Vrindavan, 2016. 11.09 (VT): Devotees performed a sacred walk (parikrama) around Mathura and Vrindavan together on Wednesday, on the occasion of the holy day Akshay Navami. Thousands of couples participated in the ritual, called Yugal Jodi Parikrama, in couples. Performing parikrama of the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan on Akshay Navami has special significance.
Devotees came out of their homes early in the morning before sunrise, and walked barefoot down to the Yamuna, to take a holy dip before beginning the parikrama. They worshiped Yamuna, smeared the dust of Vraj on their foreheads and then started their sacred journey.
Social organizations set up free water and food stalls at most of the road crossings. First Aid camps were also provided by civil society organizations. The district authorities made elaborate security arrangements to ensure free movement of the devotees. Traffic restrictions and a ban on the entry of heavy vehicles made it easy for the devotees.
Starting the parikrama from Vrindavan, they walked along the holy river Yamuna, offering their respects at various temples – Shri Madan Mohan Mandir, Shri Banke Bihari Mandir, Shri Radha Vallabh Mandir, Kaliya Dah, Cheer Ghat, Nidhivan, Radha Raman, Keshi Ghat, Gopeshwar Mahadev, Jagannath Ghat and finally Chamunda Devi in Vrindavan.
Then they walked towards Mathura along the Yamuna’s shore, following the same route Lord Krishna traveled when He left Vrindavan on to confront the evil king Kamsa, and offered prayers at Akroor Ghat temple on their way.
On entering Mathura they worshiped Yamuna again at Vishram Ghat, offered pooja at Dwarkadheesh Temple, Rangeshwar Mahadev, Bhuteshwar Mahadev and Shri Krishna Janmasthan. Then they walked back to Vrindavan through the forests and grasslands where lord Krishna used to graze His cows. The women worshiped amla trees and prayed long life for their husbands.
Though the parikrama was very tiresome, the devotees enjoyed every moment of it. It is mentioned in the Varah Puran that residing just one day in Vrindavan is equal to residing 1,000 days in Varanasi.