Mathura and Vrindavan are the two most popular religious places near Delhi. These religious towns are must-visit places for the devotees of Krishna. Most of the tourists add a day on their Agra trip to visit Mathura and Vrindavan. It’s also convenient to visit Vrindavan and Mathura from Delhi on a day trip. There are dozens of temples here but if you have one day then these are some important places to visit in Mathura Vrindavan in a day.
I recently visited Vrindavan when we took a short trip to Fatehpur Sikri and Bharatpur bird sanctuary. We kept a day to explore Mathura and Vrindavan. We made the best use of our time and visited some of the most popular temples in Vrindavan and Mathura. Last time I visited Mathura Vrindavan when I visited Agra with my family.
We stayed in Bharatpur and after breakfast for Mathura. It took us around one hour to cover a distance of 40 km. In general road conditions were good except for a couple of km where some construction work was going on. We took a turn from the highway and entered Mathura city.
Keep in mind that roads of Mathura are narrow so drive carefully.
Best places to visit in Mathura
Krishan Janambhoomi temple
We first went to the Krishna Janambhumi temple. Before we could go to the temple we have to park our car and parking is not an easy thing when you are in the busy market area of Mathura. Fortunately, we found a parking area near the lane going towards gate number 2 of Krishna Janambhumi temple.
The security is tight and they didn’t allow anything except cash. Security was not very tight when I visited the last time 9 years ago. That time they allowed us the mobile phone and a camera inside the temple. We were 5 people so we decided to go into two groups so that others will stay outside and can keep handbags.
I and my friends went inside the temple. The female security at the entry gate had patted us in a very strange manner. We ignored it and went inside the temple premise. We were looking for the entry gate for Lord Krishna’s birthplace and by chance, we went towards an arch that looked like an entry gate from distance. It was closed and as we were turning back police personnel spoke to us very rudely and instructed to go away. We told him that we are are looking for an entry gate to the cave where Krishna born. On this, he rudely told us that it’s not here and walked away. We called him from behind to know where should we go but he didn’t respond. What is the point of being inside the temple when you can’t help and guide the people?
To be honest it was a very unpleasant experience. I been to so many temples in different parts of India but never faced such rude behavior. Even in Somnath temple, the official inside the temple or security there is very helpful.
There is a locker room in the lane a few meters before the temple but they have mentioned on board that they are not responsible for the valuables kept with them. How can you keep your mobile phone and camera with them if they have no system? If these things are not allowed inside the temple then there should be some system to keep those. Interestingly inside the temple, there were several shops, not only selling puja material but also selling souvenirs and food items. I am unable to understand why they allowed snacks and soft drinks inside the temple. I again go back to my experience of Somnath temple, there they have lockers and I kept my phone & camera there twice and never faced any issues.
Krishan Janambhoomi temple timing
Summer season: The temple remains open from 5.00 am to 12.00 Noon. In the evening it remains open from 4.00 pm to 9.30 pm.
Winter season: The temple remains open from 5.30 am to 12.00 Noon. In the evening it remains open from 3.00 pm to 8.30 pm.
Potra Kund Mathura
After visiting Krishna Janambhumi we went to Potra Kund that is on the market road near the temple. Potra Kund is an artificial pond that gets water supply from the Yamuna River. There was very little water in the pond. Also, it is surrounded by iron railings from all sides so one can’t enter the Kund. We saw a small gate to go inside the Kund but it was locked. You can see Potra Kund pond from outside the railing.
The legend has that Krishna’s mother Devki used to wash his baby clothes in this pond. These small clothes are known as “Potra” so the name of the pond.
Others believe that when Krishna came to fight with Kans he took a bath here. That’s why it was known as “Pavitra Kund” which later on became Potra Kund.
The second story seems more logical because Devki’s all children were killed by Kans on their birth so how can she wash baby clothes.
Whatever is the right story, this Kund is an auspicious place for the Krishna’ devotees due to its proximity to his birthplace.
Temples and places to visit in Vrindavan
After visiting Mathura we went to Vrindavan, which is 11 km away. As soon as we took a turn for Vrindavan we saw broad roads and clean roads. There are housing societies, ashrams flats, and hotels on both sides of the road until the Prem Mandir.
Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan
Banke Bihari temple was our first stop in Vrindavan. It is the most auspicious and oldest temple in Vrindavan.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and he is worshipped here as Banke Bihari.
According to the legends, this temple was established by Haridass Ji, who was Guru of Swami Tulsi Dass who wrote Ramayana.
The story is that Lord Krishna and Radha appeared in front of Haridass after he sang devotional couplets in their praise. Haridass requested them to appear in one form instead of a couple. On his request, Krishna appeared in the form of Banke Bihari. The idol of Banke Bihari in standing position and black colored because Krishan was dark-skinned.
There is an interesting ritual in this temple. The Priest of the temple keeps drawing a curtain every few seconds to cover the idol. Sometimes people complain that before they can see the Idol properly, the curtain covered it.
There are interesting stories related to this ritual.
According to one story idol is covered frequently because if a devotee will see it for a long duration than he or she will lose their consciousness.
The second story says that God Banke Bihari is very soft-hearted, if a person will look at him with passion and dedication then he will leave the temple with that person.
Whatever is the reason but one thing is permanent you can’t see curtain for more than a few seconds as that idol a curtain is drawn frequently in front of the idol.
Banke Bihari Temple timing
Summers season: The temple opens around 7.00 am and remains open till Noon.
In evening temple remains open from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Aarti is performed between 7:45 and 8:00 am.
Winter season: The temple remains open from 8:45 am to 1.00 pm and again open from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
ISCON Temple Vrindavan/ Krishan Balram Temple
Iscon Temple in Vrindavan is also known as Krishna Balram temple. Here the idol of Krishna and Balram are in the center alter. On the right side alter is the idol of Radha Krishna with Gopis and on left side idol of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Nityananda, Swami Prabhupada and his spiritual teacher Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
The foundation of this temple was laid by Swami Prabhupada in 1975. According to mythology, this is the same place on the bank of Yamuna river where Krishna and his brother Balram used to herd cows. This is one of the first temples built by the ISKON. Initially, it was a small temple but over the years temple expended a lot. This temple is one of the global centers of ISKON.
The Aartis of the temple are very lively and very popular among devotees. People dance and sing with live music from instruments during the Aarti time. The environment in the temple gets very electric at that time. There is so much energy everyone inside the temple.
After Aarti, they distribute Prasad of holy water and holy basil near the alter.
There are a couple of counters from where anyone can buy the prasad of fruits or cake inside the temple. These items are made in the temple kitchen and sold at cost price.
It is a great feeling watching women making garlands in temple premises and singing Bhajans.
There is well maintained open space inside the temple, where we saw the beautiful paintings of Krishna and Radha on walls. This is one of the cleanest temples in Vrindavan.
ISKON temple has food and souvenir shops on the premise. They also have toilet facilities at the back of the temple complex.
After Bhog aartis they distribute free food to devotees in open area.
ISKON temple timing
Summer season: The temple remains open from 4:10 am to 12:45 pm and from 4:30 pm to 8:45 pm.
Winter seasons: The temple remains open from 4:10 am to 12:45 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:15 pm
Prem Mandir Vrindavan
This temple was built and maintained by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj’s NGO. The foundation stone of the temple was laid in 2001 and completed the work in 2012. Around 1000 artists built this temple complex in 12 years.
Prem Mandir is made of white Italian marble and it’s estimated cost is 150 crore rupees. The main sanctum has two floors, the ground floor has an idol of Radha Krishna and the first floor had Sita Ram’s idol.
The main sanctum is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens. These gardens have fountains and life-size statues of Radha Krishna with Gopis.
The statues in gardens depict four Leelas of Shri Krishna which are Jhulan Leela, Govardhan Leela, Raas Leela, and Kaliya Naag Leela.
Due to its beautiful design, this is one of the most visited temples among devotees and tourists. People visit the temple throughout the day but it attracts a maximum crowd in the evening when they illuminate the temple.
The lighting is one of the main attractions of the temple. Every evening after the sunset it is illuminated with colorful lights that change colors every minute. It is one of the newest, grand and beautiful made temples in Vrindavan.
Prem Mandir Temple timing
Temple remained opened between 5:30 am to 12.00 Noon and 4:30 pm to 8.00 pm.
Musical fountain along with light show timings are between 7.30 pm to 8.00 pm.
Tips for visiting Vrindavan
*** The Monkeys of Vrindavan are very notorious and known for their mischievousness. Follow some of these tips to avoid unnecessary problems.
* Don’t wear goggles or glasses when you visit the Banke Bihari temple. The monkeys in that area tend to snatch glasses.
* Also don’t open your bags or carry big bags because if you do so and a monkey notice this than there are chances that they try to snatch something from the bag.
* Don’t talk on mobile while you in Banke Bihari temple area because monkeys can snatch your phone.
*** Car parking is a big issue in Mathura and Vrindavan. There are a few designated car parking areas, which are not close to all temples.
* If you are traveling by your car then park it in the designated parking place and use an electric rickshaw to go from one place to another. There are plenty of electrical rickshaws and they charge 10 INR per person from one place to another if you share. Else you can pay 50 INR for a private electric rickshaw.
Food in Mathura and Vrindavan
The most popular sweet to bring back home from Vrindavan and Mathura is “Pede”. This simple sweet is made by reducing milk and adding sugar in it.
Other than this you can have Malai wali or Pede wali sweet Lassi. Which is usually extra sweet and full of fat.
For food have Kachori, Jalebi, Chaat, Samosa, Aloo Tikki and north Indian dishes.
People who don’t mind an extra dose of fat and sugar should try Makkhan Mishri (White butter with crystalized sugar), which is considered Lord Krishna’s favorite food.
How to travel to Mathura and Vrindavan
Delhi to Vrindavan is 180 km and Vrindavan to Mathura is 10 km.
Both cities are well connected by road and Indian railways.
It is advisable to visit Mathura and Vrindavan along with Agra because it is on the way to Agra from Delhi. Both towns are just 1 km from the main highway.
Or you can visit it with Bharatpur bird sanctuary.
Best time to visit Mathura and Vrindavan
You can visit these cities throughout the year but it is pleasant between October to March in terms of weather.
In the summer months from May to July, it gets too hot and the temperature goes to 44-45 degrees Celcius.
In the monsoon season from July to September it is difficult to walk around with the water on roads. There are traffic jams and narrow lanes get muddy with water.
For people who like to attend the festivals to experience the culture, they should visit during Janmashtami which falls sometime in August. It is Lord Krishna’s birthday and in Mathura Vrindavan, it is celebrated with much fanfare.
Holi is another popular festival to celebrate in Vrindavan and Mathura. Lots of people visit these cities to celebrate Holi, which is very popular among tourists as well as devotees. If you are a woman and like to celebrate Holi in Mathura Vrindavan than read this useful girl’s guide for Holi.
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Places to stay in Vrindavan and Mathura
It is better to stay in Vrindavan instead of Mathura. There are several good options for every kind of budget in Vrindavan.
These are some of the must-visit places in Vrindavan and Mathura if you have one day.