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Mathura - The Holy City of Mathura

STATE - UTTAR PRADESH

DISTANCE - 147 KM From Delhi, 50 KM From Agra

CONNECTION

By Air : The nearest airport is Kheria, about 62 kms. from Mathura.

By Rail : Mathura is situated on the main line of the Central and Western Railways and is connected with most important cities around the country like Agra, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, Kanpur and Lucknow.

By Road : Mathura is located on the NH2 and connected with all major cities like Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra and Delhi

ABOUT MATHURA

Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. There are numerous little spots in the area that still reverberate with the enchantment of Shri Krishna. A long line of picturesque ghats - with their steps leading to the water's edge, arched gateways and temple spires extending along the right bank of the River Yamuna, emphasize the sacred character of the town of Mathura.

Mathura is a city of temples and shrines bustle with the thousands of devotees who come to visit the city of Lord Krishna. A splendid temple at the Katra Keshav Dev marks the spot that is believed to be the Shri Krishna Janmasthan (birthplace of the Lord). 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 the temple. The most popular shrine at Mathura is the Dwarikadhish Temple, built in 1815 to the north of the town. The city stretches along the right bank of the Yamuna and the continuous the line of ghats along the river makes a splendid spectacle when viewed from the opposite bank. There are a total of 25 ghats in Mathura today, of which the most important is the Vishram Ghat, where Shri Krishna took his rest after killing Kansa

PLACES OF INTERESTS & RELIGIOUS PLACES IN MATHURA

Archaeological Museum : 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.

Dwarkadheesh Temple : This temple was built in 1814 by the treasurer of Gwalior state. Dwarkadheesh Temple is an architectural jewel, but the barely three-feet-high black deity inside is the show-stealer. The living deity with twinkling eyes and naughty smiles charms visitors. Braj-ki-Holi, the festival of colours is celebrated here in the month of March, Jhulan Utsav in July, Janmashtami in August, and Sharad Purnima in early winter. The Utsav is a recurrent world in Braj lore, meaning to be close to God. The festival is an opportunity to celebrate the innate relationship that God Almighty has with the rest of his creation, of love.

Jama Masjid : Set back from the river Yamuna is Jama Masjid, built in 1661, that has four lofty minarets and bright mosaic works.

Gita Mandir : 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.
br /> 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.

Gokul : Gokul is a small but pleasant getaway from Agra. It was a place where Lord Krishna was secretly raised. It is near Mathura There are many religious places in Gokul. The most attractive and notable structure here is Chaurasi Khamba (84) pillars, also known as Nand Maharaja's house. All the religious places here are related to some legends.

Jain Tirth : Nearly 30 cms. long, light - almond - colored, wooden sandals of Jambuswamaji. Tirth is at a distance of four kilometers from Mathura. This tirth (pilgrimage) belongs to the times of Bhagawan Suparshvanth.

Mathura Krishna Balrama Mandir : This temple built by the International Society for Shri Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), it is one of the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan. The principal deities of this temple are Krishna, his brother Balram and Radha (Krishna's consort.) Adjoining the temple is the samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON sect, built in pure white marble. Hare Krishna devotees from all around the world flock here, bringing a truly international flavour to this ancient holy city

Radha Madana-Mohana Temple : This famous temple was established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and was the first temple to be built in Vrindavan, which at that time was just a forest. The original Deity of Madana-mohana was taken to Karauli in Rajasthan for safety during the attack on Vrindavan by the soldiers of the fanatical Muslim Emperor, Aurangzeb.

Radha Vallabha Temple : Another very popular temple of Vrindavan whih was founded by Harivamsa Gosvami, who started the Radha Vallabha sect emphasizing devotion to Radharani. In this temple, there is no deity of Radharani, but a crown has been placed next to Krishna to signify her presence. The original temple of Radha Vallabha was destroyed by the Muslims in 1670 and a new temple was built beside the old one.

Radharamana Temple : This is the famous temple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Radharamana means "one who gives pleasure to Radha", and is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The wooden sitting place (hoki) and shawl (chaddar) or Lord Chaitanya, that He gave as a gift to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami is kept in this temple.

Rangji Temple : This South Indian style temple was built by the wealthy Seth family of Mathura in the year 1851, and is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji, a form of Lord Vishnu lying down on the Sesa Naga (celestial serpent). This temple has a traditional South Indian gateway and is surrounded by high walls. It is one of Vrindavan's largest temples. Once a year a grand car festival (Ratha Yatra) is held known as Brahmotsava, during the month of Chait (March - April), a festival that lasts for 10 days.

Vrindavan Forest : It is the 12th forest of Braja Mandala and is considered the most auspicious. Covering an area of extends 57 km, It extends from the present city of Vrindavana to Nandagram and Varsana on one side and to Govardhana on the other. The favourite forest of Lord Krishna, was here that He would play His transcendental flute, thus calling all the beautiful gopis to come and enjoy the wonderful rasa-lila, the divine dance of love. The rasa-mandala (place of the rasa dance) has a parameter of 16 km (9 miles). It is a semicircle, with the Yamuna flowing on one side. Within this forest is Radha Kunda.

WHEN TO GO MATHURA

There is no specific time period to visit Mathura Vrindavan as the devotional thirst can easily be quenched by visiting anytime of the year. But you should make sure that the Holi Festival of the place is celebrated with a great fervour and enthusiasm almost unmatchable.

WEATHER FORECAST

Typical of all the North Indian towns, Mathura too witnesses a wild swing in temperature down the year. In summers the city witnesses a persistent rise in temperature and at mercury goes beyond even 44°C. The humidity is unbearable and the relative humidity remains around 40-50%. During the summers, the daytime temperature hovers around 40-44°C. Nights are relatively cooler and mercury dips to a comfortable 28-30°C.

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN MATHURA

Holi and Janamashtami are two festivals celebrated with great fervour in Mathura. Both these festivals are associated with Lord Krishna. Holi is celebrated in the temples before it is celebrated on the streets, as it is considered auspicious to play with the Lord, first.

This festival is preceded by performances that last well over a week. Artists from various parts of the country gather here to perform raas leela, or dance recitals depicting Krishna's flirtatious interlude with the gopis, or the village maidens. Gayan mandalis, or singing troupes that render folk songs particularly associated with Holi, flock to this place. The artistic exuberance associated with the festival is termed as Rang Gulal.

FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN MATHURA

The Vaishnav cuisine is without meat, onion, garlic or liquor. Iskcon's restaurant Govinda's offers a wonderful menu for meals, snacks and drinks. The traditional food of Braj-bhoomi is milk and is found in many mouth-watering incarnations in Vrindavan. Warm kesar milk with the wafting aroma of kesar, an expensive flavouring from Kashmir, is great for a good night's sleep. Chilled lassi, a sweet yogurt drink, mattha, a salted digestive drink, chaach buttermilk, reminds of Krishna's dalliance with the Braj maids for a gift of the above. Butter is the Krishna's all-time favourite and offered to him for breakfast along with other sweet goodies in all temples. Other sweets include Peda, Rabari, Khurchan, Malai and milk-cake, all made from cow's milk.

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