Krishna Circuit

BIRTHPLACE OF LORD KRISHNA

Mathura (or Brajbhoomi) is famous as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an important deity in the Hindu religious pantheon. It is an important pilgrim place of the Hindus and one of the seven sacred cities in India. The main pilgrim center in Mathura is the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. Mathura is also an important craft center. The Lord's Birthday is celebrated all over India on August 23rd.

Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

To visit Mathura is to immerse one's self in one of the greatest and dearest legends of India. At Janmashtami, Mathura literally comes alive. By the banks of the Yamuna at Mathura, on a stormy night sometime at the beginning of time, Lord Krishna was born. Mathura became one of the most divine cities of India. The land of the Krishna legend, Brajbhoomi, draws the devout by the thousands especially during Janmashtami. The "Sri Krishna Janamsthan" - The spot believed to be the place of Krishna's birth is right here.

Scattered all across Mathura are various sacred points where mythology dictates events in Krishna's babyhood and youth took place -- the place where his clothes were washed (Potara Kund), the neighbourhood where he was raised (Mahaban), the spot where Vishnu first took life as Krishna (Gokul), the site of a Krishna miracle (Govardhan), the ghat where Krishna relaxed after his skirmish with Kansa (Vishram Ghat).

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

The forests of Vrindavan, about 15 km from Mathura, adjacent to the Yamuna were the stage for Krishna's youthful escapades -- cavorting with Radha, sporting with the cowherd girls or gopis and playing the flute. These escapades and the sacred woods have been immortalised in devotional songs by the famous poet-saint, Mirabai.

Dwarka, Gujarat

The impressive, beautifully carved Dwarkadish temple soars above the melee of pilgrims. The temple, which consists of 60 columns, is five storeys high and its majestic spire climbs a further 60 m into the sky. The inner sanctum or the Nij Mandir, the faithful believe, dates back to 500 BC. East of central Dwarka is the tiny, pretty Rukmini temple, dedicated to Krishna's consort, Princess Rukmini.

A short trip away from Dwarka, via Okha, is Bet Dwarka, the spot where it is thought Krishna died. Several temples are located on this island in the Gulf of Kutch.

Kurukshetra

Kurukshetra is situated 165 kms from Delhi and is one of the most sacred places for Hindus. According to the epic Mahabharata, the legendary battle between the Kurus and Pandavas was fought here and it is believed that the soil attained its color because of the bloodshed. It is the point of origin of the core of Hindu belief and doctrine - the message of Gita, which Lord Krishna gave to a doubt ridden Arjun, on the battlefield. The city's most popular site is Brahma-Sarovar. During solar eclipses thousands of devout Hindus take a dip in its waters with the belief that this will lead to salvation.

The Jyotisar, 5 km west of Thanesar is the spot where Lord Krishna is said to have delivered the message of the Bhagvad Gita. Close to Kurukshetra University campus is a unique museum where myriad depictions of Lord Krishna have been collected under a single roof.

Nathdwara, Rajasthan

Shreenathji, as he is called, resides at the 17th century Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan, 48 km from Udaipur, where he is cared for lovingly by a crew of priests. A major centre for Krishna worshippers, Nathdwara sees a procession of pilgrims throughout the year. It is believed that at least 100,000 devotees arrive in Nathdwara during Janmashtami. A dusty, unpretentious town of a few thousand people, Nathdwara has another claim to fame. It is celebrated for its pichchwai tapestries -- Krishna legends painted on cloth.

Guruvayur, Kerala

The four-armed, lavishly decorated idol of Krishna, carved from pathalanjana shila and affectionately dubbed Gurvayurappan, is the most famous resident of this Kerala beach town, the Dwarka of the south, close to Thrissur. The Guruvayur shrine, which dates back to the 1500s or earlier, is said to be one of the wealthiest in the state. Built in the typical, imposing style of Kerala temples, the main Guruvayur shrine has a gold plated roof. It is surrounded by a courtyard or chuttambalam, which has a high wall. Located in the courtyard is a huge tower of lamps or dipastambham, which looks spectacular when lit and a 33 m high gold coated flagpole or kodimaram.

Near the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum are 10 exquisitely ornate pillars. It is believed that Melpattur Narayana Bhattathiri sat here and composed his famous 1,036 slokas devotional epic -- Narayaniyam -- praising Krishna.

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