Mathura, was originally, and is still revered as, Braj Bhumi, or the 'Land of Eternal Love.' The name was bequeathed to Mathura because Lord Krishna is said to have spent his childhood and growing up years here. His various ras-leelas with the gopis are well entrenched in the Hindu psyche and have been immortalized in the temples, bhajans, arts and paintings. In fact, many of the Hindu art forms find their roots here. The place was considered to be a myth till it was rediscovered in the 16th century.
Situated on the banks of River Yamuna, Mathura is seen as the cradle of Indian culture and civilization. India is considered to be a spiritual destination and many of the visitors looking for peace and enlightenment head to the city to seek solace in its ashrams and temples. It is considered sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Here is a guide to the holy city of Mathura.
Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple
The famous Krishna Janambhoomi temple or Krishna Janmasthan is one of India's most sacred places of worship for the Hindus. Within the temple complex, there is a small prison like structure, and it is believed that the Lord was born here. The temple is believed to have been built by Raja Vir Sinh Bundela of Orchaa, during the reign of Jehangir.
However, going back further, there is another version that has it that the first temple here was constructed almost 5000 years ago by the great-grandson of Lord Krishna. In its hay day, it was said that its glory could not be described in words or paintings. The original temple was however destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1017 AD along with several other temples and Buddhist monuments.
The temple has undergone several architectural changes over the years. The present day complex is a representation of typical Hindu style architecture. During the reign of Aurungzeb, a magnificent mosque was built next to the temple in an attempt to deflect attention from it.
View of the Krishna Temple
Photo Courtesy: Poco a poco
Mathura is considered to be one of India's holiest destinations. It is home to a remarkable number of ancient temples that attract hordes of visitors through out the year. One such temple is the Potara Kund which 'Holy Gate'. The gate like structure is built of sandstone in old Hindu style architecture.
The complex is surrounded by beautifully constructed temples and shrines dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses. It is said that the Potara Kund is built on the spot where Lord Krishna's mother washed his clothes. The step like structure is a scenic location where pilgrims, priests and tourists often sit and offer prayers.
The view of the Potara Kund
Photo Courtesy: Rao'djunior
Jai Gurudev Ashram
For many visitors, India is a spiritual destination. Mathura, being one of the holiest of Hindu cities, attracts its share of visitors that seek peace and enlightenment. Many visitors converge to the Jai Gurudev Ashram, founded and named after the great swami Jai Gurudev. The ashram is a well maintained facility that caters to people in search of spiritual salvation.
Scenic view of the ashram
Photo Courtesy: Nico Crisafulli
The Mathura Museum is located in the heart of the city. It houses some of ancient India's oldest relics and statues. Some of these treasures date back to as early as the 3rd century B.C. All the archaeological findings unearthed in and around Mathura are displayed here.
This collection is considered to be important because it includes scriptures, fragments and stone statues across every Indian faith and religion. The museum attracts several historians who come here and see the displays and understand more about religion and ancient India. The artefacts here also highlight the diversity of the Indian culture.
The gallery at the museum
Photo Courtesy: Biswarup Ganguly
How to Reach Mathura
By Air: The nearest airport is the Delhi airport which is about 170 kilometres away from Mathura. It is well connected with all the major citites.
By Train: The Mathura railway station is an important junction for trains from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
By Road: Bus services are available from major cities such as Delhi, Allahabad, and Agra. State owned transport corporation runs regular buses to the city. Deluxe buses and Volvo services are also available.
So when are you heading to the holy city of Mathura?
Photo Courtesy: rajkumar1220