Adi Bhadri Ghata
It is said that Krishna showed His form of Lord Badri-Narayana at this ghata just to please the gopis, others say that He also showed this same form to the cowherd boys. Some have said that Shrila Vyasadeva, who took birth near Mathura, wrote the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam here.
This is said to be the place where Krishna disguised Himself as a boatman, in order to take the gopis across the Yamuna River in His boat. Krishna covered Himself with a large cloak so that the gopis could not recognize Him. On that day, the gopis were on their way to sell milk products in a market on the other side of the Yamuna, but when the gopis arrived on the river-bank, they found there was only one boat owned by a very strange looking boatman dressed in a large cloak. This boatman agreed to take the gopis in his boat, but insisted that before they could ride in His boat, He would first have to bathe the feet of at least one gopi, only then could the gopis ride on his boat. At first the gopis objected to this proposal, but seeing no other boat in sight, they agreed to the boatman’s unusual request,
asking which particular gopi’s feet the boatman wanted to bathe. The boatman, after some discussion with his boat, chose Radharani, and then very elaborately bathed Radharani’s feet with great pomp and ceremony. The boatman then sprinkled the bathing water over his head, and then over his boat, and then over the Yamuna. The gopis were then able to board the boat and the boatman started rowing towards the other shore. In the middle of the river the boatman suddenly stopped rowing, complaining of weakness due to lack of food, and suggested that the gopis should feed him with some of their milk products in order for him to regain his strength. At first the gopis refused and threatened to report his behavior to King Kamsa, the powerful ruler of Mathura, but seeing no alternative, they ultimately agreed, and fed the boatman with some milk sweets, butter, and yogurt. After enjoying the milk products, the boatman again began rowing, but due to being completely bloated with milk products, soon slumped over and lay motionless on the floor of the boat. Radharani asked one of the gopis to see what was wrong with the boatman. Lifting the boatman’s cloak to see what the problem was, she suddenly burst out laughing while pulling Krishna’s flute from under His waistband. Having discovered the boatman’s true identity, all the gopis began laughing and clapping their hands. The gopis then rowed the boat themselves to the other shore.
—Adapted from the book ‘ Vrajmandal Parikrama’ by Sri Rajshekhar das Brahmachari