Vrindavan, around 15 km from Mathura, is a little town and a major place of pilgrimage on the banks of Yamuna. Attracting about 500 000 pilgrims every year, mainly during major festivals like Janmashtami, Holi and Radhashtami, it is noted for its numerous temples, both old and modern, big and small (allegedly 5000 altogether). Vrindavan is synonymous with the childhood pastimes of Sri Krishna. Vrindavan is also the center for various Vaishava groups.
According to another tradition, it was named after Vrinda Devi, one of Krishna's consorts. The earliest known shrine in Vrindavan is said to have been built by the local Gosvamis in a large garden called Nidhiban. According to tradition, Mughal Emperor Akbar was taken blindfolded inside the grove where he had some kind of a spiritual experience. As a result, he acknowledged the spot as being holy ground. The four temples that were built in honor of his visit are Madan Mohan, Govinda Deva, Gopinath, and Jugal Kishore.
Temple architecture The basic structure of temples in India is a room or garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) where the image (murti) of the main Deity is kept. The temple is approached by a flight of steps and is often built on a platform. A porch covers the entrance to the temple, which is supported by carved pillars. A prominent roof called the shikhara surmounts the top of the garbhagriha, and dominates the surroundings. As time went by, small temples grew into temple complexes. Some temples have a hall (mandap) from where one can see the sanctum sanctorum. Some temples developed their own local flavor apart from adhering to their basic native style. Most of the temples in Vrindavan belong to the North Indian style of temple architecture, while a few conform to a mixed style. Most of the temples now present in Vrindavan were constructed after AD 1000, while some of them are of recent origin.