I praise all the wonderful lakes and ponds around Govardhan hill, such as Baladeva Kund, Kadamba Khand, Kusum Sarovar, Rudra Kund, Apsara Kund, Gauri Tirtha, Chandra Sarovara, Rina-papa-mochana Kund, Malyahara Kund, Vibudhari Kund and Indradhvaja Vedi, as well as Chakra Tirtha, Daiva Giri and the different jeweled pavilions.
yāni śreṣṭha-sarāṁsi bhānti parito govardhanādrer amū
nīḍe cakraka-tīrtha daivata-giri śrī-ratna-pīṭhāny api
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Das Goswami praises all the different lakes and other holy places around Sri Giriraj. Sri Govardhana is the place of Govinda’s most wonderful pastimes. Here the līlāmaya playful Krishna relishes the flavors of different pastimes with his friends and with Sri Radha and the Vrajasundarīs, and each one of his playgrounds is to be found in the form of a tirtha, a holy watering place.
On the edge of Govardhana hill on the south-western corner of the village Parāsoli is the greatly luminous Baladeva Kund (= Sankarshan Kund). All the desires of a human being who bathes here are fulfilled.
In the Purāṇas the following description can be found of Brahma Kund –
indrādi-loka-pālānāṁ jātāni ca sarāṁsi ca
Brahma Kuṇḍa was created where Sri Hari played and was being satisfied by Lord Brahmā. Next to that are also lakes of Indra and other universal protectors. (Mathurā-khaṇḍa)
catvāri tatra tīrthāni puṇyāni ca śubhāni ca
indraṁ pūrveṇa pārśvena yama-tīrthaṁ tu dakṣiṇe
vāruṇaṁ paścime tīrthaṁ kuveraṁ cottareṇa tu
tatra madhye sthitaś cāhaṁ krīḍayiṣye yadṛcchayā
O greatly fortunate one! At Govardhan there is a pool named Brahma Kund, beautified by trees, vines and bushes. Around this pool four highly auspicious and beneficent holy places are situated. East of it is situated Indra Tirtha, to the south is Yama Tirtha, west Varuna Tirtha and north Kuvera Tirtha. According to my liking I will reside and play in this pond. (Ādi-varāha Purāṇa)
The following brief descriptions are taken from Bhakti-ratnākara. At Kadamba Khandi Sri Krishna is eagerly looking out for Sri Radha to come.
ei ye kadamba khaṇḍi – kṛṣṇa eikhāne;
cāhi rahe rādhikā gamana patha pāne
P.C. Vishakha Dasi
At Kusuma Sarovara Sri Radha and Krishna have fun picking flowers.
dekhoho kusuma sarovara ei vane;
doṅhāra adbhuta raṅga kusuma cayane.
Before Sri Sri Radha and Krishna meet at Sri Radha Kund at noontime Sri Krishna consults Vrinda Devi and Dhanishtha here about how to bring Sri Radharani to Radha Kund, and here Tulasī, being sent by Sri Radharani, consoles Sri Krishna by bringing him news about her.
Rudra Kund near Jatipura as recently fixed up by the Braj Foundation.
In the lonely woods around Rudra Kund, Mahādeva is immersed in meditation on Sri Krishna.
dekho rudra-kuṇḍa śobhā nirjana kānane; ethā mahādeva magna hoilā kṛṣṇa-dhyāne .
Apsara Kund. PC. Braj Discovery
Apsara Kund is situated at the tail end of Giriraj, near the village of Puchari. The most fortunate people are blessed by bathing in this kuṇḍa.
dekhoho apsarākuṇḍa govardhana ante;
ethā snāna koroye parama bhāgyavanta
At Gauri Tirtha a wonderful pastime of Sri Sri Radha Madhava takes place. Here Sri Krishna deceived Jatila and Abhimanyu by dressing like Gauri (Durga Devi) so that he could enjoy with Sri Radha.
Near Gauri Tirtha is a large and enchanting kadamba tree which is the playground for the Divine Pair. Here is a place called Neep Kund.
paṇḍita ullāse kohe – dekho śrīnivāsa;
ei gaurī-tīrthe hoy adbhuta vilāsa.
gaurī tīrthe nīpa-vṛkṣa-rāja manohara;
nīpa kuṇḍa dekho ei parama sundara
Jubilantly Raghava Pandit said: “Look, O Shrinivas! At this Gauri Tirtha wonderful pastimes take place. There is a graceful and regal nīpa (kadamba) tree at Gauri Tirtha. Behold this most beautiful Neep Kund!”
Chandra Sarovar is situated close to the village of Parasoli. Here Sri Krishna Chandra takes rest after dancing the vernal Rāsa dance.
ethā rāsāveśe kṛṣṇacandrera viśrāma
Here also Sri Krishna with his own hand dressed Sri Radha. In the south western corner of the sarovar is the Shringar Mandir and in the south-eastern corner is Sri Rāsa Maṇḍala.
The Mokshana Kund mentioned in the śloka is named in Bhakti-ratnākara as Rina Papa Mochan Kund. One who bathes in this pond will be freed from all sins that are committed due to owing debts.
ṛṇa-pāpa ghuce kuṇḍa-dvaye koile snāna
Malyahara Kund is situated at Sri Radha Kund. One day on the occasion of Dīpānvitā (Diwali) Sri Radha and her girlfriends, headed by Lalitā and others, were stringing garlands of pearls here when Sri Krishna appeared on the scene and asked them to give him some to decorate his favorite cows. But the gopīs didn’t give Krishna any pearls, so Krishna he borrowed some pearls from his mother and planted them himself, watered them with milk products and soon had a beautiful pearl vine garden. Seeing this, Sri Radha and the gopīs also planted pearls, but these just grew into thorny bushes. Then, when they came to Sri Krishna to try to buy some pearls from him, a wonderfully sweet pastime of the Divine Couple manifested itself. Raghunath Das Goswamipada has elaborately described this confidential pastime in his book Muktā-carita.
muktā mālā chale ethā adbhuta vilāsa.
śrī muktā carita granthe e sab vicāri,
varṇilā śrī raghunātha dāsa kṛpā kori
PC: Iskcon Desire Tree
Vibudhari Kund has been identified in Bhakti-ratnākara as Arishta Kund, which is the same as Shyama Kund.
At Indradhvaja Vedī Sri Nanda Maharaj used to perform Indra pūjā. When Sri Krishna was seven years old he came here, and seeing his father engaged in Indra-pūjā here, convinced him to commence Govardhana Pūjā instead.
koritena indra-pūjā sarva-loke gāya
Chakra Tirtha (Chakleshwar) is a very famous place. Here Sri Radha and Krishna’s see-saw pastimes take place. Chakra Tirtha ordered Sanatan Goswami to reside here. While living here Sanatan Goswami daily circumambulated Govardhana hill as a rule. When he became old, Sri Krishna, seeing that this became too much of an effort for him, mercifully appeared to him dressed as a cowherd boy and told him that if he just walked around a stone that had his footprint on it it would be the same as if he had completed his circuit around Govardhan. After saying this the Lord disappeared. This has been described in Bhakti-ratnākara:
Behold this Cakra Tirtha, O Shrinivas! By its grace all desires are fulfilled! Cakra Tirtha is most famous in Govardhan. Here Sri Radha and Krishna’s see-saw pastimes take place. Ohe Shrinivas! Cakra Tirtha ordered Sanatana Goswami to reside here, so he lived here in great bliss. Look! There in the woods is his hut! From here Sanatan Goswami daily performed Govardhan parikrama. Who has the power to walk these 24 miles every day? Seeing how much effort it took Sanatan Goswami to accomplish this in his old age, Gopinath appeared before him dressed as a cowherd boy. Carefully he removed the drops of perspiration from Sanatan’s body and said with a sweet voice and tear-filled eyes: “Don’t make so much effort anymore in your old age. You must heed my words, O Swamiji!”
Sanātana replied: “Speak and I will heed your words!” Hearing this, the cowherd boy mounted Govardhana hill and brought down a Govardhana shila with his footprints on it. Then he told Sanatan Goswami in a very sweet voice: “Ohe Svamiji! Take these footprints of Krishna and walk around them from now on! This will complete your entire circuit of Govardhana hill!” Saying this, Krishna brought the shila into Sanatan’s kutir and disappeared. Not seeing the boy anymore, Sanatan became very upset.
Observing Sanatan in secret and seeing that he was so upset, Krishna revealed his real identity to him with great loving ecstasy. Sanatan was drenched with his own tears and only with great difficulty could he manage to remain calm.
This Govardhana shila with Sri Krishna’s footprints on it remains in the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan, proclaiming the glories of Chakra Tirtha.
Daivata Giri is said by Bhakti-ratnākara to mean Govardhana hill itself and Ratnapīṭha is the jeweled throne that Sri Radharani sat on before and while she was being kidnapped by Śaṅkhacūḍa along with the throne, after which Sri Krishna killed Śaṅkhacūḍa.
ei ratna siṁhāsana ithe bahu kathā,
ratna siṁhāsane śrī rādhikā chilo ethā.
śaṅkhacūḍa vadhera kāraṇa ethā hoite,
yaiche kṛṣṇa vadhe tā’ vidita bhāgavate
There are many narrations about this Ratna Siṁhāsana. Sri Radhika sat on it, and it was also the cause of the killing of Shankhachura. From Śrīmad Bhāgavata you can learn how Krishna killed Shankhachura.
Srila Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I praise all these holy places around Govardhana hill!”
govardhana cāri dhāre,sei saba sarovare,
sīri-kuṇḍa kadamba-khaṇḍa ādi
apsarā rudra gaurī,mālyahāra vibudhāri,
jyotsnā-mokṣaṇa indra-dhvaja vedī.
yei cakra-tīrtha,śrī daivata parbata,
ratna-pīṭhādi yoto śobhe
nitya mui stava kori,sei līlā manohārī
darśana koribo ei lobhe
Eager to see the enchanting pastimes that take place there, I eternally praise all the beautiful lakes and other holy places that exist all around Govardhana hill, such as Siri Kund, Kadamba Khand, Apsara Kund, Rudra Kund, Gauri Tirtha, Malyahara Kund, Vibudhari Kund, Mokshan Kund, Indra-dhvaja Vedī, Chakra Tirtha, Sri Daivata Giri and Ratna Pith.”