The Rangji Temple is one of the few temples in Vrindavan that boasts of a superior Dravidian style of architecture. The temple was built in the year 1851 and showcases Lord Sri Ranganatha or Rangaji as its main deity. It has high walls, a 50 ft dwajasthamba and an imposing façade. Some of its features were designed and paid for by the infamous Seth family of Mathura.
This temple is one of the biggest in Vrindavan and also one of the few dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Rangaji is after all the personification of Lord Vishnu. Throngs of devotees visit the temple every day, especially during the ten-day Brahmotsava festival.
The Radha Raman Temple is a very famous ancient Hindu temple located in Vrindavan. It was built as early as 1542 and is considered to be one of Vrindavan’s most revered and sacred temples. The temple is a beautifully carved structure that pays tribute to early Indian art, culture and religion.
Built at the request of Gopala Bhatta Goswami, it took several years to be completed. The temple has over the years seen several modifications and refurbishments.
The Banke Bihari Temple located in Vrindavan is a Hindu temple built by Swami Haridas, who was the guru of the ancient singer Tansen. The temple is magnificently carved in Rajasthani style and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Banke literally means “bent in three places” while Bihari means “supreme enjoyer”.
As the name suggests, the main idol of Lord Krishna at the temple is also in a Banke position or the famous Tribhanga posture. A legend claims that a Hindu priest had hidden the statue of Lord Krishna underground during the Mughal conquest. It is said that Swami Haridas was passing through the spot and decided to rest at that particular place.
While there, he dreamt that Lord Krishna was asking him to release the statue. Swami Haridas then dug the place up, found the statue and built a temple for it. The temple is very sacred to the Hindus and every day attracts thousands of devotees.
The ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan, also known as the Sri Krishna Balaram Temple, was built in 1975. The temple is believed to be located at the exact place where Lord Krishna played with the other children some 5000 years ago. The temple is home to beautiful paintings that depict the life and teachings of Lord Krishna.
It is different from other temples in that people don’t just come here to pray but also to meditate and study the holy Hindu text, Bhagvad Geeta. Some devotees also take up part time work within the complex.
The temple itself has three main altars while the walls are decorated with beautiful carvings and paintings. More than the Indians, it attracts foreign visitors who come here to seek spiritual solace and enlightenment. Vedic knowledge here is also broadcast in English.
Vrindavan is considered to be the town where Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood. It is believed that it was on the Kesi Ghat that Lord Krishna fought the evil demon Keshi and saved his friends and the community from his evil designs.
Most demi-gods and locals were awe-struck at the remarkable strength that he displayed during the battle. It is little wonder that Kesi Ghat is considered to be a very sacred place for the Hindus. The ghat is dotted with several small temples.
As one of the last few remaining ghats in Vrindavan, the Kesi Ghat is a popular tourist destination and is also appreciated for its natural beauty. It is believed that people who take a purifying dip in the waters of the Yamuna at this ghat achieve salvation. People also flock here to see the evening aarti.
The Seva Kunj and Nidhuban are a beautiful exotic garden known to exist since Lord Krishna’s days in Vrindavan. It is here that Lord Krishna is believed to have performed raslila with Radha and other gopis. A small, intricately carved temple is located inside the garden, which is dedicated to the Lord and his consort, Radha.
Most visitors prefer to visit the garden after dark since it is widely believed that Lord Krishna and Radha performed the rasleela after dark. Outside the garden, there are several other temples also.
While most temples are solely places of worship, the Shahji Temple in Vrindavan is an exception. This temple is known for its extravagant beauty and unique architecture. The temple was built in the 19th century, and is a unique palace-style structure known for its elegant designs and carvings.
In fact, the design is a mix of Rajasthani, Italian and Belgian art. The temple is built on a wide expanse of land and has beautiful carvings and paintings along its interiors, galleries and exterior walls. While there are people who come here to pray, there are others that come to appreciate the exquisite style, structure and grace. The temple was built like a palace and was dedicated to Radha and Lord Krishna.
The Madan Mohan Temple located near the Kali Ghat in Vrindavan is one of the oldest temples built in this region. In the olden days, the area where the temple is located was just a wild forest. The original statue of Lord Madan Gopal does not lie in the temple anymore. During Aurangzeb’s rule, it was shifted to Rajasthan to safeguard it from destruction.
During the Mughal era, several Hindu temples were destroyed. Today, a replica of the original image is worshipped at the temple while the original one is still kept at Karauli in Rajasthan. The temple is smaller than other ancient structures but is adorned with beautiful carvings.
Tall and narrow in shape, the present red-coloured structure was constructed in the 19th century by Shri Nandalal Vasu. The original one was destroyed during the Mughal conquest.
Located on the grounds of the Krishna Janmabhomi temple lies India’s oldest temple, the Shree Radha Ras Bihari Ashta Sakhi Temple, dedicated to Radha-Krishna and Radha’s eight “sakhis” for friends who were intimately involved in the love play between them. It is home to the divine rasleela between the Lord and Radha.
Legend has that it is one of the two places in Mathura and Vrindavan where the Lord actually indulged in rasleela. There are those who believe that at night they can actually hear the sound of the anklets beating to the tunes of the divine melodies.
The clothes of the idols and those of the eight sakhis are changed daily before the main prayers. Some of these clothes date back to hundreds of years. Although it was recently refurbished, majority of the structure is still the same as it was when it was first built.
The Govind Deo Temple is a remarkable temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, who was often called Govind Deo. Since he spent many of his childhood years in Vrindavan, there are several temples and shrines dedicated to him and his life. The temple was built thanks to the undying efforts of thousands of men who took seven years to complete it.
The marble altar and sculptured lotus on the ceiling are the decorative highlights of the building. During the reign of Aurangzeb a major part of the temple was destroyed. However, the temple did not lose its glory; it is still an important destination for devotees across the world. During the festivals of Janmashtami and Holi the temple is adorned with lights and flowers.
The Jaipur Temple in Vrindavan is one of the main temples built in 1917 by the Maharaja of Jaipur. It took several thousands of people more than 30 years to complete the construction. The Maharaja himself is said to have overseen the construction and layout through the years.
Located in the heart of the city, the temple is a beautifully carved sandstone structure. The elaborate rock pillars with marble finishing are an outstanding example of old Indian architectural skill and grace. The huge altar at the temple is dedicated to several deities like Sri Radha-Madhava, Ananda-Bihari and Hansa-Gopala.
The Radha Gokulananda Temple located between the Kesi Ghat and the Radha-Raman Temple is an ancient, holy shrine dedicated to a variety of Hindu deities. The beautiful temple enshrines Radha and Vijaya Govinda among many others.
In the old days all the deities represented here were worshipped separately. However, once Vishwanath Chakravarti had the temple built, the deities were kept together. The temple complex also houses the samadhis of Narottama Dasa and Ganganarayana within the same courtyard.
Although the temple is simple compared to the other elaborate structures built in the ancient times, it still holds its own significance.
The Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple is another significant shrine located in Vrindavan. The temple is one of the few dedicated to Lord Shiva in a town which is closely associated with Lord Krishna. As per legend, Lord Shiva once wanted to witness the raslila dance between Lord Krishna and the gopis. But since he was male he wasn’t allowed to enter the place where the raslila was taking place.
He changed his form for the purpose and went in as a female. As a result, the shiva lingam at this temple is adorned in women’s clothing.
The river Yamuna, one of the most sacred rivers in India, begins its journey from the glacier Yamunotri at a height of 6,387 m on the slopes of Banderpooch in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand and then weaves its way southwards toward Delhi via Vrindavan and Mathura.
The part of the river close to the Kesi Ghat at Vrindavan is considered to be most sacred. It is said that Lord Krishna bathed here after defeating the evil demon Keshi. Hindus also believe that a dip in the river would absolve them of their sins.
There are several ghats or stone steps leading to the waters. It is on these ghats that various rituals are performed and activities take place including the mystical aarti (Fire Worship) in the mornings and evenings.