About Forests of Vraja
Vraja Mandal Bhoomi is covered with 12 principal forests and several other sub-forests which were the venue for Lord Shri Krishna’s sweet pastimes on this planet Earth, 5000 years ago. In the eighty-four kosas of Vraja Mandal, 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. The 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.
These forests provide for fresh and juicy grasses for Krishna’s cows and calves. They also provide trees loaded with variety of sweet juicy fruits for rejuvenating Krishna and His cowherd boyfriends after their play and for resting under their shade. These forests provide for the Kunjas or the groves where Krishna performs rasa dance and other pastimes with the Gopis (cowherd damsels of Vraja). Further, the beautiful flowers, leaves, minerals, berries, clay, feathers etc. easily available in these forests are used as natural decorations by the Gopas and the Gopis for themselves and for their dear Shri Krishna. So, these forests of Vraja are the playground for Shri Krishna’s pastimes. Vrinda devi, an expansion of Shrimati Radharani is the presiding deity of the land of Vraja. Under Her direction all the wonderful arrangements are orchestrated in these forests, just suitable for the pleasure pastimes of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna.
Shrimad Bhagavatam describes the glories of Vraja Bhoomi as follows, “In Vraja Bhoomi, the sweet splendour of spring, the king of all seasons, is ever present, and a green velvety carpet covers the surface of the earth. Lotuses of many colours 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.
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