Goverdhan hill is located around 22kms from Mathura. This is a sacred site for Hindus, especially devotees of Lord Krishna. According to the legends, this was the abode of Lord Krishna himself and to save village from flood, Krishna had lifted the hill on his little finger.
It is believed that walking the 21 km stretch round the hill also known as ‘Parikrama’ would purify one’s soul and senses and one’s wishes would be fulfilled.
There are several temples and sites that come across the 21 km stretch located on the sides of the hill, where one can stop by and offer prayers. Following are some-
1.Mansi Ganga-This is the temple from where one can start the parikrama by taking a dip in holy water.
Parikrama can be done on foot, in an e-rickshaw or in a local taxi/vehicle.
2.Poochri ka Lautha
It is a common sight to find a lot of monkeys and stray animals (waiting to be fed)outside this temple.
3.Shri Giriraj ji Mukharbind
Another popular temple at the parikrama marg where people mostly offer milk and sweets(jalebis) which the monkeys around relish fully.
This is considered to be a holy pond where devotees take a dip and perform religious activities like puja,lighting diyas(lamps) etc.
The water is in bad condition though.
This is a must stop,more for it’s beautiful view.A tea stall just opposite to this sarovar serves good tasty chai.
6.Shri Giriraj Dharan Hargokul
My Trip-5 Feb
I reached goverdhanji around 7 in the evening and checked in the guest house. Later,after finishing my dinner around 9:30 pm I went out for a stroll to the market. (Via parikrama marg)
Goverdhan by Night was unusually quiet with few people and only animals lurking on the road,unlike summers where the whole parikrama marg is flooded as most people prefer evening/night to do parikrama.
Goverdhan by Night.
Video:Prayers being offered at Shri Ram Janki temple at night
I tried the hot milk at the famous Giriraj Mishthan restaurant.
Morning parikrama-6 Feb.
Next morning After having breakfast, I hired an e-rickshaw and started the parikrama at 9:45 am.An e-rickshaw for parikrama charges 250-300(for four persons)
It took me almost 2.5 hours to complete the periphery. (Stops at temples included)
I offered prayers at Mansi Ganga,Poochri ka lautha,Radha kund,Shri girirajji mukharbind,Kusum sarovar and Shri giriraj dharan hargokul.
I finished by 12 noon.
During the parikrama,I managed to capture some interesting pictures and videos of the village.
Here’s a video of Krishna devotees singing songs and prayers,that i captured outside Radha Kund.
During my prior visit I did night parikrama on foot which started at 11 in the night and finished around 5 in the morning.
During Summers I always prefer night parikrama, because weather wise it’s more pleasant and the trail also looks lighted up and lively with several visitors walking along with you.
Where to stay
There are several hotels, lodges and dharamsalas where one can choose to stay according to their budget. However, private vehicles (from outside U.P) have recently been disallowed inside the parikrama marg.So to reach any hotel located inside the parikrama area, one has to take a rickshaw or auto. Vehicles have to be parked elsewhere.
This was my second visit to Giriraj ji and I stayed at Delhi Seva Sadan, a guest house which is just 500m away from parikrama marg . It is a simple lodge which has its own set of benefits and down points.
One can just walk in, no prior booking needed.
It’s very reasonable.
The food is awesome.
Very close to parikrama marg.
The rooms are basic.
No room amenities –like kettle, room service, no towels, toiletries etc.
During my first visit (summers of 2016) I had stayed at Sri Radha Braj vasundhara resort and spa, which is luxurious and offers cottage rooms. But it now lies inside the periphery of parikrama marg.It is also a good choice for people looking for more comfort.
Best Time to visit
I visited in February and I think moderate winters are quite a pleasant time to visit. Also,normally an overcrowded Goverdhanji was quiet and peaceful at this time of year, reason being kumbh mela of prayagraj.
However,Goverdhanji remains flooded with devotees throughout the year especially during Kartik maas(the month of Diwali) and goverdhan puja,the most auspicious time to perform devotional activities according to hindu belief.
What to expect in Giriraj ji
Monkeys, a lot of them.
A lot of animals-cows dogs, pigs buffalos.
A lot of crowd.
A lot of mess around.
Passion, devotion, dedication, patience-will amaze you!
Unique sights-some of which you have never seen before .
Sights of a typical rural life.
The 21 km stretch is not for the faint hearted.Don’t forget to carry your water along.
For parikrama in summers-Evening/early morning time is good and day time is pleasant for winter months.
Beware of the monkeys.
Visitors normally do parikrama at all times of the day. It takes approx 5-6 hours on foot and 2-3 hours on a vehicle to complete the stretch.(depending on one’s pace)