Categories
Gokul, Raval & Dauji

Ukhal Bandhan temple, Gokul Mahavan | Krishna’s Damodar Lila | Damodarastakam

ukhal bandhan damodar lila

‘Ukhal Bandhan Ashram’ is the holy site where the Damodar lila of Lord Krishna had taken place. This ashram is situated within Gokul (or specifically old Gokul). It was once part of Nanda Maharaja’s courtyard. There is an old grinding mortar that is worshiped in this temple. The priests claim the grinding mortar to be from 5000 years ago when mother Yashoda had tied little Krishna to it. A grinding mortar is commonly referred to as ‘Ukhal’ in Hindi. Just beside the mortar is kept a small basket with which Vasudeva supposedly carried Krishna from Mathura to Gokul. The sweet pastime of baby Krishna stealing butter and subsequently being tied to a mortar by His dear mother Yashoda is also known as Damodara Lila. In Sanskrit, ‘dama’ means rope and ‘Udara’ means belly. Damodara refers to Krishna who was bound by ropes of affection by His mother Yashoda. It is also known as the ‘Ukhal Bandhan’ pastime as during the course of this pastime Krishna was tied with ropes to a ‘Ukhal’ or a grinding mortar. ‘Ukhal Bandhan’ ashram is situated within Mahavan, the eighth sacred forest of Vraja Mandala. Adi Varaha Purana glorifies Mahavan as follows –

Maha vanam castamam tu sadaiva hi mama priyam
Tasmin gatva tu manuja indraloke mahiyate

The eighth forest of Mahavan is very dear to me. One who goes there is worshiped on Indra’s planet.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had visited Mahavan during His visit to Vraja Mandala and relished the pastimes of Krishna. Lord Chaitanya had manifested His ecstatic pastimes at this place.

ukhal bandhan damodar lila

Bhavabeshe prabhu nritya-geetite magna haila
Kripa kari sarva chitta akarshana kaila
Chaturdike dhaya loka dekhiya prabhure
Haiya adhairja Hari Hari dhvani kare
(Bhakti Ratnakara)

Sri Chaitanya manifested His singing and dancing pastimes here (at Mahavana) and mercifully enchanted the hearts of everyone. People rushed from all around to behold Mahaprabhu and chanted the holy names of Hari in ecstasy.

Sri Sanatana Goswami had also visited Mahavana and over here he had attained the divine darsana of Madana Gopal who displayed His pastimes as a cowherd boy to Sanatana.

Categories
Gokul, Raval & Dauji Radha Krishna

Brahmand Ghat, Gokul Mahavan – Krishna eats mud and shows His universal form to Yashoda

brahmand ghat gokul mahavan

Brahmand Ghat is located about 15 Kilometers southeast of Mathura in the legendary town of Gokul. It falls within the precincts of Mahavan, the eighth sacred forest of Vraja Mandala. Located about 5 Kilometers from the ancient palace of Nanda Maharaja in Gokul (Nanda Bhavan), ‘Brahmanda Ghat’ is a tranquil stretch along the bank of river Yamuna. Brahmand Ghat was once a part of Nanda Maharaja’s courtyard and as infants, Krishna, Balarama, and other cowherd children came here to play. Brahmand Ghat is the site where infant Krishna, after consuming mud while playing with his friends, revealed the entire cosmos in his mouth, much to the bewilderment of his foster mother Yashoda. Hence the name of the place is Brahmand Ghat, literally meaning, the universe. Overseeing the Brahmand Ghat is a beautiful temple of Krishna, who is lovingly named ‘Sri Brahmand Bihari jiu’.  It is said that one who takes the darshan of Krishna at Brahmand Ghat, or one who takes bath in its waters, or one who eats mud at this sacred place, at once receives ecstatic love for Krishna. Adi Varaha Purana glorifies Mahavan as follows –

Maha vanam castamam tu sadaiva hi mama priyam
Tasmin gatva tu manuja indraloke mahiyate

The eighth forest of Mahavan is very dear to me. One who goes there is worshiped on Indra’s planet.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had visited Mahavan during His visit to Vraja Mandala and relished the pastimes of Krishna. Lord Chaitanya had manifested His ecstatic pastimes at this place.

brahmand ghat gokul mahavan

Bhavabeshe prabhu nritya-geetite magna haila
Kripa kari sarva chitta akarshana kaila
Chaturdike dhaya loka dekhiya prabhure
Haiya adhairja Hari Hari dhvani kare
(Bhakti Ratnakara)

Sri Chaitanya manifested His singing and dancing pastimes here (at Mahavana) and mercifully enchanted the hearts of everyone. People rushed from all around to behold Mahaprabhu and chanted the holy names of Hari in ecstasy.

Sri Sanatana Goswami had also visited Mahavana and over here he had attained the divine darsana of Madana Gopal who displayed His pastimes as a cowherd boy to Sanatana.

Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Balabhadra temple, Talavan (Tarsi), Mathura | Balarama kills Dhenukasura | Vraja Mandala

dauji balabhadra talavan vraja

About 5 Kilometers south of Maholi (Madhuvan) and 10 Kilometers south of Mathura, is situated the village of Tarsi, whose ancient name was Talavan. Over here are worshiped beautiful deities of Lord Balarama (Dauji) and Revati devi. Next to the temple lies ‘Balabhadra Kunda’, which is also sometimes referred to as ‘Sankarshana Kunda’. It was over here in the forest of Talavan that Lord Balarama had killed demon Dhenukasura and his ass-demon associates. The place was previously filled with tall ‘Tala’ trees (palm trees) during Dvapara yuga and the region had thus derived its name. Presently Tarsi is not a forest anymore, and only a few Tala trees remain scattered here and there. Some of these Tala trees can be found today within the precincts of the temple compound. Talavan has been widely glorified throughout the Vedic scriptures. Skanda Purana states –

Aho tala vanam punyam yatra talair hato surah
Hitaya yadavanam ca atma kridanakaya ca

Ah, the forest of Talavan is highly auspicious. It is here that a demon (Dhenukasura) was killed by being thrown on a Tala tree for the benefit of the yadavas and for the purpose of the Lord’s play.

The forest of Talavan has been described in Sri Hari Vamsa as follows –

sa tu desah samah snigdhah
su mahan Krishna mrittikah
darbha prayah sthuli bhuto
lostra pasana varjitah

The land there (in Talavan) is smooth, and very wide. The ground is black, densely covered with darbha grass, and devoid of rocks and stones.

Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Shatrughna temple & Lavanasura’s cave, Madhuvan (Maholi), Mathura | Vraja Mandala

shatrughna temple maholi mathura

There is a small temple in Maholi dedicated to Shatrughna, the younger brother of Lord Rama, and Shrutakirti, Shatrughna’s wife. Shatrughna, the youngest brother of Rama, was the son of Dasaratha and Sumitra. The deity in this temple dates back to Treta Yuga. It was installed by local brahmanas after Shatrughna conquered Lavanasura and other demons. The cave where Lavanasura used to live is not far from the Shatrughna temple. One needs to carry a torch light to see clearly inside the demon’s cave. The village of Maholi is situated about six Kilometers southwest of Mathura and about four Kilometers west of Naroli. Maholi was earlier known as Madhuvan. It is here at Madhuvan that the Supreme Lord has been manifesting His enchanting pastimes millennium after millennium.

Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Dhruva tila, Madhuvan (Maholi), Mathura | Dhruva Maharaja attains Dhruvaloka

dhruva tila narayana

‘Dhruva’ refers to Dhruva Maharaja and the word ‘tila’ translates to a small hill. ‘Dhruva tila’ is a small hill situated at the actual place where Dhruva Maharaja had performed severe austerities to please the Supreme Lord in Satya Yuga. Subsequently, he had attained the darshan of the Supreme Lord at this very place. The Supreme Lord appeared as Lord Prsnigarbha to bestow His blissful darshan to Dhruva Maharaja. There is a small temple built today at the hilltop. It is celebrated as the ‘Dhruva Narayana temple’ where deities of Lord Narayana, Dhruva Maharaja, Narada muni, Garuda, and Lakshmi Narayana are worshiped pompously. One needs to climb stairs to enter the temple precincts. Dhruva tila is situated in the village of Maholi. Maholi is situated about six Kilometers southwest of Mathura and about four Kilometers west of Naroli. The village of Maholi was earlier known as Madhuvan. It is here at Madhuvan that Krishna, the Supreme Lord, has been manifesting His enchanting pastimes millennium after millennium.

Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Potra Kunda, Mathura (Near Krishna Janmasthan) – where Krishna’s clothes were washed

krishna janmabhoomi janmasthan potra kund

On the southeast of the Krishna Janmasthan temple in Mathura is a large and deep stepped water tank known as Potra Kunda or Pavitra Kunda. The word ‘Potra’ means clothes and the word ‘Pavitra’ means sacred. Sri Vasudeva and Devaki used to bathe here during their time in Kansa’s prison. It is said that mother Devaki’s clothes were cleaned in this Kunda after the birth of her children. This is also said to be the place where Krishna’s baby clothes were washed by mother Devaki.

krishna janmabhoomi janmasthan potra kund

This place is a few hundred meters walk from the Krishna Janmbhoomi (Krishna janmasthan) temple. Mahadji Scindia had later constructed the tank stairs and his descendants had repaired them. The tank is connected via underground pipelines to river Yamuna which flows about 3 Kms away. The water from Potra Kunda is believed to cleanse one of his/her sins. That is why it is particularly crowded during festivals and other holy occasions.

How to Reach :

Potra Kunda is situated near Deeg Marg, Near Deeg Gate Chauraha in Mathura. It is located 2 Kms from the Mathura railway station. It is a few hundred meters walk from the birthplace of Sri Krishna. The place is very well connected via road and railways.

potra Kunda krishna janmasthan mathura

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Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Krishna Janmasthan temple (Krishna Janmbhoomi), Mathura | Lord Krishna’s birthplace

krishna janmabhoomi janmasthan temple

The foremost pilgrimage site of Mathura is the ‘Krishna Janmbhoomi temple’ or ‘Sri Krishna Janmasthan temple’ as it is sometimes referred to. It is built around the prison cell where Lord Krishna was born five thousand years ago. Krishna’s parents Devaki and Vasudeva were imprisoned in this cell by Kansa, the tyrannical brother of Devaki. The temple is said to have been originally built by Vajranabh, Krishna’s great-grandson, to commemorate the appearance of Sri Krishna. But it was later demolished by the invaders. Since then, the temple has been rebuilt and demolished numerous times over the past centuries. The present group of temples is a result of a major renovation project carried out in the 20th century. The temple compound comprises the impressive Keshava Deva temple, with the ‘garbha griha’ (sanctum sanctorum), and the Bhagavata Bhavan. Although the place might come across as ordinary to the casual eye, it is of paramount importance to a spiritual seeker. The birthplace of Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is completely spiritual and free from any traces of material contamination.

Categories
Mathura, Madhuvan & Talavan

Vishram Ghat, Mathura – where Krishna rested after killing Kansa

vishram ghat mathura

‘Vishrama Ghat’ or ‘Vishranti tirtha’ is one of the most exalted pilgrimage destinations of Vraja Mandala. It was here that Lord Krishna took rest after killing Kansa, His tyrannical maternal uncle. The word ‘Vishram’ literally translates to ‘rest’ and the word ‘Ghat’ refers to a river bank. Thus the name ‘Vishram Ghat’ came into existence after Lord Krishna rested at this place. Vishram Ghat is also the holy place where Lord Varahadeva rested after slaying the demon Hiranyaksha. Situated on the bank of Yamuna, Vishrama Ghat is a revered place of worship for devotees. The circumambulation of all the holy sites of Mathura starts and ends at Vishram Ghat. Vishram Ghat is lined with elegant temples, and some of the most important temples of Mathura including Mukut Temple, Radha-Damodar, Murli Manohar, Neelkantheshwar, Yamuna-Krishna, Langali Hanuman, and Narasimha deva temples are situated in its close vicinity.

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