According to scriptures, Radha Rani and gopis were once waiting to meet their beloved Krishna on the bank of Manasi Ganga. Since he did not come for a long time they started chanting the name of Harideva to invoke their lord. Touched by their love, Krishna appeared before them in the form of a lovely seven-year-old boy carrying the Govardhan Hill on his left hand and a flute in his right hand.
Gratified and pleased by this divine gesture, Radha Rani and gopis started coming daily at the site and singing devotional songs. It is also believed that the original Hardeva Temple was built by Krishna’s grandson.
The present Hardeva Temple was built by King Bhagwandas of Jaipur in the sixteenth century during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Devotees take a bath in the Manasi Ganga and perform Parikrama around the temple before entering the shrine to have the darshan of Lord Harideva and seek his blessings.
According to legends, after Lord Krishna killed a giant demon Asita, who appeared in the form of a bull, Radha, his consort, asked him to wash off his sins by taking a bath in a number of holy rivers.
Krishna laughed on hearing this request and stamped his foot on the place he was standing. All the rivers mentioned by Radha appeared and formed a kund - a waterbody. He took a bath in it. The pond came to be known as Shyam Kund.
Radha felt indignant at this kind of display of power by Krishna. She along with her friends (gopis), dug a pit in the earth with their bangles and filled it with water from Manasi Ganga. That was how Radha Kunda, a large lake, was formed near Govardhan.
Situated five kilometres from Govardhan, the revered kund draws huge crowds of devotees, especially during the months of October and November, when an annual fair is held to celebrate the event. People take a holy dip in the kund and wash off their sins.
Kusum Sarovar is a popular holy tank in Govardhan. Kusum means flower. The tank drew its name from the flowers that grew profusely around it. It is believed that gopis or milkmaids used to pick flowers from this place and waited for their beloved Lord Krishna, so they could offer them to him.
Situated just about half an hour walk from another holy pond, Radha Kund, Kusum Sarovar is 450 feet long and 60 feet deep.
It is surrounded by flights of steps on all its sides. Since Kadamba was the favourite tree of Lord Krishna, the embankment of the pond is covered with dense growth of Kadamba trees.
The groves also house a cenotaph of the members of an ancient royal family. There are several small temples and ashrams close to the tank. The area attracts large crowds of devotees in the evenings. They come here to participate in the aartis and prayers amidst the tranquil surroundings.
A masonry tank, built by Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh, called Mansi Ganga Tank is located in the centre of Govardhan town. The word mansi means mind.
According to a legend, Nand and Jasoda, the foster parents of Krishna wanted to take a holy dip in river Ganga. Since it was located far away, the residents of Brij did not want them to leave Vrindavan and go there.
They, however, wished that Mother Ganga could somehow come to their place. When Krishna heard about their desire, he brought Ganga to Govardhan with the power of his mind. The tank is, therefore, called Mansi Ganga. When Nand, Yasoda and other Brijwasi went to take a bath in the river, they also saw Mother Ganga riding her crocodile carrier.
It is believed that a dip in the holy Mansi Ganga brings in million times more spiritual merit in the form of the love of Shri Krishna. The parikrama around Govardhan starts and ends with a dip in Mansi Ganga.