Temples of the Gangetic Plains
Description Mathura and
Brindavan in Uttar Pradesh are intimately connected with the life of Krishna and are
considered to be amongst the holiest of pilgrimage sites of the Hindus. The Gopas shifted
to Brindavan following several calamities at Gokul. Brindavan was a lush site, on the
banks of the river Yamuna.
Legend has it that Shatrugna, brother of Rama, vanquished the demon Lavanasuran, and
built the picturesque city of Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna river. Govardhan
hill is located 26 km from Mathura while Brindavan is at a distance of 10 km from Mathura.
Mathura has been mentioned by Ptolemy and by the Chinese traveller Hyuen Tsang (7th
century CE). Mathura was once a Buddhist center.
Krishna's leelas with Radha have been the subject of literature all over India;
especially that of Jayadeva. Radha is considerd to be one of the Shaktis of Vishnu; born
as the daughter of King Vrishabhanu and his wife Kalavati, certain legends assert that she
was married to Krishna. She is also known as Brindavani or Brinda. Radha is considered to
be a manifestation of Lakshmi. The Brindavan refers to a sacred Tulsi forest. Raas Leela
on Sharad Poornima (full moon night in the month Oct 15-Nov 15) or during Holi is of great
Temples from the 16th century CE are seen here. The chief temples here are those of
Govinddev, Radha Vallabh, Gopinath, Jugalkishore and Madanmohan. There are more than a
thousand temples and 32 ghats in this town. There are also temples to Rangaji, and those
built by Lal Babu the Maharaja of Gwalior. The red stone temple of Govindaji is an
impressive one built in 1590 under the direction of two gurus Rupa and Sanatana. The image
of Govinddevji apparently was movd to Jaipur fearing Aurangazeb. The Rangdev temple in the
Sri Vaishnava tradition was built by Seth Govinddas and Radhakrishna in the south indian
dravidian architectural style.
Virtually every site in Mathura is associated with legends related to Krishna. The
Dwarkadeesh temple in Mathura is a modern temple. The Gita Mandir is located on the
Mathura Brindavan road. Gokul near Mathura, is where Krishna was raised; Mahaban is said
to be the seat of the palace of Nanda, Krishna's foster father. Barsana is said to be the
original home of Radha.
Most temples in the town of Brindavan are associated with several of the leelas
of Krishna at Brindavan. Brindavan became a center of religion from the 15th century
onward. The Ramanuja Sampradaya and the Nimbarka Vishnava Sampradaya (performing
Sankirtans primarily) and the Madhva sampradaya (which worships Krishna without Radha) ,
the Vallabha and Chaitanya traditions are the leading Vaishnava sampradayas here.
Perialwar, Andal, Tondaradippodiyalwar, Tirumangaialwar and Nammalwar of the first
millennium CE, have sung in chaste Tamil ,of the life of Krishna in
Mathura-Govardhan-Brindavan in a total of 50 verses. The ancient pilgrimage town of
Mathura (Vrindavan) in Uttar Pradesh, is the site of what is considered to be the Vada
Madurai Divyadesam. The Rangamandir, enshrines Ranganathar, Andal and
Venkatachalapati. Worship services are conducted here by Tamil Sree Vaishnava priests.