Sri Giriraj Govardhan Parikrama – an attempt to be mentally at Sri Giri Govardhan during the month of Kartik

(for all the pics in this email, there is larger version available…not very large but larger than what is contained in this email…altogether about 20MB. Since email would get too large so have not sent the larger version…pls let me know if you would be interested in them)

Govardhana

The Appearance of Govardhana in Vraja
It is said in the Adivaraha-purana that during the advent of Ramacandra, the monkeys and bears brought large rocks and stones from many places to construct a bridge to Lanka. Hanuman was carrying Govardhana to the ocean having uprooted Him from Uttarancala, when he heard a divine sound that announced, "The bridge is now complete and no more rocks are required." Hearing this, Hanuman became sad and put Giriraj down. Giriraj also became very unhappy and said to Hanuman, "You have deprived me of the touch of Sri Rama’s lotus feet." He was even ready to curse Hanuman. But Hanuman replied, "Please forgive me. In the next Dvapara-yuga, Your desire will be fulfilled. Krsna will stop the worship of Indra and worship You instead." Saying this, Hanuman leapt into the air and arrived at Sri Ramacandra’s side. Lord Rama declared, "All those rocks which have been assembled to build the bridge, have been delivered by the touch of My feet. But I shall fulfill the desire of Govardhana by holding Him on My hand and make Him famous as the best Haridas."

The Garga-samhita relates a different story from a different kalpa:
Lord Krsna’s father Nanda Maharaja once inquired from his brother Upananda how Govardhana Hill had appeared in the sacred land of Vrindavana. Upananda replied that King Pandu, father of the Pandavas, had asked this very question to Grandfather Bhisma, who had narrated the following story from the Garga Samhita:
One day in Goloka Vrindavana Lord Krsna informed Srimati Radharani that She should now appear on earth as it was time for Them to perform Their transcendental pastimes within the material world. Radharani replied that unless Vraja Dhama, the Yamuna and Govardhana Hill were present there, She would not be very happy. Krsna then told Radharani that She need not worry, as Vraja Dhama, along with the Yamuna and Govardhana Hill had already appeared on earth.
Many years before this incident, in the land of Salmali dvipa, the wife of the great mountain Dronacal gave birth to a son named Govardhana. At the time of Govardhana’s birth all the demigods appeared in the sky and showered flowers upon him. The great mountains, led by the Himalayas and Sumeru, came there to offer their respects. They then performed parikrama of Govardhana and accepted him as their king. They offered very nice prayers praising Govardhana for having descended from Goloka Vrindavana, describing him as the "crown jewel of Vraja."
Some years later, at the beginning of Satya-yuga, the great sage Pulastya Muni paid a visit to Salmali dvtpa. Upon seeing the beautiful Govardhana Hill covered with many lovely creepers, flowers, rivers, caves and chirping birds, the sage felt that this hill was capable of giving liberation. He then went to meet Dronacal, who immediately offered his respects and inquired from the sage what service he could render.
Pulastya Muni informed Dronacal that he was from Kasi (Benares) and was on pilgrimage to all the holy places- And he said that even though the sacred river Ganges flows through Kasi, there is no beautiful hill. He then asked Dronacal to give Govardhana to him so that he could perform his austerities sitting on top of the hill.
On hearing the sage’s request, Dronacal, who was not willing to part with his son, started to shed tears in thought of separation from his beloved Govardhana. Not wanting to see Pulastya Muni become angry and curse his father, Govardhana asked the sage how he would carry him all the way to Kasi. The sage replied that he would carry him in his right hand. Govardhana then agreed to go with the sage on one condition — that if the sage put him down anywhere during the course of the journey, he would not be able to lift him again. Pulastya Muni agreed. Carrying Govardhana in his right hand he left for Kasi.
By the will of providence Pulastya Muni passed through Vraja on his way to Kasi. On arriving in Vraja, Govardhana thought that now he was here he should remain in the holy Dhama. By his mystic power he was able to influence Pulastya Muni to attend to the call of nature. Unmindful, the sage put Govardhana down and went off to answer the call. But when he returned he was unable to lift Govardhana again. Trying with all his might, using both hands, he could not lift Govardhana even slightly.
In great anger Pulastya Muni then became angry and cursed Govardhana to sink into the ground by the measurement of one mustard seed every day. When Govardhana first came to
Vraja in the beginning of Satya-yuga, he was eight yojanas long (64 miles); five yojanas wide (40 miles) and two yojanas high (16 miles). It is said that after ten thousand years of the Kali-yuga, Govardhana will have completely disappeared. Presently at His highest point the hill is 25 m high and 11 km long. Govardhana Hill is said to resemble a peacock. Radha-kund and Syama-kunda are his eyes, Manasi-Ganga and Govardhana town his waist and the Apsara-kund and Nava-kund is the tail (punch).
After narrating the wonderful story of Govardhana’s appearance, Sunanda informed Nanda Maharaja that as long as Govardhana Hill and the river Yamuna remained manifest, Kali-yuga would not take its full effect. Sunanda also said that anyone who is fortunate enough to hear the description of the appearance of Govardhana Hill would be freed from all sins.

On Parikrama

To the West of Mathura, at a distance of two yojanas, is
Govardhana, the top most holy place. Anyone who performs its
parikrama will never have to take birth in this world again.
Varaha Purana

After having stopped the Indra yajna, Krsna advised the inhabitants of Vrindavana to worship Govardhana Hill which they did. When the Annakuta ceremony of offering food to Govardhana was complete and the Brajavasis had offered arati, Krsna led all of them on parikrama around Govardhana Hill. From that time onwards, the sacred parikrama of Govardhana Hill has continued and even today it is still being performed by devotees of Lord Krsna.

Govardhana Hill has a parikrama of about fourteen miles (23 km.) and can take five to six hours to complete if one walks at a brisk pace. People from all over India visit Vraja in order to perform Govardhana parikrama. On auspicious occasions like Guru Purnima, Purusottama-masa or Govardhana-puja, over half a million people go around the sacred hill.

There is no time limit for performing Govardhana parikrama, for those who perform the dandavata parikrama it may take weeks and sometimes even months to complete. The dandavata parikrama is performed by standing in one spot, offering obeisances like a stick (danda) by lying flat on the ground. One then places a stone where the fingertips touch the ground in order to mark the spot. Standing up, one moves to the stone marker and again offers obeisances like a stick, again marking the spot where the fingertips touch the ground, thus repeating the same process again and again all the way around Govardhana Hill. Some sadhus perform 108 dandavata parikrama by offering 108 obeisances in one spot before moving to the next. This can take a number of months to complete and one has to sleep wherever one is and accept alms from pilgrims passing by.

The six Goswamis of Vrindavana regularly performed parikrama of Govardhana Hill, especially Sanatana Goswami and Raghunatha dasa Goswami who, while staying near Govardhana, would perform parikrama every day. Sanatana Goswami used to perform a much longer parikrama covering a distance of twenty four miles and including such places as Candra Sarovara, Syama Dhak, Ganthuli-grama, Surya-kunda, Mukharai and Kilola-kunda.
Other great personalities who performed Govardhana parikrama were Madhavendra Pun, Advaita Acarya, Lord Nityananda, Vallabhacarya, Narottama dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, Raghava Goswami, Visvanatha Cakravarti and of course Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu who, upon seeing Govardhana Hill for the first time, fell down like a stick and began embracing one of the rocks. On touching the rock from Govardhana the Lord began to shed tears of love and almost became mad due to transcendental ecstasy.
Most ISKCON devotees start parikrama of Govardhana from Radha-kunda village, where the Vrindavana road meets the parikrama path, because it is convenient for returning to Vrindavana when the parikrama is over. In his book Mathura Mahatmya, Srila Rupa Goswami has recommended starting Govardhana parikrama by first bathing in the Manasi-Ganga and then having darsana of Lord Harideva, as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu did when He performed Govardhana parikrama when visiting Vrindavana in 1515. Rupa Goswami also says that each footstep taken in Vraja is equal to visiting all other holy places and performing all the Vedic sacrifices.

0. Below is the Largest Banyan tree in Braj which you can see on the Chatikara road to Govardhana.

If you sneak a peak behind the tree you will find a honey bee farm. This is the best way to get some fresh, pure, raw Braja honey – Balarama’s favorite!

1 Radha Kunda – Jai Srimati Radhika
2 Syama Kunda
Jai Sri Syama
3 Lalita Kunda
– Jai Srimati Lalita
4 Lord Caitanya’s Sitting Place
Jai Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

5. Kusuma Sarovara

A 25-minute walk from Radha-Kunda is Kusuma-Sarovara. Kusuma means "flower," and Kusuma-Vana is a forest of flowers. Srimati Radhika used to come here on the pretext of picking flowers with Her girlfriends, but Her real intent was to meet Krishna, with whom She would have love-quarrels (keli-kalada) and sarcastic exchanges full of rasa.

Many pastimes took place here at Kusuma-Sarovara: One morning, Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis arrived on the bank of the lake to pick the fragrant flowers that bloomed here in abundance. Seeing a branch full of flowers, She pulled it down with one hand to pick flowers with the other. Knowing that Srimati Radharani was coming, Krsna had climbed that tree and had stationed Himself on that very branch. He was using His weight to push that branch down and hiding Himself so that Srimati Radharani would not see Him. As Radharani was holding the branch absorbed in picking flowers Krsna suddenly shifted to another branch. At once, the first branch sprung up, lifting Srimati Radharani with it. Radhika cried out for help and Krsna immediately leapt from the tree and caught the hanging Srimati Radharani in His arms “saving Her.” Seeing this, the sakhis began clapping and laughing loudly, but Radhika began to scold Him.

The present ghata and sandstone monuments were constructed by Jawahir Singh, the Maharaja of Bharatpur, as a tribute to his father. Jawahir used wealth that he looted from the treasury of Delhi in 1767 for the project. To the west of the sarovara is the tomb of his father, Raja Surajamala, one of the most famous Jat warriors in India’s history, with the tombs of his two queens. The larger paintings on the ceilings depict events from the history of his family and smaller ones are depicting the pastimes of Sri Krsna.

It is said that Astavakra Muni left his body on the bank of Kusuma-Sarovara, while doing penances on its banks and waiting for the appearance of Radha and Krsna. The small Siva-linga temple on the western bank of the kund marks the spot where he gave up his body after being blessed with Their darsan. During Lord Caitanya’s time, this place was known as Sumanah-sarovara. It is stated in the Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, that Caitanya Mahaprabhu also took bath here.

6. Uddhava Temple

To the left of Kusuma Sarovara is atemple dedicated to Uddhava. This temple was established by Krishna’s great-grandson, Vajranabha, about 4,800 years ago. As the son of Vasudeva’s brother, Uddhava is the cousin of Lord Krsna. He is almost the same age as Krsna and his body resembles Krsna’s body nearly exactly. After delivering Krsna’s message to the gopis, Uddhava, realizing their exalted position prayed, "Let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vrindavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their feet." Thus Uddhava remains here in the form of the grass known as gulma-lata.

7 Ashoka Vana

Ashoka-lata, a kunja (forest grove), is also on the bank of Kusuma-Sarovara. This is where Krsna braided Srimati Radharani’s hair – a pastime described by Krsnadas Kaviraj Gosvami in the Govinda-lilamrita. There is small temple on the left of Kusuma-Sarovara, by the road, that marks the place where Krsna decorated Radharani’s hair.

This temple is managed by Bhakti Balabh Puri Goswami. (From Scotland, he’s the former husband of Ratnaranjani Mataji.) If you look closely you can see that Srimati Radhika is looking in a mirror. The catch is, She is actually looking at Krsna. Here we have an old painting from Kusuma Sarovara of Krsna Braiding Radha’s Hair.

8 Narada Kunda

About four hundred meters south-east of Kusuma-Sarovara is Narada-kund.
After Narada Muni heard the glories of supreme Gopi-Bhava from the mouth of Vrindadevi, a strong desire to serve Radha and Krsna in the form of a gopi arose in his heart. He received the Gopala-mantra from Lord Siva and began his sadhana-bhajana. After performing worship for many yugas, Yogamaya Paurnamasi dipped Naradaji in Kusuma-Sarovara and he received a body of a gopi. Thereafter he obtained the qualification to perform seva of the Divine Couple. Seeing Narada there in the form of a gopi, Sri Krishna requested him to stay at Narada-vana and write bhakti-sastras. Although Narada had been cursed by Daksa and would normally not to be able to stay in one place, Krsna informed Narada that because Vrindavan-Dhama is not a part of the material world, the curse of Daksa would not apply here. After another bath in Kusuma-Sarovara, he changed back to his male form and returned to this place, where he wrote the famous treatise on devotional service known as the Narada-bhakti-sutra. Some say that Narada must have also instructed Prahlada Maharaja here in the womb of his mother, since it is said that he took her to his ashram and instructed little Prahlada in her womb for some time. In any other place it would not be possible for Narada to stay so it is concluded that he must have instructed him here, in Vraja, where Daksa’s curse would have no effect.

9 Ratna Kunda (see also no. 11)

Ratna-Kund is said to mark the spot where the demon Sankhacuda (Sankhasura) carried off Radharani who was sitting on a jeweled throne.

10 Rasa Sthali

This concrete circle with a seal on it marks the place where Krsna and gopis would dance.

11 Ratna Simhasana & Syama Kutir

Syama-kutir and Ratna-simhasana
Situated in the forest of Syama-vana (black forest) there is a very beautiful place known as Syama-kutir. This area is also known as Ratna-simhasana, because there used to be a fabulous throne here, made entirely from precious gems like diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Srimati Radharani, the queen of Vraja, used to sit on this Ratna-simhasana, surrounded by thousands of Her girlfriends.

On a very pleasant night, Krsna and His elder brother, Balarama, who are inconceivably powerful, went into the forest of Vrindavana. They were accompanied by the damsels of Vrajabhumi, and They began to enjoy their company. The young damsels of Vraja were very nicely dressed and anointed with pulp of sandalwood and decorated with flowers. The moon was shining in the sky, surrounded by glittering stars. The breeze was blowing, bearing the aroma of mallika flowers, and the bumblebees were mad after the aroma. Taking advantage of the pleasing atmosphere, Krsna and Balarama began to sing very melodiously. The damsels became so absorbed in Their rhythmical song that they almost forgot themselves; their hair loosened, their clothes slackened, and their garlands began to fall to the ground.

At that time, while Krsna, Balarama and the damsels were so much absorbed, almost in madness, a demoniac associate of Kuvera (the treasurer of the heavenly planets) appeared on the scene. The demon’s name was Sankhacuda because on his head there was a valuable jewel resembling a conchshell. Just as the two sons of Kuvera had been puffed up over their wealth and opulence and did not care for Närada Muni’s presence, this Sankhacuda was also puffed up over material opulence. He thought that Krsna and Balarama were two ordinary cowherd boys enjoying the company of many beautiful girls. Generally, in the material world, a person with riches thinks that all beautiful women should be enjoyed by him. Sankhacuda also thought that since he belonged to the rich community of Kuvera, he, not Krsna and Balarama, should enjoy the company of so many beautiful girls. He therefore decided to take charge of them. He appeared before Krsna, Balarama and the damsels of Vraja and began to lead the girls away to the north. He commanded them as if he were their proprietor and husband, despite the presence of Krsna and Balarama. Being forcibly taken away by Sankhacuda, the damsels of Vraja called out the names of Krsna and Balarama for protection. The two brothers immediately began to follow them, taking up big logs of Shala wood in Their hands. “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid,” They called to the gopis. “We are coming at once to chastise this demon.” Very quickly They reached Sankhacuda. Thinking the brothers too powerful, Sankhacuda left the company of the gopis and ran in fear for his life. But Krsna would not let him go. He entrusted the gopis to the care of Balarama and followed Sankhacuda wherever he fled. Krsna wanted to take the valuable jewel resembling a conchshell from the head of the demon. After following him a very short distance, Krsna caught him, struck his head with His fist and killed him. He then took the valuable jewel and returned. In the presence of all the damsels of Vraja, He presented the valuable jewel to His elder brother, Balarama.
Extracted from Krsna Book……

Upon request, the friendly pujaris will show you the small room inside the building that marks the actual place of Ratna-simhasana.

Ratna Simhasana is inside the building Bhajani Sila

Syama-kutir is situated amidst thick clusters of trees near Ratna-simhasana. Here Sri Syamasundara smeared His body with syama-colored musk, dressed Himself in syama-colored clothes and ornaments and entered a syama-colored nikunja. Even the gopis were not able to recognize Him. Syama of course means "black" or "dark". It is really one of the most beautiful spots on Govardhana-parikrama. Interestingly enough, the whole area of rasa-dance pastimes is even today protected by fence-like barrier of cactuses. This can be seen on the enlarged image behind the tree. Syama-kutir also marks the spot where Govardhana Hill first starts to appear above the ground. From this point on Govardhana Hill actually begins to rise until it reaches its highest point just before Aniyor village.

A bhajani-sila, which emits sweet sound when tapped, is nearby.

This is one of the most beautiful, protected, and sheltered areas in Govardhana. This area, although very close to the main Parikrama path, is not as well traversed.
In the rainy season, there is an abundance of green beauty. This is the spot where Giriraja begins to rise from the ground heading south.

12 Krishna’s Footprint

This place is famous, because the actual lotus footprint of Lord Krsna is impressed upon one of the rocks of Govardhana Hill.

13 Gval Pokhara (Gopal-kund)

Gval or gowala means cowherd boy or literally the cow one and pokhara means pool or kund. After an early lunch at Gval-pokhara, Krsna would manage to slip away from the company of the cowherd boys and head off to Radha-kund where he would meet with Srimati Radharani and the gopis.

This spot by Gval Pokhara is the next place where Govardhana continues his ascent.

14 Sant Nivas

Here there is one of the Sant Nivas Ashramas which makes a good landmark for finding Krsna’s footprint. It is about ¾ km from Kusuma Sarovara. Sant Nivas Ashrama is the first good-sized building that you will see on your left and is a fairly active place. Just Just before you reach Sant Nivas there is a dirt road (which is the first of two) that goes off into the woods. You walk 120m into the woods and then you make a right turn onto the path that goes to the right. You walk 115m and there is an ashram and temple directly in front of you, which at first may seem totally deserted.

About 7m (20 ft) before the entrance to this ashram, about 7m (20 ft) to the right into the trees is the imprint of Krishna’s left foot.

15 Jugal Kunda and 16 Kilola Kunda

Soon after Gval Pokhara, on the left side of the parikrama road, one can see Jugal-kund, where Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men would stay on their way from Gokula to Nandagram.
Kilola-kund
(Kalenvana) is a place where Krsna would play ball with His cowherd friends and enjoy water pastimes with the gopis. To see this kund take the left fork in the parikrama path shortly after Gval Pokhara.

Kilola Kund Jugal Kund

17 Pancha Tirtha Kunda

Just as one enters the town of Govardhan, on the right side of the road, is a beautiful palace built by the kings of Bharatapura. At the side of this palace is the Panca-tirtha-kund, which contains the water of five (panca) holy rivers: Narmada, Gomati, Sarayu, Kanchi and Vetri. The Building in front is known as the Bharatpur Raja’s Chatri. It is generally not open to the public but sometimes they allow the ISKCON devotees to do their boat festivals there.

Next is the Manasi Ganga Area (Description is no. 20)

18 Mukharavinda Temple

There are two silas in this temple. One sila is marked with the outline of Krishna’s crown (Mukut-sila). According to Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja this sila is the true mouth of Govardhana (Mukharavinda-sila). Pilgrims pour a lot of milk every day on this Govardhana-sila.

19 Cakra Tirtha (Cakaleswar Temple, Bhajan Kutir of Sanatana Goswami)

When Krsna was holding Govardhana Hill to protect the people of Vrindavana, He could see that there was so much water coming down, that it would create a flood and drown everyone. So He ordered His Sudarsana Cakra to take care of the rain. The Cakra hovered over the hill for seven days emitting the heat of seven suns thus evaporating most of the water. Sudarsana Cakra then asked for a place to stay within Vraja. Krsna requested that he stay here near Manasi Ganga, hence the name Cakra Tirtha.

The temple of Cakaleswar Mahadeva is at Manasi-Ganga. It is home to one of the five presiding Siva-lingas worshiped in Vrindavan. Here also is the bhajan-kutir of Sanatana Goswami. Sanatana Goswami would perform Govardhana-parikrama as his daily vow. When Sanatana was thinking about moving from this place because of mosquitoes, Siva (Cakaleswar) disguised as a brahmana came and told him that mosquitoes would no longer disturb him.

Cakaleswar main temple entrance Cakaleswar Siva Linga
Cakra Tirtha Sanatana’s Goswami’s bhajan-kutir A picture of Sanatana Goswami within the kutir

20 Manasi Ganga

Mana means "mind" and Ganga refers to the Ganges River. Krsna was once tending the cows with the cowherd boys when the demon Vatsasura came disguised as a calf to kill Krsna. Krsna, however, was aware of him. He took the demon by his hind legs, whipped him around and threw him up into a tree. Because Krsna killed a demon in the shape of a calf, the cowherd boys asked Him to take bath in the Ganga in order to purify Himself. Not wanting to leave Vraja, Krsna informed the cowherd boys that He would call the river Ganges to appear in Vraja. Krsna entered into meditation and the Ganges manifested in front of Him in the form of Manasi-ganga.

On another occasion, Nanda and Yasoda, hearing of the glories of the Ganges river, had a desire to bathe in it. They heard how Garuda captured a snake but in the process, accidentally touched the snake’s tail to Ganga’s waters. The snake suddenly transformed into a four armed form like that of a Vaikuntha resident. Amazed, Garuda took the former snake onto his back and carried him to Vaikuntha. Seeing the arrangements made for the journey, Krsna informed Nanda and Yasoda that there is no need to go out of the Vraja, since all holy places are present there. When Krsna arrived with Nanda, Yasoda and others on the shore of Manasi-Ganga, Ganga-Mata personified appeared from the water and offered prayers to the Lord. When the inhabitants of Vrindavan saw Ganga, they offered obeisances to her and happily took bath in her waters.

Many pastimes of Krsna and gopis took place on Manasi Ganga. One day, Krsna disguised Himself as a young boatman covered in a large cloak. The gopis, wanting to take their milk products to the market, asked this ‘boatman’ for passage across Manasi Ganga. As they reached the center of Manasi Ganga, the boatman stopped rowing and, claiming to be tired and hungry, made them feed Him their sweets and milk. Upon filling His belly, He said He felt bloated and demanded that the gopis massage His legs and arms. The gopis angrily countered that they certainly would take hold of His legs and arms but only to throw Him in! Krsna resignedly resumed rowing, but soon pointed to the water filling the boat and claimed that it was sinking due to the gopis’ heavy weight. He first ordered them to throw their pots in Manasi Ganga. As the boat continued to sink, He insisted that they also toss in their jewelry. When He suggested that the boat is still too heavy and they should sacrifice their clothes to the water also, the appalled gopis refused threatening instead to throw Him in to relieve the weight. Soon, however, a storm began to brew and seeing the fearful expressions on the gopis’ faces, the so-called boatman decided to allay their fears by rocking the boat. "Just see," He said. "This boat is sturdy enough to withstand any storm." As the boat rocked violently back and forth, the wind howled, thunder roared and ominous dark clouds gathered, Radharani became overwhelmed with terror and leaping forward, tightly embraced the boatman’s neck. She instantly realized that the awful boatman was none other than her beloved Lord Krsna. The gopis became perplexed and questioned Radharani’s behavior, so she pulled a flute from His robe thus exposing His true identity. The adventure suddenly transformed into a loving pleasure cruise as a satisfied Krsna took His gopis around Manasi Ganga.

Govardhana protruding from Manasi Ganga’s waters. The Mukharavinda Temple

During the dry season or after a year of no rain, you can see Govardhana coming up through the Ganges water.

21 Brahma Kunda

Nearby Brahma-kund was formed by the water that was collected after Lord Brahma bathed Lord Krishna. After Indra was forgiven, the rest of the demigods came forward to also perform abhisheka. Most of the 108 kundas representing these bathing ceremonies have disappeared. There used to be 4 smaller kundas right near Brahma Kunda which were created by Yamaraja, Varuna, Kuvera and Indra.

22 Manasidevi Temple

Manasi-devi Temple is located on the bank of Brahma-kund. Manasi-devi is the presiding deity of Manasi-ganga, and one of the four main goddesses of Vraja-dhama. The others are Vrindadevi, in Kamyavan, Yogamaya Devi in Vrindavan, and Pataleswari Devi in Mathura. By praying at the feet of any one of these Goddesses, one can attain an eternal position in the Vrindavan pastimes.

23 Harideva Temple

The Harideva Temple, near Manasi-Ganga, was established by Krsna’s great-grandson 4,800 years ago. Harideva is one of the four presiding Deities of Vrindavana. The temple is a two-minute walk from the southern bank of Manasi-Ganga. The temple was built by King Bhagandas of Jaipur, whose son, Rajaman Singh, built the Govindaji Temple in the sixteenth century during the reign of Emperor Akbar. The original Deity of Harideva was moved to the town of Rajdhani near Kanpur when Aurangzeb sent his soldiers to destroy the Deities and temples of Vraja. The Deity was thus spared, but the temple was not. The towering spire of the Harideva temple was demolished by Aurangzeb’s men. At this time the Deity is no longer in Rajdhani as He was stolen. Only the thief knows where He is.

The story of the Harideva Deity is as follows. One day Srimati Radharani and the gopis were waiting for Krsna to come and meet them. As they were waiting, the gopis started to feel intense separation from Krsna and began to chant: "Harideva, Harideva, Harideva!" over and over again and their feelings intensified to the point of almost giving up their lives. Suddenly Krsna appeared in this beautiful Deity form of a seven-year-old boy holding Govardhana Hill in His left hand with a flute in the other. The ecstasy of Radharani and the gopis knew no bounds. After that Radharani and the gopis went there every day to worship Govardhana-natha Harideva with many offerings.

“Mad with ecstatic love, the Lord came to the village known as Govardhana. It was there that He saw the Deity of Harideva and offered His obeisances. Then He began to dance before the Deity. Hearing of the Lord’s wonderful activities, all people came to see Him…” Caitanya-Caritamrita 18.17.20

24 Govardhana Town

There is one shop here in Govardhana town that everyone in the world buys sweets from and is the most famous in Govardhana. “Sri Girraj Mishthan Bhandar”. If you don’t have a strong stomach, avoid the deep fried goods, but unless you make your own, the sweets they make are the best in the world.

25 Rinamocan Kunda

Listed on maps but I have never been there and no one knows where it is meaning that it has long dried up. The only info I could find was that Rinamochan and Papamochan grant the bather freedom from debts to his ancestors and gurus and is able to sheds his sins.

26 Dana Gati Giriraja Mandir

Once on the bank of Govinda-kund, Sri Bhaguri Risi was performing a yajna for the pleasure of Supreme Lord. From the other side of Dana-gati, Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis were heading for the yajna site bringing yogurt, milk, butter, rabadi and many other kinds of milk-sweets. Krsna with Subala, Madhumangala and other boys obstructed the path and forcibly demanded toll. The sakhas and gopis began to taunt each other with sarcastic remarks.
Krsna, standing in tribanga form asked, "What are you carrying?"
"Milk, yogurt and butter for the yajna of Bhaguri Risi," the gopis replied.
Madhumangala promptly said,"Quickly pay the dana (tax) and move on."
Lalita, filled with sarcasm, asked, "What dana? We have never paid any dana before."
But Krsna insisted, "You can pass only after paying dana."
Radharani replied, "Since when have you become dani (the tax collector) here? Did you inherit this place from your father?"
"Don’t be so insolent!" Krsna retorted. "I am Vrindavanesvara, the ruler of Vrindavan!"
"How is that?" Lalita asked incredulously.
Krsna answered smugly, "Vrinda is My wedded wife. The property of the wife is also property of the husband. Vrindavan is the kingdom of Vrindadevi. Therefore it is My kingdom as well."
"Accha?" Lalita answered haughtily. "We have never heard anything about this. Let us see what Vrindadevi says."
She turned towards Vrindadevi and smilingly asked: "Vrinde! Is this ‘black one’ your husband?"
Vrinda replied, "Never! I have never seen this boy. This is my kingdom and I have handed it to Vrindavanesvari Srimati Radhika."
All the sakhis burst out laughing and Sri Krsna became embarrassed. But He still demanded dana to be paid. After this prema-kalaha, or love quarrel, the gopis exchanged dan of prema at Danivartan-kund.

For the final payment and the rest of the story, see Danivartan-kund no. 32

27 Radha and Krsna’s Footprints

As soon as you turn left from the main road to follow the parikrama path you come to Sri Radha and Krsna’s footprints on your right in a cleared out area. It is up to the clever eye to make out where the footprints are.

28 Laksmi Narayana Temple

An old Lasksmi Narayana Temple.

29 Dani Raja Temple

The Dani-raja Temple on the top of the Hill is dedicated to Krsna’s tax pastime. The temple has been abandoned and the priests have moved the worship to a new temple of Dana-gati Giriraja Mandir at the crossing of Mathura road. They make a lot more money there.

30 ISKCON Mahal (Palace)

This beautiful property was formerly owned by Maharaja Chattarpur from Madhya Pradesh who was worshiping a beautiful Govardhana-sila in a small shrine. When devotees moved in, they continued the worship of this Deity. During the digging of a large hole for the underground water tank, the devotees discovered a Govardhana-sila that turned out to be exactly the same size and shape as the existing Krsna-sila. This sila was whitish in color and is now worshiped as Balarama at Krsna’s side. From the temple roof there is a good view of the Dani-raja Temple.

31 Papamocan Kunda

This is another place where the bather is said to be freed from debts to his ancestors and gurus and sheds his sins. This Kund is near Chandra Sarovara.

32 Danivartan Kunda

Once when Radharani and Her girlfriends were at Radha-kund, one of Radharani’s pet parrots informed Her of a great sacrifice being conducted at Govinda-kund. Taking bath and dressing very nicely, Radharani and all Her girlfriends left for Govinda-kund, carrying golden pots of milk products on their heads. Meanwhile, Krsna’s pet parrot told Him that Srimati Radharani was proceeding towards Govinda-kund along with Her girlfriends. When Radharani and the gopis arrived, Krsna challenged them to stop and pay the tax, "You are regularly using this pathway to sell your milk products but you never ever pay the tax!" He told Radharani that each of Her assistants must pay a handful of diamonds as a tax and by His clever use of words, suggested that Radharani must pay extra tax for all the beautiful parts of her body. Radharani became angry and walked away, but Krsna forcibly stopped Her. He told Radharani that She could go, but Lalita must stay as a hostage to make sure they would return to pay tax. In a fury, Lalita threatened Him by saying she would call mother Yasoda and Radharani’s mother-in-law, Jatila. Finally Nandimukhi, Radharani’s close companion, convinced Krsna to release Radharani because Her reputation as a chaste lady would be ruined and assured Him that some gopis would return the next day to Danivartan Kunda to pay tax in full. However, the gopis were feeling very angry at Krsna for threatening them in this way. So the next day, Lalita, Visakha and hundreds of gopis hid themselves around this lake. When Krsna arrived with only a few cowherd boys, the gopis pounced on them, beat them, tied them up to the trees and humiliated them in various ways. Lalita than demanded that Krsna pay tax to Srimati Radharani, the queen of Vrindavana, because His cows were eating the grass of Her forests. Lalita then brought Radhika and forced Krsna to bow down to Her lotus feet, ask forgiveness and accept Her as the queen of Vrindavana. So this is the kund where tax (dani) was returned (nivartana). These various tax pastimes went on almost daily because, due to the influence of Yogamaya, everyone would forget the previous day’s episode. They are described in the Dana-Keli-Cintamani by Raghunath das Gosvami, Dana-Keli-Kamudhi by Sanatan Gosvami as well as in various other Vaisnava literature.

33 Candra Sarovara and Catur Bhuja

This Kunda is some distance east of Aniyor village.

In the beginning of spring, Vrindavana is covered with yellow flowers resembling the pitambara (yellow upper cloth) of Lord Krsna. New, reddish sprouts appear on mango trees and the air becomes very fragrant. There are so many wonderful flowers. The air in Vrindavana is full of beli, chameli, jui, chatika, malati, lotus and others.

During this spring season the vasanta-rasa of Sri Krsna takes place in Govardhana, at Candra Sarovara, where the moon stops his travels for one entire night of Brahma – a duration of 1000 yuga cycles. The moon in the sky becomes stunned upon seeing the dance and is unable to move the whole night. Therefore this place is called Candra-sarovara ("Lake of the Moon"). He stays there to have darsana of the dance and to hear the singing of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and the gopis.

Srila Jayadeva Gosvami has described the vasanta-rasa-lila in his Gita-govinda. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear this description and weep loudly, with tears rolling down His face and with a melted heart. In the western corner of the sarovara is Sringara Mandira, where Krsna personally decorated Radharani. Suradas-kuti and samadhi are situated also in this area.

Suradas Murti

Catur Bhuja

About 5 kilometers past Candra Sarovara.

Once during the rasa dance, Krsna suddenly disappeared. In great sorrow the gopis began looking for Him but were only able to find Vishnu. You might have guessed that actually, Krsna had taken the form of Vishnu to hide. The gopis begged Vishnu to reveal Krsna’s whereabouts but He unfortunately had to leave them empty handed as He didn’t know where Krsna was. Shortly thereafter, Radharani came looking for Krsna as well. When She also asked where Krsna was, Krsna tried to maintain His form as Vishnu to deceive Her as He had done the gopis but could not due to his intense love for Radharani. Thus He was found out.

Taking the pictures of Catur Bhuja was particularly fun. The Pujaris refused to allow us to take His picture, so we called upon our then present apsara (Campakalata) to distract all the men. She started to ask a plethora of silly questions about every single little thing to do with the temple complex and slowly walked outside. As she walked, the captivated men followed behind her trying desperately to satisfy her questions with the manly gestures and displays of their superior shastric knowledge. Once she was about 10 feet away from the pujari area, I snuck back in and was able to snap these two photos before Rahu (one of the pujaris) realized he was being tricked. He ran back in and looked at me up and down suspiciously trying to figure out my motive. I sneakily tucked the camera away and smiled foolishly like every good westerner should.
Narayana Sarovara Narayana Sarovara Krsna Kunda
Laksmi’s Well Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sitting place A beautiful little Deity of Mahaprabhu

When Vishnu manifested, He also brought Laksmi with Him. He told Her that she couldn’t stay though. But, neither could He.

34 Parasauli

Candra sarovara is located in this area. The rasa-dance continued for an entire night of Brahmaji, but it seemed that it was over in only a few moments.

35 Gauri Kund

On the left side of the parikrama road near Sankarsana-kund is Gauri-kund. There used to be a temple of Goddess Gauri (Siva’s wife) here as well. Vidagdha-Madhava-Nataka describes an amusing pastime that took place here. One day, Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Radharani, decided to bring Her to Mathura to keep Her away from Krsna. He went to Paurnamasi for Her blessing to do so. She assured him that whatever he had heard were just rumors and there was no need for him to go to Mathura. Abhimanyu then requested Paurnamasi to have Radharani start worshipping Gauridevi. His mother, Jatila, had told him that Candravali had been worshiping Gauridevi and her husband, Govardhana-Malla, had become very rich.

So, following Paurnamasi’s advice, Radharani immediately left for the Gauridevi Temple. Suddenly, Krsna arrived and blocked Her path. After a long argument, Radha chastised Krsna and went to pick flowers for Gauridevi. Meanwhile Abhimanyu heard that Radha and Krsna were together at Gauri-kund. With his mother, Jatila, he left for there hoping to catch Radha and Krsna together. But Krsna had gone into the temple and, dressing up as Goddess Gauri, stood in front of the deity. Radharani then entered the temple and began to worship the Goddess (actually Krsna!!). Abhimanyu came rushing into the temple only to discover that Radharani was dutifully worshipping Gauridevi as per Paurnamasi’s instructions and Krsna was nowhere to be found. Seeing that Abhimanyu had entered the temple, Gauridevi gravely informed him that there was a great danger awaiting him. Full of fear, Abhimanyu begged to know the full details of this impending disaster. The Goddess Gauri indicated that Vrindadevi would explain. Taking the hint, Vrindadevi told Abhimanya that Kamsa planned to cut off his head in two days to offer as a sacrifice to Lord Siva. In mock terror, Radharani begged Gauridevi to please save her husband. But the Goddess told Radharani that such a benediction was not within her power to grant. Radharani pleaded saying that She could not live without Her Swami (She of course meant that she cannot leave Vraja and be without Krsna). Finally Gauri said that she would save Abhimanyu’s life only if Radharani promised to never leave Vraja and to always render service to her (Krsna). A relieved Abhimanyu eagerly promised Gauridevi that he would never take Radharani away form Vraja and that She would always serve her (Krsna) faithfully. Jatila then praised Radharani for having saved Abhimanyu’s life.

At this point there is no deity of Gauri here but we do get to have darshan of the ever faithful Hanumanji, a protector of the Dham.

36 Aniyor

Govardhana-Lila:
On seeing His father and all the inhabitants of Vrindavan collecting various items for the annual Indra-puja, Krsna convinced them to worship Govardhana Hill instead. Krsna explained that Govardhana provides them with everything they need for living and by worshipping this sacred hill all good fortune would automatically come to them. Following Krsna’s advice, the Brajavasis cooked thousands of wonderful preparations and placed them in the area between Danivartan-kund and Aniyor village. There were literally thousands of hills made of samosas, kacoris, rice, halva, puris, sweet balls, lakes of subjis, sweet rice and innumerable other preparations for the pleasure of Govardhana Hill. When everything was complete, Krsna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill. Then Krsna began to eat all the food offered there. He drunk the water from various kundas and still unsatisfied called out, "Aniyor! Aniyor! (Bring me more! Bring me more!)" The village near Sankarsana-kund is thus called Aniyor. In great anxiety, the Brajavasis emptied their storehouses to prepare another feast. But when after eating it, Govardhana again called out, "Aniyor! Aniyor!" they were completely bewildered.

Then somebody suggested that Giriraja would be satisfied with tulasi leaves and water form the Ganges. So they then gave Him tulasi leaves and water from Manasi Ganga, Kusuma Sarovara and the other kundas. Thus, Govardhana finally exclaimed: "Tripto ‘smi! Tripto ‘smi! (Now I am satisfied! Now I am satisfied!)" and wiped His hands and mouth with His cloth. He told the Brajavasis to ask for a boon. They requested only one: "May this lala of ours always remain happy and live a very long life." By "lala" they of course meant Krsna.

When the four-handed form of Giriraja disappeared, all the offerings again became manifest as prasadam. Krsna then spoke sweetly to his family and friends, "Did you ever have darshan of Lord Indra? Giriraja is very kind, He came personally to see you. He fulfills everyone’s desires." After Govardhana-puja all the Brajavasis became very satisfied and felt that their lives were successful.

Meanwhile Indra was enraged that the cowherd men of Vraja had canceled his yajna. Under the influence of false pride, he sent the Samvartaka clouds to Vrindavan intent on destroying its inhabitants. These devastating clouds which are used at the end of each kalpa to destroy the whole cosmic manifestation created havoc in Vrndavan. Solid columns of rain as thick as pillars and chunks of ice pounded Vraja as thunder roared, lightning struck and hurricane-force winds howled. The terrified Brajavasis approached Krsna for protection. Assuring them with a loving glance, Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill with the pinky of His left hand as easily as a child lifts a mushroom and held it aloft like an umbrella over all the Brajavasis. For seven days they remained sheltered by Govardhana and were simply astonished at how Krsna had lifted and held the whole mountain. When Indra saw that his destructive mission had been thus thwarted by a little boy, he was baffled and ordered his clouds to desist. When the rain stopped and the sky cleared, Krsna asked the Brajavasis to return to their homes. Then He gently placed Govardhana at the place where it was before. King Nanda, mother Yasoda and the boys embraced Krsna and the Gopis began to sing beautiful songs about Him…

Continued at no. 42 Govinda Kund

This is the area where Bhoga was piled high for the pleasure of Govardhana.

37 Gopal Raj Temple

The original temple where Madhavendra Puri worshipped Sri Gopala is on the top of the Govardhana Hill. It is called the Gopal Raj Temple. Presently, there is a Govardhana-sila worshipped in the temple.

38 Siva Temple

This is an old Siva temple standing side by side the Gopal Raj temple atop Govardhana. Lord Siva is posted as guard of Giriraja.

39 Balarama (Dauji) Temple

In the ancient village of Aniyor is the Temple of Lord Balarama (Dauji) also known as Sankarsana Mandir. These are the original Deities installed by Krsna’s great-grandson, Vajranabha. The larger Deity is Balarama and next to Him is a small Krsna, His younger brother. When Aurangzeb sent his troops to destroy Vrindavan’s temples, these Deities were hidden in nearby Sankarsana-kund and thus spared.

40 Sankarsana Kund

It is said in Adi-purana that one who takes bath in Sankarsana-kund is freed from the sin of killing the cow. If you speak with the pujaris they will tell you that the lake has power to cure any diseases. All you need to do is take bath every day for one month in the lake.

When Krsna was holding the hill aloft, He was concerned about the waters rising all around. Krsna was personally taking care of the water coming down on the hill using His Sudarshana disc as a fiery shield, so even Govardhana was not being affected by the torrential rains, but there was still some water rising from the rest of the area around. So He asked His elder brother Balarama to take care of the remainder. Douji in the form of Ananta Sesa then collected the rest of the waters thereby forming Sankarsana kund.

41 Gopala Prakata Sthali

This is the actual spot where Srila Madhavendra Puri discovered the beautiful Gopala Deity now known as Sri Nathji. The Deity of Gopal was originally installed by Vajranabha 4800 years ago and is very special and beautiful. After Madhavendra Puri left Vrindavan, two brahmanas from Bengal served the Deity. After some time, Raghunatha das Goswami saw that there was a need to find a devotee to serve Gopala. So he gave the Deity to Vitthala, the son of Vallabhacarya.
Due to the fear of invaders, Sri Nathji was taken to Nathdwar by Ranaraj Singh of Mewar, in 17th century. Nathji Temple in Nathdwar is said to be the second richest temple in India, after the Balaji temple in Tirupati. The original temple where Madhavendra Puri worshipped Sri Gopala is the Gopal Raj Temple.

For the full story see no.44 Madhavendra Puri’s Bhajan Kutir

One day the pujari did not dress Sri Nathji at all and Deity remained completely naked. He opened the doors of the altar and asked Suradas to compose a poem describing Deity’s sringara (ornaments and dress). Suradas remained silent for some time and than laughed loudly and to everyone’s amazement sang: "Aj bhaya hari nangam naga (Today Sri Hari remained undressed and naked…)"

42 Govinda Kund, (Indra Tila)

(continued from no. 36)

…Realizing that he had committed a grave offense by attempting to destroy Vrindavana, Indra became morose and dejected and did not even tend to his regular duties. Brihaspati saw Indra’s condition and told him to speak to Lord Brahma for relief. Lord Brahma said, "Since Krsna is very fond of cows you should ask Surabhi to help you. She is the only one who can persuade Him to forgive you." Indra then begged Surabhi to help him and she agreed. She of course was very happy to have some excuse to meet Krsna.

Accompanied by Surabhi, Indra then came and pleaded to Krsna for forgiveness. First Surabhi bathed Krsna with her milk. Then Airavata, Indra’s elephant, did abhisek of Krsna with the Ganges water he brought in his trunk. All the while, Indra offered beautiful prayers. The water from this bathing ceremony created the famous Govinda-kund. Then all the demigods came together on Indra Tila to perform an abhiseka ceremony and puja with golden paraphernalia, jewels and other precious items. Lord Brahma coroneted Krsna with a golden crown and declared Him to be the real Indra of all the demigods and living beings. Then the demigods departed.

After getting all the calves together, the Brajavasis returned to Krsna and marveled at all the golden paraphernalia. They couldn’t imagine where all those things had come from. Nanda Maharaja became somewhat worried. He thought, "I only hope that Krsna didn’t steal these things from some temple. We know He was stealing butter as a small child…" But Krsna’s fatty brahmana friend, Madhumangala, reassured them, "Do not worry. When everyone had run away I could not. You know I am not so fast. I could not run and I saw what happened. First, a cow came and started to talk to Krsna. Then an elephant with Ganges water bathed Krsna. After a while, a man with four heads came and started to worship Krsna with all of those golden things. Then another man came. He had eyes all over his body. Then one with snakes came. All these people started to worship Krsna. After they bathed Krsna, they left. And then you came."

The Brajavasis didn’t know what to think about this funny brahmana boy, but they stopped worrying, picked up those camaras, ghee lamps, conch shells and umbrellas, had Krsna seated on the throne and spontaneously started to worship Him. Krsna began to smile, enjoying their company. The Demigods watching the scene saw Krsna’s beaming smile and were struck with wonder, since during their worship, Krsna just officially stood and didn’t show much concern. Suddenly a voice from the sky announced, "Nanda Maharaja, you should now coronate your son as the King of the cows and the King of Vraja…" Nanda Maharaja then coroneted Him with all the inhabitants of Vrindavan saying, "Krsna, You are our protector and You have protected the cows of Vrindavan. Therefore, we will call you Govinda". Before Krsna was Gopal (a small cowherd boy) and how, He became Govinda (one who gives pleasure to the cows). Thus Nanda Maharaja coroneted Krsna and gave him the name Govinda.

Indra Tila
Hmm. what are they doing A parrot meeting Parrots colliding

Indra Tila is a small hill at the side of Govinda-kund where Lord Indra, Brahma and other demigods stood during Krsna’s abhisek. The hill is surrounded by many buildings and it is very small now.

43 Nipa Kund and Radha Govinda Mandir

Radha-Govinda Mandir
The Deity of Sri Govindadev in this temple on the banks of Govinda-kund was originally installed by Vajranabha 5000 years ago.

Nipa-kund
Just behind Radha-Govinda Mandir there used to be a small lake called Nipa-kund. There were many kadamba trees on the banks of this kund. Many of their leaves were in the shape of cups so Krsna and the cowherd boys used to take lunch here on the banks of this kund and use the leaves as cups. Once the gopis were passing this way and Krsna blocked their way demanding tax. The Gopis wanted to go on and threatened Krsna to tell king Kamsa about His behavior. Krsna replied that He was not afraid of Kamsa and that He would kill him and threw his dead body on GovardhanaHill. The Gopis laughed and leaving their pots with milk on the ground, returned home. Krsna then fed the boys with the butter and yogurt.

This is what Nipa Kund looked like some years ago.

44 Madavendra Puri’s Sitting Place

The Sitting place of Madhavendra Puri is on the bank of Govinda-kund.
"Once, Sri Madhavendra Puri traveled to Vrindavan, where he came upon the hill known as Govardhana. Madhavendra Puri was almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, and he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell to the ground. He could not discriminate whether he was in a proper place or not.

After circumambulating the hill, Madhavendra Puri went to Govinda-kund and took his bath. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was sitting beneath a tree, an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before Madhavendra Puri, and, smiling, addressed Him as follows. "Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don’t you beg some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you undergoing?" When he saw the beauty of that boy, Madhavendra Puri became very satisfied. Hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Madhavendra Puri said, "Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know that I was fasting?"

The boy replied, "Sir, I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village, no one fasts. In this village a person can beg food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all his eatables. The women who come here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you." The boy continued, "I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you."

Saying this, the boy left the place. Indeed, He suddenly could be seen no more, and Madhavendra Puri’s heart was filled with wonder. After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri washed the pot and put it aside. He looked toward the path, but the boy never returned. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep. He sat and chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and at the end of the night he dozed a little, and his external activities stopped. In a dream Madhavendra Puri saw the very same boy. The boy came before him and, holding his hand, took him to a bush in the jungle. The boy showed Madhavendra Puri the bush and said, "I reside in this bush, and because of this I suffer very much from severe cold, rain showers, winds and scorching heat. Please bring the people of the village and get them to take Me out of this bush. Then have them situate Me nicely on top of the hill. Please construct a temple on top of that hill," the boy continued, "and install Me in that temple. After this, wash Me with large quantities of cold water so that My body may be cleansed. For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering, `When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?’ I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My audience all fallen souls will be delivered. My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajra, and here I am the authority. When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear of the attack. Since the priest went away, I have been staying in this bush. It is very good that you have come here. Now just remove Me with care."

After saying this, the boy disappeared. Then Madhavendra Puri woke up and began to consider his dream. Madhavendra Puri began to lament: "I saw Lord Krsna directly, but I could not recognize Him!" Thus he fell down on the ground in ecstatic love. Madhavendra Puri cried for some time, but then he fixed his mind on executing the order of Gopala. Thus he became tranquil."
Caitanya-Caritamrita, Madhya 4.21-46

45 Doka Dauji Temple

Doka-dauji Temple. Dauji means "elder brother". Once Balarama, Krsna’s elder brother, was so intently looking at Krsna’s movements during rasa-lila, that He turned blackish and the Deity became known as Doka, "staring", Dauji.

As you can see, the temple is on top of Giriraja so we asked the friendly Pujari to take our camera for some rare shots of the temple and deity up close.

46 Balarama Mukut Sila

On the left side as we look at the Douji temple, there is an impression of Lord Balarama’s crown (mukut) on a rock known as Balarama-mukut-sila.

47 Nrsimha Temple

Narasimha Mandir
Near the banks of Navala-kund is a temple with the black stone Deity of Nrsimhadev. Upon request, the pujari may lift the Deity’s dress to reveal Hiranyakasipu being ripped apart. Prahlada Maharaja is standing nearby. It is believed that the Deity is over one thousand years old.

From the top of Narasimha Mandir one can get wonderful view of Apsara-vana, a forest surrounding the tail of Govardhana from the side of Govinda-kund.

48 Navala Kunda

Navala means "young" or "ever youthful" and this lake is named after ever-youthful Krsna. Once, when Radha and Krsna were absorbed in the ecstasy of the rasa dance, Krsna looked at the beautiful Radharani and simply melted into this lake. Radharani than looked at tribanga-lalita form of Krsna and melted into Apsara-kund. The waters of these two kundas are thus melted forms of Radha-Krsna prema. This kund is sometimes called Punchari-kund, since it is directly at the Punchari (tail) of Govardhana Hill.

49 Apsara Kunda

Another story explaining these kundas is as follows. When the demigods came to bathe Lord Krsna, 108 kundas were created by the water from His abhisek. Apsara-kund was created when the seven main Apsaras came to perform their abhisek of Lord Krsna. Srimati Radharani is the most beautiful apsara or transcendental damsel and Apsara-kund received its name after Her.

On the bank of Apsara-kund there is Apsara-bihari Temple, Dauji Temple and small Apsara-isvara (Siva-linga) shrine.

It is said that twenty four main incarnations of Lord Visnu eternally perform their pastimes on the bank of this kund. Krsna used to come here and for the pleasure of His boyfriends He manifested some of these forms to enjoy His pastimes in various incarnations. Once He manifested twelve-armed Visnu form in front of the gopis and Subal took form of Garuda. On another occasion He became Varaha and started to dig the Earth. Then He became Ramacandra and the cowherd boys became monkeys.

50 Puncharika Lautha Baba Temple

Lautha Baba is one of the Krsna’s cowherd boy friends. One day, he cooked a nice meal for Krsna and Balarama. Suddenly, Krsna passed by on Akrura’s chariot heading to Mathura. Lautha invited Krsna and Balarama for this meal, but Krsna replied, "I am just now coming," and with the promise that He would return the very next day, He continued on to Mathura. Since that time Lautha Baba has been sitting in this very same spot facing the road eagerly waiting for Krsna and Balarama to return. He has not eaten anything as he waits for Krsna. The Deity looks like Hanuman at first glance and in fact Lautha Baba is considered non-different from Hanuman.

We can see how he looks very expectant. "When will Krsna come?"

His name explained… ‘Punchari’ means ‘tail,’ referring to the tail of Govardhana, ‘Ka’ means ‘belonging,’ ‘Lautha’ means ‘returning’ and ‘Baba’ is just a friendly way to refer to a person. The Baba who is at the tail of Govardhana waiting for Krsna’s return. Sad story…

51 Syama Dhaka

In this area we have Sutala-vana and Kadamba-vana. Sutala-vana is another rasa-sthali, a place where rasa-lila took place. At the time of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, there used to be whole forest of kadamba trees. Kadamba represents Radharani because of its wonderful golden flowers. One of Radharani’s names is Gandharvika, because She is the source of all kinds of beautiful scents. The enchanting fragrances of Her body resemble that of kadamba and any time Krsna sees and smells kadamba flowers, He is reminded of Radharani. The Tamala tree with its dark colored bark represents Krsna. The Gopis in their mood of separation sometimes embrace tamal trees saying, "Oh, it is Krsna! He has come!" And sometimes Krsna Himself would stand as if He was a tamal tree and Radharani would talk to Him in a mood of separation mistaking Him to be a tamal tree.

Tamala Kadamba

52 Mani Kandali Cave

Radha and Krsna used to meet in this cave and enjoy their pastimes together. Raghava Pandit, an associate of Mahaprabhu, used this cave as his bhajan-kutir to perform his nirjana-bhajana (secluded bhajana). Raghava Pandit always lived at Govardhana and Srila Rupa Goswami arranged for Srinivasa Acarya and Narottama Das Thakur to go on Vraja-mandala parikrama with Raghava Pandit.

53 Nathji Temple

The Nathji Temple adjacent to the cave is very beautiful.

54 Airavata’s Footprint and 55 Indra Puja

The Indra-puja shrine is located on the western side of Govardhana Hill near the Doka Dauji temple. Airavata’s footprint is impressed upon a rock nearby.

Indra Puja Shrine Airavata’s footprint

56 Indra Kunda

Krsna was walking on Govardhana Hill seeing the damage caused to Vrindavan created by Indra’s torrents of rain. On seeing Krsna, Indra fell down and offered obeisances at this place. He shed so many tears, that they created a lake called Indra-kund.

57 Surabhi Kunda

This kund, filled with sweet water, was created by Surabhi when she bathed Krsna. Later, with Krsna’s permission, Surabhi resided at this place for the duration of Krsna’s manifest vraja-lila.

Maharaja Vajranabha built this Surabhi-kund in her memory. As Indra was forgiven by taking bath and performing acamana at Surabhi-kund, similarly all aparadhas are forgiven when one bathes here.

58 Rudra Kunda – Hariju Kunda

Rudra-kund is the left side a small distance from the parikrama path. Here Mahadeva became so absorbed in meditation on Krsna’s lilas, that he began to weep. Rudana means "tears" and this kund is sometimes called Rudana-kund, since it was created by Rudra’s tears.

Rudra Kund
Hariju Kund An eager Brajavasi is running and crying to Krsna in great joy. (with a stick?)

Hariju-kund, the larger lake surrounding Rudra-kund is named after one of Krsna’s friends, Hariju. Once when the gopis where feeling great separation from Krsna, they came here and over flooded its banks with their tears. This is one of the places that Radha and Krsna would enjoy bathing together.

59 Airavata Kunda

Nearby is Airavata-kund created by Indra’s elephant Airavata, who brought water from the celestial Ganga in his trunk and stored it here for the bathing ceremony of Krsna at Govinda-kund.

60 Samadhis

A great place to pay lots of obeisances.

61 Mukharavinda, Vitthala’s Samadhi

Here is another Mukharavinda or lotus mouth of Govardhana. The Six Goswamis had very good relationships with Sri Vitthalacarya, the son of Vallabhacarya, and so they entrusted the responsibility of the Deity seva to him. The Vallabha-sampradaya also manages the temple of Gopalaji and the original Gopala Deity known as Sri Nathji at Nathdwar in Rajasthan.

Mukharavinda Samadhi and Sitting Place

…Vitthalanatha’s samadhi and Vallabhacarya’s bhaitaka (sitting place) are nearby.

62 Dandavat Sila

Anyone who circumambulates this Govardhana-sila seven times and offers full dandavats will be relieved of all offences that may have been committed during parikrama.

Many of the priests who serve in the temples on top of the Govardhana Hill come here to rid themselves of offences they may have committed for having climbed on the sacred hill. Since going on parikrama means we unintentionally step on many Silas around Govardhana, it is good to circumambulate this sila for forgiveness.

63 Jatipur Village

Jatipur is named after Madhavendra Puri, who was a sannyasi (yati or jati) and who used to reside here. It was here at Jatipur that he performed abhisek and annakuta festivals for Sri Nathji.

64 Gulala Kunda and 65 Gantholi

Krishna and the gopis would throw colors at this place. During the springtime, red colors can be seen in this kunda.
While playing Holi, Radharani and Krsna were sitting. The sakhis secretly tied their clothes together in a knot, like a couple does when they get married. When Radha and Krishna stood they found that their clothes were tied together. Ganth means “knot.” They felt embarrassed and the sakhis all smiled happily. After throwing dyes on each other (playing Holi), the sakhis untied their clothes.

There is also a sitting place of Mahaprabhu here.

Gantholi is the name of a small village just past Gulala Kunda

66 Vilachu Kunda

On the left side further away from the road is Vilachu-kund.
Once Srimati Radharani lost Her ankle bell here. She was searching for it when Krsna suddenly appeared and asked Her jokingly, if She was looking for His flute that had been lost. Radharani asked Krsna not to joke, but to help Her find the lost anklet. Krsna persisted in joking and Radharani became angry. In order to pacify Her, Krsna started to dig up the earth with his bare hands. To Radharani’s amazement He dug up all types of ankle bells, some gold, some silver, and all kinds of priceless gems. Krsna then smiled and asked Radharani which one belonged to Her. Feeling great happiness, Radha and Krsna embraced one another.

To get to the Vilachu-kund one has to go from
the parikrama road into the fields…
Go Straight back into the fields right here.
Starting from the Khinni Ashrama.
Straight back from this tree.
Through the fields about 1/2 Kilometer. The temple is for Vilachu Bihari Vilachu Bihari
This place is very peaceful. There are Beautiful tamal and kadamba trees on the bank of Vilachu-kund.

67 Sakhi Sthali

On the opposite side of Manasi-Ganga you pass on the left side, by Sakhi-sthali (Kadamba-khandi), where Candravali used to live with her 64 sakhis. Within this village is a lake known as Lilavati-kund (Sakhi-kund), which was dug by the girlfriends of Candravali. There is always transcendental competition going on between Radharani and Candravali to gain Krsna’s attention. Out of all gopis, eight (asta-sakhis) are prominent. Out of them, two are even more prominent: Radharani and Candravali and out of them Radharani is the most prominent and dearly beloved by Sri Krsna. Srila Rupa Goswami has explained that Candravali expands herself to became Rukmini in the Dvaraka-lila and gopis headed by Candravali expand themselves to become the queens headed by Rukmini.

To ordinary people, this competition of gopis is most confusing. One day a brajavasi came to Raghunatha das Goswami who was doing his bhajana on the banks of Radha-kund and brought him some buttermilk. Raghunatha asked him from where he had got it and the brajavasi joyfully said: "I brought it form Sakhi-sthali." Hearing this Raghunatha angrily ordered the brajavasi to leave. The Brajavasi could not understand Raghunatha’s mood and fled. Raghunatha das Goswami is an intimate maidservant in Srimati Radharani’s own group (svapaksa) and just hearing about the place of Candravali (Radharani’s rival) made him act in this way.

As we head north more fields can be seen on the left. This young cow has hopped a fence of thorns to enjoy some fresh green shoots from the recently sewn plants.
Keep an eye out for frustrated farmers.

Guard for me please.

68 Uddhava Kund

This kund is situated exactly west of Kusuma-Sarovara. The Skanda-purana quoted in Srimad-Bhagavatam Mahatmya, gives a very interesting description of this place. Vajranabha Maharaja manifested Uddhava-kund under the guidance of Sandilya and other risis. Uddhava always resides here as grass and shrubs in order to be sprinkled by the foot-dust of gopis.

The beautiful Deities Top Left and Top middle are newly installed. The picture on the top right is of the Deities that we are told were installed by Vajranabha.

After the disappearance of Lord Krsna, His queens in Dvaraka were greatly afflicted by sorrow. Once, Vajranabha came here with them and together they performed a very loud sankirtana. In that maha-sankirtana, all the parikaras (associates) of Krsna started to appear one by one. All of them joined the kirtan and Arjuna began to dance and play mridanga. Suddenly, maha-bhagavata Uddhava emerged from the grass and he also became immersed in dancing. How could Krsna now remain behind when this maha-sankirtana was taking place? Krsna along with Radharani and other sakhis appeared and after some time again disappeared. Uddhava thus pacified the queens at this place. The Deities in the temple at Uddhava-kund are believed to have been installed five thousands years ago by Vajranabha.

69 Siva Khari Kunda

You then walk awhile until you reach Siva Khari Kunda, which is on the right hand side of the parikrama path. The word Siva with a long i means “jackal.”

Between the path and the kunda is a very small temple (1m high, 1m by 1m) dedicated to Lord Siva who is known as Rameswara. Lord Siva stays here to protect the western side of Radha Kunda.

There is a story about Siva Khari in the Padma Purana, Vrindavana Mahatmya. Once a female jackal was drinking some water from the kunda here. Some children came and started beating the jackal with some sticks. The jackal hid in a nearby foxhole. The children built a fire in front of the hole to catch the jackal. Srimati Radharani was passing by at this time and heard the cries of the jackal. She said, “No one should be distressed in my favorite place.” Radharani then sent some gopis to chase the children away. The gopis then brought the jackal to Radharani. The jackal fell down before her crying. Srimati Radharani petted the jackal and blessed the jackal to attain Her eternal service.

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One Response to “Sri Giriraj Govardhan Parikrama – an attempt to be mentally at Sri Giri Govardhan during the month of Kartik”

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