Goverdhan, a town 21 km away from Mathura, is the most popular and important place in Braj and the huge mountain situated here is always worshipped with great reverence and faith. According to mythology, Yogiraj Shri Krishna had lifted this mountain on his little finger to save the people of Braj from the wrath of Indra. Devotees demonstrate their faith in this holy mountain by calling it ‘Giriraj Ji’ and circumambulating the mountain. The process of circumambulating (Parikrama) this mountain by walking, lying on the ground or pouring a thin stream of milk is hundreds of years old.
For centuries, devotees coming to Govardhan from India and abroad, while circumambulating the Giriraj mountain, pass through many mythological places, prominent among them are ‘Danghati Temple’, ‘Radhakund’, ‘Kusum Sarovar’, ‘Mansi Ganga’ etc.
There is a tradition of starting the circumambulation of Giriraj Mountain from ‘Danghati Temple’. There is a mythological story behind this temple being named Daanghati. Radha and her friends were bringing milk, curd and butter from far and wide for a Yagya when Shri Krishna along with his friends started demanding donations (toll tax) from Radha and her friends by hitting them with sticks. After this incident, this place came to be known as ‘Danghati’.
नैक ठाड़ी रह री ग्वालन दैजा मेरौ दान |
लाला कैसो दान मांगै चतुर सुजान ।।
‘Mansi Ganga’ is situated at the foothills of Girraj, where pilgrims are blessed by bathing and bathing. It is believed that Shri Krishna created Mansi Ganga from his own mind. It was named Mansi Ganga because it originated from the mind of Shri Krishna.
‘Poonchari Ka Lotha’ currently comes under the borders of Rajasthan. In Braj, a wrestler is called ‘Lautha’. There is a deity of Lord Hanuman here, only after circumambulating it the circumambulation of Govardhan is considered complete.
‘Jatipura’ is the main centre of Vallabha sect located in Govardhan. At this place is the ‘Ancient Temple of Shrinathji’, which is now in a dilapidated state. In the sixteenth century, ‘Ashtachhap’ poet Surdas etc. used to perform kirtan in Jatipura, Shri Vallabhacharya and Vitthalnath ji have meetings here. There are many temples of Vallabha sect in Jatipura, which show its antiquity and historicity. There is a temple in Jatipura, where the medium of worship is milk.
Kusum Sarovar – Goverdhan
‘Kusum Sarovar’ is a place worth seeing from an architectural and archaeological point of view, which falls almost at the last stop of Girraj ji’s Saptakoshi Parikrama. It is believed that Radha used to come to this place to meet Shri Krishna on the pretext of picking flowers, hence this place was named Kusum Sarovar.
Initially, it was a raw pond, which was made concrete by King Veer Singh of Orchha in 1675. Raja Surajmal of Bharatpur state gave it an artistic look in 1723 and developed it as a garden for Queen Kishori. In 1764, his son Jawahar Singh developed this garden. On a 460 feet long platform, a memorial of King Surajmal was built in an area of 57 feet square, and next to it was built the umbrellas of Queen Kishori and Hansiya, in front of which a huge pond is built, which adds to its beauty. Presently this place is a special center of attraction for devotees and tourists.