Brajbhoomi is the land where Lord Krishna was born and spent his youth. Mathura, a quiet town on the River Yamuna, was transformed into a place of faith after Lord Krishna was born here. Vrindavan, a village once noted for its fragrant groves, is where he spent an eventful youth. There are numerous other little spots in the area that still reverberate with the enchantment of Lord Krishna.
Mathura is located at a distance of 145 km southeast of Delhi and 58 km northwest of Agra. It is an ancient cultural and religious centre. Being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is an important pilgrim centre. The city stretches along the right bank of the Yamuna and it is a city of temples and shrines that bustles with the thousands of devotees who come to visit the city of Lord Krishna.
Mathura is connected to all major cities by road and rail. Nearest airport is Kheria (Agra), 62 km.
Katra Keshav Dev temple
In the splendid Katra Keshav Dev temple, a small room is designed and built to look like a prison cell that marks the spot that is believed to be the Shri Krishna Janmasthan.
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 main temple at Mathura is the Dwarikadhish Temple dedicated to Shri Krishna and located on the north side of the town. Seth Gokuldas Parikh, treasurer of the State of Gwalior, built this temple in 1815.
There are about 25 ghats in Mathura. The most important one is the Vishram Ghat, where according to legend, Shri Krishna rested after killing king Kamsa.
It is at Vishram Ghat that the traditional parikrama starts and ends. Some of Mathura's most important shrines like the Mukut Temple, Radha-Damodar and Murli Manohar were located here. The town has a number of Shivite temples as well.
The Government Museum, originally founded by F.S. Growse in 1874, is a leading centre for research, study and the preservation of Mathura's splendid heritage of art. The museum is a fine octagonal red sandstone building, located at Dampier Park. It 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.
Sati Burj is a 17m high, red sandstone structure built in 1570 AD, to commemorate the death of widow of Raja Bihari Mal of Amer who committed sati. The four-storey tower was built by Raja Bhagwan Das, her son, on the right bank of the Yamuna at Sati Ghat. Though Aurangaseb demolished the upper storys, they have since been rebuilt.
Raja Man Singh of Amer built the Kans Qila, the ruined fort, on the northern bank of the River Yamuna. Raja Jai Singh (1699-1743) of Jaipur built an observatory here, but it has since disappeared.
Set back from the river Yamuna is Jama Masjid, built in 1661, that has four lofty minarets and bright mosaic works.
Places Around Mathura
18 km from Mathura is Mahavan, on the left bank of the River Yamuna, where Krishna spent some of his youth. It has the temple of Mathuranath famed for its eighty four pillars. The palace of Rohini, the mother of Baldeo is now the Chhathi-Palana Temple. Other important shrines include, the Shymlalji Temple, the Yogmaya Temple, Tranairatri Temple and the Mahamall Rai Ji's palace.
Baldeo is 20 km southeast of Mathura and 8.5 km southeast of Mahavan on the road to Sadabad. It derives its name from the famous temple dedicated to Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. It was built by Shyam Das of Delhi 200 years ago. The main image in the sanctum is that the Baldeo or Balram with his spouse Revati. Near by is the brick lined tank, the Khir Sagar or Balbhadra Kund, from where the original image of the temple was found.
Govardhan is situated 26 km west of Mathura on the state highway to Deeg. A famous place of Hindu pilgrimage, Govardhan is located on a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj, which is about 8 km in length. The young Lord Krishna is said to have held Giriraj up on the tip of a finger for 7 days and nights to shield the people of Braj from the deluge of rain sent down by Lord Indra.
Barsana, 50 km to the northwest of Mathura and 19 km northwest of Govardhan, is situated at the foot of a hill that is named after Brahma. Barsana was once the home of Radha-Rani, Krishna's beloved and consort. Temples dedicated to the divine couple ornament the four elevations of the hill.
Nadgaon lies 8.5 km north of Barsana on the metalled road to Mathura (56 km) and was the home of Shri Krishna's foster father, Nand. On the top of the hill is the spacious temple of Nand Rai, built by the Jat ruler Roop Singh.
Just 5 km north of Govardhan and 26 km west of Mathura, Radhakund is a large lake, where Shri Krishna is said to have killed Arista - the bull demon. To commemorate this event, every year on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), a large fair is held here.
Vrindavan, just 15 km from Mathura, is another major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples - both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the wood where he frolicked with the gopis and tenderly wooed Radha.
Vrindavan has a large number of temples. The Madan Mohan Temple located near the Kali Ghat is the oldest temple in Vrindavan today. The Banke Bihari Temple built in 1864 is the most popular shrine at Vrindavan.
Faizabad Located 7 km from Ayodhya, Faizabad was the capital of Awadh. Faizabad developed into a township nearly 220 years ago. Safdar Jang, the second Nawab of Awadh (1739-54), made it his military headquarters. Suja-ud-Daula, his successor, built a fort known as Chhota Calcutta, now in ruins. During the reign of Shuja-ud-Daula, Faizabad reached the zenith of its prosperity. The Nawabs graced Faizabad with several beautiful buildings, notable among them being the Gulab Bari, Moti Mahal and the tomb of Bahu Begum. The tomb of Bahu Begum is considered to be one of the finest buildings of its kind in Avadh. These buildings are particularly interesting for their assimilative architectural styles. The glory of Faizabad faded with the shifting of capital from Faizabad to Lucknow by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula.
Faizabad is connected by rail and road to other major cities and towns of the country. The nearest airport is Lucknow at 134km.
37km from the city of Agra is this ghost city that was once the capital of Mughal India. Akbar built the city between 1571 and 1585. But he was forced to abandon the capital because of water shortage and he shifted the capital to Lahore for a brief period. Now about 30,000 people inhabit this deserted capital. Thanks to the archaeological department of India, the city is well preserved as it was built. For More......