Holy places everywhere are ment for purifying the conciousness of the visitor. A place is made particularly holy by the presence of the Lord and His pure devotees.
For Gaudiya Vaishnavas the major places of pilgrimage are vrindavan, Mayapur, and Jagannatha Puri. Vrindavan is the site of Lord Krishna’s Pastimes, while Mayapur and Puri are the sites of Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes.
A visit to a holy place doesn’t only mean taking a bath in a sacred river or visiting temples. According to Srila Prabhupada, if one visits a holy place, he should search out the devotees residing there, take lessons from them and try to apply such instruction in practical life. Krishna is always present with His devotees and by there presence any place can become the place of pilgrimage. For this reason, the places where Srila Prabhupada visited are also considered places of pilgrimage.
Vrindavan and Mathura, 135 Km south of Delhi, are the most important places of pilgrimage for devotess of krishna. Krishna was born in Mathura and spent His childhood in vrindavan. There are over 5,000 temples in Vrindavan, and it is not possible to visit all of them, but there are seven major temples that Gaudia Vaishnavas visit when they come to Vrindavan.
The Yamuna river flows through Vrindavan and Mathura. It is the most sacred river in India as it is so intimately connected with Krishna’s pastimes.Situated on the banks of the yamuna is the keshi Ghat. where Krishna killed the keshi demon and saved his friends.one who bathes there gets the benediction of bathing in all of the holy places.
Sri Sri Radha Govindaji Mandir.
Built in 1590 by Mahatraja Man Singh for the original Govindaji Deity discoverd by Srila Rupa Goswami.Govindaji was removed from this temple and reinstalled in jaipur when the muslim Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed part of the temple in 1670. As this temple was partially destroyed, worship is now carried on in the new Govindaji Mandir located the original temple.
Sri Sri RadhaMadan Mohan Mandir
Sanatana Goswami discovered the Deity of Madan Mohan. ram das Kapoor, a merchant who becomes his disciples, donated the funds for this mandir in 1580. When the muslims attacked in 1670. the original Deities were moved to jaipur, and later to Karoli. Worship is done in the new Madan Mohan Mandir to the replacement Madan Mohan Deity (Pratibhu Murti) The Bhajan Kutir of Sanatan Goswami, together with the puspa-samadhis of chandrashekara Acarya and Tapana Misra, are also nearby.
Sri Sri Radha Raman Mandir
The deity of sri Radha-Raman (One of the few original deities still left in vrindavan) was worshiped by Srila Gopal Bhatta das Goswami. The deity manifested from one of the goswami’s Shaligram-Shilas in 1542. Gopal Bhatta also braught Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Kaupina (cloth) and asana (seat) back from puri. These can be seen three to four times a year. Gopal Bhatta’s Samadhi is located in the temple compound. The fires of cooking in the temple kitchen have been continuosly since the deity worship began over 435 years ago.
Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda Mandir
There are Radha-Vinod deities of Loknath Goswami, the Radha-Gokulananda Deities of Vishvanath Chakravarti, the chaitanya Mahaprabhu Deity of Narottama Dasa Thakur, the vijaya Govinda Deities of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and the Goverdhan-Shila given to Raghunath dasa Goswami by sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Also Samadhis of Srila Loknath Goswami, Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, and Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura lie there.
Seva Kunja and Nidhuban
Seva Kunja and Nidhuban are gardens where Krishna performed many of his pastimes.
Seva Kunja surrounds the temple of Srimati Radharani. There Krishna would massage Radharani’s feet and decorate her hairs with flowers. Tday that place is surrounded by temples. The Seva Kunja road leads to Jiva Goswmai’s Radha Damodar Temple and Srila Syamananda Goswami’s Radha Syamasundar temple.Nidhuban is near Radharaman Mandir.Swami Haridas discovered Bankey Bihari Mandir at Nidhuban.
Sri Gopeshvara Mahadeva Mandir
That temple is the oldest temple in vrindavan. Gopisvara Mahadev is lord Shiva who come to vrindavan to become a gopi of krishna. There Vrinda Devi blessed Lord Shiva and allowed him to enter rasa dance of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna then offered Lord Shiva the guardianship of the Rasa Lila, and placed him at the entrance of the mandir. Ever Since, all the Vaisnavas pray first for Lord Shiva’s Mercy to become a Servant of the Servant of gopis. Vrajnabha, the great grandson of Krishna, installed the Shiva-linga in that temple.
Sri Chaitnaya Mahaprabhu’s Imlitala
The Sacred Imlitala is where Srila Sanatana Goswmai estaiblished the worship of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. Chaitanya Majaraprabhu used to sit daily under the Imli Tala. A Deity of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is installed under the tree.
Sri Sri Radha Damodara
This Temple includes the Deities of Radha Damodara. worshpped by Srila Jiva Goswami, the deities of Vrindvaan Chandra of Krishna Kaviraj Goswami, Radha-Madhava of Jaydeva Goswami, and Radha-Chalacikana of Bhugarbha Goswmai. The Samadhis of Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami and Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraj Goswami lie here.
For six years from 1959 to 1965, Srila Prabhupada lived there and translated the first three cantos of the Srimad-Bhagavatam before starting his journey to America.
Bankey Bihari Mandir
Established in 1864 by Swami Haridas, this temple is one of the most popular temples in Vrindavan, especially during jhulan Yatra, the swnig festival in the month of Shravan (July/August)