Braja Mandala covers an area of 2325 sq km (1453 sq miles) surrounding xe “Vrindavana” Vrindavan and Mathura. Braja is where Sri Krishna performed his pastimes 5,000 years ago. There are twelve principle forests in Braja and all of them are considered places of pilgrimage. Other major places in the Braja area are Nandagram, Varsana, Gokula, Govardhan Hill, and Radha Kund.
Vrindavan and Mathura are the most important Vaishnava holy places in all of India. This is because Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan is where he had his childhood pastimes. For a spiritual tour of India, it is an extremely important and highly recommended place to visit.
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has one of its major centers in Vrindavan called the Krishna Balarama Mandir. Other interesting temples in Vrindavan are the Govindaji, Madana Mohan, Banke Bihari, Radha-Damodara, Radha-Raman, and Sri Ranganath.
In the Adi-varaha Purana it is stated: “Any person who dies in any place within Mathura—a holy place, a home, or even a courtyard—certainly attains salvation. In this world Mathura is the best of all holy places.”
One of Akbar’s general, Man Singh of Jaipur, built the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan. His grandson, Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699-1744), who built the city of Jaipur, moved several Deities from Vrindavan and Mathura to Jaipur to protect them from Muslim attacks.