This is the first forest visited on Brajamandala parikrama after leaving Mathura, Madhuvana forest is 5 km west of Mathura. Madhu means ‘honey’. Krishna appeared in Madhuvana in all four yugas. In Satya-yuga, He appeared before Dhruva Maharaja. In Treta-yuga He came as Satrughna and killed the demon Lavanasura. He came as Lord Krishna in Dwapara-yuga and as Lord Caitanya in Kali-yuga. Ambarish Maharaja performed meditation and austerities in the forest of Madhuvana in Satya-yuga. He made a vow to stay in Braja mandala for one year and strictly followed the Ekadasi Vrata, especially the maha-dvadasis.
How to reach here: To reach from Vrindavana you get on the Mathura bypass road, the main road from Delhi to Agra, going south. You drive on this road for about 20 minutes until you come to a large domed temple. At this temple, you make a right and drive for about eight minutes, until you come to the village of Madhuvana (Maholi).
Killing of Madhu and Lavanasura
In the Ramayana of Valmiki it is described that there was a demon named Madhu. This demon was always irreligious and demonic in nature. This demon wandered around and eventually came to Braja. He built himself a small kingdom here and called it Madhuvana. His family were also demoniac. They would not allow any sages or rishis to come and meditate in this area nor would they allow anyone to come and take bath in the Yamuna or to drink water from the Yamuna. They would harass the yogis and sages at every opportunity. These sages went to Ramachandra in Ayodhya and requested Him to help them. Lord Rama said he would go and slay the demons. Rama’s younger brother Satrughna volunteered to kill the demon Madhu, his wife Mayadana and their son Lavanasura. At this time Shatrughna requested to bring with him the deity of Varahadeva to worship that Lord Rama had brought after defeating Ravana at Lanka. Before Satrughna left Ayodhya,he was told by his counselors that Lavanasura had many mystical weapons and if he had these weapons with him, then he would be almost unconquerable. When Satrughna arrived in Mathura he went into the forest to search for Lavansura. He then saw a huge ferocious man, Lavanasura, who was carrying several tigers, a water buffalo, an elephant, a big fat snake and a crocodile. This was going to be his dinner. Satrughna challenged him to fight. Lavanasura told him to wait a few minutes and he would go get his weapons. Satrughna said you have a spear in your hand. Satrughna then killed Lavanasura after a great fight. He then killed Madhu and Mayadana. He then ruled Madhuvan and established Madhupuri (Mathura) as his capital.
Krishna kunda was made by striking Krishna’s flute on the ground. Krishna would bring His cows to the bank of Krishna kunda and the cows would drink water here.
How to reach here: When you reach the village of Madhuvana you continue through the village for a minute and you come to Krishna kunda on your left. It is on the outskirts of the village.
Balarama (Dauji) Temple
There is Balarama (Dauji) temple right next to Krishna-Kunda. The village Deity is Balarama. His right hand is raised, and His complexion is black. It is said that Balarama is black, because he became so absorbed in chanting Krishna’s name that he turned black.
How to reach here: This temple is the first building to the left of Krishna kunda, on the road. From outside this building does not look like a temple.
Satrughna, the brother of Lord Rama, made his capital in Madhuvana in treta-yuga. There is a Deity of Satrughna said to date back to treta-yuga in a temple next to Krishna kunda. The brahamanas in this area were being disturbed by Lavanasura, the son of demon Madhu. They prayed to Lord Ramachandra to help them. He sent his brother Satrughna here and He killed Lavanasura. He then made His capital here. There is a cave here in which the demon Lavanasura lived.
How to reach here: The ancient Deity of Satrughna is in a temple very near Krishna kunda. If you are facing kunda, standing near the road, this temple is on your right hand side, down a side road. It is a few doors down the road on the left. From outside, you see that it is a temple. You enter the courtyard of this temple and go up stairs on your left. When you go up stairs, the Deity of Satrughna in on your right, in a room.
In the Madhuvana forest, Dhruva Maharaja, at the age of five, attained the darshan of Lord Vishnu, in His form as Prishnigarbha during Satya-yuga. On top of Dhruva tila hill, the Dhruva-Narayana Vishnu temple is present. Dhruva-tila is where Dhruva Maharaja performed great austerities and where he had darshan of Lord Vishnu. On one altar in this temple is the Deity of Dhruva Narayana and below Him is a deity of Dhruva Maharaja. On the right side of the altar are Narada Muni and Garuda. To the right side of the altar, there is a side wall.On this there is another altar with the Deities of Laksmi Narayana and Sri Nathji on it. Below the Deities of Laksmi Narayana is a deity of Uddhava.
How to reach here: Before you enter the village of Madhuvana you can see the Dhruva-Narayana temple on your left, on top of the Dhruva-tila hill. The hill is about 30 feet high. To reach temple, you have to either walk across the fields or walk through the village from the road.