KAMYAVANA

Among all the 12 forests of Braj Mandal, Kamyavana is the most beautiful and attractive of all. It is the largest of all forests of Braj with an individual parikrama (circumambulation) of about 20 kilometers. As the name suggests, Kamya means very attractive or very beautiful and the vana means forest. Thus Kamyavana is adorned with the beautiful ponds, wells, lakes, flowers, creepers, fruits and birds which add on to the scenic beauty of the forest making it more attractive and pleasing. According to the legends Krishna performed most of his pastimes in this beautiful forest of Kamyavana. According to the Hindu epic Vishnu Puran Kamyavana is cherished with 84 ponds, 84 temples and 84 pillars which were said to have been established by well known King Kamasena.

Kamyavana is dedicated to goddess Vrinda, one of the four most worshipped Devis of Braj Mandal. Out of the five most known Mahadevas of Braj region, the lord Kameshwar resides here in Kamyavana and the linga is said to have been installed about 4800 years ago by king Vajranabh, the great grandson of Krishna. Vrinda Devi is the presiding deity of Kamyavana. Vrinda Devi is actually the expansion of Sri Radharani and she is known to be managing the whole land of Vrindavan, to make the arrangements for the loving pastimes of Radha and Krishna. The most famous temple of Kamyavana is Radha Govinda Temple where the deity of Vrinda Devi is installed. This deity of Vrinda Devi is the oldest deity in the whole world. This deity was excavated by Shrila Rupa Goswami in the Brahma Kund after Vrinda Devi herself told him in his dream about the place where the deity was hidden. This deity was earlier established and worshipped at Radha Govinda temple of Vrindavan but later in the anticipation of attack of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, this deity along with other presiding deities were hidden in the Kunds, from where they were secretly moved to Jaipur through Kamyavana. While passing through Kamyavan, the cart carrying the deity of Vrinda Devi was stuck and could not go further. Since then the Vrinda Devi is residing in Kamyavan and worshipped in this temple of Radha Govinda along with the Pratibhu Vigrahas (replica deities) of Radha and Govindaji.

Madan Mohan Temple
Here in this temple the replicas of Lord Madan Mohan are worshipped, the original Madan Mohan temple is located in Vrindavan at Dwadashaditya hill and the original deities are worshipped in Karauli in Rajasthan.

Gopinathji Temple
Like the other deities of Vrindavan the deity of Gopinathji was also moved from Vrindavan to Kamyavan for safekeeping, in the anticipation of Mughal attack by Aurangzeb. From Kamyavan the original deity was moved to Jaipur where it is worshipped today. In this temple of Kamyavan, the replica of that deity of Lord Gopinath is worshipped.

Nand Bhavan (Chaurasi Khamba)
It is an 84 pillared palace which is believed to have been built by the heavenly architect Vishvakarma. It is one of the three palaces of Nand ji the others being at Gokul and Nandgaon. It is located on a hillock in Kaman town between the temples of Gopinathji and Govindaji. With the courses of time the palace has turned into ruins. According to some popular beliefs, it’s the place where Pandavas stayed during their exile period at Kamyavan.

Vimala Kund
It is the place where Krishna and Balram enjoyed the pastimes of water sports along with their friends during their stay at Kamyavan. According to the legends, once during chaturmasya, all the sacred tirthas assembled at Kamyavan to pay their homage to Lord Krishna, but tirtharaj Pushkara failed to come. So, in order to compensate for the absence of Tirtha Pushkara, Lord Krishna created a strong jet of water emerging out of the ground thus forming a lake. A beautiful girl also appeared with the flow of water and served Krishna. Krishna blessed this girl with name Vimala and Devi and the Kund formed with that jet spring was named after her. It is believed that, with the blessings of Lord Krishna bathing once in that Kund is far more pious than bathing seven times in Pushkara Lake. Surrounding this Kund are many small shrines.

Kameshwar Mahadev Mandir
This is said to be one of the digpalas protecting the forest area of Kamyavan. Digpal means area protector or guard. The original deity of the temple is said to have been established by King Vajranabh, the great grandson of Krishna. Kama means desire and thus Shiva in his form of Kameshwar Mahadev fulfills all the desires of the devotees.

Pancha-Pandava Temple
Near to Kameshwar temple there is smaller shrine dedicated to Dharamraj along with his brothers and consort Draupadi. Dharamraj is the other name of Yudhisthira as he was the son of Dharma. Inside the temple there is a beautiful deity of Dharamraj along with his four brothers named, Bhim, Arjuna, Nakul, Sahdev and his consort Draupadi.

Dharma Kund
It is believed to be actual the place where Lord Dharamraj (Yamaraja) disguised as a Yaksha asked questions to king Yudhisthira in order to have water from his lake. Once, during exile period Draupadi and Pandavas were feeling thirsty, so Yudhisthira ordered Bhim to get water for all from nearby lake. As soon as Bhim was about to drink the water from lake, a Yaksha appeared before him and told him to answer his questions before drinking water or else he would die. Bhim paid no attention to Yaksha’s voice and thus died. The same happened to Arjuna, Nakul and Sahdev one after the other when they came to have water from the lake. When none of them returned, Yudhisthira himself went to check the situation and found all his brothers dead near the lake. Yaksha also asked him to answer his questions. Yudhisthira answered all the questions correctly and thus with the boon of Yaksha pleased by Yudhisthira, all his brothers got alive. Yaksha came to his original form and blessed Yudhisthira. Thus this lake is named as Dharma Kund.

Yashoda Kund
To the southwest of Vimal Kund there is another Lake named as Yashoda Kund. It is believed that here Yashoda, the foster mother of Lord Krishna used to come for bath and washing her milk pots during their stay at Kamyavan. Taking bath in this Kund is believed to be highly beneficial.

Rameshwaram Setubandha
Setubandha means bridge and this place commemorates the pastime of Lord Krishna when he with the help of monkeys formed the bridge across the lake for the pleasure of Gopis (cowherd maidens). Once when Lord Krishna was enjoying with Gopis in Kamyavan, suddenly a group of monkeys came jumping from the forest. Watching so many monkeys Lalita remembered the incident from the Ramayana when ram with the help of monkeys built the bridge across the ocean to escape Sita from Ravan. Listening to her, Krishna declared to gopis that he is the only Ram of Ramayana. Gopis laughed at Krishna and told him that, if he could build the bridge with floating stones with the help of monkeys same as that built by Lord Rama, they would believe him. For the pleasure of gopis, Krishna soon built the bridge with floating stones with the help of monkeys. This bridge thus built was named as Rameshwaram Setubandha. At one end of the bridge Krishna installed a linga of Lord Shiva which came to be known as Rameshwaram Mahadev. The other side of bridge is named as Lanka. Within Lanka there is a small forest known as Ashokavan representing the place where Sita ji was kept in Lanka after she was kidnapped by Ravan.

Gaya Kund
It is the lake located on the western outskirts of the Kaman town. It is where Nand Maharaj used to come to offer pinda to his forefathers. It has an equal importance same as that of Gaya in Bihar which is believed to be its expansion only.

Charan Pahadi
There is a rock up the hill having the footprints of Lord Krishna. It is said that, once Krishna was herding cows with his cowherd friends, the cows scattered here and there. As the evening approached all the cowherd boys were worried about their cows. Realizing the tension of cowherd boys Krishna closed his eyes and started playing his flute. Listening to the harmonious music emanating from the flute all the cows and calves immediately came to him. The sound of flute was so mesmerizing that even the rocks melted and thus Krishna’s footprints were engraved in the rock on which he was standing.

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