Braj is the land of Lord Krishna. This beautiful region combines the echoes of the Mughal Past and much older legends of Lord Krishna who is supposed to have lived 5,500 years ago in the same region. A journey to this place enables the amalgamation of both the ‘Bhakti’ of Lord Krishna and the Mughal era regality.
Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi – This is a special part of the Braj visit and one cannot miss it. The blessed ground of the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi is believed to be the place where Devaki delivered baby Krishna. There is a big chunk of flat rock which is believed to be the exact spot. This place has existed for more than 5500 years which proves the staunch nature of faith. It is the main spot of pilgrimage in Mathura. Outside you’ll find shops selling religious paraphernalia. Once you’re inside the complex peace and tranquility prevails.
Vrindavan – Vrindavan is just 11 kms away from Mathura and is a revered place for the people of faith. Every year pilgrims flock here in large numbers to offer their prayers. This is known as the land of 5000 temples. Cattle have a special place here as they are revered and they live here in huge numbers at Goshalas where they are taken care of. Some temples to visit here are Banke Bihari temple, Madam Mohan Temple. Festivals of Holi and Janmasthmi are celebrated grandly.
Nidhivan – A dense forest area nearby Mathura which is mysterious and has a lot of legends attached to it. This place is famous for the maha rasleela where Lord Krishna is supposed to have danced with 16,108 gopis. It is also believed that Lord Krishna and Radha spend every night in a temple within the compound. People do not hang around to find out what happens though because it is believed that one can lose their sanity after seeing what happens in the temple.
Holi at Barsana – One hour drive away from Vrindavan is Barsana which is famous for its own version of Holi which is very unique. The courtyard of the 5000 year old Lala Ji Temple which is dedicated to Radha lights up during the festival. Thousands of people come here to celebrate the unique style of Holi. It is believed that Lord Krishna used to live in Nandgaon which is nearby and he used to come to Barsana and tease Radha and her friends. Then Radha and other women used to chase Lord Krishna away. The same legend is enacted every year at Barsana popularly known as ‘Lath Maar Holi’ where young women chase young men who try to tease them by role playing as Lord Krishna. It is a celebration like you have never seen anywhere.
In and around Mathura there are places like Govardhan, Gokul and Mahaban which are closely related to Lord Krishna’s life. The Braj region is well connected via road and rail. Also, finding accommodations and good food is easily available. The best time to visit Braj is from October to March.