Kali Kamali Dharmshala, Railway Road, Haridwar – 249401 Uttarakhand (INDIA)

Mathura

Mathura
Mathura is an important place of pilgrimage in India as it is the birth place of Lord Krishna. Mathura is one of the most sacred cities of Hinduism and is situated on the western banks of the Yamuna River. The thousands of devotees visit this place throughout the year. It lies at the heart of the Brajbhoomi, a land that is imbued with sanctity, for it was here that the young Krishna was nurtured. The little towns and hamlets in this area are still alive with the tales of his mischievous pranks, his extraordinary exploits and still seem to echo with the sound of his flute. Today, Mathura with its many temples and splendid ghats along the Yamuna river, is an important pilgrimage town. It is also a rapidly growing industrial city. Hindi, English and Brajbhasha are the main languages which are spoken in Mathura.
The history of Mathura belongs to 600 BC. Ptolemy mentions the town and it played an important role in the formation of the first to second century Kushan Empire. Kanishka and his successors used it as their capital. The Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang visited it in 634 AD. At that time it was also important Buddhist centre with over 2,000 followers. Mathura continued to be a centre of power during the enlightened rule of Emperor Ashoka (3rd century BC) and upto the Gupta era (4th century AD). By the time Mahmud of Ghazni came and sacked the city in 1017, Buddhism had virtually disappeared. The Mahmud of Ghazni’s looted Mathura by burning the city, destroying the temples and various numerous jewel encrusted idols were carted off. Sikander Lodi did similar harm to the religious places in 1500 while the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb used a local revolt in which his governor was killed as an opportunity to destroy all the main temples. The present day Braj-bhoomi was resurrected by the passionate devotion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya in the 16th century. The patronizing rule of Akbar helped seers and devotees redecorate the ancient Braj-bhoomi. The land was largely green, redolent with gardens, groves and lakes in which the Lord frolicked. As the Mughal Empire declined, Jats and Marathas jostled for control. As it lay on the main Dehi-Agra artery it had great strategic value. Its strategic location ensured its location as a centre of trade and a meeting point of the cultures. In the beginning of the 19th century it came under British control. They laid out a cantonment in the south and left a cemetery and the Roman Cathoic Church of the Sacred Heart. Today, Mathura is an important and rapidly growing industrial city. The opening of a big oil refinery on the outskirts of the city in 1975 caused great concern among environmentalists that atmospheric pollution would be carried by prevailing northwesterly winds and irreversibly damage the Taj Mahal. Vallabhacharya, one of the revivers of Braj, first visited Braj in a boat at age 13. On beholding Vishram Ghat, he spontaneously sang a paean in praise. This song, Yamunashtakam in Sanskrit, is still well preserved in the oral tradition of the land, and other songs which have been handed down by greats such as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Goswami, Mirabai, Suradas, Raskhan and Jayadeva. Innumerable poets are born daily in Braj, as devotees are stirred to sing praises of the Lord as they experience him in Braj-bhoomi.

Place to See

SHRI KRISHNA JANMA BHUMI: The Birth Place of Lord Krishna

JAMA MASJID: Built by Abo-inNabir-Khan in 1661.A.D. the mosque has 4 lofty minarets, with bright colored plaster mosaic of which a few panels currently exist.

VISHRAM GHAT: The sacred spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after slaying the tyrant Kansa.

DWARKADHEESH TEMPLE: Built in 1814, it is the main temple in the town. During the festive days of Holi, Janmashthami and Diwali, it is decorated on a grandiose scale.

GITA MANDIR: Situated on the city outskirts, the temple carving and painting are a major attraction.

GOVT. MESEUM: Located at Dampier Park, it has one of the finest collection of archaeological interest. Rare items from the Gupta and Kushan period (400 B.C.-1200A.D.) are on display. Major attraction for tourists.

How to Reach

By Air:The nearest airport from Mathura which is about 60kms is located at Kheria in Agra. However only few flights operate their commercially. IGI airport, Delhi is the best option to reach Mathura. From Delhi airport, taxi or railway services can be used to reach Mathura.

By Rail/ Train:Since Mathura a prime railhead falls on both Central and Western Railways, it is conveniently linked with all the major cities of the rest of the country such as Jaipur, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Chennai and a whole lot more. The various Express and Super fast trains regularly run on this route. More information about reaching Mathura can be obtained on Indian Railway Websites (http://indianrailway.gov.in, http://irctc.co.in )

By Road: The National highway 2 links the holy town with other parts of the country. The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation provides numerous buses to nearby cities such as Kanpur, Agra, Delhi and Lucknow. The availability of luxury coaches also make travelling by road easier.



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