SRIMAN NARAYANAYA CHARANAU SARANAM PRAPATHEY
SRIMATHEY RAMANUJAYAH NAMAH
SWAMY THIRUVADIGALEY SARANAM
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<>(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.) Preface:
at the feet of all
the devotees of , aidyen wishes to share “ KRISHNA ANU YAATIRAI” (Nava
The Nava Dwarkas are ;->
Mukti Dwarka (Gomti Dwarka)-main temple located in
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)
7) Kankroli Dwarka (near Nathdwara)
8) Prabhasa Theertha (Veravel near Somnath)
9) Dakore Dwarka (near Ahmedabad)<>
Amidst domestic tensions like elders ill
health, daughter’s results and waitlisted tickets , we surrendered to
through Hanuman for HIS grace and resolved to do Sundarakanda parayanam
our return from the trip. With HIS
grace, all our tensions
were eased out. My daughter scored
94 % and the news was communicated while adiyen was worshipping
This was our second visit
Dwaraka and third visit to Vrindavan. Way back in 2000 during our
to Dwaraka, we visited only 4 Dwarakas
-Gomti Dwaraka(the main temple), Bhet Dwaraka, Rukmini Dwaraka (all
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
To visit Nathdwara
Udz Gwl exp
To visit Pushkar
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
Where to stay
ISKCON, Gokulam-every temple is important)
ISKCON guest huz, choultries
30 kms from MavlI, 65 kms from-Udaipur
20kms frm Nathdwara
ISKCON guest huz / hotel/retiring room
Gomti Dwarka(main )
ISKCON guest huz, choultries
Mathura-Vrindavan-Mathura (by road-Car)
Mavli-Nathdwara-Kankroli Dwarka-Udaipur (by road-car)
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)
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.
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
benefit of visiting 600 million thirthas is attained by visiting the
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
had Lord’s darshan. In Treta Yugam,
Rama’s brother Shatrugna killed Lavanasuran and ruled this place for 12
as per Rama’s instructions. In Dwapara yugam,
Akbar named this town as
Fakirabad and promised the residents that
there would be no slaughtering of animals and meat eating would
allowed in Vraj bhoomi.>
HOW TO REACH:- The temples in
Many lodges are available at
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
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
Adi Varaha temple
Samyavan Theerth(Naga Theerth)
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
and goes on upto midnight and special poojas are performed for the Lord
Thirumanjam with huge quantities of milk, curd, butter, ghee etc are
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
the utsava murthis of Radha and
ü Madhuvanam :- Lavanasuran’s gufa which is very dark is located here. Bit difficult to approach the gufa.<>
temple- this 150 year old huge
temple was constructed by the devote Marwadi who constructed Rangaji
Vrindavan. In this temple ,
Varaha temple:- The diety was
installed by Kapila Muni in Krita Yugam who later handed it over to
. Indra gifted this idol to Ishvaku
kings at Ayodhya. When Shatrugna was
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
in Gokulam:- Gokulam is
also known as Mahavanam. Gokulam
means ‘Gohu kulam” meaning herd of cows.
Immediately after HIS birth in
Nanda bhavan:- This
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.
KOOPAM:- With HIS divine will,
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”
RETI :- where
Radha Damodar temple
Radha Gopinath temple
Radha Govindaji temple
“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
of cows, crowds of devotees in this place.
Brinda also means “Niranji mull”
in Tamil (a type of grass). When
As per Gaudiya Sampradaya,
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , who was an incarnation of Radha and
Mahaprabhu discovered Radha Kunda.
He later deputed his foremost disciples, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana
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
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
Staying at ISKCON guest house is
preferable due to the proximity to their temple and 24 hours non-stop
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
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
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
Radharani who manifested in
This mission in disciple succession was later taken over
by Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharyar of the famous ISKCON
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
through his innumerable books by translating Srimad Bhagavatam,
and various other Vedic literatures and established many temples. He
united the people from varied backgrounds and gave them the real goal
and means to attain that goal.Today, there are more than 1000
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
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
(prayers to Guru) to his golden idol in
the Samadhi mandir. Opposite to this, we can find HIS memories and shop
prashad, books and other pooja articles etc.>
the way to the garbagriham, we pass by an open place on either sides of
we find beautiful paintings depicting
ü Srila Prabhupada sannidhi on the left –seen meditating on the Lord .
Sannidhi of Gaurang and Nitai (Sri Chaintanya
Mahaprabhu and Nityananda) along with the idols of Srila Prabhupad and
guru, Sri Bhakti Saraswathi Takur. Nityananda is the reincarnation of
and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the reincarnation of Radha and
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.
Sri Radha- Krishna seen with the 2 foremost sakhis
(Attendants)-Lalitha and Visakha flanking them.
As per Gaudiya Sampradayam, Radha
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
Entry to this
garden after sunset
is strictly forbidden as there is a strong belief that
place is closed after sunset. Everyone
including monkeys leave the place at sunset because it is believed that
Tala means “tamarind tree”.
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
Diety details:- The temple houses the idols of Radha, Damodaran and the Goverdhana shila worshipped by Sanatana Goswami.
APPEARANCE OF RADHA
DIETIES:-In 1542, Jiva Goswami received the idol of Damodaran
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
Lalitha (the foremost attendant of Radharani) were
found in the sea by a fisherman at
PRESENCE OF GOVERDHANA SHILA:- Sanatana Goswami used to do Goverdhanagiri
parikrama daily even in his old age.
Seeing his pitiable condition,
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 Velukudi Swamin in his discourse
to Sri Pillai Lokacharyar’s vaakyanams ( explanations ) describes Yamunai as more sacred than
Nandgaon :- This is 40 miles from
Gokulam . Fom the age of 5 upto the age of
The important places to be visited are:-
Bhavan:- The palace where
Ghat:- This can be accessed either from
Surya Kund:- Sun God forgot himself seeing the
leelas of Krishna and was blessed with
Ø Nand Baitak:- The Yadavas headed by Nanda Maharaj used to assemble here and discuss all matters relating to their village and welfare
Yasodha Kundam:- Mother Yasoda used to bathe
Charan Pahadi:- To call the cows,
Barsana(VARSANA) :- Barsana is 10
kilometres from Nandgaon
and 42 kms from
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:-
MOR KUTIR:- We can find many peacocks here.
SANKIRI KOL:- This is exactly in the middle of
BArsana and Nandgaon. It was
Ø SANKETH:- meeting point of Krishna with the gopis
BAKASURAN VADHAM IN KATHIRAVANAM:-
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
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.
IMPORTANCE OF GOVERDHANA GIRI:-
is the most
blessed devotee as it had Sri Krishna
sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram
It was customary
for the gopas
headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of
and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for
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.
furious and could not
tolerate this humility. There was heavy downpour of rain followed by
and storm. The gopas approached
SHAPE OF GOVERDHAN HILL :
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 .
GOVERDHANA PARIKRAMA :-
(Performing Pradikshana to the Holy Hill )
states that anyone
who performs Goverdhana parikrama will not take birth in this world
normal starting and ending place for Goverdhana parikrama is Manasi
Ganga. For a normal person, it would take
to circumbulate the hill. On important
days like Ekadashi , many devotees do parikrama around the hill while
exalted devotees do parikrama daily. Parikrama has to be done after
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
During his visit
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
A small stone on
which (Perumal’s) HOLY FEET ( Thiruvadi)
is placed in the temple in front of Goverdhana giri and doing parikrama
/circumbulation) to this shila is
considered as equivalent to pradakshinam done to Goverdhana Giri. On the gopuram , little
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:-
DIP IN MANASI
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.
6) FINISH THE PARIKRAMA FROM WHERE WE STARTED
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
A brief description about the above mentioned important places is given below:-
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.
Radha Kund and Shyam Kund
:- Lakes created by Sri Krishna and
Radha during their pastimes. By killing
terrific demon, Aristasura who was in the form of bull, the gopis
KUSUMA SAROVAR AND ASOkA TALA
:- At this place, the
gopis used to pluck various flowers and offer it to
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
Kusuma Sarovar and witnessed the pastimes of Radha and
Dan Ghati- This
temple is on the road where Lakshmi Narayan temple is located. “Dan” means the place where taxes are
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
prashad at this place . Two Goverdhana shilas (one black and one white)
kept in the altar and are worshipped as
NIVARTAN KUNDA :-This is on the right side of the
parikrama path being the place where the
AND SYAMA KUTIR (Ratna Simhasan):- The
demon Sankhasura , who was an associate
of Kubera, carried away Radharani who was sitting on a Ratna Simhasan .
POKHARA /GOPALA KUNDA-
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.
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
PRAKATA STALI(Sringar Stali),
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
TILA, GOVINDA KUNDA and
KUNDA:- THIS is also near Govinda Kunda and was the
VAN:- Previously the entire area was like forest and
the place where Indra bathed
SHILA:- A large Goverdhana shila on which
the figures of Radha and
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
KUNDA AND NAVALA KUNDA (PUNCHARI KUNDA) :Apsara Kunda
is said to have been created by seven main Apsaras when they came to
KUNDA :- This
is near Radha Kunda. It is said that Gopis after plucking
Kusum sarovara would come to this place and make garlands for
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
Kamam which means desire is for
Kundam:- Vimala means “without dosham”. As per Varaha Puranam,
are destroyed . Taking bath in this kundam is equal to taking bath
in Pushkar. It was here that Durvasa
rishi along with his 60,000 disciples came to have bath when he was
Pandavas by Duryodhana for testing.
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.
Rameswaram:- A stone bridge with the help of monkeys was
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.
Pahadi:- Near lukaluki kundam, a flight of 200 steps leads us
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
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
shila:- A rock near Vyomasura’s cave from where
Thali:- The marks of the vessels fixed to the ground from which
Here, the milk which was overflowing from
Ghat: This is near Kamyavanam on
As per Sri Velukudi Swami, this is the place where Vastrabha haranam of
gopis took place. Some opine it took place in Vrindavan whereas most of
claim this place to be the place where the incident took place. 5 lakh gopis residing in Vrindavan desired to
This is near the
All the gopis wished to have child Sri Krishna as their husband and
performed Kaathiyayani pooja during Dec-January by offering prayers to
after having bath early in the morning at this place. One early morning,
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.
EXPERIENCE AT VRINDAVAN:- On 20/05/09, we reached
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.
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
of Perumal. Shringar Aarthi at was already over and
temple was kept open for visitors. Non-stop kirtan of Hare Krishna
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
with shodasa upacharams(16 types of upacharam) goes on amidst chanting
Mahamantra accompanied by musical instruments.
At 1300 hours the temple doors were closed but chanting was
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 to visit Barsana,
Goverdhanagiri, Radha Kund ,Shyam kund , Manasi Ganga
and return to the guest house by . In the evening, he suggested
that enroute to
was having second
thoughts about leaving the children and visiting all these places and
to do Goverdhana giri parikrama the next morning. Though we planned to
all the places in Vrindavan , Gokulam and
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:.
through Krishna-Balarama tree which is on
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
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
for their Rama kainkaryam were fed sumptuously with butter by
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
places of Vraja. Walking in Vraja is more
ecstatic than traveling by any other means as it brings us very close
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
with thick cream served in mud pots on the way.
(Aidyen recollected Velukudi Swami’s discourse saying about
As we were tired
parikrama and as we could not take our children, we decided to check out late in the evening and directly
Hired a car to
OUR EXPERIENCE ON GOVERDHAN PARIKRAMA:- :-
(Adiyen wishes to share our parikrama experience to this hill recently on 1st August, 2009.)
prayed to Perumal to give me an opportunity at the earliest to do
/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
days from 19th July to 8th August.-. During this
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
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
jhoolan seva, we could go to Goverdhan Hill.
Druing the month
of Sravanam, 4
days before Pournami, Jhoolan yaatra(oonjahl seva)-swing festival is
in all over Braj Bhoomi. Only once in a year, in all
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.
reached police chowk and were near the
starting point of the parikrama path. A
sign board in green displays “PARIKRAMA MARG” . The Lakshmi Narayana
closed. We were bewildered to see the
sea of devotees at the entrance. Like other devotees, we prostrated at
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
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
our parikrama at
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
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
singing and dancing . Some devotees had
hired actors who were dorning the roles of mythological persons like
Hanuman, and were entertaining the crowd by delivering dialogues from
and singing. Few others were dressed like Krishna and were enacting
listening and singing
to Hare Krishna kirtans in my IPOD while my wife starting chanting Hare
Mahamantra on beads. All along the
there are many shops selling refreshments with places to relax . (it
similar to the shops we find while trekking Tirumala Hills) and there
roadside vendors preparing fresh sweet lemon juice. There are water
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
without any gossip. Wewere fortunate to
see such devotees amidst us. This
boosted our bhakti and energy . We rejuvenated ourselves with the fresh
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
looking at them and pray God for their well being and give some money.
are no street lights. The lights from
the shops illuminate the way. The moon was shining and illuminating the
inner parikrama is comparatively dark as there is no lighting and no
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
we came across many temples. It was only
due to the grace of
LOCATION: Located on Mavli-Udaipur route- 30 kms from Mavli
and 65 kms from
PRESIDING DIETY : SHRI SHRINATHJI
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)
( sayana aarthi)
BASE : NATHDWARA /
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES TO SEE:-
Kankroli Dwaraka (12 kms from Nathdwara)- one of the 9 Dwarakas
Ekaling temple: A huge lingam made from a single rock
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
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.
OF GOVERDHANA HILL:- To briefly recapitulate, Nanda Maharaja
consulting the other elderly gopas, decided to do pooja and give
to Indra, the king of devas , as they
thought that Indra was responsible for timely rains
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
it was Goverdhana giri which was responsible for the same as it
necessary grass to cattle, and crops to the gopas.
(GOPALA ) DIETY DETAILS:- To mark this incident, Vajranabha
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
refer to the notes on Goverdhan Hill for more info).
When Aurangzeb invaded
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
glorified by Vallabhacharyar. Perumal
advised Vallabhacharyar, who was a very great devotee to carry Him to
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
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
devotee, Meera bhai stayed. ( The story of Meera bhai is well known to
us. To briefly recapitulate, Mira bhai was fondly attached to
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.
me of an incident connected to Melkote Perumal.
Melkote is a small village near
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.
*** 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
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
EXPERIENCE IN SHRINATHJI
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 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.
offered to sell some prashad (rice,dal, rotis with varieties of
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
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
the gents queue and
my wife and children joined the ladies queue.
and many devotees were already in front of the closed door. It is a common practice in
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
nearest city is
PRESIDING DIETY:- DWARAKADEESH(standing posture with 4 hands holding Sankhu(conch), chakram(disc), gadam(mace) and padmam(lotus)
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES TO SEE:-
<>TRAVEL BASE :- Nathdwara/Udaipur
– can be accessed from Nathdwara,not required to
<>WHERE TO EAT:-
refreshments (tea/coffee/cool drinks/water/biscuits) available
near the temple
<>ANY OTHER INFO:- Cameras, camcorder,
mobiles strictly NOT ALLOWED inside
Kankroli Dwaraka is considered as one of the nava Dwarakas.
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
from all over
informed that Brahma
performed penance and Lord appeared to
him at the time of creation of universe at this place in this form. A
OUR EXPERIENCE AT KANKROLI DWARKA:-
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.
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
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
is a separate sannidhi where child
As per our schedule, we were
supposed to proceed to Chathur bhuj temple, Ekaling temple and go to
12 KMS from
Trains from Jaipur,
<>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.
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.<>
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,
temple. The famous tank here is PUSHKAR (as it was formed from the
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
and bestow moksham. But presently, the
water is impure and not fit for bathing.
After much persuasion, the government has undertaken renovation
purification of the holy water and it may take another couple of years
completion. The money collected by the
pandas (priests) by performing poojas and rituals is handed over to
Teeth Guru Pushkar Purohit Sangh Trust” which issues a receipt for the
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. >
OUR EXPERIENCE AT PUSHKAR:-
DATE OF VISIT :- 23/05/2009
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
a ride. After much persuasion, we had to
give in to one panda but made it very clear that we were interested in
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
donation for temple in a nearby counter and collect official receipt.
astonished to see this and enquired with the panda about this system
not prevelant anywhere in
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
Our next journey
Ahmedabad. Though there are 4-5 trains
OF VISIT :
PRESIDING DIETY : DWARKADEESH famously known as “RANCHOR RAYA”
Location : Dakore village located in Ahmedabad-Baroda route near
Mehmadabad. Can also be accessed from Nadiad
Nearest city : Ahmedabad (2-3 hours)-84 kms
Nadiad (33 kms)- 30 minutes drive
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
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
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
condition that no one should disturb him while he was performing his
work. The residents agreed and the
himself in a room. This went on for 18
days but when no sound was heard, the curious devotees broke open the
to their astonishment, the sculptor had vanished and the Lord’s
near completion but for the eyes. As
they went back on their words, they were crying pitifully realizing
sculptor was none other than the
Himself. An aakashvaani declared
that henceforth, they could consider this vigraham as the Lord Himself
offer pooja to the and whatever happened
was as per HIS divine WILL. To this day, this vigraham is being
Dwaraka which is situated on the western coast near
incident happened at Jagannath Puri
which is located on the eastern coast
near Bay of Bengal- the other extreme end of
OUR EXPERIENCE AT DAKORE DWARKA:-
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 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 . 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 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 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 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 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.
railway station on the
western side of
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>
auto can be arranged for visiting the temples in Somnath.
Buses from Veraval to Porbandhar and Dwarka also available .<> >
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:-<>
C/o Sitaram Travels,
WHERE TO STAY : Many choultries and hotels are available near Somnath temple.
Sarada Peet has its mutt near Triveni Sangamam.
WHERE TO EAT:- Any good hotel for delicious Gujarati meal.
Don’t forget to drink Tender coconuts
IMP. PLACES TO VISIT IN SOMNATH:-
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
7) BALARAM GUFA:- The disappearance place of Balarama
(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
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.
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.
ABOUT VAISHNAVA TEMPLES IN SOMNATH:- Veraval
also known as Somnath and Prabhas Theertham is located on the western
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
the moment when Krishna was preparing to
ascend to Srivaikuntam,
all the devas headed by Brahma and Shiva arrived and while they were
the by reciting Purusha Suktam,
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.
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
Sri Vaikuntam after completing HIS incarnation. When Jara, the hunter
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
all the important places . A well experienced guide he was, he informed
details about the places which we visited and made everyone present
there chant “BOLO DWARAKADEESH KI JAI HO”/
RAYA KI JAI HO”. We thanked God
profusely for sending such a devotee to us.
(We had similar experience in
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
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.
lunch in one of the
Gujarati hotels on the Highway, we passed thru Madhavpur, a small
the shores of
the hut in which Sudama lived turned into a palatial
building overnight due to the grace of Sri Krishna.
DIETY : Rukmini-
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.
(Sudama) and Sri Krishna were childhood
friends and studied
under the same guru, Sandipani. Once
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,
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
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
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
Maha mantra (kaka was encouraging us ), all four of us successfully
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
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 () .
DIETY : Rukmini-
Porbandhar-Dwarka route beyond
HOW TO REACH :- Bus /car from Dwarka or Veraval
STHALAPURANAM:- It is
well known that Jarasandha, the father-in-law of the wicked Kamsa
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
OUR EXPERIENCE AT MOOLA DWARKA
DATE OF VISIT: 25/05/09
reached the temple at -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,
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
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
us. On the way, he took us to a temple
dedicated to Bhavani (Harsiddhi maatha) and narrated the incidents
with King Krishnadevaraya.
As the king’s name is famous for
“Vikram-Bhetal stories”(how he used to carry ghost on his back, ghost
a story, asking him to reply and used to leave him once he gave the
answer…… -the stories which we used to read in our childhood days) ,
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
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
him and conferred a boon, he asked her to accompany him to
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 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.
DWARKADEESH KI JAI
Rukmini Dwaraka-one of the nine Dwarkas
Bhet Dwaraka-one of the nine Dwarkas
Nageshwar – one of 12 jyotir lingams
LOCATION : Dwarka
REACH:- 1) all
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<> >
PRESIDING DIETY : DWARAKADEESH (Sri Krishnan)
In order to protect His people from the frequent
enemy attacks, Krishna
summoned Viswakarma and ordered him to
construct Dwarka in the
Ø As mentioned earlier, the place where first placed His foot is Moola Dwaraka. > <>
When Draupadi surrendered to Krishna
for protection, she addressed
When Sage Narada was curious to know how
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.
Dwarka was to be submerged into the sea within 7
The original temple was constructed by
§ 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.<>
The colours of
clothes adorned by the Lord are
pre-determined as per the days. On
Sunday, the Lord wears Red colour,
Tuesday-Yellow,Wednesday-Green, Thursday-orange, Frinday-white and
Saturday-Blue. All the
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
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.<>
The temple was
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
On the way back to our guest
house, we passed by Gomti river which was already crowded with devotees
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
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 –
Keralite, Sri Kamalakannan dasa and a
Tamilian from tirunelveli maintain the temple attending to all sorts of
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.
LOCATION : 7 KMS from Dwarka- Share autos, cabs are available
PRESIDING DIETY : KRISHNA-RUKMINI, sannidhi for Sage Durvasa
This happens to be the place where
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
Radha Rani, thought that they were dearer to
In this case,
Lord wanted to
correct Rukmini and hence created an opportunity to enact His Leela.
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
15-20 KMS from Dwarka situated near
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. .
“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
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
circumbulating the temple , we left the temple at to take the return boat to the
dakshina in Dwarka is very important.
Donated some money for”Go Samrakshana” protection of cows. From this point, we can clearly see
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
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
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
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
applied on ’s forehead. They did not
even think that they would be committing a serious offence by this
act. They were only concerned about
Unable to bear
the pangs of
incident:- While ascending
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 Photography and video are not restricted here. Purchased water melons and fed the cows with the same.
LOCATION :- near Dwarka
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.
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
for the past 40 years, non stop sankeertan accompanied by musical
instruments is going on at Dwarka, Veraval
and few other
27/05/2009, 28/05/09:- Having
visited all the places, we decided to spend the next 2 days in the holy
decided to have samudra snaanam. We
recollected Sowmyanarayanan mama’s words that the sea at Dwarka is
“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
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
snaps. Finsihed last minute packing etc.
Could not locate the
rituals, went to Hotel Sukhsagar for having breakfast and packed lunch
dinner for our journey. Thanking
Dwarkadeesh profusely, boarded Ahmedabad-Secunderabad Summer Special at
hours . The train was 4 hours late due to some wayside robbery in one
coaches. Reached Secunderabad on
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.<>