A garden where intruders turn into trees, eyes that mesmerize you;a magical tale of Vrindavan
Last Thursday, as I sat cross-legged on my bed, soaking in the winter Sun and enjoying my tea and biscuits, I got a call from my brother,”Dada, why don’t you visit us at Vrindavan?”
Without batting my eyelids, I said, ‘Yes, I will come today.”
Vrindavan is a small town in Northern India but has a great historical, spiritual and tourist value.Located at around 200 kilometres from Delhi, it has a charm of its own as this was the town where Lord Krishna spent his formative years.The small town was so named as the only shrub that one could find here was the basil plant.Basil is also known as “vrinda” or “tulsi” in Sanskrit/Hindi.
My biggest motivation behind making a dash to Vrindavan was to capture a few images for my blog post and also get some content of offbeat destinations in India.And, Vrindavan is one such beautiful holiday destination in India.
The other motivation was to take my Toyota for a long drive and get its engine tuned.
Smooth as Butter
We had to cross Delhi to reach the Yamuna Expressway and it took 2 hours doing so.Thursday, despite being a holiday offered us little respite from the Delhi traffic.The Yamuna Expressway links Noida to Agra and is now the preferred motorway for travellers to Mathura and Agra.
Smooth as butter, the Yamuna Expressway lets you hit your gas pedal to more than 110 km/hour.But, it is advisable to get your tires inflated by Nitrogen to avoid them getting burst.The Expressway is made of concrete and the fast revolving wheels of cars may lead to heating up of the air inside the tires.
We whizzed across the Expressway and reached Vrindavan in no time 1 hour and 25 minutes, to be precise.
Having rested that night in the town, we decided to go and have darshan of the presiding deity of Vrindavan-Banke Bihari ji.
It is said that nearly 500 years ago, Sant Haridas, a devout disciple of Lord Krishna, while meditating one day, actually had a darshan of Lord Krishna and his consort, Radha!
Overcome by emotion, the Sant prayed to the Lord that He always be present in front of the eyes of Haridasji.The Lord, accepted the request and turned himself into a statue.The statue of the Lord was contorted or twisted in 3 places and thus, it assumed the name of Banke Bihari ji. “Banke” means “twisted” and Bihariji is another name of Lord Krishna.
It is said that Sant Haridasji was an incarnate of Lalita, a gopi who lived during the life and times of Lord Krishna!
After making a tortuous drive through the winding lanes of the city, we managed to reach a spot where after parking our Toyota, we were ready for the trip to the famous temple.
Dear travellers, it is advisable to take a rickshaw to the temple as the police does not allow cars and buses in areas around the temple.
While reaching the temple premises is easier, the difficult part comes when you have to negotiate the crowds of the devotees inside it.If you are not careful, you can be pushed behind by the mass of eager men and women wanting to capture one glimpse of the Lord.
Dear travellers, I could not take a snap of the Lord as photography is strictly prohibited in the premises.
I was accompanied by my small kids so, had to doubly careful.The alleys leading to the sanctum sanctorum are very narrow and lined with shops selling sweets .I made a silent promise to myself to have some of these goodies on my way back.
So, after a lot of hard work and getting pushed and shoved, the four of us reached the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord.One look at the Lord and I was overcome with emotion.I considered myself blessed at getting the darshan of the Lord.But, what transfixed me were His eyes.
It is said that staring into the eyes of the Lord leads to the mesmerisation of the devotee!
I hadn’t known about this legend/myth/fact earlier but, came to know about it a few days back.
Now that our objective was met, we headed back but this time our trip was easier.And, of course, I treated my family to a well deserved reward of lassi and peda.
More about the temple’s haunted history
The idol of Banke Bihariji was not always at its present location.It was earlier located in a garden called Nidhivan- a garden that is considered haunted by people of the area.
It so happened that one day, some disciples of Sant Haridas were transfixed into trees when they saw their spiritual master in a communion with Lord Krishna.Pained by the state of his disciples, the Sant decided to bring the idol to its present location .
Even today, the faithful believe that on a particular night in the year (Sharad Poornima), the Lord takes a human form and engages in a celestial dance with his gopis in the garden.Any living person, man or woman, risks getting transfixed if he or she ventures inside the garden at that hour!
The adventure isn’t over yet!
While on our way, we were diverted by the passers bye to a a little used road. It was less of a road and more of a sandy track.The track wound its way along the Yamuna.
The kids were excited and decided to take a couple of videos of the countryside.
After driving for a few hundred metres, I overtook another passenger car, little knowing what the remaining stretch of the track had in store for me.
As I negotiated the shallow ditches and crests on the track, I hit a small mound of river sand and woosh- my front wheels sank into it like a stone into water!I accelerated but ,no result!I was just blowing sand around and the front wheels kept sinking down further.It was 12 noon.
You can imagine what happens to you when you get stranded with your kids and wife in a deserted spot in a strange city.
Luckily, the stretch wasn’t that stranded at that point of the hour.There was some traffic there, chiefly composed of motorcyclists, passengers in SUVs and a tractor or two.All isn’t lost, I thought to myself.
We flagged down some people for help, but they just drove on, amused at our situation.We signalled a few more times to people for help.
Then, my wife thought to call the police. By that time, a few young people had assembled and were assessing the situation and figuring how to get my Toyota out of the sand.The Vrindavan police were at the spot in under 5 minutes within placing that call!
A few young men got down on their knees and physically lifted the front part of the car.90 % of the problem had been solved by then.Two policemen were also there by then and their presence was comforting.In the next 30 minutes, the Lord had helped us out of the situation.It seemed as if he had sent his gopas or childhood friends to help us out.
I saw the beautiful side of India that afternoon-helping, considerate and friendly.
And, I could not help but wonder whether Lord Krishna still keeps his watch over all of us, even though it has been more than 5000 years that he passed away!
Thanks for reading!