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Uttar Pradesh: Mathura
Mathura has a rich history, and had been an active and important place even in times of the Puranas. According to the Purana, it was established in the times of Ramayana. Later, it was the capital of the Kushanas. Buddha had also built a monastery here. The 19th and 21st Jain Tirthankaras had also been born here. So it was also a seat of Jain culture. Mathura was known for its trading activities too, since it fell on the silk route. But the biggest reason why people know Mathura is that it was the birth place of Lord Krishna.
But all the ancient culture of Mathura have been destroyed by repeated attacks and invasions. in 1017 Gazni’a Mamud looted and burned the entire city. it was again looted and destroyed by Sikander Lodi in 1500 AD. Some restoration work was done by Akbar and Jahangir, but it suffered heavy destruction in the hands of Aurangzeb. At last it went into the hands of the British in 1803, and they built a cantonment there. They also built the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Mathura Oil Refinery has been a bane, and it was built in 1975. Its heavy pollution has not only polluted the city air, but is also causing irreversible damage to the Taj.
Lord Krishna was born about 1500 B.C here. A deity of Lord Krishna and his wife Rukshini is built at Katra Keshabdev, on a golden platform. Some are off the view that He was bron 200 meters off the point at Potara Kund. Lord Krishna spent his childhood in Mathura, before he shifted to Vindravan, to carry out his duties. Remembrance of His playful activities has seen over thousands of temples buing built here.
At present, Bhawat Bhawan or Gita Mandir in front of His birth place, which has been built at an expense of 2 crore. It s huge temple, lavishly built. A mercury Shiva Lingal is also here. One should also check out the puppet show depicting scenes from the Puranas. Its open from 6am to 12pm and again 3pm to 8 pm in the winter months. In the summers the closure time in 9 pm.
The Kans Kella is behind this temple. Close by is the Potara Kund.
The Yamuna flows by Mathura, and there are about 25 ghats on the Yamuna. those that are scattered towards the north are called Vishram Ghats and towards the south are called Moksha Ghats. The most important is the Vishranti Ghat or the Vishram Ghat. It is said that Lord Krishna took rest in this Ghat after he killed Kans. There are temples on this Ghat and every morning and evening, aarti is performed here. One can check out all the ghats by hiring a boat.
Close by is Sati Buruj, a memorial built by BhagwanDas in memory of her beloved mother who performed Sati by going into the flames of her husband’s pier.
Seth GokulDas of Gwalior has built a new temple of Dwarakdish near this Ghat. Its a beautiful temple, adorned with precious gems.
The Kans Killa has been repaired by Raja Man Singh of Amber, and later by Akbar. But the killa is only a hillock now. There used to 159 kunds here, of which only 4 survive, namely Shiv Tal, Patora, Balvadra and Swaraswati. There are quite a few Mahadeva temples too. Mahapravu Chaitainya Dev had also visited Mathura in 1515.
The Raas Lila festival is the most well known festival of Mathura. Beware of the priests of mathura, as they can be worst than dacoits, robbing money out of you, citing religious reasons, sentiments and blackmail. Do not encourage them the least. The sweetmeat is Mathura is well known and should not be given a miss.
Check out the museum at Dampier Park. It has a rich collection or artifacts from periods before birth of Christ. Archaeological memories of Hindism, Buddhism, Jainism, Kushans and Gandhars have also been displayed.
How to reach: Mathura is 147 kilometers from Delhi and 58 kilometers from Agra. Bharatpur is 38 kilometers from Mathura. It is well connected by buses from Agra. It is also cinnected by roadways from Delhi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kanpur, Jansi, Ajmer, Jaipur etc.
You can also avail trains to mathura from Delhi. Check our transportation links for more details.
Where to Stay: Mathura has quite a few options to stay, but few stay at Mathura. It is advised you stay at Agra or Delhi and cover Mathura from there. Visit our hotel booking links below for more details and online booking.