This is a very tranquil and peaceful place. It is considered by Gaudiya Vaishnavas to be the most holy place in the Braja area. It is a very important place to visit. There are two holy tanks here, right next to each other. The town here is also known as Aristavan. In this village, the demon Aristasura was killed by Krishna. Radha Kunda is 26 km (16 miles) west of Mathura.
For years Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda were lost and no one knew exactly where they were located. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Vrindavana in 1515, He rediscovered these two important kundas.
Part of the parikrama of Govardhana Hill is going around Radha and Syama Kunda. Radharani and Krishna have their midday pastimes at Radha Kunda.
When Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami first stayed at Radha Kunda, Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda were only 4m (12 ft) by 4m (12 ft) in size. At that time one rich man named Sampanna went to Badrinath to offer Lord Narayana a large donation. In a dream, Lord Krishna told him to go to Radha Kunda and give the money to Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami to renovate the kundas, which he did. Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami and Jiva Gosvami supervised the expansion of the kundas around 1554.
In the center of Radha Kunda is a small walled-in area called Kancana Kunda. This kunda is said to mark the location of the original kunda that Srimati Radharani and the gopis dug with their bangles. It is said that Vajranabha built a bathing tank at Syama Kunda to commemorate the place where Krishna killed Aristasura. When there is water in Syama Kunda this kunda cannot be seen. When Syama Kunda is empty, you can see a wall encircling a small deep kunda in the center of Syama Kunda. This kunda is called Vajranatha Kunda. Syama Kunda is also known as Arista Kunda or Krishna Kunda.
In the eight directions surrounding Radha Kunda are the kunjas (garden groves) of Sri Radha's asta-sakhis (eight main gopis). They are the kunjas of Lalita Devi, Vishakha Devi, Citra Devi, Indulekha Devi, Campakalata Devi, Ranga Devi, Tungavidya Devi, and Sudevi. Sri Ananga Manjari's kunja is in the center of Radha Kunda.
Radha Kunda appeared at 12 midnight on Bahulastami, the eighth day (astami) of the waning moon, in the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov). On that day, thousands of people come and bathe at 12 midnight in Radha Kunda. It is an ecstatic and exciting event
"Mathura is superior to Vaikuntha because Lord Krishna appeared there. Vrindavana is superior to Mathura because Krishna performed His rasa-lila there. Govardhana Hill is superior to Vrindavana because Krishna lifted it and enacted many blissful pastimes there. But the superexcellent Radha Kunda stands supreme above all for it is overflowing with the ambrosial nectarean prema of Radha and Krishna. (Sri Upadesamrita, verse 9)
"Great sages say that Radha Kunda is as dear to Krishna as Radha Herself. Indeed, Krishna's love for Radha Kunda and Srimati Radharani is the same in all respects." (Sri Upadesamrita verse 11 purport)
In the Adi Varaha Purana it is said that by bathing in Radha Kunda the sin of killing a cow, man or a brahmana is immediately removed. According to the Adi Varaha Purana, by bathing in Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda one attains the result of performing a rajasuya and asvamedha yajna.
"The bathing tank called Radha Kunda is as profoundly dear to Krishna as Radha Herself, who is the dearest gopi. Who then will not reside at Radha Kunda and, surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings, render loving service to the divine couple Sri Sri Radha Govinda. Those who execute devotional service on the banks of Radha Kunda are the most fortunate people in the universe." (Upadesamrita, verse 10)
How To Get Here From Vrindavana you can get a motor rickshaw for Rs 350 or a taxi for Rs 550 round trip, which includes a two hours waiting time. It takes about forty-five minutes to get to Radha Kunda by taxi. From Vrindavana, the road to Radha Kunda is bumpy, and a motor rickshaw can be uncomfortable. So I would suggest taking a taxi. Radha Kunda is much too far to go by bike rickshaw.
From Vrindavana the cheapest way to Radha Kunda is to take a tempo (many) to the end of Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg (Chatikara Road). From there you get another tempo to Radha Kunda. Some motor tempos go directly to Radha Kunda from the ISKCON temple. There are several direct buses to Radha Kunda that can be boarded in front of the ISKCON temple. One leaves around 6.10 am for about Rs 8.
Killing of Aristasura
Story of Radha Kunda
Description of Radha Kunda in the Spiritual World
Kunjas of Eight Sakhis
Radha Kunda is surrounded by the kunjas (garden groves) of the eight main sakhis.
1. Sri Lalita Sakhi's Kunja (north) is the largest kunja. There are platforms made of gold, sapphires, crystal and lapis lazuli. In the center of a courtyard is a golden temple called Ananga Rangambuja, which is in the shape of a 1,000-petal lotus.
2. Sri Visakha Devi's Kunja (northeast).
3. Sri Citra Devi's Kunja (east, multi-colored) has a wonderful variety of forms and colors. Citra means "variegated or wonderful."
4. Sri Indulekha's Devi's Kunja (southeast, white). Everything is completely white in color, including the trees, thrones, cottages, etc.
5. Sri Campakalata Devi's Kunja (south, gold).
6. Sri Ranga Devi's Kunja (southwest, syama-blue) is Srimati Radharani's favorite, because the dark blue color of everything reminds Her of Krishna.
7. Sri Tungavidya Devi's Kunja (west, crimson). Everything is a crimson color in this kunja and the entire grove is inlaid with rubies.
8. Sri Sudevi Devi's Kunja (northwest, green). Everything is green. It has emerald covered thrones.
9. Sri Ananga Manjari's Kunja is in the center of Radha Kunda. It is connected to the north bank of Radha Kunda by a crystal bridge. The north bank is where Jahnava Devi's sitting place is located. In the center of this kunja is a jeweled temple.
Kunjas of the Eight Sakhas
Syama Kunda is surrounded by the kunjas of the eight main sakhas (cowherd boyfriends), called priya-narma sakhas. These boys are Krishna's most intimate cowherd boy friends and they understand and are submissive to Krishna's dealings with the gopis. The cowherd boys gave their kunjas to different sakhis to manage.
1. Subala Kunja (northwest) is on the side of Syama Kunda where Manasa-pavana Ghata is located. It is managed by Radharani. Radharani and the rest of the sakhis bathe daily at 12 noon at Manasa-pavana Ghata.
2. Madhumangala's Kunja (north) is managed by Lalita Devi.
3. Ujjvala's Kunja (northwest) is managed by Visakha Devi.
4. Arjuna's Kunja (east) is managed by Citra Devi.
5. Gandharva's Kunja (southeast) is managed by Indulekha.
6. Vidagdha's Kunja (south) is managed by Campakalata.
7. Kokeela's Kunja (southwest) is managed by Ranga Devi.
8. Sanandananda's Kunja (west) is managed by Tungavidya Devi.
People Approaching You
There are many people who will try to guide you around the area and give you things. If you take anything from them or talk to them, expect to pay something. The problem I experienced sometimes was no matter how much you give them, it will not be enough. Do not get angry, it will not help.
Some of the guides at Radha Kund are quite good and know most of the places there. They can quickly bring you to places and can be helpful. If possible you should try to work out a price in advance, but most likely it will be up to you to give a donation at the end.
If you give some charity to the children here, you may attract an immediate crowd of twenty or thirty kids, who will not leave you alone. A good idea here is to not talk to anyone and to not even acknowledge their existence, if possible. People that walk up to you will usually quickly go away if you politely ignore them. Any donations given at temples will be politely accepted. If you would like to give a donation to anyone else, it is advised to give as you are leaving.
Usually people will only walk up to you when you are around Radha Kunda. When you are around Syama Kunda, especially the far end, usually no one will come up to you. Usually a good place to spend some time is at Sri Caitanya's sitting place.
Radha Kunda Pratibhu Deities
In 1670, many of the original Deities of Vrindavana were moved to Jaipur. Their first stopping place from Vrindavana to Jaipur was Radha Kunda. Small replica temples of the original temples in Vrindavana were built at Radha Kunda. Pratibhu-murtis (expanded forms, non-different from the original Deities) were established at Radha Kunda to honor the Lord's visit here, and the worship has been continued for centuries. The residents of Radha Kunda can visit the seven major temples of Vrindavana without leaving Radha Kunda.
Radha Kunda Practicalities
Many people do dandavat parikrama here. They pay obeisances, lying flat on the ground and then move a rock to mark their spot. This takes one to two hours.
There are fairly decent rooms at the Manoranjan Dharamshala. To get there, you walk from where the bus or taxi lets you off near Radha Kunda. When you first see Radha Kunda there is a road that goes straight and one that goes right. You take the road to the right and walk a few minutes. The dharamshala is a yellow building on the right. During the month of Kartika this place will most likely be full.
At Radha Kunda a taxi can be arranged through Mahesh, who has a cloth shop, which is just opposite the Hanuman temple near Radha Kunda.
Tour of Radha Kunda
Radha Gokulananda Temple
From where you arrive by taxi or by bus you walk down the road toward Radha Kunda. Just past the small hospital, on the left, is the Radha Gokulananda Temple. There is a sign above the doorway that says Radha Gokulananda Temple in English, Hindi and Bengali.
This temple contains the pratibhu-murtis of Radha Gokulananda. The original Deities are at the Radha Gokulananda Temple in Vrindavana. They were worshipped by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur. The puspa samadhis of Lokanatha Goswami and Narottama Dasa Thakur are next to this temple. There is also a cave (gupha) where Lokanatha Goswami stayed at while at Radha Kund.
Sri Kundeswara Mahadeva Temple
As you continue walking to Radha Kunda, you come to the small white marble roadside temple of Sri Kundeswara Mahadeva, on the left. This is just before you see Radha Kunda on your right. There are four Lord Siva temples in the four directions, surrounding Radha Kunda, to protect Radha Kunda from intrusion of unqualified persons. It is traditional to pay respects to Kundeswara Mahadeva before beginning parikrama of Radha Kund.
As you continue on this road, Radha Kunda is on your right. Another 65m (200 feet) from the Sri Kundeswara Mahadeva Temple is a stone structure shaped like an upside down U, on the right side of the path, near Radha Kunda. There is a sacred banyan tree at this place.
The Jhulan Sthali marks the site of Radha's and Krishna's swing pastimes, in Their aprakata-lila, or unmanifested pastimes. In the spiritual world there is an incredible swing in the shape of a sixteen-petal lotus flower. On this swing Radha and Krishna sit in the middle facing each other. Also on the swing are the sakhis and manjaris, who sit facing Radha and Krishna. It appears to them that Radha and Krishna are directly facing each of them. The swing is being pushed by an assembly of sakhis.
The ghat on this side of Radha Kund is known as Jhulan Ghat, after this pastime.
Radha Krishna Temple and ISKCON Temple
If you walk up the small alley sloping up the hill to your left, near Jhulan Sthali, you come to the blackish pyramid-shaped Radha Krishna Temple, on your left. This temple is the oldest temple at Radha Kunda. Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami re-discovered the Radha-Krishna Deities in this temple when he excavated Radha Kunda. They are said to be the presiding Deities of Radha Kunda. There is a large neem tree and banyan tree entwined together in the courtyard of this temple, which are worshiped as Radha and Krishna.
Next to this temple is a small ISKCON Temple, which has a good view of Radha Kunda from the roof.
Gopala Manipur Mandir
In 1994, this temple was donated to Bhakti Swarupa Damodara Maharaja and ISKCON. There is an interesting story of the Deity of Gopala in this temple. This Deity was originately worshiped in the house of a Brahman. About one hundred years ago, the King of Manipur,
Maharaja Churachand, in which Gopala appeared to in a dream, told him to build a temple dedicated to Him at Radha Kund, which would give Him a view of Radha Kund and also Surya, the Sun-god, would get his darshan. The king built the temple so the first rays of the Sun would fall directly on the face of Gopala.
From the Radha Krishna Temple, you then return to the parikrama path, turn left and walk 20m (60 ft). The next road you see is the Govardhana parikrama path. Just after this junction, on the left, is the red stone Gopala Manipur Mandir.
Radha Kanta Temple
The white building opposite this Gopala Manipur Mandir houses the pratibhu Deities of Radha Kanta. The original Deities were worshiped by Sri Vakreswara Pandita, a dear associated of Lord Caitanya in Jagannatha Puri. Vakreswara Pandita established the original deities of Radha Kanta next to Gambhira, where Lord Caitanya stayed in Jagannatha Puri.
There is a murti of Vakreswara Pandita and a puspa samadhi dedicated to him on the right side of the altar. Vakreswara Pandita is the sakhi Tungavidya in Krishna-lila. This place is built at the place where Tungavidya's kunja is located in the aprakata-lila.
Radha Kunja Bihari Gaudiya Math Temple
Located here are the Deities of Radha Kunja-bihari and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This temple was founded by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in 1935.
Next to this temple is the puspa-samadhi of Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja. He lived in Vrindavana for 30 years and was the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja.
Coming out of the Radha Kanta Temple you turn left, walk 7m (20 feet), and turn right going backwards on the Govardhana parikrama path. After a three-minute walk (100 metres) you come to the red stone Radha Kunja Bihari Temple. This temple is on the Govardhana parikrama path.
Radha Syamasundara Temple
Back at the Radha Kunda parikrama path, just past the Gopala Mandir, you turn down a small lane on the left. Five metres (15 ft) down this lane, on the left hand side, is the Radha Syamasundara Temple, which contain the pratibhu-murtis of Radha Syamasundara. The original temple of Radha Syamasundara was established by Syamananda Prabhu in Vrindavana. Syamananda Prabhu's sitting place and puspa-samadhi are also here, directly next to the Deity room.
Radha Damodara Temple
Further down this lane (30m, 100 ft), on the left, is the small red-colored Radha Damodara Temple. The original temple of Radha Damodara, was established by Jiva Goswami in Vrindavana.
Srinivasa Acarya Kunja
Across the street from this temple is the sitting place of Srinivasa Acarya, where he stayed when he visited Radha Kund. At this place there is a temple dedicated to Radha Madhava. As stated in Bhakti-ratnakara, Raghava Pandita, who lived in a cave near Apsara Kund, took Srinivasa Acarya and Narottama dasa Thakur on a tour of the holy places of Braja.
Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami's Samadhi
Mahadeva Siva and Radha-Raman Temples
You then return to the parikrama path and continue down the path 15m (50 ft). On your left is the red stone Mahadeva Siva Temple. Lord Mahadeva protects the northern side of Radha Kunda.
Right next to this temple is the Radha-Raman Temple. In 1879 the Deities of Sri Radha-Raman and Sri Sri Revati-Balarama were installed in this temple. The original Radha-Raman temple in Vrindavana was established by Gopala Bhatta Goswami. In 1670 when the other main Deities of Vrindavana were moved to Jaipur in fear of an attack by Muslims, the deity of Radha-Raman stayed in Vrindavana and was not moved. In 1973, while visiting Radha Kund, Srila Prabhupada came to this temple.
Radha Govinda Temple
Across the street from the Radha-Raman Temple and down a little is the Radha Govinda Temple, on the right. This temple contains the pratibhu Deities of Rupa Gosvami. During the extremely hot summer months the Deity of Govinda only wears his kaupina during Mangala arati and full darshana can be had of his beautiful body. This temple was built by Raja Man Singh, the king of Jaipur, in 1591.
In the outer compound of this temple is the Tongue of Govardhana.
Jihva Mandir (Tongue of Govardhana)
To get to the tongue of Govardhana you turn left immediately after leaving the Govindaji temple, before you reach the path. You walk up some steps and you come to a small garden with a small white temple in it. The temple is known as the Jibya Mandir. Jibya means "tongue." It is said that if one circumambulates the tongue seven times they will get the benefit of circumambulating the entire Govardhana Hill. The tongue is worshipped daily with tulasi leaves and Radha Kund water.
Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami saw the need of a water source other than Radha Kunda, so he decided to have a well dug just opposite Madhavendra Puri's Baithak (sitting place). As the workers dug down, they struck a rock and blood flowed from it. The workers then went to Raghunatha dasa Goswami and told him about it. He told them to stop digging because they may have committed an offence. That night in a dream it was revealed to Raghunatha Gosvami that the stone was the tongue of Govardhana and should be worshiped.
If you turn to the left after leaving the Radha Govinda Temple, on the path toward Syama Kunda, and walk straight 20m (60 ft), you then come to the Teen (three) Gosvami Samadhis of Raghunatha Bhatta (left side), Krishna Dasa Kaviraja (center), and Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (right side). Each of these devotees left this world on the same day, but in different years: Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami (1563 ???1579), Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (1583 ???1583), and Krishna Dasa Kaviraja (1588 ???1582).
It is believe that this is the actual cremation place of these three great souls. During their disappearance time there was a fear that the bodies of Vaishnava devotees would be dug up and desecrated. Therefore, their bodies were cremated under the instructions of Srila Jiva Goswami. Some of their ashes were kept at the Teen Gosvami Samadhi site, and part of their dust was enshrined elsewhere. The ashes of Raghunatha dasa Goswami were also placed next to the Radha Gopinatha Mandir next to Radha Kund. Some of the ashes of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami were also placed in samadhi within the compound of the 64 Samadhi site. Some of the ashes of Krishnadasa Kaviraja were placed in samadhi at the Radha Damodara Temple in Vrindavana.
Gopal Bhatta Goswami's Bhajana Kutir
Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's bhajana kutir is 7m (20 feet) to the right as you face the Teen Gosvami Samadhis, next to Govinda Ghat. This is where Gopal Bhatta would sit and do his bhajana. Gopal Bhatta Goswami established the Radha-Raman Temple in Vrindavana. He would spend a good deal of his time at Radha Kund, with Raghunatha Dasa Goswami.
Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's Bhajana Kutir
To the left of the Teen Samadhis is the bhajana kutir of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. It is set back, about 20m (65 feet), from the side of Syama Kunda.
This is where he wrote the Caitanya Caritamrita, the biography of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Raghunatha dasa Goswami would talk daily in the afternoon for about three hours a day about the transcendental pastimes of Lord Caitanya and Krishnadasa Kaviraja would listen. A good part of the Caitanya Caritamrita is based on these accounts spoken by Raghunatha dasa Goswami.
He also wrote Govinda-lilamrita, which describes the astakala-lila, or transcendental pastimes of Radha Krishna.
Gadadhara Caitanya Temple
The Gadadhara Caitanya Temple is right next to Krishnadasa Kaviraja's bhajana kutir. Sachidevi (Ganga mata) and Laksmipriya, the disciples of Haridasa Pandita, did their bhajana where this temple is located. The Deities in this temple are from left to right: Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Lord Caitanya, and Sri Gadadhara. Srimati Radharani appeared as Gadadhara Pandita in Caitanya-lila.
Haridasa Pandita Gosvami, who was a disciple of Gadadhara Pandita, is mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrita. Ganga Mata was a princess. After her father died she ruled the kingdom. After a short time, she renounced the kingdom and came to Vrindavana. She then got initiated by Haridasa Pandita. She then moved to Radha Kunda to join Laksmipriya, who was chanting 300,000 names a day and worshiping the Deities of Gadadhara-Caitanya. Eventually Ganga Mata moved to Jagannatha Puri, where she initiated many followers.
After Raghunatha dasa Goswami's disappearance, his Govardhana Shila was presented to Laksmipriya. After her disappearance the Shila was given to Krishnapriya Thakurani, and then later it was worshipped by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
Bhajana Kutirs of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami & Visvanatha Cakravarti
The bhajana kutir of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami is directly opposite Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's bhajana kutir. It is down a few steps, toward Syama Kunda. It is a rectangular building with metal gates. He lived at Radha Kunda for 41 years. At this place Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami would speak three hours a day about the ecstatic pastimes of Lord Caitanya.
There is a painting inside his bhajana kutir, in which he is absorbed in thinking about Krishna, not realizing that there are two tigers near by drinking some water from Syama Kunda. Nor did he see Krishna standing near him, protecting him. Sri Sanatana Gosvami is standing in the left corner of the painting, observing what is happening.
On the left side of the same building is the bhajana kutir of Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He lived here about 100 years after Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.
Also near here is where the Pandavas lived as trees on the bank of Syama Kunda. When Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami was excavating Syama Kunda, Maharaja Yudhisthira appeared to him in a dream. He told him not to cut the trees besides Syama Kunda, because he and his brothers, the Pandavas, were living there as trees, meditating on the banks of Syama Kunda. He therefore dug around the five trees, giving Syama Kunda its irregular shape.
Some local authorities say the Pandavas have left and only a dead tree (in front of the bhajana kutir of Raghunatha Dasa Goswami) marks the place of their previous residence. It is also believed by some authorities that the Pandava Arjuna tree is still alive and is located to the left of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami's bhajana kutir (if you are facing Syama Kunda), next to Syama Kunda.
Manasa Pavan Ghata
At Manasa Pavan Ghata, Radharani and her girlfriends are said to bathe every day at noon, according to Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami. This ghata is close to Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami's bhajana kutir. It is said that one who baths in this ghat will attain love for Krishna equal to that of Radharani. There is a pilu bush at the top of the ghata, on which it is said the gopis would hang their clothing when they took bath in Syama Kund.
Bhajana Kutir of Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Bhaktivinoda Thakura's (1838-1914) house, which was built in the beginning of the century, is located down a side road going away from Syama Kunda. After leaving the Govinda Temple and turning right, back onto the parikrama path, you walk about 25m (75 ft). You then go left onto the broad cobble stone road, when the parikrama path turns right. You then walk 70m (200 ft) and this place is on the right side of the road. It has a colorful sign above the entrance, which says: Vraja Swananda Sukhada Kunja (the forest grove of happiness and bliss).
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (1874-1936) used this bhajana kutir from 1900 to 1936. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati would come here during the month of Kartika (Oct/Nov). The puspa-samadhis of both Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati are located here. There are personal articles of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in this house: his wooden shoes, walking stick, bed, chair, and table.
Here at Radha Kunda in 1935, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati instructed Srila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada during a morning walk around the kunds. "If you ever get money, print books."
If you follow the path that goes to Bhaktivinoda Thakur's bhajana kutir to the edge of the town, there are two bodies of water. Balarama Kunda is on the right side and Vrishabhanu Kunda (Bhanu Khor) is on the left. Vrishabhanu Maharaja (Radharani's father) is said to have had his camp here during the time of Govardhana puja.
This temple is on the main parikrama path past the Radha Govinda Temple. In this temple are beautiful Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama. The Deities in this temple are taken in procession around Radha and Syama Kunds every year on Ratha-yatra.
Lalita Kunda and Lalita Mohana Temple
A little further down, on the left side of the road, is Lalita Kunda. Lalita is one of the asta sakhis, or eight most intimate maidservants of Radharani. It said there are eight kunds near Radha Kund dedicated to the asta sakhis, but usually only Lalita Kund can be seen. These kunds are said to be located in the area outside of Lalita Kund.
The body of water just past the wall of Lalita Kunda is Mohan Kunda. It is said that Lalita and Mohan (Krishna) called the 68 tirthas (holy places) to come and reside in her kunda. One who bathes in this kunda gets the benefit of becoming free from the sin of six kinds of hatya (murder): (1) brahma-hatya (killing a brahmana), (2) go-hatya (cow slaughter), (3) bhrina-hatya (abortion), (4) krimi-hatya (killing insects), (5), svana-hatya, (6) atma-hatya (suicide).
Next to Lalita Kunda is the Lalita Mohana Temple, where there are Deities of Krishna (on the left), Radha (in the middle) and Lalita Devi (on the right). Below them is a Deity of Gopal Krishna, and on the left is a deity of Hanuman. These Deities are the presiding Deities of this kunja (forest grove). This temple is managed by followers of the Nimbarka sampradaya.
Lalita appeared as Swarupa Damodara, the personal assistant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in Caitanya-lila. No one was allowed to approach or give Lord Caitanya anything without first getting Swarupa Damodara's authorization.
Jiva Goswami's Bhajana Kutir
Directly across the road from Lalita Kunda is the bhajana kutir of Jiva Goswami and the small Radha Damodara temple. Jiva Gosvami did much of the practical work of excavating and managing Radha Kunda. He purchased the land around Radha Kund and arranged the excavation of the kunds. Inside the bhajana kutir is the impression of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's footprints.
Manipur Maharaja Mandir (Radha Govinda Temple)
This temple was established by the Maharaja of Manipur, Gambira Singh, and has the Deities of Radha and Govinda enshrined in it. After the Maharaja of Manipur was exiled in the 19th century from Manipur (located in the extreme northeast corner of India), he came to live at Radha Kund and arranged to have this temple built. His grandson arranges for the worship in this temple at the present time.
Thirty metres down the parikrama path from Lalita Kunda is the Radha-Vinoda Temple, which is a small temple on the right side. In this temple are the Deities of Radha-Vinoda, the pratibhu Deities of Lokanatha Gosvami.
About 15 metres down the path, on the left, is the well where the tongue of Govardhana was found, called Gopi Kupa. The tongue is now located next to the Radha Govinda Temple and is known as the Jihva (tongue) Mandir. This well is a large circular stone structure. This well is also known as Giriraja Jihva Prakata Sthali.
Srila Madhavendra Puri's Baithak (Sitting Place)
Across the street from Gopi Kupa well, behind a building, is where Madhavendra Puri sat while doing Govardhana parikrama, several years before Lord Caitanya revealed Radha Kunda.
Madhavendra Puri is the spiritual master of Iswara Puri, who is the guru of Lord Caitanya.
To get here you walk down the lane opposite the well and then you enter the gate on your left. There is a small raised shrine on the right of the courtyard. This place is known as Vyasa Ghera.
Asta Sakhis Mandir
In this temple are small Deities of Radha and Krishna. There are also deities of Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi in this temple. They are the eight main gopis. It was built by the Maharaja of Bharatpur. This temple is after Madhavendra Puri's sitting place, on the right side of the path.
Radha Madhava Temple
The next temple to be reached is the Radha Madhava Temple, which is on the left side of the path. Radha Madhava are the pratibhu Deities of Jayadeva Gosvami, the author of Gita Govinda. The original Deities of Radha Madhava are now being worship in a temple just outside of Jaipur.
Nitai Gaura Sitanatha Mandir
In this temple are the Deities of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya. The Deities in this temple are from left to right: Nitai (Nityananda), Gaura (Sri Caitanya), and Sitanatha (Advaita Acarya). Advaita Acarya is also known as Sitanatha, or the husband of Sita. Sita is the wife of Advaita Acarya. This temple is on the opposite side of the street from the Radha Madhava Temple.
Bankhandi Mahadeva Siva Temple
If you continue around the path you come to a water pump on the left. Just before the path bends to the right, 10m (30 ft) further, on the left hand side is a small dirt path, which leads to the Bankhandi Mahadeva Siva Temple. This Siva Deity protects Radha Kunda on the eastern side.
This temple is on the bank of Narayana Sarovara. It is said that Krishna manifested His four-armed form of Lord Narayana here to play with the gopis.
About a kilometre past Narayana Sarovara is Lagamohan Kunda. It is said that Sankhacuda (Sankhasura) left Radha and the gopis at this place, after Krishna ruined his attempt to kidnap them. This is the place where Krishna killed the demon Sankhacuda. Krishna took the jewel from his head and gave it to Balarama. Balarama then gave the jewel to Radharani. Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami stayed here when he first came to Vrindavana. He was requested by Sanatana Gosvami to move to the bank of Syama Kunda. Not many people visit Lagamohan Kunda, so it is a peaceful place.
Mahaprabhu's Baithak (Tamala Tala)
If you continue about 10 metres (30 ft) around Syama Kunda, you come to the place where Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu sat when He came to Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. This spot, called Tamala Tala, is on a platform with a tamala tree on it, on the bank of Syama Kunda. Lord Caitanya's footprints are enshrined here. Mahaprabhu's Baithak means "Mahaprabhu's sitting place." The present tree is said to be an offshoot of the one that Lord Caitanya sat under.
When Lord Caitanya came here, Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda were small ponds surrounded by forest and fields. All the buildings around Radha Kunda have been built since Lord Caitanya discovered Radha Kunda, almost 500 years ago.
Lord Caitanya Discovers Radha Kunda
"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked the local people, â€˜Where is Radha Kunda?' No one could inform Him, and the brahmana accompanying Him did not know either.
"The Lord then understood the holy place called Radha Kunda was no longer visible. However, being the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, He discovered Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda in two paddy fields. There was only a little water, but He took His bath there.
"When the people of the village saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taking His bath in those two ponds in the middle of the paddy fields, they were very astonished. The Lord then offered His prayers to Sri Radha Kunda.
"Of all the gopis, Radharani is the dear most. Similarly the lake known as Radha Kunda is very dear to the Lord because it is very dear to Srimati Radharani.
"Srimati Radharani is most dear to Lord Krishna, and Her lake known as Radha Kunda is also very dear to Him. Of all the gopis, Srimati Radharani is certainly the most beloved. In that lake, Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani used to sport daily in the water and have a rasa dance on the bank.
"Indeed Lord Krishna gives ecstatic love like that of Srimati Radharani to whoever bathes in that lake even once in his life. The attraction of Radha Kunda is as sweet as that of Srimati Radharani. Similarly, the glories of the kunda are as glorious as Srimati Radharani.
"Because of its wonderful transcendental qualities, Radha Kunda is as dear to Krishna as Srimati Radharani. It was in that lake that the all-opulent Lord Sri Krishna performed His pastimes with Srimati Radharani with great pleasure and transcendental bliss. Whoever bathes just once in Radha Kunda attains Srimati Radharani's loving attraction for Sri Krishna. Who within this world can describe the glories and sweetness of Sri Radha Kunda?" (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 18.3-14)
Pasa Khela Ghata and Vallabhacarya's Baithak
About 20m (60 ft) further down the path is the Manoranjan Dharamshala. Directly across the path, is a door that leads to Syama Kunda. If you go through this door you come to a stone platform jutting out into Syama Kunda. This place is known as Pasa Khela Ghata, which is where Radha and Krishna are said to play pasha kela (a board game with dice) during their midday pastimes.
Govinda Lilamrita says that Radha and Krishna play dice in Sudevi's kunja on the northwest side of Radha Kunda. Once time Radharani told Lalita Devi that Krishna has defeated them in various games, such as water sports. Now they should challenge them in a game that required brains. Radharani challenged Krishna to a game of pasha. Vrinda Devi acted as a witness to Sri Radha and Nandimukhi as a witness to Krishna. Radharani rolled the dice and got a pair of tens and twelves. He lost his famous Kaustubha gem to Radharani. Krishna then cheated to win and won the right to embrace Radharani. Radharani then won the bet of kisses. Krishna then killed Radharani near her lips and said, "I admit defeated and now you should obtain your prize." Radharani and the gopis then laughed and covered their faces.
In this compound is a temple that commemorates Vallabhacarya's stay here. Vallabhacarya was a contemporary of Lord Caitanya, and has many followers in the Braja Mandal area.
You then return to the parikrama path. About 30m down the path, on the left, is the Laksmi Narayana Temple, which is an old temple, about 500 years old.
Madana Mohana Temple
A little distance down the path, on the right, is the Madana Mohana Temple. There is a big archway near the entrance of this temple. In this temple are the pratibhu murtis of Radha Madana-Mohan. These were the original Deities of Sanatana Goswami, which are now located in Karoli, in Rajasthan. Also located in this temple is the baithak (sitting place) of Sanatana Goswami. It is said that he would often sit at this place, which is why this temple was built at this place.
Next to this temple is Madana-Mohan Ghat, on the bank of Syama Kund.
Sri Mahaprabhu Mandir
In this temple are beautiful Deities of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. There is a yearly Jhulana-yatra (swing festival) at this temple. This temple was built fairly recently. This temple is located near the stairs leading to the pathway between the two kunds.
The Sangam (Pathway Between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda)
About 5m (15 ft) past the Madana Mohana temple are the stairs that lead to the path where Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda meet.
The sangam (meeting place) of Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda is called Ratna-vedi (jeweled platform). In the spiritual world there is a bridge covered with gems going across the sangam. There are slits in the stone path between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda, which allows mixing of the waters of these two kundas. The sangam is considered an extremely holy place. The bathing ghat here is called Yugala Sangam Ghat.
On this path is the mini-mountain of Govardhana-shilas. Every evening around sunset one of the Govardhana-shilas is beautifully dressed with a crown, clothing and jewelry.
Just past the Govardhana-shilas is a small open-air shrine honoring the lotus footprints of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna, called Sri Carana Cinha. Carana-cinha means footprints.
The Banke Bihari Temple is an old temple on the right, just beyond Sri Carana Cinha. Located here is the seating place of Swami Haridas, who found the Deity of Banke-Bihari at Nidhivana, in Vrindavana. He is said to have sat here when he visited Radha Kund. There are some three interesting Govardhana-shilas in this temple.
About five metres (15 ft) further is a neem tree hanging over the path beside Radha Kunda. This area, on the east bank of Radha Kund is called Govinda Ghata. This is where Radha and Krishna are said to sometimes enjoy jhulana (swing) pastimes.
Radha Gopinatha Temple and Nityananda Baithak
If you come back up the stairs and continue to the right down the path after 30m (100 ft) you come to the Radha Gopinatha Temple on the left side, just before the shops. In this temple are the pratibhu Deities of Madhu Pundit's Deities. The original Deities are now worshiped in Jaipur.
In the same compound of the Radha Gopinatha Temple, just opposite the temple, is a small building that marks the place where Nityananda Prabhu sat, called Nityananda Baithak. Lord Nityananda came to Braja, in the mood of Balarama, searching for his younger brother, Krishna. During his travels in Braja, it is said that he came to this place.
Braja Mohan Temple and Imli Tala
In the courtyard of the Braja Mohan Temple is the Imli Tala tree, near which Rupa Gosvami sat. The original tree is no longer present here. There is an interesting pastime of Radha and Krishna that took place here that was personally witnessed by Rupa Gosvami.
One day Rupa Gosvami was sitting here and he looked over and say a beautiful swing. Just then Radha and Krishna arrived with Their sakhis and manjaris. Krishna requested Radharani to sit on the swing with her, but she refused because Krishna would make the swing go too high and she didn't like that. Krishna asked Her again and promised he would not make it swing too high. The sakhis and manjaris also asked her to get on the swing with Krishna, and said they would push the swing themselves to keep it from going too high.
At first the sakhis and manjaris gently pushed the swing, but then graduately Krishna started to moving his legs to make the swing go higher. After a short time the swing was going so high that it was above the heads of the sakhis and manjaris. Radharani then asked Krishna to stop going so high and to let Her get off the swing. Krishna just laughed and made the swing go higher, until it reached a level where it was almost going to go around. Radharani then screamed loudly and jumped into Krishna's arms, and held Him firmly.
Krishna was extremely happy to have Radharani holding Him. He then swung the swing so high that it made a complete circle. The sakhis and manjaris then sung the glories of Radha and Krishna.
After seeing this pastime, Rupa Goswami fell on the ground unconscious in ecstasy. When he awoke He saw that the swing was still hanging on the tree, and that the tree had been twisted because of the force of the swing. Until just recently the tree could still be seen in its twisted condition.
About 20 metres (60 ft) further down the path is a Deity of Hanuman, on the right side, in between some shops. This completes the parikrama of Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda.
Copyright Â©2001 John Howley and Spiritual Guides