yamunāyās taṭaṁ śuci
puṇyaṁ madhuvanaṁ yatra
sānnidhyaṁ nityadā hareḥ
Both Nārada Muni and Sunīti, the mother of Dhruva Mahārāja, advised Dhruva Mahārāja to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, Nārada Muni is especially giving him directions how this worship of the Supreme Person can very quickly fructify. He recommends that Dhruva Mahārāja go to the bank of the Yamunā, where there is a forest of the name Madhuvana, and begin his meditation and worship there.
Places of pilgrimage yield a special advantage for a devotee in quickly advancing his spiritual life. Lord Kṛṣṇa lives everywhere, but still it is very easy to approach Him in holy places of pilgrimage because these places are inhabited by great sages. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that He lives wherever His devotees are chanting the glories of His transcendental activities. There are many places of pilgrimage in India, and especially prominent are Badarī-nārāyaṇa, Dvārakā, Rāmeśvara and Jagannātha Purī. These sacred places are called the four dhāmas. Dhāma refers to a place where one can immediately contact the Supreme Lord. To go to Badarī-nārāyaṇa one has to pass through Hardwar on the path to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, there are other holy places of pilgrimage, such as Prayāga (Allahabad) and Mathurā, and the topmost of them all is Vṛndāvana. Unless one is very advanced in spiritual life, it is recommended that he live in such holy places and execute devotional service there. But an advanced devotee like Nārada Muni who is engaged in preaching work can serve the Supreme Lord anywhere. Sometimes he even goes to the hellish planets. Hellish conditions do not affect Nārada Muni because he is engaged in greatly responsible activities in devotional service. According to the statement of Nārada Muni, Madhuvana, which is still existing in the Vṛndāvana area, in the district of Mathurā, is a most sacred place. Many saintly persons still live there and engage in the devotional service of the Lord.
There are twelve forests in the area of Vṛndāvana, and Madhuvana is one of them. Pilgrims from all parts of India assemble together and visit all twelve of these forests. There are five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā: Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhāṇḍīravana and Mahāvana. On the western side of the bank there are seven: Madhuvana, Tālavana, Kumudavana, Bahulāvana, Kāmyavana, Khadiravana and Vṛndāvana. In those twelve forests there are different ghāṭas, or bathing places. They are listed as follows: (1) Avimukta, (2) Adhirūḍha, (3) Guhya-tīrtha, (4) Prayāga-tīrtha, (5) Kanakhala, (6) Tinduka-tīrtha, (7) Sūrya-tīrtha, (8) Vaṭasvāmī, (9) Dhruva-ghāṭa (Dhruva-ghāṭa, where there are many nice trees of fruits and flowers, is famous because Dhruva Mahārāja meditated and underwent severe penances and austerities there in an elevated spot), (10) Ṛṣi-tīrtha, (11) Mokṣa-tīrtha, (12) Budha-tīrtha, (13) Gokarṇa, (14) Kṛṣṇagaṅgā, (15) Vaikuṇṭha, (16) Asi-kuṇḍa, (17) Catuḥ-sāmudrika-kūpa, (18) Akrūra-tīrtha (when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were going to Mathurā in the chariot driven by Akrūra, all of them took bath in this ghāṭa), (19) Yājñika-vipra-sthāna, (20) Kubjā-kūpa, (21) Raṅga-sthāla, (22) Mañcha-sthala, (23) Mallayuddha-sthāna, and (24) Daśāśvamedha.