.  This is hereditary right for them.  While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord  . 


He then took us to a room where  a big photograph of Perumal “SHRI SHRINATHJI” was hung  and pointed out to the nose ring worn by Perumal and a diamond stone studded on Perumal’s chin.  It was for taking this diamond that Aurangzeb invaded Mathura but HIS attempts became futile because  disappeared from that place.   He said that in the garbagriham, Perumal gives darshan as  Krishna-Radha rani together  and hence is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.   While circumbulating the temple, he took us to a small room containing a cart.  He informed that it was in this cart that Perumal reached this place.  The cart is well preserved .  Even today, this event is celebrated every year.  A new cart is made and  is rested on the cart. In the adjacent room, there are  2 mortars- one  made of gold and the other made of silver.  We were  told that once in eight days, chandan(sandal paste ) for the  is ground using these mortars.  We offered  our obeisances and reached the entrance of the main sannidhi. In front of the sannidhi, the guide showed us a place where sets of  5 coconuts were tied to a string and hung.  He said that there is a strong belief that if devotees desiring their wish to be fulfilled pray to the  here and tie the coconuts,  their wish would be fulfilled.


Adiyen joined the gents queue and my wife and children joined the ladies queue.  It was 11.15 A.M. and many devotees were already in front of the closed door.  It is a common practice in North India to have darshan of the Lord when the doors are opened and aarthi is given .  Hence the rooms in front of the sannidhi are constructed in such a way so as to accommodate few hundreds of devotees at a time.  All the devotees can have darshan of the  during aarthi and the devotees themselves can offer prasadam- sweets/ dry fruits to the .  The darshan would be given only for 15 minutes after aarthi.    


As there was 15 minutes left, we started reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam .  When we completed , the doors sprang open and devotees rushed inside to have glimpse of the .  Unusual  thning noticed was the devotees enter horizontally paying darshan and don’t show their back .You have galleries and all move in horizontal lines . The  is dressed like a small cowherd  boy of 7 years . The aarthi had just begun and shodasa upacharams (16 types of upacharam) were offered to the Lord while chanting slokas and singing songs.   The  was dressed in “Parrot green coloured “cloth round HIS waist like a typical cowherd boy and was adorned with varieties of flowers.  Adiyen recollected Periazwar’s pasurams describing the Lord’s return to HIS home after gazing the cows.  Amidst loudly uttering  “KANNAIYA LAL KI JAI” and singing of aarthi songs, we could experience the unalloyed vatsalya bhaavam of the devotees present.  Like the gopis of Vrindavan , the devotees were not aware of their surroundings and their whole concentration was on the  alone.   The enchanting divya mangala swaroopam of the  cannot be described in words.  The  is very very attractive with HIS left hand raised up with HIS little finger lifted up and HIS right hand closed in a fist and placed on  HIS waist.  A small stick is placed in front of Him which is used while gazing cows.  We were being squeezed out in the rush but were unmindful of the pushing .  Everyone was eager to take darshan standing in the front.  Fortunately, we had darshan to our heart’s content. We just couldn’t take our eyes off from the Thirumeni.  Every part is so attractive that we felt that one darshan is not enough.   As they say, it is NOT THE DARSHAN WHAT WE SEEK, IT IS THE DARSHAN WHAT HE GIVES”.  After darshan, we had to come out through another door in front of which there is a small sannidhi where charanamruth (theertham/ holy water)  is distributed.  Beside this, there is a counter from which the devotees can purchase sweets, laddus etc by paying money. This counter also would be open only for limited time. 


As instructed by the panda who offered us prashad, we were sitting in front of the main door recollecting Perumal’s divya mangala swaroopam.  After some time, my wife went in search of the Panda, and brought the prashad which was carried by panda’s attendant..  As having prashad in the temple premises is strictly prohibited, the attendant showed us a dharmashaala  where we could have the prashad.  After giving him Rs.10/, we went inside the dharmashaala and partook the prashad- 2 palates of little rice, 2 types of curries , dhal, payasam,sweets, rotis all kept in mud pots.   Though there are many varieties of food offering to the Lord , the pandas are not given all the items.  Hence, it is suggested to take prashad from 2 or 3 different pandas so that varieties of prashad can be tasted. We recollected our Puri Yathirai were the maha Prasad was taken in the temple vicinity.

After having prashad, we proceeded to  another Dwaraka  called Kankroli Dwarka which is about 12 kms from Nathdwara.


KANKROLI DWARAKA:- One of the 9 Dwarakas.


<>LOCATION:- Kankroli ,the leading exporter of marbles, is 12 kms away from Nathdwara in Rajasthan.The nearest city is Udaipur. 

PRESIDING DIETY:- DWARAKADEESH(standing posture with 4 hands holding Sankhu(conch), chakram(disc), gadam(mace) and padmam(lotus)





<>TRAVEL BASE :- Nathdwara/Udaipur – can be accessed from Nathdwara,not required to stay overnight


<>WHERE TO EAT:- Temple prashad  either at Nathdwara or Kankroli/  Or any good hotel in Nathdwara

                                  Light refreshments (tea/coffee/cool drinks/water/biscuits) available 

                                   near the temple


<>ANY OTHER INFO:- Cameras, camcorder, mobiles strictly NOT ALLOWED inside the temple



STHALAPURANAM:-  Kankroli Dwaraka is considered as one of the nava Dwarakas. Located on the banks of Rajsamund lake, Kankroli is known as “haveli of King of Dwarka”.  The haveli (big mansion) and the ghats near the lake are built in Rajashtani style. It attracts pilgrims from all over India and is one of the important temples for Pushti Margi Vallabhacharya Vaishnavas. 


A pujari informed that Brahma performed penance and  Lord appeared to him at the time of creation of universe at this place in this form. A devotee informed that  Krishna visited this place and hence this is considered as one of the Dwarakas.  Sri  Krishna Janmashtami, Annakoot festivals are celebrated grandly.




DATE OF VISIT: 22/05/09


At the entrance , there is a big arch in Rajasthani style .  Few shops selling refreshments, photos are on the way to the temple .  On the right side, there is cloak room managed by temple authorities where the devotees are supposed to leave their mobiles, camera, videocam etc. for free of cost.  Photography and carrying mobiles inside the temple is strictly prohibited.   The temple was closed and the next darshan was only at 4.15 P.M.  Hence, we went to the Raj Sagar lake which is beside the temple  .  Seating arrangements are provided for pilgrims in a nearby waiting hall . Many devotees had already assembled in this hall for having darshan.


 AT 04.15 P.M., the temple doors were opened for visitors.  A flight of steps led us to the main shrine. Participated in the the afternoon aarthi known as “Uthappana seva  .Perumal’s thirunaamam is Dwarakadeesh.  Though the vigraham is small, it is very attractive.  Perumal is seen with chathurbhuj(4 hands) holding the divya ayudhangal.  (weapons). Two pujaris were offering 16 types of upacharams to the Lord .  We had darshan to our heart’s content.  Offered the dry fruits which we had brought with us as neivedyam to the Lord.  On the left side of the main sannidhi, there is a separate sannidhi where child  Krishna is placed on a cradle and the pujaris were performing jhoola seva. In a small vessel filled with water, varieties of scented flowers were kept. Varieties of flowers and fruits were placed in front of the Lord.     Purchased some Prasad from a nearby counter and left the place. 

As carrying camera was not allowed, we had to satisfy ourselves by taking the photograph of the arch at the entrance .

As per our schedule, we were supposed to proceed to Chathur bhuj temple, Ekaling temple and go to Udaipur. As we did not take any photos at Nathdwara in the morning, we decided to return to Nathdwara instead of visiting the scheduled places .  Photography is not allowed inside the temple.  So, we had to take the gopuram view from outside. Purchased few Rajasthani dolls for Rs100/- and “2 chains with 6 koormams (tortoise) on each chain as it is considered to be Lakshmi Swaroopam for rs.100/-.


Left for Udaipur  at 6.30 P.M. and reached station at 9.00 P.M. Waited patiently for Udaipur-Gwalior express .  The schedule departure of the train was at 2220 hours but the train started at 0000 hours.    Though it was the starting point, as no clearance was given, the train was delayed which is very common in the northern region .


      PUSHKAR  <>

PLACE  :-                   PUSHKAR


LOCATION :-             12 KMS from AJMER in Rajasthan located on a hill.


HOW TO REACH:-       Trains from Jaipur, Delhi, Udaipur etc are available.  (We traveled from Udaipur to Ajmer but were informed that it is nearer from Delhi compared to Udaipur.  Hence, if anyone is following our route, it is suggested to go to Ajmer first and then go to Udaipur)




<>WHERE TO STAY :-  Many hotels available-not required to stay overnight as the trip can be completed within a maximum time of 4 hours


WHERE TO EAT:-     To check for pure veg hotel for having food. 


<>IMP.TEMPLES:-         Pushkar lake, Brahma Temple, Saraswathi temple, Varahaswamy temple


HOW TO REACH:-     From Ajmer railway station vans, cars, autos are available .

                                        Charges for Van Rs. 300/- approximately

<>                                        Frequent buses available from bus stand for a very nominal fare


<>ANY OTHER INFO:- Cameras, camcorder, mobiles strictly NOT ALLOWED inside the temple. Famous for “Gulkhand”


Pushkar is considered as  one of the sacred ponds which bestows mukti. It is known as “Teerth Guru” , the foremost of all Theerthams. Every aspiring devotee visits this place to have a holy dip in this theertham.  The place is named after this theertham.  Jagathpitha (father of all worlds), Brahma  was in search of a residence in Bhooloka for performing yaaga.  At that time, a petal from the lotus flower which he held  fell down at this place and water sprouted out which is the Pushkar lake. 

Brahma selected this place to perform sacrifice/yagnam.  As the consort is supposed to be present for any pooja, Brahma asked his son, Narada Maharishi to bring his mother, Saraswathi.  Saraswathi for some reason was delayed in reaching this place.  As the auspicious moment was tripping off, Brahma put some grass in a cow’s mouth (“Ghai” means cow) , uttered some mantras and from the cow’s mouth emerged a lady  As she appeared from the mouth of the cow,   Brahma named her Gayathri and accepted her as his consort and started the yagnam. She is known as “Vedmatha Gayathri”- , the mother of Vedas.   This infuriated Saraswathi who cursed Brahma that he would not be worshipped on earth and left the place in a huff .  She reached a nearby hillock and started her penance.  This is the reason for a separate temple for Saraswathi. 

DETAILS:- The most famous temple is that of Brahma and this is the only temple dedicated to Brahma.  Other important temples in Pushkar are Varahaswamy temple, Saraswathi temple. The famous tank here is PUSHKAR (as it was formed from the water that dripped from the Lotus flower held by Brahma) and the town is known  by this name.  There are 52 ghats and a dip in these ghats would absolve us of all sins and bestow moksham.  But presently, the water is impure and not fit for bathing.  After much persuasion, the government has undertaken renovation work including purification of the holy water and it may take another couple of years for completion.  The money collected by the pandas (priests) by performing poojas and rituals is handed over to “Shree Teeth Guru Pushkar Purohit Sangh Trust” which issues a receipt for the same. The pandas get salary from the Trust.  

A 2 minute walk from the Pushkar lake leads us to the world famous Brahma temple.  At the entrance on either sides, there are  separate sannidhis for  Kubera and Indra ,the Dwarapalakas for Brahma. Kubera is on the right side and Indra on the left side.  There is a belief to place some coin in front of Kubera and take it back as he is the god of wealth!!! 

The four faced Brahma is seen seated on a lotus having 8 hands holding japa maala, Vedas etc.  There is no separate sannidhi for his consort, Saraswathi.  After completing pradakshinam, devotees are  asked to go behind the temple and have a look at Saraswathi’s temple which is situated on a different hillock nearby.  Those who are unable to visit that shrine can pay their respects from here itself.    


DATE OF VISIT :-     23/05/2009

Reached Ajmer at 05.30 A.M. on 23/05/09. As we intended to have holy  bath in Pushkar, we decided to visit this place.  After refreshing ourselves in the waiting room, we dropped our luggages in the cloak room.  


Ajmer in Rajasthan is famous for Pushkar, Muslim dharga (mosque) , Gulkhand and halwa.  Got into one of the Maruthi Omnis to take us to Pushkar, Saraswathi for Rs.300.  The driver showed us the place where the world famous camel fare would be held every year during jan-feb.


Pushkar is situated on a small hillock and it took nearly 45 minutes for us to go thru the ghat roads.  Though the distance to be covered is only 12 kms, because of ghat section, the drivers are supposed not to exceed the prescribed speed. 


Adiyen sprinkled some holy water on myself and family and collected in a bottle to give to my relatives .  

As usual, we were surrounded by pandas , each offering to guide us.  We were advised to be very cautious with the pandas as they take the pilgrims for a ride.  After much persuasion, we had to give in to one panda but made it very clear that we were interested in doing only minimal pooja and aware of all the Brahmin rituals.  The panda brought a plate consisting of pooja articles, made us do some sankalpam and repeat whatever he said.  Bees were buzzing around us for the honey in flowers.  This place is famous for Rose petals  preparations like Gulkhand.  After finishing the rituals, we left the pooja items in the sacred water and as advised by the panda gave dakshinai and donation for temple in a nearby counter and collect official receipt. We were astonished to see this and enquired with the panda about this system which is not prevelant anywhere in North India.  The panda replied that they get regular salary from  “Shree Teeth Guru Pushkar Purohit Sangh Trust”  which oversees the development of this place.


We then went to Brahma temple which is about 3 minutes walk from the Pushkar pond.  As cameras are not allowed, we had to leave the same with our children.  Before entering, we were whisked thoroughly by the security and then allowed to climb the steps. The temple is not very big. At the entrance, we find Kubera and Indra’s sannidhi .  In the garbagriham, four faced Brahma  made of white marble is seen in meditation  After we returned, our children went inside for darshan.  The car driver informed us that Gulkhand prepared from Rose petals and other flowers , honey which is used as a sweetener in paan/ lassi etc. is famous .   Also, Rajashtani “katputli” / bommalattam (dolls which would be made to swing by holding thread ) is cheaper at this place .  Purchased 2 bottles of gulkhand for our family and my close friend and bought Rajashthani bride and bridegroom dolls for keeping it in golu during Dassera. 


As it was very hot, we decided to skip Saraswathi temple and drove back to Ajmer station by 10.00A.M. The rest of the day was at leisure  to chant Lord’ s names thanking  for HIS mercy . Presently, there is nothing much to see in Pushkar except the lake and the temple which could be covered within a maximum time of 2 hours.  


Our next journey was to Ahmedabad.  Though there are 4-5 trains from Ajmer to Ahmedabad including a train at noon,  we preferred the night train as we thought it would take the whole day  to have holy bath in all the theerthas in Pushkar and visit the various temples.  As mentioned earlier, due to the pollution and the scorching heat, we could not do so and returned to station. (It is preferable to take the noon train to Ahmedabad so that we can reach the destination by 10.00P.M. itself. ). Though there are 5 trains, getting accommodation in the train is difficult as Ahmedabad is a trade center and all the  trains usually run full.  In our case, though we had booked the tickets 2 months in advance, as AC accommodation at that time was not available, we had to compromise traveling in Sleeper Class which was also not confirmed upto 4P.M. on the day of journey.  But again  due to God’s grace, all our tickets got confirmed by the time we boarded the train.  Ala Hazrat express scheduled to arrive at Ajmer at 2030 hours was delayed by 90 minutes.  Our patience was really put to test and we can never forget this day for the wastage of time. Luckily there was  a Cybercafe in the station itself near the waiting hall and we could spend few hours usefully in corresponding with devotees and well wishers wanting to know about our trip.



DATE OF VISIT : 24th May,2009


Temple visited:   DAKORE DWARKA -one of the Nava Dwarkas




Location          :    Dakore village located in Ahmedabad-Baroda route near

                                     Mehmadabad.  Can also be accessed from Nadiad


Nearest city     :    Ahmedabad (2-3 hours)-84 kms

                                      Baroda ( 1-2  hours from Ahmedabad )

                                      Nadiad (33 kms)- 30 minutes drive


<>How to reach    : 1) Plenty of trains from Ahmedabad to Nadiad – Intercity express, local trains every 2 hours. .Fare Rs.8/- per head.

                                        To get down at Nadiad  and take  share- auto for RS.6/-

<>                                      2) Bus services every half an  hour from Ahmedabad bus station  to Dakore.  The temple is 5 minutes drive from Dakore

                                       bus stop.   Fare app Rs.51/-  per head

<>                                       3) Cars are also available for rent- charges would be app Rs.2,000/-


Where to stay  :    At Ahmedabad or in Baroda in any of the hotels

                                         ISKCON has its guest houses at both the places


WHERE TO EAT:-         Hotel Sukh Sagar opp. to Ahmedabad railway station

                                           IRCTC run hotels in station/ any other hotel


What to see       :   The main temple, River Gomti, small temples near the river bank

                                       Including statue of River Gomti


<>ANY OTHER INFO:- Cameras, camcorder, mobiles strictly NOT ALLOWED inside  the temple

                                       Don’t miss to taste “Doklas with curd”

<>                                       During the month of Karthigai, devotees reach this place by foot  from far off places and ensure to be present on Pournami.  Some

                                      devotees do this every month.


Sthalapuranam :    A pious devotee from Dakore used to visit Dwaraka every year on his bullock cart carrying pots of tulasi plants with him to offer the same to the Lord .  He used to take 6 months to reach Dwaraka . He followed this practice even in his advanced age.   Like Thirukacchinambigal, this devotee  could converse with the Lord.  During one such visit, he prayed to Dwarakadeesh that in future he may not be able to visit Dwarka as he was very old.  The Lord replied that henceforth he preferred to stay with this pure devotee rather than being in Dwarka where people had turned materialistic and there was no pure bhakti.. The  Lord ordered him to be ready with the cart in the night. The devotee accordingly obeyed and waited with the cart for the Lord.  As promised,  Lord left the temple, got into the cart and HE  HIMSELF drove the cart.  The  Lord who acted as “PARTHASARATHY- Charioteer to Arjuna in the Mahabharata war once again took the reins and drove the chariot).


The Supreme  Lord who by His mere glance, controls the entire Cosmic manifestation, made the devotee relax and Himself drove the cart for the sake of His devotee. Overnight they reached Dakore. ( A place near Ahmedabad )  The Brahmin used to take 6 months to drive the cart but the Lord reached the place within  6 hours.  From the following morning the Brahmin along with his wife started worship in their  hut itself .  Meantime, when the temple doors were opened, the priests were shocked to see the idol missing.  They guessed that the old Brahmin who was in the temple for a very long time the previous night must be responsible for this .  All the residents of Dwarka set out for Dakore.  When they saw the Lord  in the brahmin’s house, they started abusing the Brahmin and tried to forcibly take the idol.  They did not listen to the Brahmin’s pleas  .However hard they tried to grab the idol, the idol did not even move an inch.   At that time they heard an asareeri say that Lord would be with whoever gives offering equal to the Lord’s weight .  Immediately, a balance was brought and the idol was placed on one side of the balance.  The residents of Dwarka offered all their possessions which was kept on the other side of the balance.  The balance remained as it is.  They rushed back to Dwarka and brought back all they had but this also was of no match to the Lord’s weight.  Having accepted defeat, they asked the Brahmin to try his turn.  The brahmin’s wife  a very great devotee, prayed to  Lord and placed her nose ring along with little Tulasi on the other side of the balance and immediately both the balances became EQUAL.  Thus  demonstrated that He is bound by His devotees pure affection and love.  To the dejected residents of Dwaraka,  Lord informed that very soon a sculptor would approach them who would sculpt a similar vigraham which could be placed in the altar and  would continue to bless the devotees by bestowing His powers on the idol. Hence, the original vigraham of the  is present in DAKORE DWARAKA now.


At Dwarka, as advised by the Lord , a sculptor approached the priests and offered to make an idol with the condition that no one should disturb him while he was performing his work.  The residents agreed and the sculptor locked himself in a room.  This went on for 18 days but when no sound was heard, the curious devotees broke open the door and to their astonishment, the sculptor had vanished and the Lord’s vigraham was near completion but for the eyes.  As they went back on their words, they were crying pitifully realizing that the sculptor was none other than the  Himself.  An aakashvaani declared that henceforth, they could consider this vigraham as the Lord Himself and offer pooja to the  and whatever happened was as per HIS divine WILL. To this day, this vigraham is being worshipped at Dwaraka which is situated on the western coast near Arabian Sea.


 (Similar incident happened at Jagannath Puri which is  located on the eastern coast near Bay of Bengal- the other extreme end of India.  Before the appearance of Jagannath, the presiding diety was Nila Madhava and hence Puri is also  known as “Nilachala”.  The king had a dream instructing him to construct a temple for the Lord.  The king sent his ministers to find out the whereabouts of the vigraham whose darshan he had in his dream.  One minister was finally able to locate it with  a fisherman.  The fisherman used to go alone to a place far from his hut and return only in the evening.  The minister learnt from the fisherman’s daughter that her father goes to offer prayers to  Nilamadhava in a secret place  and no outsider  was allowed to accompany him.  So, the minister married the lady and requesed the fisherman to show him the Lord.  The fisherman bound the minister’s eyes with a thick cloth and took him to the place of worship.  Meanwhile, the smart minister enroute sowed mustard seeds to enable him to identify the route.  He went back and informed the king about the whereabouts of the Lord.  When the king arrived with his ministers at this place, the vigraham vanished from the place and an akaashvaani was heard instructing the king to carve 3 idols of   Krishna , Balarama and Subhadra out of 2 logs of wood which would float on the sea mentioning the date and time of arrival of the logs of wood.  The akashvaani further informed that a carpenter would approach them for carving the idols of Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra. As per the predicament, the logs appeared and a carpenter offered his services with the condition that he would work in isolation and no one should disturb him till he finishes the work.  Accordingly , the carpenter was locked in a room  for more than 15 days.  When they did not hear any sound , the perplexed queen , out of anxiety for the carpenter’s welfare, opened the door .  The carpenter disappeared leaving the idols incomplete.  The royal couple cried piteously repenting for their mistake and asked for forgiveness.  An akashvaani informed them that it was GOD’S WILL and the idols were fit for worship. That’s why we find the idols with incomplete limbs. )




On 24/05/09, we reached Ahmedabad at 08.30 hours.  We were planning to take a room in one of the hotels near station but the TT suggested that we could as well go to the AC waiting room.  This was the best waiting room which we saw in the recent past with a big  well furnished, airconditioned hall with all modern amenities.  Ahmedabad station has got all the facilities like refreshment stalls and hotel run by IRCTC, separate waiting rooms for AC and sleeper class, cloak room facility, ATM, Cybercafe  . (Outsourcing finally works .).


 After refreshing ourselves, we planned to go to Dakore Dwaraka by engaging a car as we had earlier done in  the year 2000.  While we were thus discussing, the AC waiting hall attendant intervened and suggested that there are Intercity Superfast trains and local trains to Nadiad every 2 hours and Dakore Dwaraka is only 30 minutes drive from Nadiad.  It takes about 90 minutes From Ahmedabad to Nadiad in Intercity express and if we take local train it takes 2 hours.  He said that from Nadiad, we could either take a bus to Dakore (frequency of bus -every 10 minutes) or take one of the seven-seater autos (share autos) as we may not get cab for such a short distance.  We thanked the attendant by giving him the tip he had asked for.  Though he suggested us to take the 10.00 A.M. Intercity express, we didn’t want to rush as we had plenty of time left with us and before vacating the waiting room , we had to put the luggage in the cloak room . Purchased ticket to Nadiad for the local train scheduled to leave at noon.  Fare Rs.12/- per head.  (We remember paying Rs.2,000/ for cab during our first visit)


Went to Hotel Sukh Sagar which is opposite to station which provides all varieties of Vegetarian delicious food. Boarded a local tarin carrying only a small bag containing offerings to the Lord , camera and our camcorder.  Reached Nadiad at 1400 hours. With Mercury touching 45 deg., we had to rejuvenate ourselves often.  As the share-auto stand is at half a kilometer distance, we took an auto to the stand and got into one of the autos.  He charged Rs.8/- per person. Though the drive was only for 30 minutes, we felt as if it took more time because of the noise from the engine.  The share autos stops near the Dakore bus stop .  The temple is about 5 mintues drive from the bus stand.  We requested the auto driver to drop us near the temple for which we paid him additional Rs.20/-.  By 1445 hours, we were near the entrance of the temple.  There were devotees already waiting to have Uthapana darshan at 04.15 P.M.   Oflate, security has been tightened in all the temples and we were strictly prohibited from carrying camera.  Meantime, took photographs of the temple from outside and  Gomti river which flows near the temple.   Purchased kartal for our daily bhajans from a nearby instrumental shop and requested the shop keeper to keep our belongings. 


The temple doors sprang open at 04.15 P.M. and devotees rushed into the temple . There is a rectangular  hall in front of the main shrine from where atleast 100-150 devotees can have darshan at a time.  There is a separate queue for ladies from the side.  The roof of the temple is a domb like structure with beautiful paintings of   Krishna’s pastimes . Painting work was going on.  Devotees were singing praises in the name of “RANCHOR RAYA”.  Here, Dwarakadeesh Perumal is more commonly known as Ranchor Raya (one who fled from battle). 


The Lord was dressed in light clothing and was fully adorned with flowers.  Devotees were literally pushing to have darshan.  On either sides, pots were hung in which hundi offerings were put and was occasionally emptied.  We enjoyed the aarthi seva for 10 minutes . Prayed for His mercy on us .  After aarthi darshan, near the exit, there is a small room in which the Thulabhaaram (the balance) on which Lord’s weight was measured . A photograph depicting the incident of the brahmin’s wife putting her nose ring is kept.  After narrating the incident to the children, we left the place for doing pradakshina.  Meanwhile, a panda made our children do some sankalpam uttering few Sanskrit verses and took dakshinai.  


Left the temple around 5 P.M. and took an auto to bus stop.  As the next train to Ahmedabad was at 1830 hours, we decided to go by bus . Superfast  Bus fare is Rs.51/- and takes about 90 minutes to reach Ahmedabad.  Reached Ahmedabad at 7 P.M.  As Ahmedabad is famous for textiles, we wanted to do some shopping but were told that the main bazaar was about half an hour’s drive from station.  As we did not want to take any risk, we returned to the waiting room.  Had dinner in the restaurant run by IRCTC in the station itself and boarded Somnath express at 2200 hours. 






LOCATION :               Veraval- last railway station on the western side of Indian Coast.

                                        Somnath is 7 kms away from Veraval.


HOW TO REACH :      There are 2 trains from Ahmedabad   daily

<>                                       Night bus available from Ahmedabad- 8 hours journey from Ahmedabad


                                        Local auto can be arranged for visiting the temples in Somnath.

                                        Buses from Veraval to Porbandhar and Dwarka also available .

<>                                        If one takes a car from Veraval in the morning, all the temples  can be visited on the same day and  proceed to Dwaraka visiting

                                        Sudama Dwaraka and Moola Dwaraka on the way.


<>                                        Please contact Mr.Ramji,a great devotee who was more than a Guide to us and charges reasonably.  He has his own travels

                                       and has a variety of vehicles His address is:-

         Shri.Ramchand Bhagnani(Ramji Kaka)

                                            C/o Sitaram Travels,

                                            Dabhor Road, Bihari Nagar, Block NO. 7,


                                            ( Mobile: 99240 22813/ 02876-222591

<>                                              His sons’ mobile nos: 98251 76457/94261 69501/ 98248 75753)  <>                                     


WHERE TO STAY :     Many choultries and hotels are available near Somnath temple.

                                         Sarada Peet has its mutt near Triveni Sangamam.

                                         (Ph.No. 02876-231373)


WHERE TO EAT:-        Any good hotel for delicious Gujarati meal.

                                          Don’t forget to drink  Tender coconuts



1) TRIVENI SANGAMAM :-There is a confluence of 3 rivers-Harini, Gomti and    .

2) SRINGERI SARADA MUTT :-Located near Triveni Sangamam, where  room facilities are available.  For refreshing, one can take a room for an hour or so by paying Rs.150/-

3)There is a temple nearby housing shrines for Ganapathi, Narsimhadev, Radha- Krishna.

4) GITA MANDIR:- Here, all the slokas from Bhagavad Gita are inscribed on the walls.

5) SRI LAKSHMI NARAYAN MANDIR :- temple for Vishnu and Lakshmi

6) SRI  KRISHNA PAADAM:- The place where the last rites for   Krishna was performed by Arjuna. Also, there is a small room where   Krishna embraced Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when the latter visited this place.

7) BALARAM GUFA:- The disappearance place of Balarama

8) SIVA TEMPLE :- The Siva lingams worshipped by Bheema and Nakula.

      (3 TO 6 are located in the same premises)

9) GANAPATHI AND SUBRAMANYA SWAMY TEMPLE :- located near the sea shore .  Near this temple, there is a temple for Shiva. At this place, we can find new Shiva lingams emerging from the sea.  12 lingams are supposed to emerge out of which 4 are already visible.

10) BALIKA THEERTH – the place from where the hunter let loose the arrow

11) BALIKA MANDIR :- This is “Mukti Dwarka” from where  Sri  Krishna ascended to Srivaikuntam

12) SOMNATH MANDIR:- One of the 12 Jyotir lingams of Shiva.  There are 2 temples( old and new)- old temple is also known as Ahalya Mandir


En route to Dwarka from Veraval, one can visit Madhavpur (where  Krishna humbled Rukma(Rukmini’s brother),  Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi.  This place was earlier known as Sudamapuri (Sudama Dwarka),  Moola Dwaraka (where Perumal first arrived),and  Ambal temple .


STHALAPURANAM FOR SHAIVITES:- Shiva, the foremost Vaishnava devotee of the  Lord, resides in this place as a jyotirlingam. This is one of the 12 jyotirlingas which every Shaivite aspires to visit atleast once. 


SOMNATH TEMPLE DETAILS:- There are 2 temples for Someshwarnath. –old temple known as Ahalya temple and the new temple. The original emerald lingam was taken away by Mohd.Ghazini in 17th century  thru the sea route and is now in Mecca.  Thus , even the most staunch Muslim offers prayers to Shiva unknowingly when he visits Mecca. (The local people say that the original lingam was disfigured by Muslim invaders and thrown into sea as 12 pieces which has started appearing  as  Shiva lingas along the coast.  They say that out of 12 pieces, 5 have emerged now and when the reminaing lingas appear, the world would come to an end.  ( We could see the  5 shiva lingams in the sea at various places)


 Later, Shiva appeared to Ahalya, a local devotee and instructed to construct a temple for him.  Later,a local king constructed a huge temple and fortified it and thus protected it from sea and invasions.  The statue of the king riding on a horse can be seen on the way to the temple.


 Later, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the “Iron Man of India” took initiative and was responsible for the construction of a new huge  temple.  In both the temples, the linga form of Shiva is worshipped.  Archeological revelations and pictures of the old temple ruins are displayed in the temple premises.  This temple is located near the sea shore on a vast area.



STHALAPURANAM ABOUT VAISHNAVA TEMPLES IN SOMNATH:- Veraval also known as Somnath and Prabhas Theertham is located on the western coast in Gujarat.  This is the last rail head in this route.  This place is important both for Vaishnavites and Shaivites.  For Vaishnavites, it is important because it was from this place that  Sri Krishna disappeared and ascended to Srivaikuntam as per the request of the devas.  It is one of the Nava Dwarakas. To the Shaivites, it is a sacred as  Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas .


VAISHNAVA STHALAPURANAM:_  Sri Krishna after satisfying Himself that He had annihilated most of the demons in human form after Mahabharata war, decided to ascend to His eternal abode, Sri Vaikuntam.  Due to His presence, the Yadus (people belonging to His clan) became proud and arrogant.  Sri  Krishna who wanted to reduce the burden of Mother Earth decided to put an end to the Yadavas too and masterminded a plan .   As it was Lord’s will, he made Gandhari and the sapta rishis utter the curse of annihilation of Yadavas.   


It so happened that   Krishna’s son was dressed up like a pregnant woman and along with his friends approached some rishis to find out the gender of the child which would be born to the pregnant woman.  The infuriated rishis cursed that the disguised lady would give an iron pestel which would destroy the entire Yadava race which came true.  The shocked Yadus ran to Balarama for a solution.  Balarama ordered them to powder it into pieces and throw them away in the sea at Dwarka . The yadus acted accordingly and returned to their palace. A big iron piece which could not be powdered was thrown away into the sea which was swallowed by a fish.  When this fish was caught and cut open by hunter, Jara, he found a big iron piece which he fixed to his arrow with which he hit   Krishna later.   Over a period of time, the powder got deposited near the shore of the sea at Prabhasa Theertha and sharp blade type grass grew there. When the Yadus who were fully intoxicated came to this place arguing with each other, they totally lost their mental balance and started hitting each other with the  grass and got themselves killed.  Balarama , noticing that it was Lord ’s will decided to leave this earthly residence, assumed his original form as Adisesha and walked into the sea and disappeared.  The place where he disappeared can be seen even today. Over a period of time, this place has turned into  mass of land due to reduction in the water level.   Sri  Krishna was resting under a banyan tree with right leg placed on left lap.  A hunter named Jara (who was Vaali in his previous birth when   Krishna incarnated as  SriRama) , mistook Perumal’s thiruvadi to be a deer and shot an arrow from a distance of 1 kilometre.  The hunter who came in search of his prey was shocked to see the  Lord and begged for forgiveness.  The Lord  convinced that it was as per His plan and narrated his past birth as Vaali when Perumal hit him from behind and thus fulfilled Vali’s desire for revenge.  He bestowed moksham to the hunter.  This shows Lord’s compassion to persons who try to kill him.  In this avatar, he first killed Putana who had come to kill him and gave her moksham and at the end of the incarnation, he blessed Jara by giving him moksham. 


 At the moment when  Krishna was preparing to ascend to Srivaikuntam, all the devas headed by Brahma and Shiva arrived and while they were glorifying the  by reciting Purusha Suktam,   Krishna left the place in the form of jyoti.  (When the jyoti reached Suryamandalam, it transformed into a vigraham and descended on Tirumala Hills .  The moment   Krishna disappeared, Kali yugam started and to save His devotees from Kali,Lord   decided to manifest in Tirumala and save the devotees till the end of Kaliyugam.  He proclaimed that the devas as well as humans can have HIS darshan at Tirumala and allotted early morning time for the devas.  Even to this day, before closing the temple after Ekanta Seva , the priests at Tirumala temple fill the pancha paathirams with water for Brahma’s aaradhanai which is given as theertham after Suprabhatam. –Similar practice is followed in Badrinath at the time of closure of temple for 6 months during winter.  When the Badrinath temple is reopened during April, the lamp which was lit 6 months back still burns and the place would be filled with sweet fragrance of scent.)


The place where the last rites for the mortal remains of the  Lord was performed by Arjuna  is known as  Krishna Padam on the banks of River Hiranya.  There are many  temples associated with Sri  Krishna’s pastimes at this place, the details of which are mentioned below.  All these places can be visited within a span of 3-4 hours.


Gita Mandir- in this temple, there is an idol of  Sri Krishna in standing posture and all the slokas from Bhagavad Gita are inscribed on the walls of the temple.


Lakshmi Narayan Mandir:- shrine for  Narayanan with His consort,Mahalakshmi Thayar in standing posture


Balaram Gufa (cave):-  At the end of Dwapara yugam, Balarama who was an amsam of Adisesha decided to end his incarnation  and walked into the sea taking the form of a serpent and disappeared. Due to passage of time, the sea waters  reduced and the place where Balrama disappeared is now like a cave.On the wall of the gufa(Cave) 5 headed serpent is sculpted. Kaka who we called our driver affectionately , informed us about the disappearance of Balarama and added that on Naga Panchami every year, thousands of snakes from nowhere appear in this place and the local devotees offer milk.  Next day, even a single serpent cannot be spotted. 


SIVA LINGAMS:-  A 5 minute walk from Balram gufa leads to a small shrine of a small shiva lingam wroshipped by  Nakula- one of the Pandavas for one year during their exile.  Nearby there is another shrine housing a bigger Shiva lingam worshipped by Bhima .  In front of the shrine, there is a tree under which Bhima used to relax after worshipping.    WE were informed that at a distance of 12 kms from here , there is a place where Bhima got wedded to Hidambi, whose son was Ghatothgacha.  The entire area was once a thick forest.


SRI  KRISHNA PAADAM:-  This is on the banks of River Hiranya.  It was here that Arjuna performed the last rituals to  Sri  Krishna and as per the Lord’s instructions, escorted the elderly yadavas, children and women to Dwarka. Here, there is a Thiruvadi of Perumal with all the auspicious marks on it.



BALIKA THEERTH:- We proceeded to Balika Theerth. It was from this place that Jara, the hunter aimed arrow at Perumal.  Presently, there is a small shrine of Radha- Krishna. 


Balika Mandir (Mukti Dwarka):- This is the MUKTI DWARKA mandir as it was from here that Perumal ascended to Sri Vaikuntam after completing HIS incarnation. When Jara, the hunter shot arrow mistaking the Lord’s lotus feet to be deer, the arrow hit the Lord  .  Jara who came in search of his prey was shocked to see Perumal and repented for his mistake.  The  convinced him that it was HIS divine plan and informed him about his past birth when he was Vali who was shot by Rama.  The Lord added that in this birth, Vaali was born as Jara and   Rama as   Krishna and fulfilled Vali’s desire.


Amidst recitation of Purusha Suktam by Brahma, Shiva and other devas and rishis and offering rain of flowers,   Krishna stepped into an aerial car to ascend to Vaikuntam.Next second, the Lord along with HIS chariot disappeared and took jyoti form.  The scriptures mention that when the Lord reached Surya Mandalam, the jyothi turned into an idol and landed at Tirumala to protect the devotees from the evils of kali proclaiming that the  would reside at Tirumala (Thiruvengadam) till the end of Kali Yuga . He blessed  the devas  also to have HIS darshan at Tirumala. “SRIVAIKUNTA VIRAKTHAAYA SWAMI PUSHKARINI THADE….”-  has abandoned Srivaikuntam and has chosen to reside on the banks of Swami Pushkarini at Tirumala.


This place is  at a distance of 1 km from the place where Jara shot the arrow.  Here ,  Sri  Krishna who is very attractive is seen in half reclining,half -sitting  posture with His right leg placed on His left leg under a tree. The  Lord is clad in 7 yards dhoti (veshti which is bought from Tamilnadu) .  In front of the Lord , Jara is seen on his knees seeking forgiveness.  On Perumal’s right Thiruvadi ,which we can clearly  see facing us,Tulasi leaves are placed. Nearby there is the sacred tree under which   Krishna relaxed at the time of completion of HIS incarnation. Daily worship is done to this tree.   The temple authorities have placed a net to ensure that the leaves do not fall on the ground. In front of the tree, there is a naagam (Balarama ).  In front of the temple, there is a big banyan tree cemented all around.  Kaka informed that before departing,   Krishna spent time with the gopis who arrived here to have darshan.  There is a small temple for Shiva who accompanied by devas offered prayers to the  at the time of completion of Lord’s incarnation.   



DATE OF VISIT:- 25/05/2009

Reached Veraval from Ahmedabad by Somnath Express at 07.00 A.M on 25th May.  Veraval is a small station and is the last one in this route.  There were few autos available for local trip.  Pilgrims who reach this place directly proceed to Somnath as plenty of rooms are available there.  When we were thinking what to do, a young man approached us and asked whether we were interested in engaging a car.  We told our plan to visit all the important places and to proceed to Dwarka the same day.  After negotiations, the man agreed for Rs.2,500/- towards car hire charges for covering all the important places in Somnath, take us to Porbandhar, Mool Dwarka and drop us at Dwarka. We had some apprehension to travel with him because he was not very appealing to us.


Luckily, the Lord residing as Antharyami had made HIS own plans.  The guy had to go somewhere else and he rang up to someone for taking us.    Lord sent a devotee named Ramji  who was in his fifties  as our driver.  The guy who acted as mediator informed that the charges what he negotiated was for non-AC car .  Being very hot, we were specific for AC and the mediator left it to the driver’s discretion for the extra charges.  We agreed to pay Rs.500/- towards AC charges which we felt was very reasonable.   The rest of the journey was very peaceful.  The driver whom we affectionately addressed as “KAKA” (meaning uncle) was a great devotee and was  very cooperative . He shared all his spiritual experiences  .  We felt comfortable in his company and he took personal interest in taking us to all the important places . A well experienced guide he was, he informed all the details about the places which we visited and made everyone present there  chant “BOLO DWARAKADEESH KI JAI HO”/ “RANCHOR RAYA KI JAI HO”.  We thanked God profusely for sending such a devotee to us.  (We had similar experience in Nepal during our Saalagrama yaathirai – we traveled with a driver who was a devotee of Hanuman for 10 days). Kaka shared his experience of driving great saints like Asharamji Bhaba and other great personalities with whose association he refined himself.


First, we went to Sringeri Sarada Mutt and checked into one of the rooms for refreshing and finishing morning duties.  Paid Rs.150/- for the same. Nearby there is a temple                        

in which there are separate shrines for Ganapathi,Hanuman,Narasimhadev,Radha- Krishna., Triveni Sangamam which is very near to the mutt .  This is the confluence of 3 rivers- Gomti, Hiranya and Saraswathi before merging with the sea. Offered milk, puffed rice etc. in the holy waters .


We proceeded to Somnath temple which is app. 4 kms from this place. On the way, he showed us many heavy logs of wood used for construction of  boats.  Somnath is famous for boat construction . We saw big ships under construction.   He said that earlier there was sea route to Mumbai and Okha port from this place and it used to take 3 hours by sea to reach Mumbai.  


Pilgrims wearing half pants are not allowed and at the entrance for such devotees, the security provides a dhoti (similar practice is followed in Guruvayoor where men in pants are strictly prohibited from entering the temple) .  Monday being very auspicious for Shiva, the temple was crowded with devotees.  However, we could have good darshan of the .  A very big Shiva lingam is placed in the centre of the garbagriham and continuous abhishekam was going on.  Kaka asked us to do pradakshina. He told us that circumbulation has to be done is a semi-circle manner. A small obstruction is placed  in the path and one has to return back in the same route. We then visited the new temple wherein a similar size lingam is kept for worship.  Followed the same procedure.  Photography is strictly prohibited.  Ambuja Cements has undertaken the project of beautifying the way leading to the new temple. 


On the way had tender coconuts and proceeded to Prabhasa Theertha Kshetra.  It is a big area housing Gita Mandir, Balarama Gufa, Shiva lingams, Sri  Krishna Paadam, River Hiranya, Sri Lakshmi Narayan mandir. Luckily, we were allowed to carry our camcorder and take photographs of this sacred location at all places except Somnath temple.


We visited Balika Theerth- a small temple enshrining Radha  Krishna idols from where Jara shot the arrow and then went to Balika Mandir.

This is the place where  Krishna was reclining when the arrow was shot. The  sitting in a reclining posture with HIS right  leg placed on left , with Jara  in knees seeking forgiveness is very attractive.   The attractive smile on the ’s thirumugam is beyond expression. We just could not take our eyes off from the Thiruvadi –left thirvadi pointing straight and right thiruvadi on an elevated position as it is kept on left knee.  There is a small naagam (balarama) near the holy tree . Kaka informed us that the tree which is hundreds of years old is still alive and  is considered very sacred ,special pooja is done to the tree.  (This practice is followed at Kurukshetra too.  The tree under which  did Geetopadesham to Arjuna (Bhagavad Gita ) is still existing and a net is placed  to ensure that the leaves do not fall on the ground.  We were lucky to get a dry leaf from one of the  nets in Kurukshetra )  While doing pradakshinam , we tried to collect  leaves as in Kurukshetra but in vain as they have constructed a roof .     The pujari informed that they get the cloth from Tamilnadu for adorning the Lord.  We offered to buy few veshtis and offer it to the Lord.  Initially, the pujari did not allow us to take photographs. But after requesting and agreeing to pay him some donation, he gave his consent. We just could not take our eyes off from Lord’s Thirumeni. Remembered all our  devotees relatives and prayed on their behalf. 



Having visited all the important places in Veravel, our next destination was Porbandhar.  On the way  we traversed thru Choupad, a small village which is the birthplace of the famous industrialist, Dhirubhai Ambani of Reliance fame.  Kaka showed us the old building and informed that a palatial building has been constructed in the same village .  He also shared with us Ambani’s contribution for development of this village.


After having lunch in one of the Gujarati hotels on the Highway, we passed thru Madhavpur, a small village on the shores of Arabian Sea.  Some say that   Krishna married Rukmini at this place whereas others believe that Rukma, the brother of Rukmini who fought with  Krishna was defeated and humbled at this place.   .  Went to the sea shore  and relaxed for some time.  An hour’s drive took us to Porbandhar.  On the way, Kaka stopped at a roadside temple dedicated to local goddess.  He informed that whoever passes by this route should take the blessings of the diety and in case they don’t have time, they should atleast halt for a minute in front of temple.  Kaka went inside the temple, offered a coconut and returned whilst we stayed in the car itself. 




TEMPLE VISITED: SUDAMA DWARKA (one of the 9 Dwarakas)-

                                      the hut in which Sudama lived turned into a palatial

                                       building overnight due to the grace of Sri  Krishna.


PRESIDING DIETY : Rukmini- Krishna sannidhi.   Sudama with his wife, Susheela are  also seen  


LOCATION :            PORBANDHAR in Gujarat-  the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi.

                                   This is on the way from Veraval to Dwarka


HOW TO REACH :-   Bus /car from Dwarka or Veraval


WHERE TO STAY:-     There are hotels in Porbandhar but with keeping Dwarka as 

                                          base, we can visit this place.


STHALAPURANAM:- The story of Sudama , also known as Kuchelan is well known even to children .Elders narrate this bedtime story to children and inculcate the habit of offering to God right from childhood. 


 Kuchelan (Sudama) and Sri  Krishna were childhood friends and studied under the same guru, Sandipani.  Once when   Krishna and Sudama went into the forest for collecting wood, it started raining and they had to take shelter under a tree.  At that time , both of them were hungry.  Sudama , without offering to  Krishna munched puffed rice (Avul in tamil)  without sharing with   Krishna and when  Krishna asked him he denied.  When  Krishna punched his stomach, he spit the avul.  This was a childish prank played at that time. After completion of their studies, both of them parted their ways.  Since Sudama did not offer to , in due course, he became poor and having married, was overburdened with 27 children.  There was no food to eat.  Being  a Brahmin he did not even know any other profession and did not make any effort to earn his livelihood.  Being a matured devotee, he was only seeking salvation and was not interested in material pursuits.  He was constantly thinking of the   and was nurturing the desire to see   Krishna .  His wife, Susheela suggested that he should meet his friend,  Krishna who was now the king of Dwarka for financial help as she could no longer see their children starving.  Sudama was delighted at the proposal because he could meet his friend after many years but was not interested in asking for material benefits.  As stated in scriptures that something has to be offered while meeting a king/elderly/sick person, he wanted to take something with him to be offered to the .  Susheela borrowed some puffed rice from the neighbours, tied it in a worn out cloth and gave it to Sudama.  It took 2 months for Sudama to reach Dwarka from Porbandhar and 4 months to locate Sri  Krishna’s palace.  Sudama informed the dwarapalakas that he was  Krishna’s friend and wanted to meet him.  The dwarapalakas did not believe him and asked him to move out of the place.  At that time,  Sri Krishna came running and affectionately hugged Sudama and took him to His palace.


Sri Krishna along with His eight principal consorts served Sudama with the best of everything.  The  of the Universe along with Thayar Rukmini did paada puja(pooja to his feet)  to Sudama while the other  consorts were helping in offering  shodasa upacharams to the great bhakta.  After sumptuously feeding Sudama with varieties of food,  Krishna asked what he brought for HIM..  Sudama was feeling very shy to offer the avul and was trying to hide the bundle but  Sri  Krishna snatched it from him and put a fistful of it in His mouth with great relish.  When the  Lord was trying to take it for the second time, Rukmini Devi refrained Him saying that one fistful was more than sufficient.  Sudama did not understand this and returned home.  All the way, he was constantly thinking about his friend and contemplating on HIM .  When he reached his village, he could not locate his thatched hut and in that place, he found a palatial building.  While he was worrying about the whereabouts of his family, a lady bedecked with jewellery and dressed like a queen appeared before him and fell prostrate at his feet.  Sudama could not recognize his wife.  Susheela narrated how overnight the hut turned into a palace and about the wealth bestowed on them due to Sri  Krishna’s grace.  He could not recognize his own children who were looking like royal princes.  Sudama understood that   Krishna showered HIS mercy by eating a handful of puffed rice and bestowed all the riches on him.  This incident only enhanced Sudama’s bhakti and with detachment and pure devotion , he attained the Lotus feet of the Lord . 



 “SUDAMAPURI” written on an arc in the entrance welcomed us  .  With trees and plants abundantly planted, it was more like a garden.  On the way to the temple, Kaka who accompanied us , showed us a small  stone layout with narrow paths and many twisting lanes saying that the way to Dwarka was similar to this  .   He said that when Sudama set out for Dwarka to meet  Sri  Krishna, he wandered thru the streets and took 4 months to meet Sri  Krishna.  He was searching for the entrance and asked DWAAR KAHAN .. which now got corrupted as DWARAKA .An old  devotee who was sitting there was doing some kirtan and suggested  to pass through the layout.  It is customary for visitors to go thru the layout and if they successfully come out , they would achieve their goal of meeting the  and their bhakti would be enhanced.  Only one foot can be placed in the narrow pathway .  Holding the prashad (Dry fruits) above our head and amidst chanting of Hare Krishna Maha mantra (kaka was encouraging us ), all four of us successfully completed the task and came out.  The devotee was pleased when we gave some dakshinai to him.  He  blessed and advised  us never ever ignore your Parents and Elders . We then went inside the temple. In the sannidhi, there are small vigrahams of  Krishna, Rukmini, Sudama and Susheela.  There were photographs of  Krishna washing Sudama’s feet, Sudama in search of Sri  Krishna, Sudama being flanked by   Krishna’s consorts.


After taking few photographs, left the temple and visited Kirti Bhavan, Gandhiji’s residence which is about 5 minutes drive from the temple.  Kirti Bhavan is a national monument as it is the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi. There is a big statue of Gandhiji in the entrance .   Inside the 3 storeyed house, cameras are not allowed but photographs can be taken from outside. There are 22 rooms The building is an old one .Being a national monument,  government has taken all measures to preserve it . Anyone who violates would be punishable. Government undertakes maintenance work by regularly painting the doors and windows and keeping the huz in good condition. 

  In the ground floor, there is a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi’s parents.  The interesting feature is that of his father’s eyes.  Look from any angle and you will feel that Gandhiji’s father is directly staring at you.  Gandhiji was the last son to his parents.  A very very narrow flight of steps led us to the upper portions of the house.  Kasturba Gandhi(wife of Mahatma Gandhi’s wife)’s house which is behind Kirti Bhavan  can be seen from the balcony  .  We were shown a hollow hole in the first floor which was used to keep money from where Gandhiji stole few paisas and was beaten by his father. Had the opportunity to see Gandhiji’s study room in second floor.  This incident made him resolve that he would never steal in his life.  In the second floor, there is a small room which was used as a study room by Gandhiji .


In the ground floor, outside the old house, there is an extension of the building which was constructed by Gandhiji’s descendants later containing Gandhiji’s memoirs- the books, the utensils, his handwritten letters, his photographs, newspaper clippings , his clothes etc are kept safely here.  


From here we continued our journey to Mool Dwaraka and reached the temple at 1900 hours (7.00 p.m.) . 



TEMPLE VISITED: MOOL DWARKA (one of the 9 Dwarakas)-


PRESIDING DIETY : Rukmini- Krishna sannidhi.   Also separate sannidhis for Gayatri,Savitri, Shiva,Parvathi, Ganapathi, Murugan, Narsimhadev, Hanuman etc


LOCATION :            Porbandhar-Dwarka route   beyond Rajkot


HOW TO REACH :-   Bus /car from Dwarka or Veraval


STHALAPURANAM:-  It is well known that Jarasandha, the father-in-law of the wicked Kamsa wanted to avenge his son-in-law’s death in the hands of Sri  Krishna . To pacify his 2 widowed daughters, he marched with his army on Mathura many times where  Krishna was residing with his parents. 


Every time Jarasandha attacked Mathura, Krishna and Balarama used to defeat his army but let him go without killing as Krishna wanted to reduce the earth’s burden by killing wicked people and Jarasandha was destined to be killed later by Bhima .On one such occasion,  Krishna escaped from the battlefield with Balarama and started running away.  Jarasandha chased them but could not catch hold of them as they climbed on a mountain top and disappeared from his sight.  Jarasandha presumed that they had  died and returned to his kingdom.  In order to protect His citizens from the frequent enemy attacks,   Krishna arrived at this place and summoned Viswakarma, the deva-loka architect to construct a palace in the sea.  The sea –God offered land to  Krishna for construction of city.  Thus Dwaraka was constructed overnight and all the yadavas were transported safely to this place.  With   His divine powers,  ensured that the sea never crossed its limits and Dwarka was well protected  thus ensuring that His people were safe whenever He went for battle.  As this was the place where  put His foot first, this is known as “MOOLA DWARAKA”.  When  arrived here, Shiva, Brahma and other devas offered prayers to the  here.  There is a deep well near the temple where   Krishna had His holy bath.  Even during severe drought, this well doesn’t get dried up.



DATE OF VISIT:     25/05/09

 We reached the temple at 7.00 P.M.-20 minutes before evening aarthi.  Recited Vishnu Sahasranamam and took some photographs.  The temple is maintained hereditarily  by priests  who reside with their families near the temple.  It was very calm and serene and best time for meditation.  The main diety is Dwarakadeesh and there are small sannidhis for Radha- Krishna, Sita-Rama , Lakshmi-Narayan and  demi-gods like Saraswathi,Gayatri, Ganapathi, Subramanya Swami, Dakshinamurthy, Shiva-Parvathi.  We participated in the aarthi,  offered the prasadam which we took with us .  Also bought Prasad for Rs.10/- which was sold by the pujari’s son. Kaka took us to a nearby well saying that   Krishna had His holy bath here.  A board is displayed describing this incident.  A steep flight of steps leads us to the well.  As it was dark, we did not get down the steps.  There was another sannidhi for Shiva’s family. Cows keep moving about freely.


After praying to the Lord, we left the place.  As per our plan, we decided to stay one day in Veraval and reach Dwaraka only on 26th night.  But as finished visiting all the places in and around Veravel and were near Dwarka, we decided to reach Dwaraka on 25th night itself.  We tried to contact  ISKCON , Dwarka about our preponement but could not do so as there was no response when we called them over phone.  We later learnt that their phone was out of order. 


Kaka said that it would take 90 mintues for us to reach Dwarka.  So, sitting in the car , we started our evening bhajans and kaka also joined us.  On the way, he took us to a temple dedicated to Bhavani (Harsiddhi maatha) and narrated the incidents connected with King  Krishnadevaraya.  As the king’s name is famous for “Vikram-Bhetal stories”(how he used to carry ghost on his back, ghost narrating a story, asking him to reply and used to leave him once he gave the correct answer…… -the stories which we used to read in our childhood days) , out of inquisitiveness, decided to visit this temple.  Near the entrance, there are sannidhis for Hanuman and Ganapathi.  Few steps led us to the main shrine.    Beside the main sannidhi, on the left, there is a jhoola with the diety’ s photo.  Kaka said that King  Krishnadevaraya meditated at this place on Ambal for 12 years and when Goddess appeared before him and conferred a boon, he asked her to accompany him to Ujjain .  Goddess consented to his request and left the place.  A replica of the goddess was kept here.  Kaka told us that every evening when aarthi is given to the goddess at Ujjain, this jhoola would automatically move to and fro  and after this movement stops, aarthi is given to this goddess.  Such is the power of this diety.  He showed us the place where Krishnadevaraya did penance.


After making some purchases in nearby shop, continued our journey to Dwarka.  The roads were dark with no street lights but somehow managed to reach Dwaraka at 10.30 P.M. Locating ISKCON was easy.  Luckily, the  prabhus  were awake and a room was allotted in the first floor.  Though the accommodation is free for life members, they said that they would be charging Rs.100/- per day towards building construction.  Kaka offered to show the remaining Dwarakas and also other important places in Dwaraka the next day   for a nominal amount of R.800/- and we accepted the offer.  As the hotels were closed, we had some delicious lassi and retired for the night.





 TEMPLES VISITED: Gomti Dwaraka (Main temple)- one of the nine Dwarkas

                                       Rukmini Dwaraka-one of the nine Dwarkas

                                       Bhet Dwaraka-one of the nine Dwarkas

                                      Gopi Talaab

                                      Nageshwar – one of 12 jyotir lingams

                                      ISKCON, Dwarka


LOCATION              : Dwarka


<>HOW TO REACH:-   1) all Okha Port bound trains from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Puri and other important places stop at Dwarka <>  
2) regular bus services from Ahmedabad, Rajkot Porbandhar, Veraval and other cities in Gujarat

                                  3) car services are also available from Veraval


WHERE TO STAY:-     Hotels, choultries, mutts are available

                                        ISKCON has its guest house near the temple


WHERE TO EAT:-         Being a famous Vaishnavite pilgrim centre, there are only

                                         Vegetarian hotels offering Gujarati meals





Ø  In order to protect His people from the frequent enemy attacks,   Krishna summoned Viswakarma and ordered him to construct Dwarka in the Arabian Sea.  The Sea God was instructed to give land in the middle of the sea which was always protected by  Krishna’s divine power.    This is known as Gomti Dwaraka as it is on the banks of River Gomti.  Due to divine will, the city was constructed overnight and all the Yadavas were transported from Mathura to Dwarka and lived happily. The palaces were made of gold.  It was the wealthiest city as the Goddess of Fortune Herself resided here.

<> Ø  As mentioned earlier, the place where  first placed His foot is Moola Dwaraka.  <>

Ø    Krishna with His 16,108 consorts lived here like a typical Gruhasta and in many occasions showed how a Gruhasta should behave.  Perumal ruled over the Universe from this place. Krishna married Rukmini, Satyabhama, Nappinai, Jambavathi, and so on and these 8 wives are known as Astha Mahishis.  By killing Narakasura, Krishna rescued 16,000 captivated girls at whose request HE married them.  He took 16000 forms and married all the girls at the same time.

Ø  When Draupadi surrendered to  Krishna for protection, she addressed  Krishna as “Dwarakanilai achyuta”- one who resides in Dwaraka. 

Ø  When Sage Narada was curious to know how  Krishna managed with so many consorts, he was astonished to see the Lord with each of His consort performing various activities at the same time.   Everyday, all the forms of  Krishna used to leave the respective palaces but while entering the court, all the forms used to get merged with Him. 

Ø  It was in Dwarka that the  exhibited his fondness to Sudama .

Ø  It was here that Lord exhibited that the gopis attachment to the   was much superior than even His consorts’ devotion.  

Thus there are innumerable incidents connected with  Sri  Krishna’s life here. 


About the temple(JAGAT MANDIR):- 

§  Dwarka was to be submerged into the sea within 7 days of   Krishna’s departure .  Before leaving for Prayag,   Krishna ordered the sea to leave 12 yojnas of land from drowning.  

§  The original temple was constructed by   Krishna’s great grandson, Vajranabha (son of Aniruddha) with the help of Viswakarma as per Vaastu Shastra . The structure of the temple is like that of Sri Chakram.

§  The height of the temple known as “Jagat Mandir” is 150 feet.  There are 2 entrances to the temple-Swarg Dwar and Mukti Dwar.

§  The flag on the spire of the temple declares that Dwarkadeesh is the ruler.The flag measures 40 feet -52 gaj (a unit of measurement) .  The number 52 signifes the 27 stars, 12 rashis, 9 Navagrahas and the 4 main directions-north, south, east, west. The flag is stitched in a specific  design.

§  As part of their offering , Devotees usually undertake to change the flag when their wish is fulfilled.  The flag is changed thrice daily.  Morning between 8 A.M. and 11 A.M., second time between 11A.M. AND 12.30 P.M. and in the evening between 5 P.M. and 6.30 P.M.  Booking for this has to be done atleast 3 months in advance. The flag would be taken round the temple streets ceremoniously before offering in the temple.

§  Only authorized persons can go to the top of the temple and change the flag.  This is hereditary.  Being on the sea shore, heavy winds keep blowing but these persons do not wear any safety belt.  Dwarkadeesh saves them.

§  From the cloth used as a flag, the priests and other service providers of the temple stitch shirts.


ABOUT THE DIETY:- Dwarkadeesh is seen holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam and Padmam with an enchanting smile.  The temple priest informed that Lord  wears wresting belt , has a black snake round HIS waist, Bhakti and Mukti are at HIS feet,  wears Kaustabham and Vanamaala.  The  Lord holds a stick and a flute . The Lord is dressed in various forms-like a child, like a ruler etc.During summer, in the nights, the  is dressed with jasmine flowers (like Pulangi seva in Tirumala.  Usually in South Indian temples, the Lord  is adorned with various types of flower maalas(strung with the thread) and placed round Lord’s shoulder.  But here, the dress itself is stitched with flowers artistically.  It is difficult to make out that it is a floral dress.  It  resembles like dress made of pearls. 

Chappan bhog (56 items of varieties of food) are offered as Raj Bhog  to the Lord .  Every day 6 aarthis are performed to the Lord  .  On Sri  Krishna Janmashtami, the Lord  is given special aarthi at the stroke of 12 in midnight.  Thousands of devotees throng to the temple to have HIS darshan.  Inside the garbagriham, we find the utsava murthis of Rukmini and Krishna, Radha and  Krishna.  

The colours of clothes adorned by the Lord  are pre-determined as per the days.  On Sunday, the  Lord wears Red colour, Monday-Pink, Tuesday-Yellow,Wednesday-Green, Thursday-orange, Frinday-white and Saturday-Blue.  All the temple kainkarya kaarars(service providers) including the priests wear the same colour dress.

Exactly opposite to the shrine of Dwarkadeesh is Devaki’s shrine.  Near the entrance on the right side, we find a small shrine for Balaraman.  Balaraman is in the form of Adiseshan.  There are separate shrines for the Ashta mahishis (8 wives) of  Krishna, Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy, Madhavji

25 years ago, it was in front of Madhavji temple, Prana prathistha for the idols of Radha-Dwarkadeesh and Srila Prabhupada took place for 5 days.  The idols were earlier taken around Dwarka temple before this ritual.  The idols were later shifted to ISKCON Dwarka.


On the seventh day after the departure of the Lord  to His heavenly abode, Dwarka was submerged into the sea.  In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that  Sri  Krishna propounded Udhava Gita and ordered Uddhava to take the elderly, children and women from Dwarka to Hastinapur as the city would be submerged into the sea.  The idol form of  Narayana which was worshipped by   Krishna Himself was carried by Guru and Vayu and placed at present Guruvayur in Kerala. 

Archeological Department of India have found out that few thousands of precious metals lie submerged in the sea.  Even today the remains of the palaces can be found in the adjoining Gomti river known as “Gomti Chakram”. This is considered as Lakshmi swaroopam and is treated at par with our Saalagrama shilas.We can also find vendors selling different types of stones (nava rathinams) here.

The temple was first constructed by   Krishna’s grandson and later by other kings.



DATE OF VISIT :26/05/2009

  <>  Being a life member of ISKCON, we had already booked our room  at ISKCON guest house in Dwarka for 3 days from 26th to 28th May. Fortunately, the prabhus were kind enough to allot room on 25th itself.   Woke up hearing the sound of cymbals and bells as mangala aarthi at 4 .A.M. started in ISKCON mandir. Joined in their prayers and when the curtains were drawn for the diety’s abhishekam, myself accompanied by my wife went to Dwarakadeesh mandir   which is about 7 minutes walk from ISKCON. :- Devotees were lined up in a queue to have darshan of the Lord. Perumal   was beautifully dressed up like a typical cowherd boy holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam,Lotus. A small stick used for grazing cows and a flute are also placed.   The idol is beautifully carved as it was done by GOD HIMSELF. Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi, is the sannidhi of Devaki, mother of   Krishna.  The sannidhis for the 8 chief consorts of the Lord  , sannidhi for Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy , Balaram sannidhi are in the outer precincts of the garbagriham.    Pilgrims were singing some Gujarati songs .The devotees were exhibiting their unalloyed bhakti in many ways – by singing, by raising slogans”Ranchor Raya Ki jai” etc.  as for our turn, we were reciting  few divya prabhandha pasurams which we knew by heart and singing the bhajans “GOVINDA MADHAVA GOPALA KESAVA,…, GOVINDA HARI HARI GOPALA HARI HARI RADHA RAMANA HARI HARI….., we had seva to our heart’s content.  Resolved to visit the temple in the evening along with children and participate in night aarthi too. After doing a pradakshinam, we left the temple and reached ISKCON.  <>

On the way back to our guest house, we passed by Gomti river which was already crowded with devotees for having bath and passed by Prema bhikshu Prahbu’s  bhajan kutir where 24 hours non-stop kirtan of SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM is being sung for the past 40 years. We recollected having seen this ashram at Verval near Gita Mandir.  

Shringar Aarthi at ISKCON was going on for Radha- Krishna and participated in the same. When we checked up for prashad, they said that it may not be possible  because these 2 young priests have to do temple duties along with their regular sadhana.  They don’t even have a servant and how these 2 young devotees – a Keralite, Sri Kamalakannan dasa  and a Tamilian from tirunelveli maintain the temple attending to all sorts of work is really appreciable .  Meanwhile, our children got ready and kaka was also waiting for us in his car .  

We drove to Rukmini Dwarka which is about 7-10 kms from the main temple. 



TEMPLE VISITED:  RUKMINI DWARKA-one of the nine Dwarkas


LOCATION           : 7 KMS from Dwarka- Share autos, cabs are available


PRESIDING DIETY :  KRISHNA-RUKMINI, sannidhi for Sage Durvasa


STHALAPURANAM: This happens to be the place where   Krishna wedded Rukmini .  Rukmini, the chief of 16,108 consorts of  Krishna was very devoted to the Lord.  Born as a Vidarbha  princess , she used to listen to various pastimes of Krishna and developed an intense love for Krishna and decided to marry HIM or else end her life.Though her parents were interested in getting her married to Krishna, her brother, Rukmi was against it and wanted her to marry Sisupalan, Krishna’s cousin and made all arrangements for the same.  She communicated Her desire thru a Brahmin to be conveyed to the Lord  and requested to be kidnapped from her palace and also mentioned that she would be visiting ambal’s temple before marriage ceremony and it would be easy for Krishna to kidnap her from that place. Krishna also expressed HIS desire to the Brahmin and left for Vidarbha immediately and reached the next morning. When the Brahmin informed Rukmini about Lord’s arrival, she thanked the Brahmin and prostrated at his feet as SHE , the Lokamatha thought that prostration was the only befitting gift to the Brahmin.   When Rukmini was returning from Ambal temple, Krishna appeared like a lightning and effortlessly kidnapped Rukmini Devi like a lion which snatches its food amonst wolves.  When the assembled kings including Jarasandhan and Sisupalan fought with Krishna, Krishna and Balarama defeated the entire army.  Rukmi was humbled by Krishna but was saved due to Balaraman’s intervention.  The celestial wedding of Krishna and Rukmini took place grandly at Dwarka.   She was very dedicated and derived immense pleasure in performing all types of services to the  Lord like massaging His Holy feet and personally offering various kainkaryams to the Lord .  She demonstrated how a devotee irrespective of his/her position should serve the Lord.   Gradually, She nurtured  a feeling that She was more dearer to the  Lord than other consorts. 


Whenever a devotee entertains the thought that he is dearer to the Lord and becomes possessive, Perumal  immediately enacts some drama and make them realize their folly. (In Vrindavan during Rasakreedai, when the Gopis including Radha Rani, thought that they were dearer to  Krishna as He was dancing with them, the  immediately disappeared.  The gopikas were crying piteously and their outpour for the union with the  is the famous “Gopika Geetham”. They were so captivated with the form of  Krishna that even when  Krishna appeared as Narayana with 4 arms, they were not content.  They only wanted their form of  Krishna.   Krishna appeared and pacified them that they were very dear to them and He disappeared only to increase their Bhakti )  does this out of pure compassion towards the devotee. 


In this case, Lord wanted to correct Rukmini and hence created an opportunity to enact His Leela.   Krishna accompanied by Rukmini went to sage Durvasar’s hermitage and  invited him for lunch.  A chariot was brought forth for the sage to be seated.  However the sage said that he could not sit in a chariot driven by horses and if it was driven by them ,he was prepared to visit them.   The Lord  of the Universe unhesitatingly agreed for the same.  The Lord  along with Rukmini Thayar drove the chariot.  Due to the scorching heat and tiresomeness, Rukmini felt thirsty  and expressed the desire to quench Her thirst.   Krishna pressed HIS toe on the ground and water sprouted out.   As she was desperately thirsty, Rukmini forgot the decorum to take the rishi’s permission for quenching HER thirst and drank the water.  This infuriated the rishi who cursed Her to live separately from HER Lord Krishna as  the pride that She was more dearer to  Krishna made her behave in this way.  He also cursed that the entire area would be bereft of drinking water.  Rukmini realized HER mistake and fell prostrate at the sage’s feet and asked for forgiveness.  The rishi said that She has to live separately for 12 years and then join the Lord.  (Mother Sita had to live in Rama’s separation for 12 months and Rukmini Devi had to live alone for 12 years).  Thus Rukmini’s pride was subdued . However,   Krishna assured her that He would visit her daily. As She stayed here for 12 years, this place came to be known as “Rukmini Dwaraka”. (Some say that Rukmini got married to Krishna at this place.) One gets only half the punyam if he visits only Gomti (Main) Dwaraka.   Dwaraka yaatrai is deemed to be  complete only after visiting Rukmini Dwaraka .  Even today , there is no drinkable water around this area and the residents have to get water from far off places by paying Rs.300/ -per barrel.  Hence, in this place “jhala dhaanam” (water dhanam) done gives 1000 times  benefit.  


OUR EXPERIENCE:-  It was a pleasant morning.  Located in a serene place , with the sea breeze blowing softly, it was the perfect time to meditate in the presence of Thayar as She acts as a mediator between us and Perumal and represents on our behalf.  When we reached the temple, curtains were drawn as bhog(neivedyam) was being offered to the Lordship .  The assembled devotees were asked to sit in front of the garbagriham and a panda narrated the above incident. Pointing to a big picture on the right side, the panda started narrating the above incident that it gives 1000 times benefit. Thinking of  everyone related to us, donated Rs.100/ for each one of them  on their behalf.  In return, the panda gave us some sweet packet as prashad and a small yellow cloth to be kept in the altar.   Gave some money as charity to the disciplined under privlieged (about 50 of them) who share equally amongst themselves whatever is given to them.  A great unity among them




TEMPLE VISITED:  BHET DWARKA-one of the nine Dwarkas


LOCATION           : 15-20 KMS from Dwarka situated near Okha Port- the last tip of the west coast


PRESIDING DIETY : DWARKADEESH  with separate sannidhis for His consorts and mother Devaki.  There are separate sannidhis for Perumal,HIS mother Devaki, His 8 chief consorts, Purushotham, Lakshmi Narayan, Dhauji(Balaraman),Radha_ Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy ,Madhava Perumal, Garuda. . 


STHALAPURANAM: “Bhet” in Gujarati means island.  As this is situated in  an island, it is named so.  This was the pleasure spot for the Lord with HIS consorts.  Legend says that  Krishna used to spend time with HIS consorts in this place.  There is a temple situated on top of a hillock.  This is considered as one of the 9 Dwarakas.  As per the locas devotees, this place was part of  Krishna’s palace and when the original Dwarka was submerged into the sea, this place remained intact.  Thus they claim this to be the original Dwarka.


OUR EXPERIENCE:- From Rukmini Dwaraka, we proceeded to Bhet Dwarka which is situated on an island.  Reached Okha port  and after parking our vehicle in a nearby place, we proceeded to take a boat.  We rememberd our previous visit regarding  non-availability of drinking water .  After having some fresh buttermilk and purchasing water bottles, we bought tickets for boat ride.  Cost Rs.5/- per head one way.  We can purchase tickets for return journey here itself.  Also purchased some pori (Bhel- puffed rice) as food for fish.  The boat in which we travelled was over crowded as it was 11 .A.M. and probably the last trip to the temple for morning darshan.  It took nearly 15 minutes for us to reach the other shore.  Alighted from the boat and took the narrow path towards the temple.  Chanting Mahamantra, we had good darshan of Dwarkadeesh.  Similar vigraham like in Dwarka but of a smaller size.  Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi is Mother Devaki’s sannidhi. In Perumal temples, opposite to  the garbagriham, we usually find Peria Thiruvadi(Garudan)’s sannidhi but in Dwaraka, we find Devaki’s sannidhi. 


After offering neivedyam and circumbulating the temple , we left the temple at 12 noon to take the return boat to the mainland. Offering dakshina in Dwarka is very important.  Donated some money for”Go Samrakshana” protection of cows.  From this point, we can clearly see Pakistan border across the sea and the Pakistani navy posted there.   Kaka was referring to the recent 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks adding that from the Pakistan border, the terrorists took a boat to Porbandhar which is also a sea coast and then shifted to an Indian ship.  He also pointed out to some wrecks stating that it was due to the earthquake which occurred in 2001(Khuj earthquake).  We recollected having seen the structures  before the quake in 2000.  Luckily, we got place to sit in the boat  in our return journey.  From Bhet Dwarka, we went to Gopi Talab, a very sacred place to  Krishna’s devotees.

  <>Other PLACES VISITED:  GOPI TALAB , a holy tank and an adjacent temple


LOCATION           : Bhet Dwarrka- Dwaraka route  via Nageshwar


PRESIDING DIETY : Gopi Talab- the sacred well from where Gopi Chandan is   collected (used by ISKCON, Gaudiya and madhava Sampradhaya Vaishnavas), and a small temple dedicated to  Radha- Krishna temple


STHALAPURANAM: There are 2 incidents which may be recollected in connection with Gopis.


This refers to one of the pastimes of the Lord when He wanted to prove that the gopika bhakti was superior to that of His consorts.  The consorts of Lord  Krishna developed superiority complex  that they were very dear to the Lord   and the best bhaktas of the Lord . In order to check their ago, Lord enacted a drama.  He pretended as HE was suffering from severe headache. The best of physicians were called and best treatment was given to the  but the headache would not subside.  AT that time, Sage Narada arrived in Dwarka to have Perumal’s darshan.  The perplexed mahishis (wives) of the  told the rishi about ’s illness.  Narada who understood Perumal’s play suggested that if some dust from devotee’s feet is rubbed on Perumal’s forehead , the headache would subside.  The shocked wives backed out because they felt that it was not proper to place their dust on Perumal’s forehead.  The news spread about everywhere.  When the gopis of Vrindavan heard this, they immediately rushed to see the Lord  and filled up carts full of their paadha dhooli (dust from their feet) to be applied on ’s forehead.  They did not even think that they would be committing a serious offence by this petty act.  They were only concerned about their  Krishna’s well being and so were prepared to even go to hell for the sin they were committing.  The moment the paadah dhooli of the gopikas were applied on HIS head, the Lord was relieved from the pain..  Thus the Lord showed that the gopis unalloyed prema bhakti was the best among all. After spending few days with Krishna , the gopis had to leave for Vrindavan.


Unable to bear the pangs of separation from Krishna ,  on the way, they jumped into a well at this place to end up their lives.  They were turned into chandan by  Krishna’s grace.   Krishna pleased with their devotion declared that the place has become very sacred and  Himself would smear the chandan from that place.  Hence, this place is considered to be very sacred and whoever visits this place would  be bestowed with unalloyed bhakti towards the Lord . Even after thousands of years, we are able to get chandan from this inexhaustible well. 


Second incident:- While ascending to Vaikuntam,  Krishna ordered Arjuna to take care of all the women folk and children and leave them at Hastinapur.  On the way, unable to bear the pangs of separation from Sri  Krishna, the gopis jumped into this well and ended their lives. 


The fact that the gopis out of separation jumped into this well and thinking of the  attained the Highest Bliss –moksham in this place is common in both the incidents.  Gopi chandan collected from this place is considered to be very sacred.  Even today, most of the devotees of  Sri  Krishna including Gaudiya Vaishnavas, ISKCON devotees, Pusti Vaishnavas etc . apply this on their forehead.


OUR EXPERIENCE:  Reached Gopi Talab and offering prayers in the temple, visited the talab(tank).  Some people were collecting the chandan from the inexhaustible talaab.  Purchased gopi chandan rolls for personal use and for giving to other devotees. Had water melon and left the place at about 2.30 P.M.  Photography and video are not restricted here.  Purchased water melons and fed the cows with the same. 


LOCATION            :- near Dwarka

                                     ISKCON, Dwaraka


OUR EXPERIENCE:- Nageshwar, is one of the twelve jyotirlingas and is considered very sacred for devotees of  shiva.  During our first visit to Dwarka, we did not visit this temple as renovation work was going done.   Late Gulshan Kumar, music director, owner of T series had renovated the entire temple by spending few lakhs on the renovation.  At the entrance, there is a big statue of Shiva measuring more than 30 feet.  There is a big bhajan hall in front of the garbagriham which displays a big photograph of the late musician.  Here , abhishkeam for Shiva takes place round the clock.  Vendors were selling milk in kalasams and other pooja items in the hall.  Devotees can go near the lingam and give their offerings for abhishekam.  We joined the queue for darshan.  Children were tired and stayed back in the car itself.  The temple was flooded with devotees.


Having visited all the important places in Dwarka, we returned to ISKCON guest house after having Gujarati lunch in a nearby hotel.  The priest was waiting for us to have prashad.  Though they expressed their inability to give us prashad  ,  the priest  somehow cooked for us and was waiting without having lunch.  We were embarrassed by this kind gesture and apologized for the delay.  As we had lunch, we took little prashad and said that we would have the remaining in the night.  After settling the dues to the car driver, we bid goodbye to kaka. We relished every moment with him and he too reciprocated with the same feeling.  Falling at this elderly person’s feet was that all we could do and was the only way of expressing our gratitude to him.  Yes, he was GOD-SENT for us.  Relaxed for sometime in the room.  We assembled for the evening aarthi.  For 2 hours, we were doing kirtans accompanied by the sounds of dol, cymbals and harmonium. Children sang few devotional songs (annamayya , Ramdas keerthanas ).  Then listened to Bhagavad Gita and recited important slokas from Bhakti Yoga.  After the night aarthi, had prashad, went to a Cybercafe which is about 10 minutes walk from the temple for canceling our Sleeper Class tickets as 2 of our AC berths were confirmed.   We were confident that the remaining tickets would also get confirmed.  As only 48 hours was left , we decided to cancel the tickets without further delay. 


From there, visited  “Prema bhikshu Prahbu’s  bhajan kutir situated opposite to ISKCON where 24 hours non stop Rama naama kirtan is performed . This saint is from Bihar and for the past 40 years, non stop sankeertan accompanied by musical instruments  is going on at Dwarka, Veraval and few other places in Gujarat.  After spending about an hour, retired for the night. Thanked Perumal for His abundant grace in making our journey ot Nava Dwarkas  the most memorable .  We were recollecting a picture of  Panduranga carrying His devotees while holding Saint Namdev’s hand.  HIS soulabhyam is indescribable.


27/05/2009, 28/05/09:- Having visited all the places, we decided to spend the next 2 days in the holy dham. On 27/05/09,  after having holy bath in River Gomati, visited Dwarakadeesh temple along with children through Swarg Dwar.  On the way, we came across some devotees who were carrying the flag to be hoisted in the temple singing bhajans and going round the streets around the temple.  We decided to make some offering as thanks-giving  in ISKCON temple and purchased varieties of fruits, honey, dry fruits (for panchamrutham), and items required for making pongal, bendi vetha kuzhambu and chakkarai pongal . We explained to the pujari about preparation of these dishes .  We volunteerd to do some service in the temple like cleaning etc. While thus engaged in temple service, we got news about my daughter’s SSC results and were overwhelmed with Perumal’s grace by making her one of the school toppers. Thanked God profusely for His abundant grace .  The whole day was full of excitement with relatives calling and congratulating .  In the evening we decided to spend some time near seashore  and visit Samudraraja temple and other temples nearby.  During our first visit to Dwarka, the temple was surrounded by water on all sides but now the place had become dry.  This is the place where River Gomti joins the sea .  From the sea , we proceeded to Dwarkadeesh temple passing by Gomti river.  Many vendors were selling eatables for fish and cows  which were moving about freely near the ghats.  After feeding the cows and fish, we planned to vist  the temple through Mukti Dwar. A flight of steps leads us to the temple building.   But as we had cameras, we were not allowed to go inside and had to satisfy ourselves by paying our obeisances from here itself.  Did some last minute shopping,-buying gifts to my siblings and friends .  Had dinner in a hotel run by a family in their house itself.  (Forgot one of the gift packs containing dozen of   Krishna’s murthis which we wanted to give as gift along with other prasadams and holy waters from various rivers and sea. )


On 28th morning, we decided to have samudra snaanam.  We recollected Sowmyanarayanan mama’s words that the sea at Dwarka is known as “Arasethu “ and bath can be had at any time here which is an exception. Usually, samudra snanam has to be done only on specific days but samudra snanam at Sethukarai- Thirupullani(Rameswaram) and Dwarka can be had at any time.  So, we had bath in the sea and also  at the confluence of the Gomti river  with the sea . Took an auto to ISKCON and from there proceeded to Dwarkadeesh temple.  While returning , we once again went to the bhajan kutir and took few snaps.  Finsihed last minute packing etc. Could not locate the  Krishna’s idols which we purchased the previous day.  After noon aarthi at ISKCON, we decided to have lunch in the same place where we had the previous night.  Luckily, the packet was there as it is . On the way back, bought dresses for my brother’s children and IPOD charger.  After thanking the ISKCON priests for their wonderful hospitality , we took an auto to Dwarka station to board Okha-Puri Express to reach Ahmedabad.   Boarded the train at 1430 hours and reached Ahmedabad at 2300 hours.  As retiring room was not available, decided to spend the night in the AC room itself.  As mentioned earlier, this is the best AC waiting room with all facilities and hope that all stations have such waiting rooms.  The remaining tickets also got confirmed.


ON 29/05/09, after morning rituals, went to Hotel Sukhsagar for having breakfast and packed lunch and dinner for our journey.    Thanking Dwarkadeesh profusely, boarded Ahmedabad-Secunderabad Summer Special at 1000 hours . The train was 4 hours late due to some wayside robbery in one of the coaches.  Reached Secunderabad on 30/05/09 at 1400 hours. 


During our entire trip, we could feel Lord ’s abundant grace flowing on us and with a prayer to the  to enhance our bhakti , I end this writeup. I humbly request the devotee-readers to kindly forgive me for my flaws in presentation and enlighten me with more information.