Hotels in India »  Pilgrimage Tours India » mathura india travel

mathura india travel

Braj Bhoomi

Mathura’s is special. Not because it sells delectable sweets or because it serves the best milk, but because it is one land that finds mention both in mythology and history. In both, it retains the same dignity and proximity with the divine.

Mathura lives up to legends and about 20 kilometres before you reach the land where Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is believed to have been born, there is a marked increase in the cattle on the roads! The cosmic cowherds home is coming, they seem to say, for mythology says Lord Krishna spent his youth as a cowherd’s son.

The story goes that the holy town of Mathura, on the banks of the river Yamuna was ruled by a king called Ugrasena. One day Ugrasena and his wife were taking a walk in the gardens where a demon saw the queen and feel in love with her. In his lust for her he diverted the attention of Ugrasena, assumed his form himself and the child born to the queen of this union was Kamsa. Kamsa grew up to dethrone his father and imprison his cousin Devaki. Devaki was the mother of Krishna.

It so happened that on day, later in time, when Kamsa was driving his newly married cousin and her husband Vasudev, to their new home, a voice from the heavens intercepted him. “You are driving the mother of your killer” said the voice and also told him that the eighth child of Devaki would kill Kamsa. Kamsa’s anger knew no bounds and as he pulled the sword from its scabbard, Vasudev begged him to be a little patient. “We will give you our eight children, do not kill us, “he entreated. Kamsa thought this was a good alternative to committing this murder and so threw the couple into prison. Year after year, he killed their seven children. The eighth was Lord Krishna, believed to be born on this land of Mathura.

Thunder roared and the skies darkened at midnight as this child was born. The brilliance of the new born child illuminated the dark night. Under guidance from the heavens, locked doors opened for Vasudeva as he went to the nearby city of Brindaban, carrying the babe. Here he exchanged the babe with a girl born to a cowherd’s wife, called Yasoda.

Today, alongside the Jama Masjid stands a small temple: the prison where the incarnation of Vishnu, the protector was born. The story of His birth is told in pictures and words on the walls of this prison room. A narrow set of marble steps lead you to the terrace through a walled corridor, creating the effect of a prison. The original prison, it is said was razed to the ground in the 17th century.

Up on the terrace, there is a large marble wall, where devotees say they see many forms of Krishna and Radha (his consort). It is true. As you stand back and adjust you eyes with a little piety and a little distance for light-shadow effect, the grains of the marble present various shadows before your eyes. The local lore is that this slab of marble was chosen for installation here because of these visible dancing figures.

All around the temple complex are shops. The speciality of Mathura are the mud, clay and papier mache works. Exquisite animal figures and human figures, even scenes from mythological texts are available here.

Mathura has many ghats or river banks which are also associated with mythology. Vishram ghat is one of them. Go there as you can see Mathura spilling into the river Yamuna, just as you can see an old fort across the shore, which you are told is Kamsa’s fort.

Pilgrimage in Mathura has to be selective. I found that in every6 house if there are two rooms, one is a temple! Some myth or legend surrounds it and there you are, on a never-ending tour of the land of Krishna. So much so that you even believe you will meet him somewhere around the corner!

Mathura is not just a land of temples, it has been a great centre of Buddhism. The Mathura museum has one of the oldest Bodhisatvas. Mathura claims to have produced the first images of Buddha.

Normally Mathura is said in the same breath as Brindavan. Actually Brindavan is a few miles off Mathura. A Ranganathan temple popularly known as the Rangji temple is a beautiful complex. If you have time, stay overnight here. A South Indian from Tiruvalliputtur is said to have built this and one can see the difference in construction and presentation. There are two main entrances to the temple. One to the east and one to the west. Consisting of five rectangular enclosures, the sanctum stands under a multi-towered façade. Each façade houses various forms of the Lord. Once again every corner is replete with mythological references.

The Banke Bihari temple is the hub of activity, just a little distance off. The deity is said to be very powerful and as the messy underfoot leads you into the temple complex, vision of the fun-loving Krishna comes alive when the paunchy priests start singing.

Brindavan is actually the seat of Iskon activity. The temple is magnificent and sprawling. The ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ chant infectious.

The search for a new meaning, the search for further elaborations of the truth and such philosophical urges, conscious or sub-conscious are the ones that prompt a pilgrimage. God Himself is believed by all to be omnipotent. Whey then are some places considered so holy and from aeons have attracted people from far and wide? Mathura has the answer.



By Air

The nearest airport is at Agra, which is 58 kilometres from Mathura.

By Rail:Mathura is a major junction where many south and west bound trains and a few north and west bound trains halt.

By Road

Uttar Pradesh Roadways buses ply every half an hour between Delhi and Mathura Semi-deluxe buses of U.P. Roadways are also available.


U.P. Tourism Guest House ISKCON Guest House Krishna Janambhoomi International Guest House Hotel Govardhan Hotel Madhuban Sri Rangji Temple Guest House

Dharamshalas offer lodging facilities free of cost.


Fresh and light meals for Rs. 6/- per thali are available at the International Guest House Restaurant. Good milk and milk products are available everywhere in the market.


Mathura is a famous for stone and clay idols of various kinds. A special sweet-meat called pera is very famous.


Buses ply from Mathura Bus Terminal to all nearby places at an interval of 30 minutes to two hours.

¤ Ajmer Sharif ¤ Amarkantak ¤ Amritsar
¤ Bodhgaya ¤ Chidambaram ¤ Chitrakoot
¤ Dargahkaliyarsharif ¤ Dharamsala ¤ Dilwaratemples
¤ Dwarka ¤ Gangasagarmela ¤ Garhwal
¤ Goa ¤ Guruvayur ¤ Hardwar
¤ Jageshwar ¤ Jambukeswaram ¤ Jambukeswaram
¤ Kailashmansarovar ¤ Kamakhya ¤ Maheshwaromkareshwar
¤ Mathura ¤ Parashuramkund ¤ Pilgrimagecenters
¤ Pilgrimagesofsikhs ¤ Rameshwaram ¤ Rishikesh
¤ Sabarimala ¤ Shatrunjayahill ¤ Shivapur
¤ Tawangmonastery ¤ Thirukalikundrum ¤ Tirupati
¤ Travelofgods ¤ Trichur ¤ Tripureshwari
¤ Tungnath ¤ Vaishnodevi ¤ Varanasi
¤ Vrindavan ¤ Yamnotri