Vrindavana and Mathura are the most important places of pilgrimage for devotees of Krishna. Krishna was born in Mathura and spent His childhood in Vrindavan. There are over 5,000 temples in Vrindavan.
The city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of Brajabhumi, is located 140 km south-east of Delhi and 60 km north-west of Agra. Covering an area of about 3,800 sq. km., Brajabhumi can be divided into two distinct units – the eastern part in the trans-Yamuna tract with places like Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo, Mat and Bajna and the western side of the Yamuna covering the Mathura region that encompasses Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, Barsana and Nandgaon (Nandagram).
The land of Braj starts from Kotban near Hodel about 95 km from Delhi and ends at Runakuta which is known specially for its association with the poet Surdas, an ardent Krishna devotee. A long line of picturesque ghats – with their steps leading to the water’s edge, arched gateways and temple spires extending along the right bank of the River Yamuna, emphasize the sacred character of the town of Mathura. The birth place of Lord Krishna, Mathura is today an important place of pilgrimage.
Lord Krishna is the most popular person here. Every square foot of Mathura-Vrindavan is wrapped in timeless devotion to Lord Krishna, the eternal hero, the lover of Radha and the cowherd-prince. Mathura without Lord Krishna is like Bethlehem without Jesus. Welcome to Brajabhumi, Krishna’s land.
To enable everyone to see the area in a traditional spiritual way, every year in Kartika (Oct/Nov) ISKCON puts on a Braja Mandala parikrama. This one-month walking tour goes to all 12 forests in Vrindavan and visits most of major places in the Braja area including Mathura, Radha Kund, Varsana, Nandagrama, Gokula, Vrindavan, and Govardhana Hill. It is traditional to do this walk barefoot, although shoes are permitted.