Vrundavan, Brindaban, Braj
|Elevation||170 m (560 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Vrindavan ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the site where according to Hinduism, Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. The town is about 11 km away from Mathura, Krishna's birthplace on the Agra-Delhi highway (NH 2). The town hosts many temples dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna and is considered sacred by Vaishnavism.
The ancient Sanskrit name of the city, Vṛndāvana, comes from its groves of vṛndā Tulasi (tulsi, Holy Basil) Ocimum tenuiflorum with vana meaning a grove or a forest. Two small groves still exist at Nidhivan and Seva Kunj.
Vrindavan has an ancient past, associated with Hindu history, and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. One of its oldest surviving temples is the Govinda Dev temple, built in 1590, with the town founded earlier in the same century. The essence of Vrindavan was lost over time until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the year 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavana, with the purpose of locating the lost holy places associated with Lord Sri Krishna's transcendent pastimes. Chaitanya wandered through the different sacred forests of Vrindavana in a spiritual trance of divine love. It was believed that by His divine spiritual power, He was able to locate all the important places of Krishna's pastimes in and around Vrindavana. Mira Bai left the kingdom of Mewar and went on pilgrimages. In her last 14 years, Meera lived in a temple called Pracheen Meerabai in Vrindavan. Meera Bai is the most famous female Hindu spiritual poet, whose compositions are still popular throughout North India.
In the last 250 years, the extensive forests of Vrindavan have been subjected to urbanization, first by local Rajas and in recent decades by apartment developers. The forest cover has been whittled away to only a few remaining spots, and the local wildlife, including peacocks, cows, monkeys and a variety of bird species has been virtually eliminated. A few peacocks are left in the city but monkeys and cows can be seen almost everywhere.
Vrindavan is located at  It has an average elevation of 170 metres (557 feet)..
As of 2001[update] India census, Vrindavan had a population of 56,618. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. Vrindavan has an average literacy rate of 65%, lower than the national average of 74.04%. In Vrindavan, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. The number of females is 24,200 including 13% who are under 6 years of age.
Vrindavan is considered to be a holy place for Vaisnavism tradition of Hinduism. It is a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places like Govardhana and Gokul that are associated with Krishna. Millions of devotees of Radha Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals. According to Bhagavata Purana, Krishna was raised in the cow herding village of Gokul by his foster parents Nanda Maharaj and Yasoda. The Bhagavata Purana describes Krishna's early childhood pastimes in the Vrindavan forest where he, his brother Balarama and his cowherd friends engaged in childhood pranks.
- Madan Mohan Temple, located near the Kali Ghat was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. One of the oldest temples in Vrindavan, it is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu . The original diety of Lord Madan Gopal was shifted from the shrine to Karauli in Rajasthan for safe keeping during Aurangzeb's rule. Today, a replica of the original (deity) is worshiped at the temple.
- Meera Bai Temple, located at southern side of Shahji temple near Nidhivan and is dedicated to Meera. Some hagiography state she miraculously disappeared by merging into an diety of Krishna at Dwarika in 1547. While miracles are contested by scholars for the lack of historical evidence, it is widely acknowledged that Meera dedicated her life to Hindu deity Krishna, composing songs of devotion and was one of the most important poet-sant of the Bhakti movement period.
- Garud Govind Temple is located on the turn of NH-2 to Vrindavan in Chhatikara village.
- Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is a temple under-construction at Mathura by ISKCON. At cost of ₹300 crore (US$45 million) it will be the tallest temple in world on completion.
- Banke Bihari Temple, built in 1862 after the image of Banke-Bihari was discovered in Nidhi Vana by Swami Haridas.
- Bhajankuti Ashram: was established by Golokbasi 1008 Bhagawat Sharan Maharaj Ji who was originally from Nepal. This ashram has been a long lasting symbol of Nepal and India Friendship at peoples level. Nepal India relationship being a two sides of a dime; this ashram has stood the taste of time even though there are turmoils here and there. Several thousands of Nepalese devotees, students, saints has been part of this almost 150 yrs old ashrams and contributed for the Shri Vrindavandham's diverse heritage.
- Prem Mandir is a spiritual complex situated on a 54-acre site on the outskirts of Vrindavan dedicated to divine love. The temple structure was established by spiritual guru Kripalu Maharaj. The main structure built in marble and figures of Krishna cover the main temple.
- Radha Vallabh Temple, set up by Hith Harivansh Mahaprabhu has a crown of Radharani placed next to the Krishna in the sanctum.
- Jaipur Temple, built by Sawai Madho Singh II, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917 dedicated to Radha–Madhava.
- Sri Radha Raman Mandir, constructed at the request of Gopala Bhatta Goswami and houses a saligram deity of Krishna as Radha Ramana, alongside Radha.
- Shahji Temple, designed and built in 1876 by Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow. Noted for its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculptures, the temple has twelve spiral columns each 15 feet high and a hall with Belgian glass chandeliers and paintings.
- Rangaji Temple, built in 1851 is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji depicted as Lord Vishnu in his sheshashayi pose, resting on the coils of the sacred Sesha Naga. The temple built in the Dravidian style has a gopuram of six storeys and a gold-plated Dhwaja stambha, 50 feet high. The 'Brahmotsdav' celebration in March–April is marked by the pulling of the Temple car car by the devotees from the temple to the adjoining gardens.
- Govind Dev Temple was a seven storeyed structure built by Raja Man Singh with red sandstone donated by Akbar in 1590. It was destroyed by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
- Sri Krishna-Balarama Temple was built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Raman-Reti. The principal deities of this temple are Krishna and Balaram, with Radha–Shyamasundar and Gaura-Nitai alongside. Adjoining the temple is the samadhi of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, built in pure white marble.
- Radha Damodar Mandir, located at Seva Kunj was established in 1542 by Six Gosvamis of Vrindavan. The main deities are Radha–Damodar.
- Maa Katyayani Mandir is situated in Radha Bagh, near Rangnath mandir. This is one of suddh Shakti Peetha of Shakti.
- Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple, a shrine believed to be a Shakti Peetha where ringlets of hair of Sati Devi is believed to have fallen.
- Chintaharan Hanuman Mandir, temple of Lord Hanuman is situated near Atalvan
- Radha Ras Bihari Ashta Sakhi Temple, dedicated to the divine couple Radha-Krishna and their Ashta Sakhis (eight companions).
- Radha Govinda Temple was built by Sri Krishna Balaram Swamiji and was completed in 2004 is based on a historic temple built about 500 years ago by Srila Rupa Goswami, a direct Sanyasi disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
- Vrindavan-Chandra Mandir is housed in a modern geodesic structure with a traditional gopuram based on khajuraho style of architecture.
Other sacred sites
Other places of interest include Seva Kunj, Kesi Ghat, Sriji Temple, Jugal Kishore Temple, Lal Babu Temple, Raj Ghat, Kusuma Sarovar, Imli Tal, Kaliya Ghat, Raman Reti, Varaha Ghat, Chira Ghat, samadhi of Swami Haridas and samadhi of Devraha Baba. In honor of Swami Haridas, a meet is organized, in which renowned musicians take part every year. The renovation of ancient Seva Kunj is being carried out by The Braj Foundation.
"City of Widows"
Vrindavan is also known as the "city of widows" due to the large number of widows who move into the town and surrounding area after losing their husbands. There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 widows who spend time singing bhajan hymns for in bhajanashrams. An organization called Guild of Service was formed to assist these deprived women and children. According to a survey report prepared by the government, several homes run by the government and different NGOs for widows.
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The center of Krishna-worship has been for a long time Brajbhumi, the district of Mathura that embraces also Vrindavana, Govardhana, and Gokula, associated with Krishna from the time immemorial. Many millions of Krishna bhaktas visit these places every year and participate in the numerous festivals that re-enact divine scenes from Krishna's life on Earth, of which were spent in those very placesVrinda means Tulsi (A sacred specie of flora) and van as forest, therefore Vrindavan is a holy forest of Tulsi. Vijaypal Baghel, known as GreenMan is promoting, planting and farming Tulsi in mass around the Vrindavan.
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- The white and saffron hues of Vrindavan
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vrindavan.|
Vrindavan travel guide from Wikivoyage