A long line of picturesque ghats - with their
steps leading to the water's edge, arched gateways and temple spires
extending along the right bank of the River Yamuna, emphasis the
sacred character of the town of Mathura. The birth place of Lord
Krishna, "the best known, best loved and most complex of Lord
Vishnu's manifestations" - Mathura is today an important place
of pilgrimage. The city stretches along the right bank of the Yamuna
and the continuous line of ghats along the river makes a splendid
spectacle when viewed from the opposite bank.
ay, Mathura is a city of temples and shrines abustle with the thousands
of devotees who come to visit the city of Lord Krishna. A splendid
temple at the Katra Keshav Dev marks the spot that is believed to
be the Shri Krishna Janmasthan - the birthplace of the Lord, by
his devotees. Another beautiful shrine, the Gita Mandir, located
on the Mathura -Vrindavan Road has a fine image of Shri Krishna
in its sanctum. The whole of the Bhagwad Gita is inscribed on the
walls of this temple.
The most popular shrine at Mathura is the Dwarikadhish Temple to
the north of the town, dedicated to Shri Krishna. This was built
in 1815 by a staunch and wealthy devotee, Seth Gokuldas Parikh,
Treasurer of the State of Gwalior.
In the 6th century BC Mathura became the capital of the Shursen
republic. The city was later ruled by the Maurya empire (4th to
2nd centuries BC) and the Shunga dynasty (2nd century BC). It may
have come under control of the Indo-Greeks some time between 180
BC and 100 BC. However, it would then have briefly reverted to Indian
rule before being occupied by the Indo-Scythians during the 1st
century BC. Archaeological evidence seems to indicate that, by 100
BC, there was a group of Jains living in Mathura. Megasthenes, writing
in the early 3rd century BC, mentions Mathura as a great city under
the name ?????a (Méthora). Mathura served as one of the Kushan
Empire's two capitals from the first to the third centuries. The
Mathura Museum has the largest collection of redstone sculptures
in Asia, depicting many famous Buddha figurines. In 634 Xuanzang
had visited the Mathura town. He went east to Jalandhara in eastern
Punjab, before climbing up to visit predominantly Theravada monasteries
in the Kulu valley and turning southward again to Bairat and then
Mathura, on the Yamuna river. The city was sacked and many of its
temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018. The Keshav Dev temple
was partially destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who built
the city's Jami Masjid (Friday mosque) on the same site, re-using
many of the temple's stones. The main Krishna shrine is presently
the Dwarkadeesh temple, built in 1815 by Seth Gokuldas Parikh, Treasurer
Place to See
Shri Krishna Janma Bhumi
It is believed that this is the place where about 5,000 years ago
lord Krishna was born in the prison of King Kansa. While excavating
this area, many old statues were found which are now displayed in
the museum. At present this place has a beautiful temple of lord
The Ghats of Mathura are of great architectural, cultural and ritual
interest, for devotees from far and wide. There are 25 holy tirthas
(bathing places or ghats) in Mathura. Visram Ghat is in the middle
and there are 12 more south of Visrama Ghat and 12 ghats north.
Those in the south extend to Moksa Ghat. Some pilgrims take bath
in all 25 tirthas before beginning Braja Mandala parikrama. Asi
Ghat, Prayaga Ghat, Chakra Tirtha Ghat, Krishna Ganga, Dhruva Ghat
and Visrama Ghat are still known by the same names.
On the road to Vrindaban it is a modern temple with fine paintings
and carvings on the walls depicting themes from Hindu mythology.
The whole of Bhagwad Gita is inscribed on a pillar called Gita Stambh.
The Government Museum, Mathura originally founded by F.S. Growse
in 1874, is today one of the leading centres for research, study
and the preservation of Mathura' s splendid heritage of art. The
museum housed in a fine octagonal, red sandstone building, located
at Dampier Park, has the largest collection of Kushana sculptures
in the country. The Museum has also fine collections of stone sculpture
and terracotta, gold, silver and copper coins, clay seals, ancient
pottery, paintings and bronzes.
Built in 1814 in the center of the town, it is the most visited
temple in Mathura. This temple is managed by followers of Vallabhacharya.
Located in the eastern part of Mathura, not far from the Yamuna
River, it is architecturally interesting: the temple carving and
paintings are major attractions. The temple is a hub of activity
during the festive days of Holi, Janmashtami and Diwali.
17 mt. high, built of red sandstone in 1570 AD, is a slim tower
which commemorates the death of a noble lady - widow of Raja Bihari
Mal of Amer who committed sati. The four storeyed tower was erected
by Raja Bhagwan Das on the right bank of the Yamuna at Sati Ghat
Fairs & Festivals
Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna
(Feb-March). Holi in Braja is celebrated for several days, at different
places around Braja, before the actual day of Holi.
People throw colored powdered dye and colored water on each other.
This is joyfully celebrated in Braja, especially at Varsana, Nandagram
and Dauji. In Varsana the festival includes colorful processions
with music, song, dance, and some boisterous scenes around the temples.
If you go to these festivals you should expect to be totally covered
in dye and never to be able to use the clothes that you are wearing
again, at least until next year's festival. This is celebrated at
the same time as Gaura Purnima.
How to Reach
: Nearest airport is Kheria (Agra), 62 km.
:Mathura is on the main lines of the Central
and Western Railways and is connected with all the important cities
of the state and country such as Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gwalior,
Calcutta, Hydrabad, Chennai, Lucknow etc.
: Mathura is connected to all the major cities,
by National Highways. It is linked by the regular state bus services
of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.