Travel-India

Mathura

Located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), on the banks of river Yamuna, Mathura is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus as it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

Popularly known as Krishna’s Janambhoomi, Mathura is the nucleus of Braj bhoomi. In ancient Hindu scripture ‘Garuda Purana’, Mathura has been mentioned as one of the seven most holy places in India where ‘Moksha’ or eternal liberation can be achieved.

According to the Mahabharata and Bhagwat purana epics, Mathura was ruled by Krishna’s maternal uncle, King Kansa, who was destined to be killed by Lord Krishna. The region is richly interwoven with the legendary stories of Lord Krishna.

Over time Mathura has been ruled by kings of both Solar and Lunar dynasties. Hence, the holy city is revered by Hindus, Jains as well as Buddhists.

Located at the junction of important trade routes, Mathura was an economic hub and meeting point of numerous varied cultures in ancient times. Mathura has contributed significantly to Indian culture through its rich heritage. Raaslila, the dance of Krishna with the ‘gopis’ is an intrinsic part of Holi celebrations. Sanjhee, the art of decorating ground with colourful flowers, originated here and Charkula is the traditional folk dance of Braj, where a woman balances a column of earthen lamps (diyas) on her head and dances on ‘Rasiya’ songs sung by men-folk.

Today, Mathura is visited by hordes of devotees throughout the year and is famous for milk, ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) and various milk sweets, keeping up with the tradition of cowherds and milkmaids.

 

 

Things to Do in Mathura

Visit Temples

Attend evening aarti at Vishram Ghat

Photography

Boat Ride

 

Must Try in Mathura

Mathura ke ‘pede’, a speciality of Mathura.

 

Around Mathura

Goverdhan (26 Km)

According to Hindu Mythology, Goverdhan Parvat (a mountain) was carried by Lord Krishna on his little finger for 7 days and 7 nights to save the locals from the wrath of Lord Indra in the form of incessant rains.

 

Gokul (16 Km)

Gokul is a small village, where Krishna was brought up by his foster parents, Nandraj and Yashoda. Gokul is known for its glorious celebration of the festival of Janmashthami and holds two annual fairs, Trinvat Mela and Annakut.

  

Nandgaon or Nandgram

Nandgaon is the village to which Krishna’s foster father Nandraj belonged. Nandgaon is renowned for its unique traditional way of celebrating Holi. Nandgram is also home to Pan Sarovar, one of the four celebrated lakes of Braj Bhoomi where, as the legend goes Krishna used to water his herd.

 

Barsana or Varsana (45 Km) 

Barsana is a small village about 40 kilometres from Mathura. Surrounded by hills on all four sides Barsana offers a sight to behold.

Barsana holds a special niche in Braj Bhoomi as it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna’s transcendental consort Radha Rani.

Barsana today echoes the legend of Lord Krishna and Radha who spent some precious moments of their childhood and adolescent years here in this small village.

The most popular story is enacted and brought live every year by youth of Barsana and Nandgaon in the form of a unique and world renowned celebration of Holi as Lath Mar Holi.

 

Lath Mar Holi of Barsana

Holi, the beautiful festival of colours which is celebrated with zeal and fervour throughout India, is played in a very distinctive manner in Barsana.

Young men from Nandgaon come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and endeavour to raise their flag over Sri Radhika Ji’s Mandir. However, instead of colours they are welcomed with sticks by the womenfolk. Hence, the name, Lath Mar Holi. (Lath mar in Hindi means to hit with a stick).

In this mock battle the men strive to remain uncaptured. However those captured or dressed as womenfolk, complete with female attire, makeup and hair do, are made to dance, enacting the story where Lord Krishna received similar treatment from Radha and her sakhis before he was released by his gopis.

Then men finally have their turn drenching the women in colours of kesudo and Palash. They are repaid by women with sticks.

All this playful and friendly battle is a sight to behold for the tourists and makes the holy of Barsana a famous must-attend event when holidaying in India. The state’s tourist board sets up excellent vantage point for the public.

Celebration continues in the temples of Nandgaon, Mathura and Vrindavan for a week and ends with joyful spirit.

 

Places to visit in Barsana

Ladli ji ka mandir

Perched atop Bhanugarh hill in Barsana is the Ladli ji ka mandir, a Hindu temple dedicated to Sri Radha Rani, the consort of the Lord Krishna.

Originally established by Vajranabh about 5000 years ago, the temple was reconstructed later with red sandstone and adorned with hand carvings, paintings. The temple is accessible by climbing 200 steps.

 

Maan Mandir Barsana

Maan Mandir is located on the top of Brahmgiri Hill of the Maangarh Mountain in Barsana. Famous for the Braj 84 Kos Yatra, Maan Mandir organises a 40 day long journey exploring Braj Dham.

Maan Mandir is said to be the place where Radha Rani would go into seclusion when lovingly angry with Lord Krishna and then Lord Krishna would go all out to placate her.

 

Mor Kutir

Mor Kutir is a small structure close to Ladli Lal Temple. Mor in Hindi means peacock and kutir means hut. The name of this building is referred to another legend associated with Radha Krishna.

As per the legend once Radha was sitting angry with Lord Krishna, when Krishna started dancing like a peacock to please her. This enchanted Radha Rani so much so that she forgot her anger and joined Krishna in the Peacock dance, hence the name of the place Mor Kutir.

 

 

Mathura Fast Facts

Best Time to Visit Mathura – Oct to Mar

Nearest Airport to Mathura – Kheria, Agra

Nearest Railway Station to Mathura – Mathura

Distance To Mathura From Delhi – 147 Km

Distance To Mathura From Jaipur – 220 Km

Distance To Mathura From Agra – 58 Km

Distance To Mathura From Vrindavan – 15 Km

Distance To Mathura From Goverdhan - 26 Km

 

 

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