Braja Mandala Parikrama
This is the basic route that most parikramas of Braja Mandala take. From year to year the exact schedule may change, but this is the basic route that will be taken on Braja Mandala Parikrama. The parikrama visits most of the major pastime places and the 12 main forests in Braja. The parikrama starts in Mathura by bathing at Visrama Ghata. The parikrama then goes clockwise around Braja Mandala. It first heads southwest of Mathura. The parikrama then heads north visiting the seven main forests on the western side of the Yamuna. The parikrama goes south until it reaches Baldeo (Dauji). It then goes back north going through the forest of Mahavana. It then returns to Mathura, where it ends by bathing in Visrama Ghata.
The first day begins by doing parikrama of the town of Vrindavana. The next day the walk is from the town of Vrindavana to Mathura, visiting Akrura Ghata and Yajna Sthani (Yajna-sthala) on the way. After reaching Mathura, there is bathing at Visrama Ghata. Braja Mandala Parikrama usually begins by bathing at Visrama Ghata. The next day is parikrama of Mathura.
The next day the parikrama leaves Mathura. The first forest to be visited is Madhuvana, which is where Dhruva Maharaja performed austerities and Satrughna, the brother of Lord Rama killed the demon Lavanasura. The village that you stay at over night is the small village of Madhuvana, which has almost no facilities
The next forest that is visited is Talavana. This is where Lord Balarama killed the ass-demon, Dhenukasura. You also go throught the forest of Kumudvana, which is where Lord Kapila performed austerities. This day's walk ends at Santanu Kunda, which is in the small village of Satoya.
The next day the walk is from Santanu Kunda to Radha Kunda. On the way one goes to Gandharva Kunda, which is where Gandharvas used to bath; Ghechari, Putana's birthplace; and the forest of Bahulavana. In Bahulavana one visits the Bahula Temple and Bahula Kunda, where the cow named Bahula showed truthfulness. From Bahulavana one then visits the village of Ral and Vasanti. King Vrishabhanu stayed at Vasanti before moving to Varsana. After visiting the village of Ral and Vasanti, one can go to Mukharai, which is the village of Radharani's maternal grandmother, Mukhara. The walk on this day could also end at the village of Ral.
The following day is spent at Radha Kunda seeing the places there.
The next day is Goverdhana parikrama. One of the first places to be visited is the village of Aniyora, where the Annakuta ceremony (Govardhana Puja) was performed. Then comes Sankarsana Kunda. Near Sankarsana Kunda is where Madhavendra Puri discovered the Deity of Gopal. At Petha, Krishna hid from the gopis. Punchari is the southern most point of Govardhana hill. At the tail-end of Govardhana Hill are Navala and Apsara Kundas. The Gandharvas and Apsara bathed here. Next is the Lautha Baba Mandir, which is near Apsara Kunda. Lautha Baba, who is a friend of Sri Krishna, is still waiting for Krishna to come back from Mathura. Visited next is Shyama Dhak, which was Krishna's and Balarama's playground. After visiting Shyama Dhak one comes to Raghava Pandita Gupha (cave), which is the bhajana place of Raghava Pandit. Then comes Jati Pura, which is Madhavendra Puri's village. Then one reaches Uddhava Kunda, which is the place where Uddhava resides as grass.
The next day is the appearance day of Radha Kunda, which is celebrated at 12 midnight. Depending on the schedule of the parikrama this day may be before or after the Govardhana parikrama.
On the next day one walks from Radha Kunda to Dig (Deeg). On the way is Asoka Lata, which is near Kusuma Sarovara. This is where Krishna braided Radharani's hair. At Naradavana, Narada Muni is said to have wrote the Narada Bhakti Sutras. After Asoka Lata comes Chakalesvara Mahadeva Temple and Sanatana Goswami's bhajan kutir. Both these places are right next to each other on the bank of Manasi Ganga, in the town of Govardhana. In the village of Gantholi (Ganthuli), Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to see the Deity of Gopalaji, who was kept in this village for a short time. Then comes Bahaj, which is a village related to Indra. The walk on this day ends in the town of Dig.
The next day the walk is from Dig to Badrinath. On the way one goes to Didavali; Khoh, which is famous for milk products; and Kadamba Kanana, which is a peaceful grove with large Kadamba trees. At Badrinath, there is the Badri-narayana temple and Tapasya Kunda, which is usually very cold. It is a fairly hard walk uphill to reach Badrinath. The temple here is in the middle of no where, on top of a good-sized hill. Badrinath is a peaceful place.
The next day is spent seeing the places around Badrinath. Here, Trikuta Parvata mountain and Triveni Sangam, which is the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, can be seen. One can also go to Haridwar, Har Ki Pairi, Rishikesh, Laksman Jhula, and Nara Narayana Parvat.
The next day is the walk from Badrinath to Kedarnath, going through the village of Alipur Pasopa on the way. At Kedarnath there is the Kedarnath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. Kedarnath is in the middle of no where and there are no facilities there, except for the temple that is there.
The next day the walk goes from Kedarnath to the town of Kaman, which is in the Kamyavana forest. It stops at Charana Pahari, where the footprints of Lord Krishna are imprinted on a rock, on top of a hill. One also stop at Gaya Kunda, where Nanda Maharaja offered oblations to his forefathers. Kaman is a fairly big town with decent facilities.
On the next day, one can go to see the places in the town of Kaman. Here, Vimala Kunda, which was formed by the tears of kind Vimala's daughters, can be visited. Then one continues the journey to the Sri Govinda Temple, where the deity of Vrinda Deva is worshiped. One can then go to the Madana Mohana and Radha Gopinatha temples. At Chaurasi Khamba Palace there are 84 ancient carved pillars. At the Kameshvara Temple, Lord Siva fulfill one's desires. The Dharmaraja Temple is dedicated to Yamaraja's son, Yudhisthira. Dharma (Panch Tirtha) Kunda is said to be the place where Yudhisthira answered all of Yamaraja's questions correctly. At Yasoda Kunda, Yasoda would sometimes wait for Krishna to come home to Nandagram. Ashokavana represents the Ashoka garden in Lanka, where Sita Devi was held captive. At Ramesvaram, Krishna displayed the pastime of building the bridge to Lanka.
The next day the places around Kamyavana are visited. The places visited are: Prabhodananda Sarasvati's bhajana kutir, the Vyomasura's cave, Balarama's footprints, and Bhojan Sthali.
The next day is spent walking from Kamyavana to Varsana. On the way one goes to Kadamba Khandi, which is Radha and Krishna's meeting place. Visited next is Sunera Grama, which is the village of Rangadevi and Sudevi. Then one go to Sakhi Giri Parvata. The gopis played in the area of Sakhi Giri Parvata. At Chitra Shila there is the imprints of Radharani's veil. You then go to the village of Uchagrama (Uchagoan), which is the village of Lalita Sakhi. Narayana Bhatta Goswami's bhajana kutir and samadhi are here. Narayana Bhatta Goswami is the devotee who established the path that Braja Mandala Parikrama follows. The walk on this day ends at Varsana.
The next day is spent visiting the places in Varsana. Vrishabhanu Kunda is named after Vrishabhanu Maharaja. Sankari Khor is a narrow pass in the rocks where Krishna used to collect taxes from the gopis. Vilas Garh is one of the four peaks of Brahma-giri. At the Mor Kutir temple, Krishna danced with a peacock. Krishna Kunda is the only kunda on the four hills of Varsana. Next to be visited is the Jaipur temple. A five minutes walk away, along the path on top of the hill, is the Larily Lal Temple, which is where King Vrishabhanu's palace used to be located.
The next day, one walks from Varsana to Nandagram. On the way one can go to Pila Pokhar Kunda, which is where Radharani washed her palms. Prema Sarovara was made from Radha and Krishna's tears. Sanket is where Radha and Krishna would meet. Next to the Sanket devi Temple is Gopala Bhatta Goswami's bhajana kutir. Uddhava Kyari is where Uddhava delivered Krishna's message to the gopis. The Nandagram temple on the top of the hill is where the palace of Nanda Maharaja used to be located. The Nadisvara Siva Temple is in the Nandagram temple. Also visited is the Narasimha Varaha Temple; Pavana Sarovara, where Radharani would cook for Krishna; and Sanatana Goswami's bhajana kutir.
The next day the walk goes to Khadiravana, which is where Lokanatha Goswami's bhajana kutir is located. In this forest Bakasura was killed by Lord Krishna.
On the following day the walk goes from Nandagram to Kokilavana. Places visited on the way are a Siva temple, Ter Kadamba, Rupa Goswami's bhajana kutir and the village of Javat. Javat is where Radharani lived with her husband Abhimanyu.
The next day the walk is from Kokilavana to Sesasayi. On the way, the Bathain Temple of Dauji (Balarama) and Charana Pahari, where there is located the foot prints of Lord Krishna, Balarama, some cows, elephants and deer, are visited. Also visited is Kotvana. In Sesasayi is the Sesasayi Temple, which has a Deity of Lord Vishnu lying on Ananta Sesa and Khsira Sagara, the ocean of milk.
The next day is spent walking from Sesasayi to the town of Shergarh.
The next day one from Shergarh to Chira Ghata. On the way is Rama Ghata, where Balarama performed the rasa dance and Khela Tirtha, which is where Mother Yasoda called Krishna and Balarama for lunch. One then go through the forest of Biharvana. At Akshya Vata, Krihsna and His friends would hang their lunch bags on the tree that is located there. At Tapovana the gopis performed austerities to gain Krishna as their husband. Chira Ghata is where Krishna stole the gopis' clothes.
The Katyayani Temple at Chira Ghata is where the gopis prayed to get Krishna as their husband.
The next day the walk is from Chira Ghata to the forest of Bhandirvana, passing the forest of Bhadravana on the way. One first go to Nanda Ghata, which is where Nanda Maharaja was arrested by Varuna, and then crosses the Yamuna River. In the forest of Bhadravana, Krishna killed Vatsasura. Balarama killed Pralambasura in the forest of Bhandirvana. At the Radha Ananda Bihari Temple, Radha and Krishna got married. Next to this temple is Venu Kup, which is a well dug by Krishna with His flute.
On the following day the walk is from Bhandirvana to Maan Sarovara. On the way one can visit the forest of Bilvavana (Belvan), where Krishna and the cowherd boys used to come for picnicking. One can also go to the place where Lakshmi devi performed austerities to enter into the rasa-lila.
The next day the walk is from Maan Sarovara to Lohavana. At Maan Sarovar, Siva obtained a gopi form by taking bath in this lake, so he could enter the rasa dance. In the forest of Lohavana, Krishna defeated Jarasandha 17 times. The Radha Gopinatha Temple in Lohavana is visited.
The next day the walk is from Lohavana to the town of Baldeo (Dauji). Here one visits the Bandi Anandi Temple of Yoga Maya and the Dauji (Balarama) temple. Next to the Dauji temple is Khsira Sagara, which was filled with milk as an offering to Balarama.
The next day the walk goes from Baldeo to Brahmanda Ghata. Visited on the way is the Cintahran Siva temple, which is a place where all anxieties are taken away. Brahamda Ghata is where Krishna ate clay, and then showed His universal form to Mother Yasoda.
The next day the walk is from Brahmanda Ghata to Raval, the birthplace of Radharani. Visited on the way are Utkhal, where the grinding mortar is located and Mahavana (Gokula). In Mahavana is the Chaurasi Khamba Temple, which was Nanda Maharaja's house.
The last day's walk is from Raval to Mathura. One has to then bathe in Visrama Ghata to end the parikrama.
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