In the Talvan forest Balarama killed Dhenukasura. There is a beautiful Deity of Balarama (3 feet tall) and His consort, Srimati Revati, here in a small temple next to the lake called Sankarsana-Kunda. The parikrama of this forest is 6 km (3 miles). There is a festival here to celebrate Balarama killing Dhenukasura in June-July (the bright half of Bhadra).This forest used to be filled with palm trees and was therefore given the name TaIa. Now there are only a few palm trees left. They are located near the Balarama temple.
How to Get Here: This forest is 9 km (6 miles) west of Mathura. If you are driving from Vrindavana you get on the main Delhi-Agra road (Mathura bye-pass road) going towards Agra. You drive about 20 minutes on the road until you reach the Mathura to Bharatpur road. You make a right and drive about 4 km. about an eight minute drive, until you reach the village of Talvan. You make a right into the village of Talvan, going over some railway tracks. You drive past the small village here (30 seconds) and Sankarsana-Kunda is in front of you. The temple is on the right side of the kunda.
Killing of Dhenukasura
“His most intimate friends Sridama, Subala and Stokakrishna began to address Krishna and Balarama with great love and affection thus: ‘Dear Balarama, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Krishna, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Talvan. This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Dear Krishna and Balarama, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who assume the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, you are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than you, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are sleeping there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from the place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the tree or on the ground. Dear Krishna, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balarama, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don’t you smell it from here?”
“When Balarama and Krishna were this petitioned by Their smiling intimate friends. They were inclined to please them, and They began to proceed towards the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Talvan forest, Balarama began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground.
Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenukasura, who was living there in the form of an ass, began to approach with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees began to move as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared first before Balarama and began to kick His chest with his kind legs. At first, Balarama did not say anything, but the demon with great anger began to kick Him again more vehemently. This time Balarama immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and wheeling him around threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balarama, the demon lost his life. Balarama threw the demon into the biggest palm tree which then fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane had passed through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balarama is the Personality of Godhead known as Ananta Sesanaga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. The whole cosmic manifestation is maintained by Him exactly as two threads hold the weaving of a cloth.
“After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukasura immediately assembled and attacked Balarama and Krishna with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Krishna and Balarama began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheel them around. Thus they killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. ‘Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees.” (Krishna Book, Chap. 15).