Translation: Sofiya Perfilyeva, Edited by Visnu Murti das.
On Friday, January the 4th in 1891, Hindus who were bathing in the sacred river Yamuna witnessed an amazing scene. A ship with a name in an unknown language was approaching.
In the morning mist, a young light-skinned man in an officer’s jacket and surrounded by armed soldiers, but not looking belligerent, came ashore. The stranger was the crown prince Nicholas, who was to be the last Russian emperor when he died in the Revolution of 1917.
The small town of Vrindavan, 80 miles to the south of Delhi, was part of the journey of the crown prince, along with Mumbai, Delhi, Gwalior, Agra, Ellora, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Kolkata and Мadras and Sri Rangam, up to the southern parts of the Indian subcontinent, from where he viewed the outline of Ceylon.
The heir to the Russian throne liked Vrindavan. Nicholas found the town very similar to Venice. From the travel notes made by Nicholas, one can assume that his familiarity with Vrindavan occurred in the place of Keshi Ghat, on the banks of river Yamuna. The royal guest was shown the temple of Madana Mohana. And one of the “interesting” churches, which he visited, might have been the Jugal Kishore temple. According to some assumptions, while visiting one of the temples, the crown prince received blessings from local elders to rule his kingdom. It rather might be a beautiful legend, though. Anyway, 125 years ago Nicholas II was the first Russian “discoverer” of Vrindavan.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies