Sunday, September 04, 2011

Radha Kund - Divine ecstacy

Thirty kilometres from Mathura and four kilometres Goverdhan, a small village resembling the unkempt lanes and by lanes of Kasi, is Radha Kund. Famous among the Bengali vaishanava, the little spiritual village, is home for many who have left their homes and families in Bengal, to be here where Radha is supposed to have bathed with her gopis, right next to Shyama kund where the divine lover, Sri Krishna, himself had taken his bath. Thus, the place is full of kunds (lakes) which have natural water, in spite of being in arid, water starved Mathura of these days.

The two famous kunds, Radha and Shyama kunds are separated by a small wall. And while Radha kund still has clear water, Shyama is enveloped by sludge around the sides for want of cleaning.

Yet, the people living there are happy. They live in divine ecstasy of Radha rani.

Wikipedia says, that “following the sacred writing “Sri Upadeshamrita” (The Nectar of Instruction) by early 16th century saint Srila Rupa Gosvami of Vrindavan, a close associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vaishnava Hindus consider Radha-Kund to be the supreme of all holy places. Mythology has it that when Lord Krishna slayed a mighty asura (demon) in the form of a bull, his consort Radha tersely told Krishna to wash off his sins by taking dips in various holy rivers. Krishna laughed it off and struck the ground with his foot whereupon the mighty rivers emerged, welled up and formed a kunda (little water body). Subsequently the Lord bathed in the water to please Radha. The kunda came to be called “Shyam-Kund”. Indignant that Krishna used his powers for this, Radha and her girl attendants dug out a kunda with their bangles and filled it with water from “Manasi-Ganga”, another holy kunda at nearby Govardhan. That particular kunda is today's “Radha-Kund” where people come from far and wide to take a dip.

Since Radhaji is considered the most holy, chaste, pure, pious and greatest of all divinities, Radha-Kund holds its significance and spiritual grandeur by being made personally by Radharani.

Every twenty years or so Radha Kund is emptied revealing the original Kund that was rediscovered by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on his travels, as prior to this the Kund had remained hidden for many years. The original pool becomes visible when Radha Kund is emptied and is named Kancan or Kankan Kund.”

Just behind Syama kund is the one and only Dharmashala – Miramanuranjan Banik Dharmashala, the only staying place in Radha kund. The rooms reminded me of Bharat Sevashram in Gaya. The bathroom floors is wet, the bedding not very appealing and of course you must have your own bed linen. Priced at only Rs 130 per 24 hrs, with food, surely one can’t ask for more.

Naturally, the thrifty Bengali, who is a travel bug, and prefers places like Bharat Sevashram, wherever, they go, finds Miramanuranjan Banik Dharmashala just the right place for their shoe-string budget for bhraman ( travels), especially, in the festival months of the vaishnavas.

How to reach: By bus or car via Goverdhan.
Stay: Miramanuranjan Banik Dharmashala,
P.O Radha Kund, Mathura, Mathura Distt.
Pin: 281504
Contact person: Shubhro Majumdar
Cell: 917417502381, 918899499676

Warning: Tie your purse strings tightly! You may be flogged by persistent beggars who pose as bhaktas. I am told that many of them have Bank accounts and lakhs of money, which the generous hearted may themselves not have.

Photo gallery:

Radha kund

More info on Radha Kund:

More pictures and videos on Radha Kund
Radha kund


Anu said...

very interesting! hadnt heard of this before.... as to the budget conscious traveller, it is not just bengali, but any pilgrim i guess.. most of the dharamshalas (whatever name they may be called ) anywhere in the country are just like this... and ppl stay there happily, of course, thanks to the low cost! of course, things are changing in a few places where the temple is actually spending more money to make the pligrims comfortable, but its a slow change...

Julia Dutta said...

Thanks Anu. Perhaps I am the first to blog on this place and alsogive details of staying places. I too had hunted a lot for it and as the place was in my mind for a long time, I visited.

I could not upload all the pictures which I hope to do in FB. Do check


Dr Divya Pal Singh said...

Radhe Radhe Julia Dutta.

Thanks for your post. I spent a memorable 7 years in Radhakund working as a doctor. The place is indeed divine.

However, the same cannot be said about the people. Your photo of a local lounging slothfully is typical of these fellows who claim a semi-divinity just by being 'Brijwasis'.

Exploitation of pilgrims in every manner is their raison d'etre for existence. They will blatantly and aggressively loot your money, belongings, modesty, self-respect.

One can rationalize by saying that this is 'Kali Yuga'.