Pilgrimage tour of Lord Balarama

Find out about the holy places visited by Lord Balarama during His pilgrimage tour covering different parts of the country.

wonderful pastimes of lord balarama

Lord Balarama did not participate in the fratricidal war in Kurukshetra. He went for a pilgrimage and visited many sacred places in India. This pilgrimage is elaborately explained in the 79th chapter of the Krishna Book. A brief account of the same is presented here.

Lord Balarama took permission from the brahmanas assembled at Naimisharanya and, accompanied by other brahmanas, went to the banks of the River Kausiki. After taking His bath in this holy place, He proceeded towards River Sarayu and visited the source of the river. Traveling on the banks of the Sarayu River, He gradually reached Prayaga, where there is a confluence of three rivers — the Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati. Here also He took His bath, and then He worshiped in the local temples of the demigods and, as enjoined in the Vedic literature, offered oblations to the forefathers and sages. He gradually reached the ashrama of the sage Pulaha and from there went to the rivers Gandaki and Gomati. After this He took His bath in the river Vipasha and in Sona River. (The Sona River is still flowing as one of the big rivers in Bihar.) He continued His journey and reached the city of Gaya, where there is a celebrated Vishnu temple. According to the advice of His father, Vasudeva, He offered oblations to the forefathers in this Vishnu temple. From here He traveled to the delta of the Ganges, where the sacred river Ganges mixes with the Bay of Bengal. This sacred place is called Gangasagara, and at the end of January every year there is still a great assembly of saintly persons and pious men, just as there is an assembly of saintly persons in Prayaga every year called the Magha-mela fair.

After finishing His bathing and ritualistic ceremonies at Gangasagara, Lord Balarama proceeded towards the mountain, Mahendra Parvata, where He met Parashurama, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, and offered Him respect by bowing down before Him. After this Lord Balarama turned towards southern India and visited the banks of the River Godavari. After taking His bath in the River Godavari and performing the necessary ritualistic ceremonies, He gradually visited the other rivers — the Vena, Pampa and Bhimarathi. Then, Lord Balarama gradually proceeded to Sailapura, a pilgrimage city in the province of Maharashtra.

Lord Balarama then proceeded towards Dravida-desa and visited the temple of Balaji in Venkatachala. Then He proceeded towards Vishnukanchi, and also visited Shivakanchi. Lord Balarama took His bath in the River Kaveri; and then reached Rangakshetra, the temple of Ranganatha. Then, Lord Balarama visited Madurai, commonly known as the Mathura of southern India. After visiting this place, He went towards Setubandha, the place where Lord Ramachandra constructed the stone bridge from India to Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In this particularly holy place, Lord Balarama distributed ten thousand cows to the local brahmana priests. Lord Balarama then proceeded towards the Kritamala and Tamraparni rivers. These two rivers are celebrated as sacred, and Lord Balarama bathed in them both. He then proceeded towards Malaya Hill. This hill is very great, and it is said to be one of seven peaks called the Malaya Hills. The great sage Agastya used to live there, and Lord Balarama visited him and offered His respects by bowing down before him.

After taking the blessings of sage Agastya, Lord Balarama, with the sage’s permission, proceeded towards the Indian Ocean. At the point of the cape (known as Cape Comorin) is a big temple of goddess Durga, who is known there as Kanyakumari. From there, Lord Balarama went on to visit the pilgrimage city known as Phalguna-tirtha, which is on the shore of the Indian Ocean, and Panchapsarasa. From Cape Comorin, Lord Balarama turned towards Kerala. After visiting this place, He came to Gokarna-tirtha, where Lord Shiva is constantly worshiped. Balarama then visited the temple of Aryadevi, which is completely surrounded by water. From that island He went on to a place known as Surparaka. After this He bathed in the rivers known as Tapi, Payosni and Nirvindhya, and then He came to the forest known as Dandakaranya. Lord Balarama next came to the bank of the River Narmada, the biggest river in central India. On the banks of this sacred Narmada is a pilgrimage spot known as Mahismati-puri. After bathing there according to regulative principles, Lord Balarama returned to Prabhasa-tirtha, from where He had begun His journey.

Related Links: Sri Balarama PurnimaDivine Appearance and Pastimes of Lord Balarama