| Travel Guide |
What to do in Gokul and Barsana
So my Wednesday this week started by getting up at 4.30 am and getting ready for a family Road trip, that we had planned last night, to Gokul and Vrindavan. Gokul is a small municipality in Mathura, a religious place for Hindu’s, a place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. Gokul is pretty untouched as compared to Vrindavan. So our first stop in Gokul was a place called Raman Reti, whose sacred sands are linked to the stories of Lord Krishna’s childhood. This place also has a deer sanctuary and small cottages for saints who leave the worldly pleasures to lead a life of Asceticism. After visiting Raman Reti, drinking some fresh chach and feeding deer at the sanctuary we left for our next stop.
Lassi vendor in the bylanes of Gokul
Nand Mahal Mandir
The next stop was Nand Mahal, also known as the Krishna Balram Temple. This is the house where Krishna is said to have spent his childhood with his older brother Balram. This is a typical Indian style home with an Angan in the center that has an opening to the sky. The house was renovated and constructed later.
Once you cross the verandah, you enter the sheesh Mahal, where murals of Lord Krishna (from stories of Hindu Mythology) are made using mirror pieces. This place is home to Lord Krishna in his infant form, known as Ladoo Gopal, therefore standing and walking is not allowed in this temple, all the pilgrims have to walk using their feet and hands just like an infant does, to pay their respect to Ladoo Gopal.
The house is decorated with paintings and murals from the stories of Lord Krishna.
How to reach Gokul: it is a 2 and a half hour drive from Delhi through Yamuna Expressway. Take the exit before Toll no. 2
Our next stop was Barsana, known as the birth place of Radha. Barsana is situated at a distance of 61kms from Gokul.
Radha Rani Mahal Temple
The Radha Rani Temple is situated at the hilltop. It is the place where it is said that Radha was born and spent her childhood. There are 100 steps that one has to climb to reach the temple. It is a beautiful temple carved in pink sandstone and the view of the village from the temple is absolutely gorgeous (reminded me of the forts in Rajasthan). The temple opens at 11 am and closes at 2 pm after the Aarti and then opens again at 5 pm in the evening. After the aarti we had mahaprasadam at the temple.
View of the village from the temple.
Radha Kushal Bihari Temple
Radha Kushal Bihar Temple is situated about half a kilometer from Radha Rani Temple. It was built a Great King from Rajasthan who was a devotee of Lord Krishna. The architectural style of the temple is very similar to the City Palace of Jaipur. The king used to often visit the Radha Rani Temple with his family so he decided to build a magnificent temple for his Lord. The temple is made in an opulent style with typical Rajasthani style carvings in sandstone.
Hand-painted murals depicting stories from Lord Krishna’s life.
The sanctum for Krishna and Radha is built in the center because the king believed that Krishna should be the center of all the activities and he made small rooms are made around it, where the king and his family and his ministers used to stay during their visits. The statue of Radha was added when Radha appeared in the King’s dream and told him that it was her place and not Krishna’s.
Hand-carved pot in sandstone for the holy Tulsi plant.
Me standing in front of the rooms surrounding the central sanctum.
The grand entrance gate to the temple.
Temple Timings: Opens from 8 am to 12 pm in the morning
Opens from 4 pm in the evening
On our way back from Barsana, we made a stop at Vrindavan and visited the Tulsi Van and Banke Bihari Temple, however, I couldn’t take any pictures there because the monkeys literally snatch away anything and everything they see. Vrindavan is very commercialized and over-crowded as compared to Gokul and Barsana.
Fashion Tip: If you visiting these places in summer, wear something that is airy and breathable. I wore a cotton Kalamkari top, with green bandhani salvar and a Lehariya Dupatta and I carried a belt bag. Belt bags are so comfortable and easy to carry, all your cash and important stuff is in the front, where you can see it and you don’t have worry about losing your valuables.
Until Next Time
Also read: What to do when you have one day in Lucknow