The large Braj Mandal area is situated south of New Delhi and it is spread over an area of around 3,800 square kilometers. It is bound by a periphery known traditionally and historically as 84 Kos, spanning Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, Bharatpur district in Rajasthan and Hodal Subdivision of Palwal Dist. of Haryana.
The Braj Mandal area has had a deep impact on Indian culture, heritage and tradition. Being the setting for Lord Krishna’s birth, childhood and adolescence years, as enumerated among anothers in the Indian Epic Mahabharata, Vishnu Mahapurana and Srmad Bhagavatam Mahapurana.
There are many places of cultural, religious and with heritage significance scattered all over the large region of Braja. It is estimated that around 50 million pilgrims and tourists visit Braj annually, which come to pay their obeisances in the various Temples, Kunds and Groves of Braj.
punya bata vraja-bhuvo yad ayam nr-linga
gudhah purana-purusho vana-citra-malyah
gah palayan saha-balah kvanayams ca venum
Translation: “How pious are the tracts of land in Braja, for there the primeval Personality of Godhead, disguising Himself with human traits, wanders about enacting His many pastimes! Adorned with wonderfully variegated forest garlands, He whose feet are worshiped by Lord Siva and goddess Rama vibrates His flute as He tends the cows in the company of Balaram”. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.44.13)
The places where Nanda Baba dwelt and moved around with his cows, calves, family and associates are called Braja. Braja particularly denotes the land of the supreme person Vrajendra nandan Sri Krishna’s pastimes.
The beauties of the Braj Mandal area
Braj-Vrindavan is such an extraordinary and astonishing sacred abode. In Vrindavan, the sweet splendor of spring, the queen of all seasons is everpresent. A green velvety carpet covers the surface of the Earth. Lotuses of all different colours bloom in the ponds and rivers. The branches of the trees are decorated with fully bloomed fragrant flowers, whose nectar is relished by the intoxicated bees.
The entire atmosphere is pervaded with transcendental bliss and the intoxication of youth. These combine to create a kingdom of ever-increasing joy that captivates the body and mind.
Playing sweetly on His flute, Vrajendra-Nandana Sri Krishna roams throughout this land of Braja along with His elder brother, Balaram, and Their innumerable cowherd boy friends and cows. This land of Braj Mandal is blessed. Here the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, dwells in the form of a mountain range in Varsana to have the dust of the Divine Couple Sri Radha Krishna’s lotus feet on his head. The maintainer, Lord Vishnu has assumed the forms of Govardhan hill and Vishnu-parvata. Here the moon-crested Mahadeva (Lord Shiva) has taken up residence as Nandisvara hill in Nandagram. Uddhava, the best of Sri Hari’s servants, lives as a blade of grass, a small shrub and a creeper on the banks of Kusum Sarovar.
In Braja, the supreme Lord Sri Krishna becomes the calves and relishes the tender and delicious grass. Here the young girls of Braja go to sacred water sources each day with the pretext of filling their water-pots. In fact they only go to fill the pots of their hearts with trascendental love for Sri Krishna.