Historical, Heritage, Pilgrimage
Hindi & English
Vrindavan has long been an important pilgrimage site. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is credited with rejuvenating much of the city’s cultural and spiritual heritage in the sixteenth century.
Aside from worshipping and visting temples, look out for the Brahmotsava Festival, which goes on for ten days after Holi in February or March. In the mornings, Hindu pilgrims walk around the city on a path that takes three hours to complete. Start early on at the ISKCON Mandir.Try the food at Govindas Restaurant behind the Krishna- Balaram Mandir. Air conditioning provides a break from the heat, and there is vegetarian cuisine in Indian, Chinese and Italian styles. Drink the local jal-jeera, or cumin water. This tamarind water packs a spicy surprise.
Vrindavan is like many Hindu holy towns, chaotic, intriguing and charming at once. The city is made of old thin lanes. Walk your own way and get off the beaten track before you know it. Non-Hindi speakers will notice the lack of English signs. Ask your way around or get a cycle rickshaw to your destination. The town is also known as the Shelter City for widows. They sing hymns for seven or eight hours a day in bhajanashrams. In return for their singing, they are given money and the hope of spiritual liberation.
Unfortunately, some guides take part in scams where tourists are led to temples. The scam takes place if a large sum of rupees is demanded after a simple prayer ceremony. A small donation is fair, but walk away if you are being pressured to give a large amount. Try to make sure your guide takes you to temples of your own choosing. Protect you belongings from thieves both human and tailed; Vrindavan’s monkeys are notorious for their light-fingered ways. Stay alert and you should stay problem free.
Get to Vrindavan by taking the train to Mathura. The towns are only twelve kilometers apart, so you can travel between them by taxi or rickshaw.