For going to Gokul from Mathura, we have to cross the bridge of Shri Yamunaji and take a road towards the left which leads to Gokul.
Rawalgaam is situated on the banks of Shri Yamunaji, 3 km away from Gokul. It is one of the 24 Upvans of Vraj. When Shri Krshna was born at Nandraiji’s place, at that time one gop climbed a tree at Rawal and described the happenings of Gokul to the people of Rawal. A temple of Shri Radhaji was built at Rawalgaam in memory of her birth place. This temple of 17th century was very important, it was badly affected because of the flood at Shri Yamunaji in the 17th century.
Like four Vrindavans at Gokul(Chandrasarovar, Nandgaam, Kaamvan and Vrindavan) there are four Gokuls too. First Gokul is Shrimad Gokul, second Gokul Mahavan, third Gokul is said to be besides Gwalpokhar near Gokul Goverdhan. And fourth Gokul is Nandgaam. Shri Nandraiji resides in all these four Gokuls. Present Gokul is situated in the premises of Mahavan, one of the twelve vans of Vraj. In Sanskrit Mahavan is called Brihadvan. Gokul is one of the 24 Upvans. This place has paramount importance in Pushtimarg as Shri Krshna was born at Shrimad Gokul.
a. Shri Mahaprabhuji’s bethakji:
This bethak is situated below the tree of Chokar on Govindghat on the banks of Shri Yamunaji. Here Shri Mahaprabhuji had praised Yamunaji with Yamunashtak and Shri Yamunaji had given him darshan in person. On Shravan sud 11, Shri Thakorji himself appeared in front of Shri Mahaprabhuji and ordained him with the initiation of Brahmasambandh. At this place bethakji of Shri Mahaprabhuji and Shrinathji are located together.
b. Badi bethak:
This is situated near the temple of Shri Dwarkadhishji. Here, Shri Mahaprabhuji used to eat and perform Bhagwad vaarta regularly. A big tree is situated here. One gaudiya vaishnav from Vrindavan, Shri Shyamanand had come here to test Shri Mahaprabhuji. He had hanged the purse of his Thakorji Shaaligramji on the branch of a tree there. When he returned after having darshan the purse was not visible. He went to Shri Mahaprabhuji and told that one of his sevaks has stolen his purse. Shri Mahaprabhuji said his sevaks cannot do this. He asked him to go and see again. He was shocked to see many similar looking purses hanged on the branches of the tree. To this Shri Mahaprabhuji said you can’t identify your own deity how would you be performing seva? He asked him to look at the tree again, to his surprise now there was just his purse hanging there. This miracle happened at this place.
c. Shyam temple’s Bethak:
Shayamandir’s bethak is situated in Shri Dwarkadhishji’s mandir. This temple was not established in the time of Shri Mahaprabhuji. Shri Mahaprabhuji used to sleep here. One Yogeshwar was doing tap here since Dwaparyug, his hutment was below the land. He came out and touched the feet of Shri Mahaprabhuji and said: I got the fruit for my tap by having your darshan. Here there will be seven temples. Shri Gokul will be here again. Bless me that nobody shifts me from here.
d. Sandhyavandan’s Bethak:
It is situated in the backside of Govindghat. Here Shri Mahaprabhuji used to regularly perform sandhya vandan and perform Shri Thakorji’s seva. He had also given Shri Damodardasji the initiation of Brahmasambandh at this place only and explained him the granth Siddhant Rahasya after composing it here.
Shri Gusaiji’s three bethakji’s:
Bethakji situated at Gokulnathji’s temple:
- a. Shri Gusaiji had first seated his sevya deity Navnitpriyaji here and then settled at Gokul. In Saraswat Kalp this place is of Nandalay. After Shri Gusaiji, Shri Giridharji was done the Acharya tilak, but Shri Giridharji never used to sit on the same seat and perform Sandhya vandan. He always used to sit in front of Shri Gusaiji’s bethakji and perform sandhya vandan. Once Shri Gokulnathji asked him: You are entitled to sit on the seat of the Acharya, then why don’t you sit? To this Shri Giridhrji replied: I can have Shri Gusaiji’s darshan by sitting here, you also sit here. Gokulnathji then had Gusaiji’s darshan. This Bethak is situated in the inner side of Shri Gokulnathji’s temple.
- b. Shri Gusaiji’s second bethakji is located near Shri Mahaprabhuji’s bethakji in Badi Bethak.
- c. Shri Gusaiji’s third bethakji is situated near the sandhyavandan bethakji of Shri Mahaprabhuji behind Govindghat. Shri Gusaiji always used to visit this place to perform Sandhya vandan. In the shlok ‘Saayan Kunjalay’ description of Shri Gusaiji’s swaroop of Sandhya vandan is this place.
Shri Giridharji’s Bethakji:
Shri Giridharji’e bethak is also situated at Gokul, Seva is done in a very simple manner.
Shri Balkrshna’s Bethak:
Bethakji of Shri Balkrshnaji, the third son of Shri Gusaiji is located in the temple of Shri Dwarkadhishji. He had established that temple and seated his sevya deity Shri Dwarkadhishji there. Here he used to repeatedly perform Bhagwat Parayan, he has also composed many Granthas here. Seva Prakaar is going on. Jhari can be filled and charan sparsh can be done.
Shri Gokulnathji’s Bethakji:
At Gokul, in the temple of Shri Gokulnathji, his bethakji is located. This bethakji is famous by the name “Shri Bethak”. Vaishnavas of the srushti of the chaturth gruha feel this is his main Bethakji. Here, he is always present and with this feeling the entire seva is performed. Vaishanvas of the fourth gruha have the rights to do charan sparsh here. When Shri Gokulnathji was present on earth at that time he used to give Bhagwad discourses to vaishnavas here. Once he asked Shri Gusaiji about the tenets of the sect. To this Shri Gusaiji explained him in detail. Hearing it he returned to his bethakji and got grossly involved in it. At that time, his sevak Shri Kalyan Bhatt came there. He was lost in the thought for 86 minutes. Then on the request of Shri Kalyanji he seated at this place and gave 24 vachanamruts in which the entire tenets of Pushtimarg are explained.
Shri Raghunathji’s bethakji:
His bethak is situated in the temple of Gokulchandramaji. He had performed Bhagwat Parayan here. Seva Prakaar is going on. Jhari can be filled and charan sparsh can be done
This bethak is situated in the temple of Shri Madanmohanji. His sevya deity Madanmohanji went to do the lila of stealing and he seated here in his saga of separation and went to abode. Seva Prakaar is going on. Jhari can be filled and charan sparsh can be done.
Shri Hariraiji’s bethak:
It is on the way from Yashodaghaat and in the temple of Shri Vitthalnathji. He had done Bhagwat Parayan here. He used to do Bhagwat vaarta everyday with vaishnavas. He used to do secret vaarta with his sevak Harjivandas. He has also composed many Granthas by seating here. Jhari can be filled and charan sparsh can be done.
Shri Goverdhannathji’s bethak:
His bethak is situated along with the bethakji of Shri Mahaprabhuji on Govindghaat. Here Shri Goverdhannathji had himself appeared and given the Brahmasambandh initiation to Shri Mahaprabhuji. Seva Prakaar is going on. Jhari can be filled and charan sparsh can be done.
Shri Navnitpriyaji’s Bethak:
It is situated in the Badi Bethak. Here Shri Mahaprabhuji and Shri Gusaiji had celebrated Navnitpriyaji’s Janmashtami Mahotsav . Nandmahotsav was also celebrated here. To see this Emperor Akbar had come here in disguise and had done the divine darshan. Here also Jhaari charan sparsh can be done.
Damodardas Harsaniji’s bethak:
It is situated in the back side of Shri Mahaprabhujis sandhyavandan’s bethakji. Here he had received the daan of Brahmasambandh. Shri Mahaprabhuji had taught the Granth Siddhant Rahasya. Shri Mahaprabhuji used to do Bhagwat vaarta with him here. After Shri Mahaprabhuji went to abode he used to give him darshan every third day. Here also Jhaari charan sparsh can be done.
Other places to visit at Gokul:
Here there are twelve ghaats of Shri Yamunaji:
Here Shri Thakorji had ordained Mahaprabhuji for Brahmasambandh. His bethakji is also situated here.
Shri Gusaiji used to come here to perform Sandhya Vandan. He answered Emperor Akbar’s question: Saheb kaise mile? He had shown the divine form of Shri Yamunaji here to many vaishnavas. His bethakji is also located here.
Whenever Shri Gusaiji’s sevak Shri Govindswami used to visit Gokul, he used to sit on Jashoda ghaat. Emperor Akbar had come there in disguise to hear his kirtans. As the Badshah heard that raga it was considered impure from that day. Raga Bhairavi is not sung in Pushtimarg since then.
Here Thakorji used to play Gedi-danda-Gendchogan with his friends. That’s why this place is called Yoganghaat.
Here, Shri Thakorji used to do raman with Shri Swaminiji. That’s why this place is called Ramanghaat.
Shri Vasudevji seated Shri Thakorji from Mathura and came on this ghaat. In the darkness of the night he had stood here and screamed the words “Koi Lo”. That’s why this place is called Koila ghaat.
Shri Gokulnathji’s second name is Vallabh. He used to come here regularly for sandhya vandan. That’s why this place is called Vallabh Ghaat.
On the way to Govindghaat Shri Krshna’s bal leela can be seen at many places. Nandbhuvan is situated on the banks of Shri Yamunaji. It is very beautiful.
It is located in the Karnavedh locality; Ears of Balkrshna were pierced here. Philosophers accept this to be a very old kup.
On arriving at Gokul Bus stand this kund is located. Shri Balkrshna’s balotiya were washed here. That’s why this place is called Potrakund.
From Brahmand ghaat after crossing Shri Yamunaji we come across the village Karnaval.
On the opposite bank of Brahmaand ghaat is Koila ghaat. There is a village called Koile here.
It is situated about 3 miles away from Gokul. It is one of the 24 Upvans of Vraj.
Going ahead from here we come across the village Gopalpur. Shri Thakorji had grazed cows here. Meha Dhimar, a disciple of Shri Gusaiji was from this village, 2.5 miles away from Gopalpur is an ashram of Durvasa Muni. After having darshan here and crossing the bridge of Shri Yamunaji the yatra comes to Mathura. In the whole yatra there are 25 halts including Mathura.