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INDIA TOURS>PILGRIMAGES TOURS>UTTAR PRADESH>
                          Kedarnath
l Badrinath l Mathura- Vrindavan l
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Kedarnath Temple     


An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, bulk in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, Stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely arhitectured Kedarnath temple considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a "Garbha Griha" for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form .

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Badrinath Temple          

Perched at an altitude of 3,133 mt. above sea-level, in the middle of a beautiful valley, it is located on the right bank of holy river Alaknanda. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji is 15 mt. in height, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire.

Legend dates the temple prior to the Vedic age, though the present temple is believed to have been established by Aid Shankaracharya, the 8th century A.D., Hindu reformist.

The temple has been renovated several times due to earlier damages by avalanches and looks modem now with a colourful "Singh Dwara" or the main entrance gate. The temple has three parts - Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).

It is believed that the image of Badrinath had been thrown into the Alaknanda river during the time of the Buddhist era and later retrieved and reinstalled by Shankaracharya during the following Hindu revival.

There are 15 idols in the temple complex. Finely sculpted in black stone, the Badrinath (Vishnu) image is a metre high. Other images include those of Laxmi (Vishnu's consort), Garurh (Vishnu's mount), Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh etc.

With its great scenic beauty and attractive recreational spots in the vicinity, Badrinath attracts an ever increasing number of secular visitors each year.

Panch Dharas
(a) Prahalad Dhara (b) Kurma Dhara (c) Urbasi Dhara (d) Bhrigu Dhara (e) Indra Dhara.

Panch Shilas
(a) Narad Shila (b) Varaha Shila (c) Garurh Shila (d) Markandeya Shila (e) Narsingh Shila.

Mathura-Vrindavan       

Mathura-Vrindavan is wrapped in timeless devotion to Lord Krishna, the evergreen hero of Hinduism, the lover of Radha, the cowherd-prince and the re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Mathura without Lord Krishna is like Bethlehem without Christ. Welcome to Brajbhoomi or Krishna-land.

Brajbhoomi - The city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of Brajbhoomi, is located at a distance of 145 km south-east of Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra. Covering an area of about 3,800 sq. km., today, Brajbhoomi 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. In a nutshell, 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.

An Ancient City - An ancient city, Mathura's strategic location at the cross roads of various trade routes - that went westwards to West Asia and the Roman Empire; northwards, via Taxila, Pushkalavati and Purushapur to Central Asia and the Silk Route and eastwards to China - ensured its position as a centre of trade and a meeting point for varied cultures. By the 5th century BC, during the time of Buddha, it was a major metropolis and the capital of the Surasena Kingdom. Mathura saw its `golden age' during the rule of the Kushanas and the able governance of rulers Kanishka, Huvishka, and Vasishka, when the arts flourished and economic wealth grew. It remained a centre of power during the Mauryan period, through the enlightened rule of Emperor Ashoka (3rd century BC) to the Gupta era (4th century AD).

Holy Land - It has often been said that it is easier to count the number of dust particles on the surface of the earth than to count the number of holy places in Mathura. Each of the Ghats, for instance, has its own Krishna myth. Here He rested after killing his evil and tyrannical uncle, King Kansa; This is where His mother tied him after he stole butter; This is the sacred grove where Krishna and Radha spent lazy, love-filled times - the list is endless. In Mathura-Vrindavan, it is difficult to know the dividing line between reality and myth.

A Divine Career - Lord Krishna was born in a prison cell in Mathura. His father Vasudev aided by several celestial forces stole him out of Mathura, across the raging river Yamuna and into the house of Nand in Gokul. Krishna spent his early childhood here and revealed the first signs of his divinity. His uncle Kansa's muderous attempts forced Krishna to leave Gokul and move to Nandgaon, a more secure home high up on a hill. From here, the adolescent Krishna, the cowherd, would wander into the Vrindavan forests to play with his friends and dally with Radha, his lady love. Vrindavan, is still a transcendental world, a place of Krishna's leela, (play), of deep eroticism and an archetypal connection to nature. Each tree in the area speaks, as it were, of the love of the divine couple.

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