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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Kokilavan Shani Mandir (Shani dham temple)

kokilavan shani mandir temple

Kokilavan is situated three miles north of Nandgaon and one mile to the west of Yavat. To the west of Yavat, is a forest where many cuckoos would sing. Once Krishna entered the forest and made the sound of cuckoos to send a call to His beloved Radharani. Reciprocating to Krishna’s sound, thousands of other cuckoos began cooing, creating a huge ruckus. When Jatila (Radha’s mother-in-law) heard the sounds, she became very curious. Jatila asked Vishaka if she had heard anything like that before. Vishaka sought permission from Jatila so that she and Radharani could go to the forest and find out more. In this way, Radha entered the forest with her sakhis where she was able to meet with Krishna and enjoy unlimitedly. This forest is hence also known as ‘Kokilavan’ as it was here that Krishna made sounds of a Kokila bird (cuckoo) to send signals to Radharani. In this forest of Kokilavan is situated a magnificent temple of Lord Shani deva, which is also renowned as ‘Kokilavan Shani Mandir’.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Prem Sarovar, Barsana – Lake of Radha and Krishna’s tears

prema sarovar barsana prem

Prem Sarovar (Prem – Love, Sarovar – Lake) is a lake of love and tears situated near Barsana, close to the village of Gajipur. In Bhakti Ratnakara it is stated –

Ei ‘Prem Sarovar’ dekho Srinivasa
Etha Prema Vaichittya bhaver prakash
(Bhakti Ratnakara)

O Srinivasa, behold Prem Sarovar, where the ‘Prema Vaichittya bhava’ was manifested.

This place was previously laden with Kadamba trees. Once Sri Lalita devi brought Radharani to where Prem Sarovar is now situated. Sri Krishna also arrived along with Madhumangala. Radha and Krishna, the divine couple, were then seated on a golden throne. When both were engrossed in conversing and relishing each other’s association, a honey bee (Madhu Makkhi) began hovering around Radhika’s ear. This disturbed Radharani a bit, and hence Krishna asked Madhumangala to drive it away. Madhumangala obliged and after chasing away the honey bee, he shouted, ‘Madhu has gone away’. Madhumangala was referring to Madhu-makkhi (honey bee) but Radharani took it as a reference to Madhusudana (Krishna). 

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Nand Bhavan Nandgaon – Nanda Maharaja’s palace | Nand Mahal – History

nand bhavan mahal nandgaon nanda maharaja

Nand Bhavan was the abode of Nanda Maharaja (Krishna’s father) in Nandgaon. Nandgaon is situated about 50 Kilometers from Mathura and takes about an hour to reach. Nand Bhavan is the most famous pilgrimage destination of Nandgaon and is visited by thousands of people each year. While residing in Gokul, demons like Putana, Trinavarta, and Satakasura tried to harm Krishna. Hence Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd community decided to shift elsewhere. After leaving Gokul Mahavan, Nanda maharaja and his cowherd community initially moved to the Chhatikara village. They subsequently moved to Kamyavan (Kaman), and other places before settling down at Nandgaon. Nanda Maharaja had built his palace on top of the Nandisvara hill, to protect little Krishna from the demons sent by Kansa. Nandisvara hill (meaning the Lord of Nandi) is believed to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Long ago, Shiva had performed severe penances desiring to witness the childhood pastimes of Krishna. Being pleased, Lord Krishna instructed him to manifest himself as a hill at Nandgaon. Accordingly, Shiva manifested himself as the Nandisvara hill and Lord Krishna performed His sweet pastimes upon this hill to fulfill the desires of His dear devotee. Krishna was six years and eight months old when He came to Nandgaon and lived here till he was ten years and seven months old, after which He left for Mathura.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Pavan Sarovar, Nandgaon – History and Pastimes

pavan sarovar nandgaon

Pavan Sarovar is a small lake situated to the north of Nandgaon. It had been constructed by Pavan Gopa, father of Vishakha (one of the eight principal Gopis of Vrindavan), and hence it is named so. Pavan sarovar lies adjacent to the highway that leads to Kamyavan (Kaman). It is believed that Krishna used to bring His cows here to drink water while returning them from grazing. Krishna used to bathe and enjoy water sports with His friends, here at Pavan Sarovar. The Gopis who would come to this lake on the pretext of fetching clear water, would often exchange glances and meet with their beloved Krishna. This is confirmed in Vraja-Vilasa-stava, wherein Srila Raghunath das Goswami writes –

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Rupa Goswami Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Ter Kadamba, Nandgaon – History and Pastimes

Ter Kadamba nandgaon

Ter Kadamba, situated midway between Yavat and Nandgaon, is one of the most notable sites of Vraja Mandala. Here, a small temple has been constructed in the midst of a group of Kadamba trees (burflower trees). This is also a place of Krishna’s rasa Leela and hence a platform has been constructed to commemorate this pastime. It is believed that Krishna used to bring His cows to graze at this place. Later when it was time to return home, He used to climb up on the Kadamba tree and play on His flute. Hearing Him play, the cows would immediately return. Krishna would then count each cow on His jeweled necklace before departing for Nandgaon. Sometimes, under the gentle light of a full moon, Krishna would climb this tree and play upon His flute to call upon His sakhis. Radha and the other gopis would then leave their homes to respond to the call of their beloved. The surrendered Gopis would then engage in Rasa dance with Krishna. Since Krishna climbed upon the Kadamba tree and played His flute to call (ter) the cows and gopis, this place is known as Ter-Kadamba.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon Gaudiya Vaishnavism - An overview

Vrinda Devi Temple and Vrinda Kunda, Nandgaon – History

vrinda devi temple kunda nandgaon

The forest of Vrindavan derives its name from Srimati Vrinda devi. Tulasi is an expansion of Vrinda devi. Tulasi, Govardhan, and Yamuna are eternally present in the spiritual world. They manifest themselves in this material world only to purify the living entities and bestow upon them the pure love of God. In a previous age, Vrinda, born as the daughter of King Kedera, had executed severe austerities in the forest of Vrindavan. She had performed penances for sixty thousand years. After sanctifying Vrindavan, she attained the spiritual abode. Being pleased with her, Lord Vishnu had granted the boon that any austerities performed in Vrindavan would fructify quickly and beget excellent results. Tulasi, an expansion of Vrinda devi, later appeared as the daughter of King Kusadhvaja and also perfected herself after executing severe penances in Vrindavan. Tulasi, who always serves Lord Krishna’s lotus feet, is very dear to Him. Krishna does not accept any offering without a Tulasi leaf. Vrinda devi perpetually resides in Vrindavan and is also a friend of Radharani. She possesses a beautiful molten gold complexion, wears bluish garments, and adorns herself with pearls and flowers. Her father is Chandrabhanu and her mother is Phullara devi. She is married to Mahipala Gopa and her sister’s name is Manjari. On the instructions of Paurnamasi (Yogmaya devi), Vrinda devi always yearns to arrange meetings between Radha and Krishna.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon more

Yavat (Javat) – Radharani’s In laws’ house | Jatila ki Haveli

yavat javat radharani jatila kutila abhimanyu

‘Yavat’ or ‘Javat’ is a small village located to the north of the Nandisvara hills. It is about a 10 minutes drive from Nandgaon. Radha and Krishna have performed their innumerable confidential pastimes here at Yavat. This is where Radharani used to stay with her in-laws after her marriage. She used to live here with her husband Abhimanyu, mother-in-law Jatila, and sister-in-law Kutila. 

Ohe Srinivas ara ei ramya-sthan
Ei dekho yao-gram ‘yavat’ akhyan
Yavat gramete vilaser sthan yata
Se ati ascharya taha ke kahibe kata
(Bhakti Ratnakara)

O Srinivasa, behold this enchanting Yao village also known as ‘Yavat’. The innumerable pastime places of Yavat are wonderful and beyond one’s descriptive ability.

Radha was married to Abhimanyu on the advice of Paurnamasi devi (Yogmaya). It must be noted that Radha and Krishna are intrinsically one and cannot be separated. They are one who have manifested themselves into two, solely to enjoy their sweet pastimes. Hence, it was only to introduce Parakiya bhava (relationship outside marriage), that Radha got married to Abhimanyu. Relationship with Krishna in Parakiya bhava (love outside marriage) is far more spiritually advanced and intense than Svakiya bhava (love within the institution of marriage), as it requires overcoming countless obstacles to defend and nourish one’s love. However, it must be remembered that this ‘Parakiya rasa’ belongs to the spiritual world and should not be imitated in this material world. In other words, ‘Parakiya bhava’ can only be relished when Krishna is the center of the relationship.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon

Radha Kushal Bihari temple, Barsana (Jaipur temple)

Radha Kushal Bihari temple Barsana

Radha Kushal Bihari is a majestic temple situated at a distance of approximately 800 meters from Shriji temple Barsana. Sri Radha Kushal Bihari temple was established by King Madho Singh Rao of Jaipur. He and his wife were devoted to Radha and Krishna. Located atop the Brahmagiri Parvat in Barsana, the almond-colored facade of Radha Kushal Bihari temple rises gracefully amidst the thick vegetation of Gahvar Van (a forest where Radharani would relax along with her friends).

Radha Kushal Bihari temple Barsana

The King had named the temple after his queen Sri Kushal Kanwarji who he loved fondly. The local people generally refer to it as the ‘Jaipur temple’, since it was built by the King of Jaipur. All the rituals and other traditions are conducted in this temple by the devotees of the Nimbarka Sampradaya (one of the four bonafide Vaishnava Sampradayas). 

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon Radha Krishna

Maan Mandir (Maan Garh), Barsana – where Krishna pacified Radha’s pique

maan mandir barsana radha krishna

Maan Mandir is a captivating temple situated atop Maan Garh, one of the peaks of the Brahmagiri hills, in Barsana. Here Krishna is lovingly worshiped as Sri Radha Maan Bihari jiu. Padma Purana states that Lord Brahma had previously performed severe austerities with the desire to witness the pastimes of Radha and Krishna and obtain the dust of their lotus feet upon his head. Being pleased with Brahma, Krishna granted him the boon to manifest himself as mountains here at Barsana. As a result, this mountain is also known as Brahmagiri. Brahmagiri has four different peaks representing the four heads of Lord Brahma. There is a second hill situated right next to Brahmagiri known as Vilasa Parvata or Vishnu Parvata which is considered to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. The four peaks of these hills are – Bhangarh, Maangarh, Danagarh, and Vilasgarh.

maan mandir barsana radha krishna

Maan Garh is where Srimati Radharani manifested her ‘Maan’ or lover’s pique and was subsequently appeased by Krishna, with the help of Radhika’s friends. These pastimes should never be mistaken for ordinary lovers’ quarrels. One who attends these pastimes with faith achieves love for Radha and Krishna.

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Barsana, Yavat, Nandgaon Radha Krishna

Dana Garh, Barsana | Radha Dana Bihari temple

dana garh dana bihari barsana

One of the four peaks of Brahmagiri Parvata in Barsana is Dana garh where Krishna’s Dana Leela pastimes had taken place. Everyday here at Dana garh, Krishna and His friends would try to extract taxes from the gopis. There is a beautiful temple of Sri Radha and Krishna built on top of this hill to commemorate this exalted pastime. Sri Krishna is lovingly worshiped here as Sri Dana Bihari jiu. On the pretext of carrying milk, butter, ghee, etc for worshiping the sun god, the gopis headed by Sri Radharani would pass through Dana garh everyday. And, every day, Krishna along with His cowherd friends would intercept the Gopis on their way. Acting as the tax collector, Krishna would then demand taxes in the form of milk products, before allowing the Gopis through.

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