Among the 12 forests of Braj to be recreated at Krishna Bhumi the first and foremost is the forest of Mahavan. The largest among all the forests of Vrindavan, Mahavana is also known as Gokul. Nanda Bhawan, the original house of Lord Krishna’s foster parents Nanda Maharaj and Yashoda, is here in Mahavan.
It is in this house and around in Mahavana, that Lord Krishna performed many lilas out of which Shri Krishna’s killing of demon Putana and his showing of the entire universe with his mouth are most famous.
The first of the two famous lilas where Krishna killed Putana goes like this. Kansa, Krishna’s uncle who wanted to kill Him since birth, instructed the demon Putana to kill all the small children in Gokula. Smearing poison on her breasts Putana entered the Nanda Bhawan disguised as a local cowherd woman and took baby Krishna on her lap to feed him milk. But Krishna, who already knew of her plans not only sucked the milk from her breast but also sucked the life out of her. In immense pain and to the shock of other women present there, Putana tried to shirk off Krishna. But when she failed to do so, she tried to fly away in the sky with Krishna still stuck to her. But she failed to escape and finally fell on the ground dead assuming back her original demonic form. As all the cowherd boys and gopis rushed to the spot, they saw Krishna playing on the dead body of the demon Putana in a way as if nothing had happened. As they removed baby Krishna from there, His mother Yashoda performed all the auspicious rituals to save Him from such dangers in future.
Another major region in Mahavan is the Brahmand Ghat. The place derives its name from the famous Lila of Shri Krishna where He as a child had shown the entire universe or Brahmanda within his mouth to His mother Yashoda. The story goes like this. One day Lord Krishna swallowed some particles of mud while playing with His friends. When His mother Yashoda came to know about this, she rushed to Him and worriedly asked Him to open His mouth so that she could remove all the mud from His mouth. Obeying His mother’s words, as Krishna opened His mouth wide, Yashoda stared in His mouth in utter disbelief. She could see the sun, the moon, the planets, the movement of the celestial orbs, the entire galaxy – everything, the entire universe or Brahmanda was there within Krishna’s little mouth.
There are many other famous stories related to Mahavan regarding the various Lilas of Lord Krishna and His brother Shri Balaram like the killing of demons Shakatasura and Trinavarta as well as the deliverance of Nalakuvera and Manigriva.