Sunday, December 25, 2011

Braj Bhoomi - The bastion of Lord Krishna

Abode of Lord Krishna

The birth place of Lord Krishna - Mathura (Janabhoomi temple)

Brajbhoomi -
It is derived from the Sanskrit vraja, which is used in the oldest accounts of Krishna’s childhood to mean ‘an enclosure or station of herdsmen’. Modern pundits, however, define it as ‘a place where cows roam’, thereby endorsing the use of ‘Braj’ as a name for the countryside in which Krishna grazed his cattle and in which all the sacred places associated with his early years are located. There are numerous little spots in the area that still reverberate with the enchantment of Shri Krishna. The land of Braj starts from Kotban near Hodel about 95 km from Delhi and ends at Runakuta which is known specially for its association with the poet Surdas, an ardent Krishna devotee. Shri Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Dwapara Yuga as the eighth son of the Yadava prince Vasudev and his wife Devaki. To save him from the murderous intentions of his maternal uncle Kansa, the ruler of Mathura, the infant Krishna was spirited away soon after birth to Gokul, the village of the gopas (cowherds) in Braj (their pastureland). It was here that he grew to manhood, in the tender care of his foster parents Nand and Yashoda in the happy company of the cowherds. Brajbhoomi can be divided into two distinct units - the eastern part in the trans-Yamuna tract with places like Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo, Mat and Bajna and the western side of the Yamuna covering the Mathura region that encompasses Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, Barsana and Nandgaon.

The City of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of Brajbhoomi, is located at a distance of 145 km south-east of Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra. It is the birth place of Lord Krishna where he was born to Vasudev & Devki in prison. As per the mythology related to lord Krishna, there was a fierce storm during the new moon night and all the guards mystically fell asleep. Since Kansa, maternal uncle of lord Krishna, was hell bent on killing all sons born of Vasudev & Devki because of curse that he would die in hands of their son, Vasudev crept out of the prison during dead of night and reached Gokul where he placed lord Krishna in house Nand & Yashodha. Lord Krishna thus spent his childhood in Gokul also known as Nandgaon where he grew up with his foster brother lord Balram. Therefore, the pilgrims going to Mathura also make it a point to visit Gokul/Nandgaon.

Gokul - Where Lord Krishna spent his childhood with elder brother Balram

The 84 pillars which still exist from time of Lord Krishna

The Prijat Peepal tree - blessed by Lord Krishna
Vrindavan – is situated just 15 km from Mathura, is another major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples - both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the wood where he frolicked with the gopis and tenderly wooed Radha. This place is associated with the gaining of adulthood by lord Krishna and his playfull ways with the gopis. Because Mathura and Vrindavan are intimately connected with Krishna eternally, it is said that Lord Krishna never leaves Vrindavan (vrindavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati). The township boasts of many temples and notable amongst them – KRISHNA BALRAMA MANDIR, KALYA GHATA (KALIYA-HRADA), RADHA MADANA-MOHANA TEMPLE, BANKE-BIHARI TEMPLE, RADHA VALLABHA TEMPLE, RADHARAMANA TEMPLE, JUGAL KISORE TEMPLE, KESI GHATA, RANGJI TEMPLE & DWARKADISH TEMPLE.

Famous Bank Bihari temple at Vrindavan

Nidhi Van - where Lord Krishna played his Raas Leela

The famous Shaji temple at Vrindavan by night

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