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Other Krishna Pilgrimages
- Nathdwara (Famous pilgrimage of Srinathji) - Rajasthan
- Kankroli Dwarka (Famous pilgrimage of Dwarkadheesh) - Rajasthan
- Pandharpur (Famous pilgrimage of Vitthal) - Gujarat
- Purushottama Kshetra (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Jagannath) (From Skanda Purana - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya) - Odisha
- Udupi (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna and Mukti Sthala of Karnataka) - Karnataka
- Guruvayur (Famous pilgrimage of Guruvayurappan) - Karnataka
- Aranmula (Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam) - Kerala
- Ambalapuzha (Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna) - Kerala
- Famous pilgrimage of Srinathji: Nathdwara is an important pilgrimage associated with Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya of Pusti Marga. The black marble idol of Srinathji is that of a 7-year old infant. Nathdwara is located in the Aravalli Hills on the banks of river Banas. According to legend, a cow in Govardhan Hill used to pour her milk on a particular spot everyday. The villagers discovered an idol of Krishna there, and this happened around the same time when Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya was born in Champaran in 1479. Srinathji was initially installed in the Jatipura village in Govardhan. The temple construction began later but was vandalised by Sikandar Lodi. After Lodi's death, Srinathji was again brought back and the temple rebuilt. Around 1670 when Aurangzeb attacked Mathura Vrindavana, the idol of Srinathji was moved to Agra, and subsequently to Kota, Pushkar, Jodhpur and finally Mewar. At Mewar, it was kept under the protection of Rana Raj Singh. Srinathji was finally installed in Sinhad in around 1671, which is the present Nathdwara.
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- Festivals: Annakoot festival on the day after Diwali is celebrated for a week here. Gopashtami during Karthik Shukla Paksha (Oct-Nov).
- Nathdwara is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan.
- Famous pilgrimage of Dwarkadheesh: Kankroli Dwarkadheesh Temple is a famous temple of Sri Krishna associated with the Vallabha sampradaya (another famous temple is Nathdwara). It is located in Kankroli town, 65 km from the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. The town is surrounded by the Aravalli Hills and the temple is situated on the bank of the Rajsamand Lake. (It is around 16 km from the famous Nathdwara Temple). According to legend the idol of this temple is very old and worshipped by king Ambareesha in the Treta Yuga. The idol was worshipped in Mathura in a temple built by king Vikramaditya till 1670 AD. When Aurangzeb attacked Vraja Bhoomi in 1670 AD, many temple idols were moved to safer places. Srinathji was moved to Nathdwara and Dwarkadheesh to Kankroli. Maharana Raj Singh is said to have built this temple in around 1676 AD. The temple located on the bank of the Rajsamand lake has a very soothing ambience.
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- Kankroli Dwarka is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan.
- Famous pilgrimage of Panduranga or Vitthal (Sri Krishna): Pandharpur is associated with the legend of Pundalik or Pundarik. According to this legend Pundalik was a pleasure-seeking person in his early years. He neglected his old and ailing parents and bestowed his attention on his attractive wife. Once Pundalik sent off his aged parents to Kashi on foot and sometime later he himself set off to Kashi with his wife on horses. On the route he took shelter in the ashram of Rishi Kukkut. While staying in the ashram at midnight he encountered the divine beings Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati who came to the ashram to repurify themselves. At that moment while meeting them, Pundalik's sins were also removed and he asked them about the secret of Rishi Kukkut's power. They told him that the rishi had served his parents all his life with devotion, and as a result he accumulated great punya. From that point a great transformation came to Pundalik. He took his old parents home and started serving them as the only aim of life.
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Bhagavan was highly pleased with this and came to meet Pundalik. Pundalik was engrossed in serving his father and Bhagavan stood there with his arms resting on his hips. Initially Pundalik did not notice Bhagavan but due to the rays of light emanating from God's body, Pundalik turned towards Bhagavan but did not leave serving his father and God had to wait. Pundalik threw a brick for the God to sit. When his service towards his father was over and God told him to ask for a boon, Pundalik requested Bhagavan to be eternally present in that spot. Thus Panduranga or Vitthal is seen standing on the brick which is given by Pundalik.
- Pandharpur is located in the Solapur district of Maharashtra.
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Purushottama Kshetra from Skanda Purana - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya:
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 7): Introduction: In Kritayuga, there was a great king named Indradyumna. He was righteous and belonged to the Solar dynasty, and was the fifth descendant from Lord Brahma. He was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and very truthful. His capital was Avanti in the Malava country.
Enquiry about visible manifestation of Lord Jagannatha: Once in an assembly of learned brahmanas and pilgrims he asked his priest whether Lord Jagannath exists visibly in any place. The priest asked the assembly of pilgrims. A certain widely travelled pilgrim told about Sri Purushottama in Odhra desa on the southern shore sea of Bharata. There is a mountain names Nilagiri surrounded by forests. In the middle of the forest there is a kalpa tree extending a krosha whose shade dispels sins. To the west is a holy pool named Rauhina filled with primordial waters which bestows salvation. On the eastern bank Lord Jagannatha visibly exists holding conch, discus and club. On the western side the sabaras (hunter community) live in hermitage known as sabara dipika. The place is so holy that heaven dwellers come there every night to worship the Lord. There is also a legend about a crow getting liberated there. Saying this the pilgrim vanished.
Vidyapati travelling to Sri Purushottama: Hearing this the king intended to settle there with his entire kingdom and worship Lord Jagannatha. In consultation with the priest he sent the younger brother of the priest named Vidyapati to locate the place and also find a suitable place of residence. On an auspicious day Vidyapati left in a chariot with emissaries.
Vidyapati reaching Mahanadi: Vidyapati considered himself highly fortunate to be able to see the Lord with his own eyes. Towards the end of the day he reached the bank of river Mahanadi at Odhra. He performed his evening rites meditating on the Lord and spent the night in the chariot.
Vidyapati crossing Mahanadi and reaching Ekamraka vana and Nila mountain: Early in the morning Vidyapati crossed the river Mahanadi and saw the villages of Vedic brahmanas. He then crossed the Ekamraka forest and came to the Nila mountain. He climbed the top of the forested mountain but could not locate the path further. He spread darbha grass on the ground and meditated on the Lord. Then Vidyapati heard some voices discussing about the Lord. He saw Sabaradipika surrounded by the house of Sabaras.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 7 - 8): Vidyapati meeting sabara Vishwavasu and seeing the Lord: Then Vidyapati approached a sabara named Vishwavasu who welcomed him and asked about his purpose. Vidyapati told him about the mission of king Indradyumna and his own eagerness to see the Lord. Vishwavasu was initially worried because the sabaras were secretly worshipping the Lord. But he remembered a traditional legend that in future the Lord will vanish and a king named Indradyumna will perform hundred horse sacrifices and install the wooden form of the Lord. Thinking that the time has come for this legend to come true, he took Vidyapati through rugged mountain forest to the holy pool Rauhina. To the east was the great Kalpa banyan tree and between these two was the presence of the Lord. Vidyapati took his bath in the holy pool and eulogized the Lord with ecstasy. Towards the evening they returned to the hermitage of Vishwavasu. Vishwavasu offered a warm hospitality to Vidyapati with the Nirmalya (remnants of the worship of the devas) of the Lord. Vidyapati was surprised. Next day in the early morning, they took bath in the ocean and Vishwavasu showed the idol of Nilamadhava to Vidyapati.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 9 - 10): Vidyapati returning and the Lord vanishing: After deciding about a place of residence for the king, Vidyapati left for Avanti. In the meantime a violent gust of wind raised the sands of the sea shore and submerged the Lord along with the Rauhina kunda. The devas became highly sorrowful and lamented. Vidyapati returned to Avanti and reported everything to the king. The king was overjoyed. At the sametime sage Narada visited the king and stayed with him to guide the king in the great journey.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 11): Indradyumna starting for Purushottama Kshetra: Indradyumna proclaimed to his entire kingdom to get ready to go to Purushottama Kshetra. The king departed on the auspicious day of Jyestha Shukla Paksha Panchami (a Wednesday). The entire kingdom accompanied him.
Indradyumna reaching the shrine of Carcika on the boundary of Utkaladesa: The king passed through various lands and forests and reached the shrine of Carcika (Goddess Durga) at the boundary of Utkaladesa. At the behest of sage Narada, the king got down the chariot and eulogized the Devi.
Indradyumna camping at the bank of river Chitrotpala and meeting the king of Utkala: Later on, the king camped at the bank of river Chitrotpala (Mahanadi) and performed his evening rites. During this stay the king of Utkala came to meet him with various gifts. King Indradyumna welcomed him and in the course of the conversation came to know that the idol of Madhava has been covered by a sandstorm. When the king left, Indradyumna was highly dejected but sage Narada consoled him saying that he will certainly see the Lord.
Indradyumna crossing river Mahanadi and going towards Ekamravana: Next morning after performing the religious rites the king started the journey. He crossed the river Mahanadi and proceeded towards Ekamravanaka (modern Bhuvaneshwar). The king of Odhra showed the way.
Indradyumna reaching the river Gandhavaha and the shrine of Kotilingeshwara: After travelling some distance the king reached the river Gandhavaha and heard the sound of the forenoon worship of the Kotilingeshwara shrine. The Nila mountain was three yojanas from there. The king took bath in the Bindu Tirtha and worshipped the idol of Purushottama installed on the bank. Then he visited the temple of Koteshwara and sang devotional songs accompanied by Veena. Lord Koteshwara through a voice told the king that his desire will be fulfilled. Through another voice the Lord Koteshwara told sage Narada to guide the king to perform the horse sacrifices as per the command of the Lord.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 12 - 13): Indradyumna reaching Kapotesha and Bilvesha: The next day the king reached the shrines of Sri Kapotesha and Bilvesha and worshipped them.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 14): Indradyumna reaching Nilakantha and hearing about the Lord vanishing: Proceeding further the king reached the boundary of the holy place of Nilakantha. Then bad omens began to appear before him. Sage Narada told the king that the deity had vanished below the sand and he will not be able to see Nilmadhava. The king fell on the ground unconscious. Bringing back his consciousness, sage Narada told the king about the prediction of Lord Brahma and urged the king to perform the horse sacrifices at Purushottama Kshetra. Indradyumna's grief was dispelled.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 15): Indradyumna climbing the Nila mountain; seeing the idol of Nrisimha and the former place of Nilamadhava: The king left the chariot behind and worshipping Mahadeva and Devi Durga climbed the difficult terrain of the Nila mountain. Sage Narada guided the king to the place where the Lord was residing as Nrisimha. The idol was of extremely terrible form and the king bowed to the Lord from a distance. Then he enquired the sage about the former place of Nilamadhava. When sage Narada showed him the spot, the king prostrated on the ground and eulogized the Lord with deep devotion. An ethereal voice assured the king that the Lord will be visible to him later and urged him to carry out the direction of Brahma as mentioned by Narada. King Indradyumna was assured and decided to perform the horse sacrifies.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 16): King Indradyumna building a shrine and sage Narada installing Nrisimha at the place of the horse sacrifice: Then sage Narada invoked the celestial architect Vishwakarma, and instructed the king to build a shrine for Nrisimha at the place of horse sacrifice with the help of Vishwakarma (this was completed in four days). Narada himself got a second idol of Nrisimha built by Vishwakarma and meditating for five days infused this idol with the prana of the original Nrisimha idol. Then he installed this idol of Nrisimha on Jyestha Shukla Paksha Dwadashi in conjunction with the Swati Nakshatra. King Indradyumna eulogized Nrisimha with various hymns.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 17): King Indradyumna performing thousand horse sacrifices: Then the king constructed sacrificial halls and the houses for the guests and invited all the devas and thousand of sages and brahmanas. He made elaborate arrangements for them and extended a grand hospitality. He beseeched the favour of Indra deva to ensure that the sacrifice is completed without obstacles. The devas assured their full support for this work of Madhava. The king started performing the horse sacrifices as per the prescribed rules of the scriptures. Gradually all but the last sacrifice remained to be performed. The king had a vision of Lord Vishnu in the milky ocean. He eulogized the Lord with tears of joy.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 18): Emerging of a celestial tree: On the last day of the last sacrifice when the Sutya rite (extraction of Soma) was being performed, the servants reported to the king that a celestial tree was seen at the sea shore whose fragrance spreads across the whole surroundings. Sage Narada told the king that the hair of Sri Vishnu had incarnated as the tree. He instructed the king to complete the horse sacrifice and install the tree in the sacrificial altar. When the tree was installed, an ethereal voice told the king to conceal the sacrificial altar for fifteen days during which time a carpenter will build the divine idols of the Lord. Music should be played during this time to hide the sound of carving.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 19): Carving of the idol of Purushottama: Sri Vishnu assumed the form of an old carpenter and started carving the idol of the Lord. During this work divine fragrance, divine music and shower of parijata flowers took place. After the work was over, an ethereal voice gave instructions about how the idols should be painted and decorated. When the king unveiled the altar he saw the divine idols of Krishna (Jagannatha), Balarama and Subhadra. The king was immersed in a joy of bliss and stood there motionless. All his exertions had finally became fruitful. The king eulogized the Lord and prostrated before Him. Sage Narada and other sages also eulogized the Lord.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 20): Forming of Indradyumna lake: During the horse sacrifices the king donated crores of cows. A pit got formed by the hoofs of the cows which got filled with water poured while giving charity. This pool of holy water was known as Indradyumna lake.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 21): King Indradyumna building a great shrine for the Lord: Thereafter the king built a large shrine for the Lord. Sage Narada told that Lord Brahma will himself inaugurate that shrine. Then sage Narada started rising in the sky.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 22 - 23): Indradyumna going to the abode of Lord Brahma: King Indradyumna requested sage Narada to take him to Brahmaloka. Both of them started for Brahmaloka in a divine chariot. When the king reached the presence of Lord Brahma, he requested the Lord to install the idol of Lord Jagannatha in the shrine. Lord Brahma told him that during his stay in Brahmaloka, a manvantara has passed in the earth and the first Yuga of second manvantara (Swarocisa) has arrived. Crores and crores of kings have departed from the earth but the Lord and His shrine still remained. Thereafter Lord Brahma told Indradyumna to first go to the earth and make preparations for the installation of the Lord. He himself would then come there to install the wooden idol of the Lord. Lord Brahma told the devas and Padmanidhi to assist Indradyumna.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 24 - 26): Indradyumna making arrangements for installation and building the chariots: When Indradyumna reached the earth he saw the Lord and the shrine still intact due to the grace of Purushottama. With the help of sage Narada and Padmanidhi he started making all the arrangements for the installation of the Lord. Sage Narada told him to build three chariots for Krishna (Jagannatha), Balarama and Subhadra. The chariots were built by Vishwakarma on a single day and were installed by sage Narada. During this time a king by name Gala was worshipping a stone image of Madhava in the shrine (when Indradyumna was in Brahmaloka) which Indradyumna moved to an adjacent smaller shrine. The king was angry and came to attack Indradyumna with a huge army. But when he came to know about him and his purpose, he submitted to him and joined him in this work of Madhava.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 27): Lord Brahma installing the deities: When all the arrangements for installation of the deities were completed, Lord Brahma Himself came down from Satyaloka. He eulogized Narayana, Balarama, Subhadra and Sudarshana and ceremoniously installed the deities from the chariots inside the shrine. The installation was performed on Vaisakha Shukla Paksha Ashtami on a Thursday in conjunction with the Pushya nakshatra.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 27 - 28): Lord assuming the form of Narasimha: After installing Madhava, Lord Brahma repeated the Mantraraja a thousand times. By the power of that Mantra, the Lord assumed the terrible form of Narasimha with a blazing tongue as if licking the entire universe. Upon enquiry by sage Narada, Lord Brahma said that this mantra was used previously by Brahma when the Lord killed the demon Hiranyakasapu. Then Lord Brahma eulogized Narasimha and initiated king Indradyumna in that mantra.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 29): Granting of boon to Indradyumna: Thereafter Lord Brahma took away the Narasimha form and idols were seen as before. Lord Brahma requested Madhava to bless the king to be able to continue His worship with devotion. The wooden body of Lord Madhava then directly blessed king Indradyumna with boons. Madhava blessed that his devotion will be steady and He (i.e. Madhava) will never abandon that place even if the shrine crumbles.
Skanda Purana (Vaishnava Khanda - Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya 29): Lord telling about festivals to be performed: The Lord told about some festivals to be performed by the king.
1. On the full moon day of Jyestha, the birthday of the incarnation should be celebrated (The Lord incarnated on the second chaturyugas of Manu on Jyestha of Krita Yuga). The Lord should be bathed and taken to the banyan tree.
2. The great procession named Gundicha should be celebrated on the Asadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya preferably in conjunction with the Pushya nakshatra. The Gundicha pavilion should be built on the place of the altar of the thousand horse sacrifies. The Indradyumna lake exists there consisting of all the tirthas. The Lord should be taken there for nine days, after which the Lord should be taken back to the shrine.
3. On Phalguna Poornima, the festivals of swing (dola) should be celebrated.
4. On Chaitra Shukla Paksha Tryodashi the festival of Karmaprapuranam should be celebrated. The Lord should be worshipped with Damana flowers on the Chaitra Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi
5.On Vaishakha Shukla Paksha Tritiya (Akshaya Tritiya), the Lord should be smeared with special unguents.
Thus the Lord blessed king Indradyumna and commanded to celebrate the great festivals and processions.
- Mukti Sthala of Karnataka: Udupi is one of the 7 Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka.
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(Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka are: Kollur, Udupi, Gokarna, Subramanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana)
- Famous temple of Chandramouleshwara: According to legend, Sri Chandra Deva performed penance here (near Chandra Pushkarini) and worshipped Lord Shiva (Chandramouleshwara) to get release from the curse of Daksha Prajapati. Lord Shiva appeared here and released Chandra Deva from the curse. Udupa means Moon, and the name of the place Udupi refers to this incident.
- Famous temple of Anantheswara: This temple is situated near the Chandramouleshwara temple. Parents of Sri Madhavacharya is said to have worshipped this deity continuously for 12 years to beget a child. Also Sri Madhavacharya is said to have been initiated by Sri Achyuta Prajna in this temple.
- Famous temple of Sri Krishna: According to legend the idol of Sri Krishna in Udupi was installed by Sri Madhavacharya. The idol of Bala Krishna was an ancient idol worshipped by Devi Rukmini at Dwaraka in the Dwapara Yuga. After Dwaraka was submerged in the sea, this idol lay hidden covered by "Gopi Chandana" (A white mud sacred to the Vaishnavas). A ship passing through Dwaraka picked up this heap of mud (along with the concealed idol) as ballast for the ship. When the ship came to Vadabhandeshwara at Udupi, it got caught up in a heavy storm. In that moment Madhavacharya stopped the storm through his powers and saved the ship. The captain was grateful and requested the acharya to take anything from the ship as a token of gratitude. The acharya prompted by intuition selected the heap of mud concealing the idol. The acharya restored the idol by washing off the mud in a tank now known as Madhava Sarovara. With great joy he installed the idol in a small temple near the ancient Chandramouleshwara temple. During this occasion the acharya composed the Dwadasha Stotra in praise of the Lord.
- Udupi is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka.
Guruvayurappan of Guruvayur:
- Famous pilgrimage of Guruvayurappan: Guruvayur is associated with the legend of Guruvayurappan (Sri Krishna). According to this legend, the ancient idol of Guruvayurappan was worshipped by Lord Brahma in Dwaraka. When Dwaraka was submerged and Sri Krishna decided to leave His mortal body at Prabhasa Kshetra, He gave this idol to His devotee Uddhava. Uddhava sought the help of Guru (the preceptor of gods) and Vayu (the wind god) to find a holy place to install the idol. Searching for a holy place, they entered the land of Kerala created by Parashurama. They came to Rudra Tirtha, a beautiful lake of lotus flowers where Shiva and Parvati were staying. By their blessings the idol of Sri Krishna was installed near the lake. Since Uddhava sought the help of Guru and Vayu in selecting the temple site, the place came to be known as Guruvayupura and Sri Krishna is lovingly called Guruvayurappan.
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- Guruvayur is located in the Thrissur district of Kerala.
Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam (Aranmula) - Sri Parthasarathy Perumal Temple:
According to legend, the Pandavas after making Parikshit the king of Hastinapura set put for an extensive pigrimage. During this time Arjuna installed the idol of Parthasarathy at Nilackal. Later it was shifted to Aranmula in a raft constructed with six bamboo poles. In Malayalam "six bamboos" is called Aranmula, and hence the name of the village.
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The God is Sri Parthasarathy Perumal.
The Thiruvaaran Vilai Divya Desam is located in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple:
- Famous pilgrimage of Sri Krishna: Ambalapuzha is associated with the legend of Vilvamangal Swamy. According to this legend, once the Maharaja of Travancore (Poordam Thirunal Thampuran) and Vilvamangal Swamy, an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna were travelling in a boat along the Kuttanadan backwaters. While travelling they heard melodious music of flute emanating from the top of a banyan tree. The maharaja could not see anything but Vilvamangal saw a bright glow and the form of Bala Murali Krishna. Vilvamangal was overwhelmed with joy and listened to the melodious music till the glow of Bala Murali Krishna disappeared.
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- Ambalapuzha is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.
Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:
1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha -
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) -
Others: Murugan -
Final: Vedas -
2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Parvati - Shakambari)
3. Sadhana: Sadhana - Hermitages - Penances
4. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints
5. Sacred Geography:
7. Religious Life:
8. Other Aspects:
Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy