Vrindavan is an ancient city, just a few kilometres away from Mathura. Vrindivan has been an important Hindu pilgrimage site since time immemorial. It is believed that Lord Krishna spent his early days in this amazing and beautiful city. For those who are interested in religious history, Vrindavan is the perfect place to go to. With its numerous temples and ancient history in every nook and cranny, Vrindavan is sure to be a fascinating experience to anyone who decides to visit. As a centre of worship for Lord Krishna, Vrindavan has many beautiful temples, dedicated to Lord Krishna and many other deities of Hinduism. Here are five temples you must visit during your trip to Vrindavan.
1. Govind Dev Temple
One of the oldest temples standing in Vrindavan is the Govind Dev Temple. Built by Raja Man Singh during 1590 with red sandstone donated by Emperor Akbar. Emperor Akbar donated the red sandstone that was left over from the construction of the Red Fort, intertwining them in history. The temple was plundered by Emperor Aurangzeb and now only three stories of the structure still stands. The temple has a unique architecture, incorporating Hindu, Muslim and Western architecture. The main hall has a beautifully sculpted lotus on the ceiling which is a sight to behold. This temple is sure to fascinate anyone who decides to visit.
2. Prem Mandir
Situated just outside Vrindavan, Prem Mandir is the The Temple of Divine Love. The Rasik Saint Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj gifted this beautiful temple complex to the city of Vrindavan. The temple complex takes up 54 acres of space. A perfect way to spend a weekend or a few hours during the evenings, the temple complex is an extremely peaceful and beautiful place. The temple is made with Italian Marble giving it a crisp white colour. The carvings are intricately done and some carvings have beautiful semi-precious stones adoring them. Most of the carvings were done by hand while some were done with advanced robots. The temple took twelve years to build and is surely a beautiful yet imposing sight for anyone who visits.
3. Uma Shakti Peet
Located inside the Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, the Uma Shakti Peet is said to be the second Shakti Peet in India. Shakti Peet is where one of the remains of the Goddess Shakti is said to have fallen. Legend has it that Sati, known as Shakti, was the wife of Lord Shiva. After she immolated herself when her father spoke ill of Shiva, Shiva went on a path of destruction. Only Lord Vishnu could stop him by cutting Sati up and having her remains fall over India. The places her remains have fallen have become Shakti Peets. Considering the immense value in Hindu lore and mythology this is a must visit for anyone visiting Vrindavan.
4. Banke Bihari Temple
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Banke Bihari temple is frequently visited by people who live in Vrindavan and is one of the most famous temples in the city. This temple is one of the seven important temples of the Thakur of Vrindavan. Krishna is said to be bent in three places, thus the name Banke Bihari which translates to ‘bent enjoyer’. The original temple is ancient, but the building you will be seeing was built during the 19th century. Many devotees come to this temple every day, and it is also frequented by many saints of Hinduism. This is one of the few temples that open later during the day at 9 compared to most temples starting prayer at 4 or 5, due to the fact that Banke Bihari spends the night sporting.
5. Madan Mohan Temple
One of the oldest temples in Vrindavan, Madan Mohan temple was established by Sanatana Gosvami. The original idol that was displayed was found by Advaita Acarya at the base of an old vata tree. While the devotee was doing his bhajana, which is singing songs about god, he found it just near where he was sitting. Ram Das Kapoor of Multan, a rich trader, paid for the temple after he prayed to Madan Mohan when one of his ships ran aground. After the prayer the ship was set free and made a big profit, which paid for the temple. With such an interesting history this is a great place to learn about the interesting lore behind this temple.
Vrindavan is an ancient and holy city, filled with so many temples it will take you a very long time to visit each and every one of them. Exploring these temples are sure to open your mind and help you learn more about the interesting mythology and lore of Hinduism and India.