On arrival at New Delhi International Airport you will be met by our representative and assisted to the designated coach/car booked.
Transfer to Vrindavan and check-in at selected hotel.
Vrindavan is a city known for its exceptional religious glory, and is considered to be a holy place by all traditions of Hinduism. Surrounded on three sides by the sacred waters of River Yamuna, Vrindavan almost assumes the appearance of a peninsula. Many who come here are devotionally attached to the divine loving pastimes of Radha and Krishna. It is perhaps the most revered of the twelve forests of Braj. The major tradition followed in Vrindavan is Vaisnavism, and it is thus an important centre of learning for Vaishnavas. It is believed that the essence of Vrindavan was lost over time, until the 16th Century when it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The ancient name of the city, Brindavan, comes from its groves of “Brinda” (Holy Basil or Tulasi) with “Vana” meaning a grove or a forest in the Sanskrit language.
In the last 250 years, the extensive forests here have been subjected to urbanization, first by local rajas, and in recent decades by apartment-developers. The forest and wildlife cover has been whittled away, and now only a few spots remain.
Later in the evening, visit Prem Mandir for a Musical Fountain Light Showat 19:00, and aarti (worship ceremony) at 20:00.
The Prem Mandir exhibits a stunning combination of modern and ancient times. The influence of South Indian culture and craftsmanship can be seen in the temple architecture, which has magnificent carvings on the inside and outside walls. In the evening, hundreds of people enjoy the colours and freshness of dancing waters in the Musical Fountain – Light & Sound Show. The twists and twirls of the fountains will introduce the visitors to the traditional ragas: the musical notes that make up the blissful kirtans that are the choirs of Radha and Krishna. A video image of the whole kirtan sometimes appears on a "screen" of water.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Post breakfast, go for a morning sightseeing tour of Vrindavan, visiting Nidhuvan, Seva Kunj, Radha Damodar Temple, Imli Tala Temple and the Madan Mohan Temple.
Nidhuvan is one of the most significant and popular temples of Vrindavan. It is also called Madhuvan, and is also one of the main forests associated with Shree Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. In the 15th Century, Swami Haridas, a great Krishna devotee, started living here. As a result of Swami Haridas’s hard penance and spiritual aspiration, Krishna not only came in his dreams but also appeared as Banki Bihari near Vishakha Kund, in Nidhuvan. This pond is said to have been created by Shree Krishna, using his flute. There is a samadhi (shrine) of Swami Haridas there. Also see the Sacred Well of Radharani and the Appearance Place of Banki Bihari.
Seva Kunj is a van (forest), with a temple dedicated to Shree Radha and Krishna. This sacred place is known as Seva Kunj because it is believed Shree Krishna did seva (service) for Shree Radha here. The walls are decorated with pastimes. Every evening after aarti (worship), everyone leaves Seva Kunj; no one is allowed to stay there after dusk, as it is believed that Shree Radha and Krishna come here each evening.
Imli Tala means tamarind tree. There is an old tamarind tree at this site which is associated with Shree Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would visit this place daily, coming from Akrura ghat, to sit beneath the tree on the banks of the Yamuna River. The old tamarind tree died in the early 19th Century; now a branch of that tree grows here.
The Radha Damodar Temple is located at Seva Kunj, and was established in 1542 by Sanatan Goswami’s nephew, Shreela Jiva Goswami. There is a Govardhana-Sheela (sacred stone from Govardhana Hill) in this temple, called Giri Raj Charan Shila, with Shree Krishna’s footprint on it. Krishna himself gave this to Sanatan Goswami. The meditation place of A. C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada is also in this temple.
The Madan Mohan Temple is located near Kali Ghat, and was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. This is the oldest temple in Vrindavan, and is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The original figure (deity) of Madan Mohan was shifted from the shrine to Karauli in Rajasthan for safe-keeping during the tyrant Aurangzeb's intolerant rule.
Afternoon at leisure and overnight stay at the hotel.
Post breakfast, enjoy a half-day trip to Gokul, visiting the 5000-year-old Nanda Bhavan. This is the residence of Nanda Maharaj, Krishna’s father. Located on the hilltop called Nanda Tila, Nanda Bhavan is said to have been built by the heavenly architect Vishvakarma. This site is also known as Chaurasi Khamba, a name referring to its 84 pillars. These pillars divide the hall into four corridors, with five rows of 16 pillars each. The external pillars are made out of massive shafts ornamented with two horizontal carved bands, while the pillars of the inner corridors are varied in their design. Some are quite plain in nature, while others are richly ornamented with exuberant and beautiful art. It is said that these pillars are still in the same condition as they were during Krishna’s time. In this house, Krishna-Balaram performed many childhood pastimes, such as their name giving ceremony in the cowshed nearby, Krishna’s killing of Putana, Shakatasura and Trinavarta, and the deliverance of Nalakuvera and Manigriva. Here, Krishna and Balaram began to crawl, and it is here that Yashoda mayi bound Krishna with ropes.
Afterwards return to Vrindavan, afternoon at leisure.
Later in the evening, enjoy a boat ride on the River Yamuna, to observe the beautiful sunset and the Yamuna aarti (worship) by Keshi Ghat.
Keshi Ghat is one of the most beautiful ghats (riverside areas) of the Yamuna, featuring palaces made of stone. Here, the sacred River Yamuna flows graciously. This ghat (series of steps leading down to a water body) is named after the pastime of Lord Krishna killing the demon Keshi. Every evening, an aarti is performed here, which further beautifies this ghat with the lamps’ glimmering lights.
Overnight stay at the Hotel.
Post breakfast, morning at leisure.
Later in the afternoon, proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour of Mathura, visiting Krishna Janmabhoomi, Government Museum, Kamsa’s Fort and Vishram Ghat.
Mathura is known for its cultural and religious heritage, which is evident in the city’s sites and temples. As per the Vedic scripture, the Garuda Purana, Mathura is one of seven main holy places in India.
Mathura is mentioned in the oldest Indian epic, the Ramayana. There, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slays a demon called Lavanasura, and then claims this land.
Afterwards, the place came to be known as Madhuvan, then Madhupura, and later Mathura. Mathura is at the centre of Braj, and has a great place in the history of India, due to being the birthplace of the Supreme God Krishna.
Krishna Janmabhoomi (Krishna’s birthplace) is also known as the Katra Keshav Dev Temple. It is said to be the birthplace of the God Krishna, being built over the same prison cell where Krishna was born around 5000 years ago. It’s believed that the first temple was built on this site by Vajranabh (the great grandson of Shree Krishna) shortly after Krishna’s disappearance. According to legends and history, this temple was destroyed by many Muslim rulers. Mughal ruler Aurangzeb ordered its destruction and the construction of a mosque (current day Jami Masjid) on a part of the former temple area.
The Government Museum of Mathura houses an excellent collection of sculptures belonging to ancient Mathura. Founded by Sir F.S. Growse in 1874, the Government Museum of Mathura, also called the Mathura Museum, is considered one of India’s leading centres for the research, study and preservation of Indian heritage.
Kamsa’s fort is located on the northern bank of the River Yamuna. 5000 years ago, the despotic Kamsa ruled from here. During Mughal times, this fort was reconstructed by the Rajput King of Jaipur, Man Singh. The Hindu general of the Mughal emperor Akbar made this his occasional residence. Later on, between 1699 and 1743, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur, who had a keen interest in astronomy, built an observatory at the top of this fort, with instruments of his own invention. He built it on a large scale to achieve precision and accuracy. He built similar observatories at Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain and Banaras. He was so accurate in his measurements that he was even able to detect errors in the tables of De la Hire, which were communicated to him by the King of Portugal. He completed his tables in 1728, and they are still referred to by native astronomers.
Vishram Ghat: Legend says that Krishna took rest here after killing Kamsa. Enjoy a boat ride from Vishram Ghat, seeing other ghats in the Yamuna, as well as temples and the city. The aarti held at Vishram Ghat is not to be missed; little oil lamps are floated on the river, which reflect myriad iridescent lights on the placid waters. Devotees from across the world light lamps and float them here. It is a striking sight to see thousands of devotees offering prayers.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Post breakfast, set off for a half-day sightseeing tour of Manasi Ganga, Govardhan Hill, Radha Kund and Shyam Kund.
Manasi Ganga is the largest lake (kund) in the central part of Govardhan village. Krishna manifested Manasi Ganga from his mind (manasi) for the pleasure of his parents, Nanda and Yashoda, after he learned of their desire to bathe in the River Ganga. The waters of Manasi Ganga are considered non-different from those of the holy River Ganga. The pilgrims’ sacred circumambulation (parikram) of Govardhan Hill beings and ends here.
Enjoy a boat ride on Manasi Ganga.
Govardhan Hill was lifted by Lord Krishna on the tip of his little finger to protect the people of Braj from Indra’s anger. It’s said that when all the people of Braj, with the consent of Krishna, prayed to Govardhan instead of Indra, Indra became furious. In a rage, he ordered his servants to destroy the whole area of Braj with heavy storms and rainfall. This inundation washed away their fields and houses. Looking at the miserable condition of his people, Krishna took the form of Girivaradhari; he lifted the massive hill of Govardhan on his little finger, and urged all the villagers to take shelter under that hill.
According to the scripture called the Garga Samhita, due to the curse of Pulastya Muni, Govardhan Hill is sinking every day into the ground, by increments of one mustard seed. By the end of this age (kali-yuga) it will have disappeared completely. This fact has also been proven geologically. This Govardhan Hill, which is 8km long, is greatly revered by devotees of Radha and Krishna.
Afterwards, drive to Radha Kund and Shyam Kund, visiting Nard Kund and Kusum Sarovar on the way.
Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are considered to be the holiest places associated with Radha and Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. Radha Kund is considered to be the transcendental liquid form of Shree Radha, and Shyam Kund the transcendental liquid form of Krishna. About 4800 years ago, King Vajranabh excavated both Radha Kund and Shyam Kund, and built ghats on their banks. But during the course of time, both these ponds disappeared. In the 16th Century, Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his disciples excavated these kunds.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
After breakfast, day at leisure.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
In the early morning, depart for a full-day sightseeing tour of Barsana and Nandagaon.
Barsana is the place where Shree Radharani, the eternal beloved of Lord Krishna, enjoyed her transcendental pastimes along with her friends and parents. Barsana is also known as Vrishabhanupura, after the name of its founder, Vrishabhanu Maharaj, the father of Goddess Radha. Barsana is located at the slope of a hill divided into two parts. The larger hill, which is white in colour, is Brahma Hill, and the other one, which is black in colour and slightly smaller, is the Vishnu Hill. The four peaks of these hills – Bhangarh, Maangarh, Daangarh and Vilasgarh – represent the four heads of Brahma.
On arrival in Barsana, start the circumambulation (parikrama) from Bhangarh Shiriji Temple, visiting Pilli Pokhar, Maangarh, Daangarh & Vilasgarh.
Atop Bhangarh is the famous temple of Shriji or Radharani Ji. This deity of Shriji was originally established by Vajranabh some 5000 years ago. At the foot of the steps leading to Shriji’s Temple is the Palace of Vrishabhanu Maharaj, which is strongly connected with Shree Radhika’s pastimes.
Pili Pokhar is also known as Priya Kund. Pili means “Yellow Colour”. It is said that once Shree Radharani washed her turmeric-paste-coated hands in the water of this pond, and its colour turned yellow; thus it was named Pili Pokhar.
Atop Maangarh is the Maan Mandir, where Shrimati Radharani would go to be in seclusion to please Shree Krishna through her pastime of anger. Within this temple, there is a small tunnel leading to a dark chamber, said to be the place where Radharani would go and sit in a sulky mood.
Daangarh is the peak where the pastimes of charity and tax collection were performed.
Atop Vishnu Hill lies the Vilasgarh Temple. Vilasa means “enjoying pastimes” and garh means “a private place”. It is an important place associated with Shree Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. This place is closely linked with Krishna’s dalliances with the gopis (milkmaids) and particularly Radharani.
Afterward, reume journey to Nandagaon.
On arrival in Nandagaon, start a walking tour, visiting Nanda Baba’s Temple and Pavana Sarovar.
Nandagaon was the home of Shree Krishna's foster father, Nanda Baba, and Krishna lived here with his foster parents. On top of the hill is the spacious temple of Nanda Baba, which was built by the Jat ruler, Roop Singh.
Pavana Sarovar is located at the bottom of Nandisvara Hill. Mother Yashoda used to bathe Krishna here. This is said to be one of Shree Krishna's favourite lakes.
Later in the afternoon, drive back to Vrindavan. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Post breakfast, day at leisure.
Later in the evening, visit Rang Ji Temple, built in 1851 and dedicated to Shree Rang ji, the special form of Lord Vishnu resting on the loops of Shesh Nag. The name Rangaji is influenced by Ramanuja, founder of the Shree Sampradaya. The temple was built in Dravidian (South Indian) style, under the guidance and instructions of the great Sanskrit scholar Swami Rangacharya. The temple has a traditional South Indian gopuram (gateway), a Rajput-styled (architectural style prevailing in the present Indian state of Rajasthan) entrance gate, and an Italian-influenced colonnade. One of the enclosures, within the precincts of this magnificent temple, has a 15-metres-high pillar made of gold.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
After an early breakfast, check-out and depart for New Delhi International Airport/Railway Station, or any convenient point, for your onward journey.
The Banki Bihari Temple was built in 1862 and is one of the most popular temples in Vrindavan. The Idol of Bihariji was installed in the Shree Banki Bihari Mandir. This temple was granted to Swami Haridas by the celestial couple Shree Radha and Krishna. Surrendering to the desire of his devotees, Krishna appeared in person with his divine consort Radha, and left behind a black, charming statue (deity) before disappearing. In the Braj language, banki means "bent in three places" and bihari means "supreme enjoyer".
The Shah Ji Temple is also known as the ‘twisted pillars temple’, because the pillars in this temple are made of beautiful white twisted marble. This temple was built in 1835 by the two brothers Shah Kundan Lall and Shah Fundan Lall. It also holds the very impressive Durbar Hall of Radha-Raman, also called the Vasanti Kamra. This hall is also known as the yellow room, because of its yellow decor. The hall has beautiful Belgium chandeliers, and it is opened only twice a year: for two days during the Vasant Panchami festival, and for two days before Balaram’s Appearance Day, during the Jhulan Yatra swing festival.
Interesting Fact about Shahji Temple
When the founders of this temple died, they did not want anyone to carry their bodies on their shoulders, so they arranged that their bodies were dragged through the dust of Vrindavan. They also did not want their bodies burned, because the smoke of the burning bodies would leave the Braj area. Also, if their ashes were thrown in the Yamuna, they would eventually be carried by her waters out of Braj. The samadhis (shrines) of the two brothers who established this temple are on either side of the temple, near the entrance. These two brothers had pictures of themselves engraved on the floor of the temple, also near the entrance. This was so people would walk on them when they entered the temple, thus sprinkling the dust of Vrindavan on them.
The Govinda Ji Temple was once a magnificent seven-storey structure built in the form of a Greek cross. It is said that the Emperor Akbar donated some of the red sandstone – which had been brought for the Red Fort at Agra – for the construction of this temple. Built at the astronomical cost of one crore rupees in 1590 by his general Raja Man Singh, the temple combines western, Hindu and Muslim architectural elements. It was destroyed by the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
The Dwarkadhish Temple is located in central Mathura, and was constructed in 1814. The temple building is enclosed by a beautifully carved small gateway with a series of steep steps leading from the street to the temple courtyard. Inside the courtyard is a raised plinth which is supported by a triple row of richly carved pillars. It also has a beautifully painted ceiling which gives an internal effect much like an Egyptian tomb. Presently, the temple is managed by the followers of the Vallabhacharya sect (to which its founder belonged). The main temple has the black marble deity of Shree Dwarkanath (King of Dwarka) along with a white marble deity of Shree Radharani.