Mathura is one of the most important religious places for Hindu worshipers. Being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura sees a lot of tourist traffic every year. A lot of worshipers visit the Mathura temples all through the year, every year to pay their respects and to see the birthplace of their lord.
Vishram Ghat, holy place where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after he defeated and killed his evil uncle and tyrant king Kansa. Photo from Flickr.
The Krishna Janam Bhumi temple, situated right at the banks of Yamuna, is one of the grandest and most beautiful temples ever made. What makes it really special is the belief that the temple complex has been erected at the exact place where Devaki gave birth to Lord Krishna. Some of the articles excavated from the area bear testimony to the belief. Another famous temple in the area is the Dwarkadheesh temple. We were able to spend more time at the Dwarkadheesh temple than the main temple complex because Dwarkadheesh temple does not witness the surging throngs that prevent you from spending more than a few minutes inside the main temple complex.
Mathura is not only significant to Hindu religion. In fact, apart from the Hindus, Mathura is considered sacred for the Buddhist, Jain and Muslim faiths as well. Mathura boasts of a Jama Masjid, a replica of the Jama Masjid in Delhi. Mathura is also known for one of the oldest sculpting institute called the Mathura School of Art. While the school is no longer in existence, the remnants of some of the sculptures from the school are still available for viewing at the Government Museum, Mathura.
Another place to see in the area is Vishram Ghat. This is a holy place where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after he defeated and killed his evil uncle and tyrant king Kansa. Vishram Ghat is situated right at the banks of Yamuna and is most well known for its evening prayers. The arti in this temple is very soothing and millions of devotees attend it every day. If you are willing enough, you can even take a dip in Yamuna and complete the religious circuit.
As you move along the river, you will reach Vrindavan. The Vrindavan gardens are known to be one of the best and most beautiful botanical gardens in the country. Known for its varieties of plants and flowers as well as the many fountains installed in the garden, this is a great place for a small family picnic or a relaxing afternoon. Vrindavan is home to both the Govardhan Parbat and Gokul. Govardhan Parbat is also considered really significant in the Hindu religion and a lot of pilgrims walk around the hill to pay their respects. You can also visit some of the numerous ashrams in the area.
How to Get There?
By Road: Mathura is well connected by a network of roads, most importantly the Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway. Mathura lies about 150 Km from Delhi and about 50 Km from Agra.
By Rail: Mathura is a very important railway junction and has a large railway station. A lot of trains go directly to Mathura.
By Air: The Agra airport is nearest to Mathura. From the airport, you can take a cab to Mathura.
Where to Stay?
While you are in Mathura, you can stay at the Hotel Govardhan Palace or the Hotel Brijwasi Royal. Both of these are clean and beautiful hotels situated right in the heart of Mathura. They are generally considered pocket friendly. However, if you are on a budget, you can choose from some of the hotel complexes and ashrams around the temple complex which provide overnight stays at a very nominal price. Hotel Yatri Niwas, run by the UP tourism department charges about Rs. 400 per night for a room.
What to Eat?
Mathura is famous for its sweets, particularly ‘pede’ a delicacy made from milk and milk products. When in Mathura, do visit Brijwaasi, a shop famous for the ‘mathura ke pede’. There is a variety of food available in Mathura. However, you will get only vegetarian options here. Shree Radha Krishna Family Dhabha and Restaurant is one of the more popular eating joints. You can also visit Govardhan, a pure vegetarian restaurant that serves a 56 course meal.