The enchanting tale of Radha and Krishna calls! Explore the marvellous Places to Visit in Mathura and Vrindavan while witnessing the Tales of Love and Divinity in the air.
Mathura, the place Lord Krishna was born. Needless to say, it is home to millions of followers of divinity and spirituality. Vrindavan, where he spent his childhood, has almost 5,500 temples dedicated to Radha-Krishan. Both towns are located on the bank of the sacred Yamuna adding to serenity and soul enrichment. With the magical aura these cities have there are many mysteries one can experience and keep a lifetime memory of. With learning the best parts about these cities, let’s also go through the best places to visit in Mathura and Vrindavan.
History of Mathura and Vrindavan
Before we burst into the excitement of the must-visit places in these charming cities, let us learn about the historical significance first.
Often referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization”, it boasts a history that spans over three millennia. Even the Rig Veda has a mention of Mathura. Other than being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the city flourished as a centre of trade and culture during the Mauryan and Gupta empires. Also, it has served as a vital hub on the Silk Route. Mathura’s prosperity is evident in its rich archaeological heritage and remnants of the gone era.
Located almost 30kms from Mathura, a place where the divine love story of Radha Krishna is linked. The name “Vrindavan” itself signifies, Groves of Vrinda, referring to the sacred Tulsi plant symbolizing Radha’s unwavering devotion. This place became a pilgrimage site back in the 16th century, thanks to the efforts of saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The town’s narrow lanes echo with the Bhajans taking you through the labyrinth of devotion.
Best Time to Visit
Mathura Vrindavan is a highly sentimental place, any time is the best time to visit here for the devotees of Krishna but the most recommended one is in the month of March on Holi, as that is the festival of Mathura.
Other than these months, October to February is the most interesting time with no unnecessary heat and cruel weather swelling up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Places to Visit in Mathura and Vrindavan
Buckle up for your ravishing journey with the best places to visit, the best time to reach and tips to follow for a seamless trip. Here we are not getting only to the famous places but rather the most alluring ones with every place stringed to a story.
Starting from the place where Lord Krishna rested after killing Kansa. This place has an amazing vibe taking you back to the enchanting era of Lord Krishna. The architecture is ancient and the morning Aarti is pure bliss. Reach there by 7.00 am to be a part of it. They offer boating there in Yamuna. It also served as a starting and ending point for traditional boating. Quite a picturesque view out there to capture yourself in. This Ghat is the centre with 12 ghats there in each direction. Moreover, it’s believed that one can wash off one’s sins and misfortunes by bathing in Vishram Ghat.
Just near the Ghat you will find this beautiful architect which is open till 10.30 in the morning and reopens in the evening. It’s famous for its ornate construction and murals. Dwarkanath, the form of Lord Krishna, sits in the black marble idol in the shrine. The temple has breathtaking ceilings and paintings portraying different aspects of Krishna’s life. Moreover, the touch of rich Rajasthani architecture adds to the serenity of this temple. Start your day with the blessings of Lord Krishna while you visit the first and the most enchanting temple of Mathura.
Next in line is Krishna Janambhumi, the prison cell where his parents were imprisoned by Kansa. Though the exact birthplace is covered in the Masjid, this is the most prominent place in Mathura. It has various segments, you will enter into a huge temple followed by a cave depicting all about Lord Krishna’s life and then a small yet enchanting architecture nearest to the Masjid, where Krishna was born. The closing time of Janambhumi is around 1 pm. Also, there are a few stalls for you to buy souvenirs there.
Pro Tip – No cell phones, watches, cameras or even purses are allowed in there. Either don’t carry stuff like that or there’s a huge queue to the clock Room where you can get it all kept for you with minimal charges.
This one is the oldest temple in the city where Lord Shiva in the form of Shiva Lingam is worshipped. It is believed that Bhuteshwar Mahadev has protected Brajwasis from demons and this pious Temple was built to keep the evil forces away from Mathura. Moreover, there is a saying that this temple was established on the day this city was discovered by Shatrugan (younger brother of Shri Ram).
With the temple done, your pilgrimage to Mathura is almost done as well.
Next, head to Vrindavan after 1 pm as everything in Mathura and Vrindavan remains closed from 1 pm to 4 pm. Have lunch in Vrindavan near Prem Mandir, there are numerous options to choose from and rest for a while.
Reach the Prem Mandir at least 10 minutes before 4 pm to witness the rush and the most beautiful sun-kissed scenes of Prem Mandir. No doubt it looks magnificent at night with all the lighting too but the Afternoon view of Prem Mandir is once in a lifetime experience.
This temple, not an ancient one, is quite the newly established one. With doors opening you can be a testament to the rush by followers of Lord Krishna. As you get inside there are beautiful gardens and various enchanting scenes depicting Radha-Krishan. You will find the most refreshing and healing moments here. With the architecture this temple has, it is all covered in white and dipped in sun rays all over it giving you an amazing picturesque view. Take your time visiting this temple, sit for a while there and enjoy the vibe as you embark on the journey of Vrindavan with this temple.
Radha Vallabh ji
Here, the real Vrindavan rush begins! A symbol of flawless love between Radha and Krishna And the rarest form of ‘Ras Bhakti’. The ideology followed here is that Radha Rani was the Supreme divinity. And this belief is continued every time in the Vrindavan. It was first constructed in the 16th century under the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. Though the principal deity of this temple is goddess Radha but the idol here is of Radhe Krishna, the inseparable.
There is a saying that the one with devotion and purity in heart can get divine Darshan here.
Shri Banke Bihari Temple
Continue to the next nearby one and the most famous temple, Banke Bihari temple. Barefoot through the narrow lanes of Vrindavan to this temple is a heavenly feeling. Everybody around leaned in devotion and the enchanting all over you is a pure magic one can witness. Banke Bihari has a unified form of Radha Krishna. Devotees here will be large in number, actually uncountable. This temple is always full of hustle and rushes to reach the idols for Darshan.
This is the most crowded place in the whole of Vrindavan and the most happening one too. The vibe there feels like a string pulling you closer to the temple every second.
Pro Tip – Do not wear glasses, scarves loose, or beanie-like stuff as this place is full of monkeys snatching it all from you and you will have to get It back torn or destroyed only. Don’t hang easy-to-snatch purses as well. Keep Parshad safe too.
Last for day one is the ultimate dive into spirituality, serenity and where your soul will feel like dancing. Reach there by 7.30 to witness the enchanting soul enrichment experience. The music, the Bhajans and the devotees dancing in joy are all magic in the air there. Iskcon is there in most of the cities but Vrindavan, the home of the love of Radha Krishna, has a breathtaking view. Visit the temple to vibe along with the devotees, then take a tour of the museum within the temple itself. Later there is a segment devoted to the founder of Iskcon, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. After the whole visit join the dance of divinity out there in Iskcon.
After spending a beautiful evening there, have your dinner in Govindam itself for the good quality food. Taste the bhakti and the food simultaneously in Iskcon while you mark the day’s end.
Go to bed early as the next day starts early!
Embark your Day 2 with Aarti at Iskcon only. Timing – 4.30 am, reach early for more time in there and leave from there as soon as it gets over to witness the doors opening of Nidhivan. This is a wholesome experience here in Nidhivan witnessing the changes that occurred while the temple was closed. As soon as the doors to the temple open, the priest there shows you the eaten food and other stuff evidencing the night Maha Raas happened while the van was closed. It is believed that all the trees are the Gopies, Krishna performs Maha Raas with them. Radha is worshipped there and the common enchanting you will hear there is “Radhe Radhe Shyam Milade!”
Enjoy the early morning chilled environment of the Ghat on the sacred Yamuna with devotees bathing in there. Light the diyas in the river, talk to locals and live the vibe of Vrindavan.
This Ghat is where Lord Krishna killed dangerous Keshi sent by Kansa. Visit 12 other ghats while boating there.
Pro Tip – Visit the Ghat early morning and then a few temples and come back to the ghat for boating. While boating ask your rider to take you in the Yamuna where you can get down from the boat and enjoy walking in the freezing water. In the months like December and January, you will find Seagulls too which is the most enchanting scene to witness over Yamuna.
Govind dev Ji
Next after visiting Keshi Ghat is Govind Dev Ji. This temple was constructed in 1590 by King Man Singh of Amer. In 1670, during the reign of Aurangzeb, it was plundered. Later, in the first half of the 18th century, Raja Sawai Jai Singh established the idol of Govind Dev Ji in Jaipur.
The architecture of this temple is different from other Hindu temples, it is more like a Haveli style witnessing the mix of Hindu and Arabic architectural styles. Also, unlike most of the Hindu Temples, it doesn’t have scenes depicted on the walls of the temple.
Rangji temple, next in places to visit in Mathura and Vrindavan, is a replica of the southern temple in South India. It has three Attractions other than the temple itself, known as, Vahan Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Leela Mahal presenting the ancient stuff.
The biggest temple and the calmest one in the Vrindavan is this temple. It has got the Marathi essence, Southern essence and the Uttar Pradesh essence altogether. This was a temple made by someone anonymously and donated to Swami Rangacharya after whose name it is still known. Shri Rangnath temple is the true witness of devotion and selfless bhakti setting an example.
Followed by Rangji, visit the divine temple of Lord Shiva. The vibe near this temple is incomparable. Step into the temple with a beautiful flower basket available outside and take the blessing of Shiva while pouring water And flowers over the Shiva Lingam.
Talk to Nandi after the divine experience of Shivling offerings. Whisper your wishes in the ears of Nandi.
It is believed that one night Sharad Purnima, Radha Rani and Gopis got along with Lord Shiva and he expressed his wish to be a part of Raas Leela. Being a male he was not permitted by Vrinda Devi. In this wish, Shiva started worshipping Radha Rani and finally got permission. Finally, he has to emerge as a gopi to be a participant in the Raas Leela. Moreover, Krishna being a devotee of Lord Krishna recognized him and named him Gopeshwar.
Popularly Known as Bansi Vat Maha Raas Temple, this is next on the list of must-visit places in Mathura and Vrindavan. Small and the calmest place there in Vrindavan announcing the love and devotion towards the Maha Raas of Lord Krishna. There is that tree under which he used to play his flute and the magical sound used to attract people there. With depictions all over that place, it feels like happening there at that moment itself. It also has a Charan Mandir, founded in 1820 by Acharya Shri Girdhari Sharan Dev. The other Mandir was built By King Oyal with Radha Krishna idols there.
Radha Raman ji
After spending a handful of half an hour in Banshi Vat, reach Radha Raman temple by 10.10 am to witness the opening of the curtains and the grand Aarti initiation. The vibe there is amazing, serenity all around in a crowded yet tranquil environment.
It is one of the seven temples that the Thakur of Vrindavan owns. There has been an immortal flame burning in the kitchen since the establishment of this temple.
Image source (Shri Radha Raman Ji Temple)
Shri Radha Madan Mohan Ji
Next in this line is the Madan Mohan Ji temple, which is quite far from all the above-mentioned temples. After these temples and a boat ride at Kashi, one can visit this temple. It is believed to have been constructed by the great-grandson of Lord Krishna, 5000 years back. Later, Advaita Acharya founded it at the base of an old Banyan tree and entrusted the worship of Madana Mohan to his disciple, Purusottama Chaube.
During the Mughal invasion, the idol from this temple was taken to Jaipur by King Jai Singh and later shifted to Karauli by King Gopal Singh. It is said to be the exact resemblance of Krishna from the waist down. It is traditional Hindu, Nagara-style architecture. Also, the last one is for Vrindavan.
After done with all the Vrindavan by 1 pm, the next activity is Govardhan Parikrama. It is divided into two segments: Badi Parikrama has three spots and second is Choti Parikrama has four spots on the way. In total, it is 23 km, with two options again, either to do it by walking or use a rickshaw which will be easily available nearby. It takes almost 7-8 hours barefoot and 3 hours if you take the latter option.
This is the Parikrama of Govardhan Hill. As per mythology, Lord Krishna lifted this hill with his little finger to save the people of the region from the wrath of Inder Dev, the God of Rain.
Starting with the Badi Parikrama –
- Daanghati (Girraj Ji)
- Poonchrri ka Lautha
- Mukharvind Temple
The next is Choti Parikrama –
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
- Radha Kund
- Kusum Sarovar
- Mansi Ganga
End your Day 2 with this and a wholesome dinner followed by a walk in the local market.
The next day starts with visiting the old lanes of Gokul. Start with Chaurasi Khamba Temple where Bal Krishna’s sequels are resonated. It has 84 pillars where the brothers, Krishna and Balaram spent their childhood.
Next in line is the Holy sand of Raman Reti, located around 2-3 km from Gokul. It is the San where Krishna spent his childhood playing in there. In Dwapar Yuga, he used to go there to graze the cows. Also, there is a park next to it pulling you closer to the natural beauty and an inhabitant of deer and ducks. In this place Holi is played with the sand, not the colours.
Finally, visit the Brahmand Ghat. The story behind this is once Krishna ate the soil and when Yashoda came to know about it he forced him to open his mouth to let the soil out and witnessed the whole universe in there, aka Brahmand in Hindi. Hence, there is this Ghat with a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Other Places to Add to Your Trip
Here are a few more places you can add to your list of places to visit in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Jai Gurudev Temple
Built out of white marble, its architectural beauty is insane. It resembles the Taj Mahal attracting many devotees. Located on National Highway 2 between Delhi and Agra, this place is an experience of beauty never seen before.
Vaishno devi is a combination of all three Goddesses Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati. During Treta Yuga when evil powers threatened the earth, all three Goddesses joined forces to fight them.
Priyakant Ju Temple
Situated near the Vaishno Devi Dham, this temple is again dedicated to Radha Krishna. Recently built, it is 125 feet high with lakes on both sides having Ganesha, Hanuman, Shiva and Nimbarka on the four corners of the temple.