Forests of Vraj
Vraja Mandal extends for about 168 miles (eighty-four kosas). The Puranas state that, “Vrajanti gavau yasminnati vrajau – the land where the cows, cowherd men, cowherd boys and cowherd girls wander is known as Vraja.” Vraja particularly denotes the land of the Supreme Person Vrajendra Nandana’s (Shri Krishna’s) pastimes. In the eighty-four kosas of Vraja-mandala, there are forty-eight different forests (vanas), which includes upavanas (sub-forests), prativanas and adhivanas. According to the Padma Purana, there are twelve principal forests in Vraja Mandal situated east and west of the Yamuna. They are (1) Mahavana, (2) Kamyavana, (3) Madhuvana, (4) Talavana, (5) Kumudavana, (6) Bhandirvana, (7) Vrindavana, (8) Khadiravana, (9) Lohavana, (10) Bhadravana, (11) Bahulavana and (12) Baelvana. Of these twelve forests, seven lie on the western side of the Yamuna – Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Khadiravana and Vrindavana. These 7 forests on the Western side come under Krishna’s patronage. The remaining five – Bhadravana, Bhandirvana, Baelvana, Lohavana and Mahavana – are situated on the Yamuna’s eastern side and are under the jurisdiction of Balaramji.
Srimad Bhagavatam describes the glories of Vraja Bhoomi as follows, “In this Vraja Bhoomi, the sweet splendor of spring, the king of all seasons, is ever present, and a green velvety carpet covers the surface of the earth. Lotuses of many colors bloom in the ponds and rivers, and the branches of the trees are well adorned with fully-bloomed campa, cameli, beli, juhi and other delightfully fragrant flowers, whose nectar is relished by intoxicated bees. The entire atmosphere is pervaded with both transcendental bliss and the intoxication of youth. These combine to create a kingdom of ever-increasing joy that captivates the body and mind.” Such is the captivating beauty and sweetness of these forests of Vraja. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and come over for an enchanting and enlivening tour of these beautiful forests with Radhanath Swami.