Temples of Vrindavan
Location : Right Bank River Alaknanda
Build By : 3,133 mt. Above Sea-Level
Built in : 8th Century A.D
Dedicated To : Lord Vishnu
Banke - Bihari Temple
Built in 1864, it is one of Vrindavana's most popular temples and famous all over India. The Deity of Banke-bihari was discovered in Nidhuvana by Swami Haridasa. A contemporary of the six Gosvamis, Swami Haridasa known for his devotional bhajanas, was the guru of the famous musician Tansen.
Built in 1814 in the center of the town, it is the most visited temple in Mathura. This temple is managed by followers of Vallabhacharya. Located in the eastern part of Mathura, not far from the Yamuna River, it is architecturally interesting: the temple carving and paintings are major attractions. The temple is a hub of activity during the festive days of Holi, Janmashtami and Diwali.
Radha Madana - Mohana Temple
This famous temple was established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and was the first temple to be built in Vrindavan, which at that time was just a forest. The original Deity of Madana-mohana was taken to Karauli in Rajasthan for safety during the attack on Vrindavan by the soldiers of the fanatical Muslim Emperor, Aurangzeb.
Mathura Krishna Balrama Mandir
Built by the International Society for Shri Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), it is one of the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan. The principal deities of this temple are Krishna, his brother Balram and Radha (Krishna's consort.) Adjoining the temple is the samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON sect, built in pure white marble. Hare Krishna devotees from all around the world flock here, bringing a truly international flavour to this ancient holy city.
The Seva Kunj is where Lord Krishna once performed the Raaslila with Radha-Rani decorating her hair with flowers and her lotus feet. Radha and Krishna would sometimes spend the night here, dancing with the gopis and enjoying transcendental pastimes. There is also a small temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna's pastimes called Rang Mahal.
Radha Vallabha Temple
Another very popular temple of Vrindavan whih was founded by Harivamsa Gosvami, who started the Radha Vallabha sect emphasizing devotion to Radharani. In this temple, there is no deity of Radharani, but a crown has been placed next to Krishna to signify her presence. The original temple of Radha Vallabha was destroyed by the Muslims in 1670 and a new temple was built beside the old one.
One of Vrindavan's most opulent temples, it was built by the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Madhav, in 1917 after 30 years of labour. The fine hand-carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship, the huge pillars that hold up the roof are each carved from one solid rock, and the intricately fashioned marble on the altar is reminiscent of the Mughal period. The Maharaja financed the railway line that connects Vrindavana with Mathura, just for the purpose of hauling the huge pieces of sandstone used in the temple construction. The deities worshipped here are Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Ananda-bihari and Hansa-gopala.
Radha Damodara Temple
This is one of the most important temples in Vrindavan. The original deity was hand carved by Rupa Gosvami and given as a gift to his beloved disciple, Jiva Gosvami, who later built a temple here. Formerly this spot was in the middle of Seva-kunja and it was the bhajana ( where he sang devotional songs ) place of Rupa Gosvami.
This is the place where Lord Krishna killed the Kesi demon who appeared in the form of a gigantic horse and then took His bath in this very same ghata. This is also very famous bathing place in Vrindavan. An arati (prayer with lamps) to Yamuna Devi is held here every evening.
This South Indian style temple was built by the wealthy Seth family of Mathura in the year 1851, and is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji, a form of Lord Vishnu lying down on the Sesa Naga (celestial serpent). This temple has a traditional South Indian gateway and is surrounded by high walls. It is one of Vrindavan's largest temples. Once a year a grand car festival (Ratha Yatra) is held known as Brahmotsava, during the month of Chait (March - April), a festival that lasts for 10 days.
Jugal Kisore Temple
This is one of the oldest temple of Vrindavana and was completed in 1627. After Emperor Akbar's visit to Vridavan in the year 1570, he gave permission for four temples to be built by the Gaudya Vaisnavas, which were Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and Jugal Kisore. It is sometimes called the Kesi ghata temple, as it is located next to this ghata.
This is the famous temple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Radharamana means "one who gives pleasure to Radha", and is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The wooden sitting place (hoki) and shawl (chaddar) or Lord Chaitanya, that He gave as a gift to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami is kept in this temple.
Nearly 30 cms. long, light - almond - colored, wooden sandals of Jambuswamaji. Tirth is at a distance of four kilometers from Mathura. This tirth (pilgrimage) belongs to the times of Bhagawan Suparshvanth.
Another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller, Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow. The deities at the temple are popularly known as the Chhote Radha Raman. Noted for its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculpture, the temple has twelve spiral columns each 15 feet high. The `Basanti Kamra' - the darbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and fine paintings.
Among the new temples springing up along the Mathura-Vrindavan road is the Gita Mandir which houses the Gita Stambh, a pillar with the entire Bhagavad Gita carved on its surface. The imposing temple, built by one of the country's leading industrial families, the Birlas, is overshadowed by the outrageous multistoreyed, spaceship-like edifice known as the Pagal Baba Mandir just down the road.
Jami Masjid on a plinth raised above street level a little way north, was completed in 1661 by Aurangzeb's governor Abd-un-Nabi. It has long since lost its original vivid glazed tiles, but remains surrounded by four minarets and assorted outer pavilions. Around 500m west, stands another of Aurangzeb's mosques, the impressive red sandstone Katra Masjid. This was erected on the foundations of the once-famous Kesava Deo temple, destroyed by the Moghul emperor, which had itself been built on the ruins of a Buddhist monastery. Some traces of the Hindu temple can be seen around the back, where the Shri Krishna Janamsthan or Janambhoomi complex now stands. Directly behind the mosque, approached through a corridor, a shrine marks Krishna's exact birthplace (janamsthan); its cage-like surround signifies that he was born in captivity, when his parents were prisoners of the tyrant king Kamsa.
Inside The Adjacent Bhagwat Bhavan
A modern, towering, flamboyant great hulk also known as Gita Mandir - a garishly painted ceiling depicts scenes from Krishna's life. No cameras are allowed into the complex, where although the shops and shrines combine to produce a park-like atmosphere