The city of Vrindavan, situated in Uttar Pradesh, is one of India's most famous religious destinations. Interestingly, around five million devotees visit this holy town every year. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna River, Vrindavan is 15 kilometres away from Mathura—the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
‘Vrindavan’ in Hindu scriptures means 'forest of Tulsi' (basil). Interestingly, two groves of the holy basil are still found in Sewa Kunj and Nidhivan. Like Sewa Kunj and Nidhivan, there are several popular tourist places to visit in Vrindavan. Here are the five best places in Vrindavan that are unmissable.
1. Banke Bihari Mandir
Constructed in 1862, Banke Bihari Mandir is one of the most famous places in Vrindavan. The temple is one of the seven temples of the 'Thakur of Vrindavan' and one of the most visited temples of the city. The temple depicts Lord Krishna's idol as that of a child in the Tribhanga posture.
The temple does not have any bells because it is believed that Lord Krishna despises the sounds of any instruments. So instead, the devotees chant the lord's name. Festivals like Holi, Jhulan Yatra, Shree Krishna Janamashtami, among others, are celebrated with great enthusiasm at the temple.
Visiting hours and best time to visit: Anyone can visit the temple from 7 am to 1 pm and 4 to 9 pm every day. The most favourable time to visit the temple is during the summer and winter.
2. Prem Mandir
Prem Mandir is also called the 'Temple for Divine Love'. The temple has idols of Krishna-Radha and Ram-Sita. Although the foundation stone for Prem Mandir was laid in the early 2000s, it took about a decade to build the temple.
Prem Mandir is one of the best places in Vrindavan to experience 'Prem Bhakti' according to devotees. Additionally, the temple's larger-than-life architecture will leave anyone in awe. Prem Mandir's architecture takes inspiration from Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Visiting hours and best time to visit: The temple is open for visitors every day from 5 am to 12 pm and 4:30-8:30 pm. The most favourable time to visit the temple is during the summer and winter.
3. Kesi Ghat
Kesi Ghat is undoubtedly one of the most famous places in Vrindavan because of the breathtaking views it offers. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna River, Kesi Ghat, was built in the 17th century. Interestingly, Kesi Ghat is surrounded by several ancient temples—which makes it one of the must-visit places in Vrindavan.
Visiting hours and best time to visit: The Ghat is open to everyone and has boat rides during the day. Winter is the best time to visit Kesi Ghat.
4. Seva Kunj and Nidhivan
Nidhivan is one of the most mystical tourist attractions of Vrindavan. There are several myths surrounding the forest. Some believe that even today, Lord Krishna and his Gopis perform Rasleela in Nidhivan every night. Although the locals haven't seen Krishna's Raseela in the forest ever, they tend to believe it.
Meanwhile, Seva Kunj, situated near Nidhivan, is an important pilgrim site. Interestingly, Lord Krishna prepared for Rasleela with Gopis at the Seva Kunj. The Seva Kunj temple is considered to be Radha and Krishna's final resting place. Hence, the temple has great religious importance.
Visting hours and best time to visit: Seva Kunj temple's gates are open from 8 am to 11 am and 5:30 to 7:30 pm. And, winter is considered the best time to visit Seva Kunj.
5. Radha Damodar Temple
Radha Damodar temple was built in 1542 by Guru Srila Jiva Goswami. Interestingly, the temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb and during that time, the idols of the temple were transported to Jaipur. However, the temple survived the destruction and gained momentum among devotees.
Visiting hours and best time to visit: The temple is open every day from 6:30 am to 12:30 pm and 5:00 to 9:30 pm in the summers. During the winter, one can visit the temple from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm and 4:15 pm to 8:45 pm.
Vrindavan has about 5000 temples, and every worship place holds a unique history. You can also visit other religious shrines like Gopishvar Mahadev Temple, and Mirabai Temple too during your visit to Vrindavan.