Gokul is the quaint town of cowherds where Lord Krishna was brought up by his foster mother Yasodha. It is a fascinating trip where you can see the places where Lord Krishna performed his miracles and also have a look at some of the relics from those times. Two must visits at Gokul are Gokulnath Temple and Ramanreti where pilgrims roll on the sand seeking blessings. Gokul is the place to be during Festivals like Janmashtmi, Trinvat Mela and Annakut when grand festivities are organized in this town.
Gokul is located 16 KMs from city of Mathura in the South East direction in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Gokul is 1.6 KM from Mahavan on the Mathura-Etah Road. State run buses ply regularly between the 2 towns and are a convenient way to visit Gokul. Alternatively Cabs can also be hired from major points of Mathura. The nearest Airport is 60 KMs away in Agra. You can reach Gokul from Agra by taking a Bus from Idgah Bus Stand or by taking a Cab.
August is the best time to be in Gokul to be part of the Janmashtami celebrations.
Lord Krishna as an Infant was under threat from the evil King Kamsa. So his father brought him to Gokul for safe custody. Lord Krishna spent his childhood at Gokul. There are many colorful events in Krishna’s life that happened at Gokul. Putana, the demon sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna was killed at Gokul. The famous episode of Krishna overpowering the dreaded multi heads serpent Kalia happened on the Yamuna at Gokul. Another key event in the life of Lord Krishna which happened here was that he met Radha his love for the first time at Gokul.
Gokulnath is the most important Temple at Gokul. Madan Mohan, Gopal Lalji, Morwala and Vitthalnath are the other prominent Temples worth visiting.
Raman Reti is the sand in which Lord Krishna played as a child. In more recent times, about 200 years ago, the famous Saint, Swami Gyandasji did a severe penance at Raman Reti for 12 years. Pleased with his devotion, The Lord appeared before him and today you can find a Ramanbihariji Mandir at that spot.
Today devotees roll over the sand here and see the blessings of Lord Krishna.
Gokul was a key center for the Bhakti Movement of the 16th century. Vallabhacharya one of the pioneers of Bhakti movement had a vision of Lord Krishna. Krishna gave him the Brahma Sambandha, a mantra of self-dedication to Krishna. He visited Gokul with an intention to restore people to the right path of devotion. He fell in love with the beauty of Gokul and often used to sit beside the River Yamuna and read the holy epic Shrimad Bhagavatam.
Thakurani Ghat is a popular Ghat in Gokul where Shri Vallabhacharya received Darshan of Shri Yamuna Maharani. The followers of Lord Vishnu especially those from the Vallabha Sampraday hold this place in very high regard even today.
The divine Architect Vishwakarma had built Nanda Bhavan 5000 years ago. Located on a hill, it was the house of Nanda, foster father of Lord Krishna. It was in this house that a young Krishna and his brother Balarama were brought up while his birth parents were imprisoned by King Kamsa in Vrindavan.
Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday is the biggest festival celebrated at Gokul with great pomp and gaiety. Other festivals of note are the Annakut festival and Trinavat Mela.
Do try a “Kulhar ki Chai” at a local stall while at Gokul. This is ginger Tea served in a Mud Glass. It tastes reamrkabley different from what I have had anywhere else in India! May be the special ingredient is the effect of Lord Krishna.
When you get to Gokul, and a stranger calls you Gopal, donot be surprised. “Gopal” is another name for Lord Krishna and is in fact a greeting in Gokul! People of Gokul greet each other by calling “Gopal”.
For a travelogue on a Goshala set up in Tamilnadu with Cows from Dwarka & Vrindavan, visit Govindapuram.
For other weekend getaways from Delhi, visit Holiday ideas near Delhi