Vrindavan Town is a small town located 145 Kms south of Delhi and 55 Kms north of Agra, just off the Delhi-Agra Road. It is at a 14 km or half hour Taxi ride from Mathura. It has a small town type atmosphere with narrow streets in most of the places. The town is situated on the banks of the river Yamuna. With more than 5000 temples in the town, it is also known as “The City of Temples”. It is a delightful treat for the ears and the soul to hear thousands of bells and gongs ringing simultaneously across Vrindavan as the Aaratis (worship of the Lord by offering incense, ghee lamps etc.) are being performed in these temples during morning and evening hours. Most prominent amongst these are the temples built by the six Goswamis of Vrindavan such as the temples of Radha Madanmohan, Radha Govinda and Radha Gopinath. Many of these temples are masterpieces of elegant architectural design and exquisite stonework. Also there are several Ghats (steps leading down to a water body) on the banks of Yamuna where Krishna performed His pastimes. Kaliya Ghat, Chir Ghat, Akrura Ghat, Shringar Ghat, Imli Tala and Keshi Ghat are the prominent ones frequented by the pilgrims. Also if you are looking to buy some nice devotional paraphernalia to worship your deities, a big market of the name Loi Bazaar is there in the middle of the downtown area.
Five hundred years ago Lord Krishna appeared as the Yuga avatar Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When Lord Caitanya came to Vrindavan in 1515, it was practically a forgotten place, it was a deep jungle. The holy places of Krishna’s pastimes were practically lost & forgotten. Here He discovered many of the eternal places where Krishna performed His divine pastimes. Later on He sent His prominent disciples, who later became the six Goswamis of Vrindavan, to excavate all the other places of Krishna’s pastimes and establish magnificent temples in Vrindavan. It is to Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavan that we owe so deeply for revealing Vrindavan Dham to all of us.
It is stated in the scriptures that only once in a day of Lord Brahma, that is once in 4.32 billion years, does the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna appears on this planet in His original form of Shyamsundar. Vrindavan is the holy place where Lord Shri Krishna appears. It is said that Vrindavan is Chintamani Dham, that is, the abode of the Lord made of wish fulfilling touchstones. Brahmaji sings the glories of Vrindavan dham in Brahma Samhita (5.56) as follows , “I worship that supreme abode of Vrindavan, where the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna is the only lover; where the Vraja Gopis are the beloveds; where every tree and creeper is a transcendental desire-tree; where the earth is made of spiritual touchstones and the water is nectar; where speech is like melodious song and movements are like dance; where great divine oceans of milk continually flow from the udders of uncountable surabhi cows; and where transcendental time is eternal, and without past and future, so that even half a moment never slips away. In this material world, only rare, saintly personalities can understand the nature of this abode.”
However it is not possible to perceive the actual Vrindavan Dham, as described in the scriptures, with our conditioned material vision. Radhanath Swami explains that Vrindavan may externally appear to be just like an ordinary town or village: sewage running in the street, hogs bathing in that sewage and walking around. But behind all of this, the Lord is performing His unlimited pastimes. There is a thin veil of the curtain of Yogamaya which covers our vision from seeing Vrindavan. He adds further that Vrindavan can only be seen by humbly and faithfully hearing from the pure devotees of the Lord. The great personalities who have completely purified their hearts can see the divine pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar continuously taking place in Vrindavan.