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Mathura (Brajbhoomi)

District Mathura at a glance
Geographical Area 3780 sq km
Altitude above sea level 187 m
Population (In '000 1991) 1647.84
Male 907.22
Female 740.62
Rural 1222.08
Urban 425.76
Scheduled Caste 329.18
Scheduled Tribe 000.17
Literacy (In '000 1991)
Total 581.75
Male 448.13
Female 133.62
Administrative Set up (2001)
Tehsiles 03
Blocks 10
Nyay Panchayat 89
Gram Sabha 479
Villages (2001)
Habitate 734
Non-habitate 152
Nagar & Nagar Samuh 17
Nagar Palika Parishad 3
Nagar Panchayat 13
Police Stations
Rural 8
Urban 11
Bus Station/Stop 107
Railway Station (With Halt) 20
Post Offices
Urban 45
Rural 159
Telegraph Office 17
Telephone Connection 37205
Commercial Bank 132
Gramin Bank 0
Cooperative Bank 15
Fair Price Shops 686
Education (2001)
Junior Basic School 1185
Senior Basic School 220
Senior Secondary School 134
Degree College 09
I.T.I. 01
Polytechnic 02
Medical (2001)
Allopathic 27
Ayurvedic 32
Homeopathic 13
P.H.C. 42

Brajbhoomi

The land where Lord Krishna was born and spent his youth, has today little towns and hamlets that are still alive with the Krishna- legend and still redolent with the music of his flute. Brajbhoomi can be divided into two distinct units - the eastern part in the trans-Yamuna tract with places like Gokul, Mahavan, Baldeo, Mat and Bajna and the western side of the Yamuna covering the Mathura region that encompasses Vrindavan, Govardhan, Kusum Sarovar, Barsana and Nandgaon. The land of Braj starts from Kotban near Hodel about 95 km from Delhi and ends at Runakta which is known specially for its association with the great poet Surdas, an ardent Krishna devotee. Shri Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Dwapara Yuga as the eighth son of the Yadava prince Vasudev and his wife Devaki. To save him from his maternal uncle Kansa wrath, the infant Krishna was spirited away soon after birth to Gokul, the village of the gopas (cowherds) in Braj. It was here that he grew to manhood, in the tender care of his foster parents Nand and Yashoda in the happy company of the cowherds.

Mathura

Mathura widely known as birth place of lord Krishna is located on the western bank of river Yamuna at latitude 27degree 41 Minute N and 77 Degree and 41 Minute E. It is 145 km southeast of Delhi and 58 km northwest of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For about 3000 Year it was the hub of culture and civilization. Mathura is today an important place of pilgrimage. The city stretches along the right bank of the Yamuna and the continuous line of ghats along the river makes a splendid spectacle when viewed from the opposite bank. Mathura is a city of temples and shrines abustle with the thousands of devotees who come to visit the city of Lord Krishna. There are about 25 ghats in Mathura today, of which the most important is the Vishram Ghat. Where according to legend, Shri Krishna took his rest after killing Kansa. No pilgrimage to Mathura is complete without a visit to its kunds. Tradition has it that there were 159 ancient kunds in all. Of these only four survive and can be seen. Mathura, the land of cows, is famed for its milk-based sweetmeats. A variety of mouth-watering savories are also well known specialties of the town. Pera, a special type of sweet, Khurchan and Kachaurian are very well known. Various types of ornaments made of silver, brass and copper are also available in Mathura. Visramghat and Holygate are the best places for shopping. For art creation Mathura is the Athens of India. The great school of sculpture known as Mathura school of Art flourished here for 1200 Years. Such proliflic creativity and gushing devotion to novel Art forms and experiment in sculptures and clay figurines as found in this school are rare in the annals of Indian Art History. A survey of this glorious School of Art can be made in the Government Museum, Mathura. The present day Mathura abounds in place of Religious and Historic Interest all round the year. A large number of festival and fairs are held in Mathura and adjoining areas of Vrindavan, Gokul, Brazen and Goverdhan.

The important fairs and festivals of the town include :
Rath-ka-Mela Vrindavan March
Guru Purnima
(Muria Puno) Govardhan July
Hariyali Teej Braj Mandal July
Janmashtami Braj Mandal August/September
Radha Ashtami Barsana, Gokul August
Annakut Goverdhan, Mathura Sept./Oct.
Yam Dwitiya Vishram Ghat Sept./Oct.
Kansa Vadh   Sept.
Holi Braj Mandal Feb./Mar.
Latthmar Holi Nandgaon Feb./Mar. (Phalguna Shukla 9 & 10)

Braj Parikrama

The Rainy month of Bhadon, the month when the Lord Krishna was born, is a time of colourful celebrations. The famous Braj Parikrama - a pilgrimage of all the places in Braj that associated with Shri Krishna, is undertaken. Traditionally, the Chaurasi kos (84 kos) pilgrimage of Braj Mandal, with its 12 vanas (forests). 24 upvanas (groves), sacred hill Govardhan, divine River Yamuna and numerous holy places along its banks, is undertaken annually by lakhs of devotees from all over the country. The Yatra extends to Kotban to the north of Mathura, to Nandgaon, Barsana and the Govardhan Hill to the west and South-west of the city and to the a banks of the Yamuna to the east, where the Baldeo Temple is located. Colourful melas and performances of the Raaslila (a depiction of the exploits of Shri Krishna) are distinctive to this festive period.

How to reach

By Air
Nearest airport is Kheria (Agra), 62 km

By Train

Mathura is on the main lines of the Central and Western Railways and is connected with all the important cities of the state and country such as Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gwalior, Calcutta, Hydrabad, Chennai, Lucknow etc.

By Road

Mathura is connected to all the major cities, by National Highways. It is linked by the regular state bus services of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Private buses, Tempos, Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws and Tongas are also available for local transport.

Places of Interest in Mathura

Katra Keshav Dev

A splendid temple at the Katra Keshav Dev marks the spot that is believed to be the Shri Krishna Janmasthan - the birthplace of the Lord, by his devotees.

Gita Mandir

Located on the Mathura -Vrindavan Road, Gita Mandir has a fine image of Shri Krishna in its sanctum. The whole of the Bhagwad Gita is inscribed on the walls of this temple.

Dwarikadhish Temple

The most popular shrine at Mathura is the Dwarikadhish Temple to the north of the town, dedicated to Shri Krishna. This was built in 1815 by a staunch and wealthy devotee, Seth Gokuldas Parikh, treasurer of the State of Gwalior. During the festive days of Holi, Janmashthami and Diwali, it is decorated on a grandiose scale.

Vishram Ghat

The sacred spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after slaying the tyrant Kansa. It is at Vishram Ghat that the traditional parikrama (circumbulation of all the important religious and cultural places of the city) starts and ends. The 12 ghats to the north of Vishram Ghat include :


Ganesh Ghat
Dashashwamedh Ghat with its Neelakantheshwar Temple
Saraswati Sangam Ghat
Chakratirtha Ghat
Krishnaganga Ghat
Somatirth or Swami Ghat
Ghantagharan Ghat
Dharapattan Ghat
Vaikuntha Ghat
Navtirtha or Varahkshetra Ghat
Asikunda ghat and Manikarnika Ghat.

To the south, there are 11 ghats :
Guptatirth Ghat
Prayag Ghat marked by the Veni Madhav Temple
Shyam Ghat
Ram Ghat
Kankhal Ghat (the site of the Janmashtami and Jhula festivals)
Dhruva ghat
Saptrishi Ghat
Mokshatirth Ghat
Surya Ghat
Ravan Koti Ghat
and Buddha Ghat

The Vishram Ghat is lined with elegant temples and some of Mathura's most important shrines are found here - the Mukut Temple, Radha-Damodar, Murli Manohar, Neelkantheshwar, Yamuna-Krishna, Langali Hanuman and Narasimha temples. The baithak of the great Vaishnava Saint, Shri Chaitanya, is also near by. The aarti held at the Vishram Ghat each evening is very nice event not to be missed.

Shiv temples

The town has a number of Shaivite temples as well. The chief among them being the Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple to the west of the town, the Gokarneshwar Temple in the north, the Rangeshwar. Mahadev Temple to the south and the Pipaleshwar Mahadev Temple to the east.

Kans Qila

Lying on the northern bank of the River Yamuna is the Kans Qila, now mostly in ruins.

An observatory

akin to the Jantar Mantar at Delhi, was built here at a later date by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (1699-1743) of Amer.

Sati Burj

17 m high, built of red sandstone in 1570 AD, is a slim tower which commemorates the death of a noble lady - widow of Raja Bihari Mal of Amer who committed sati. The four storeyed tower was erected by Raja Bhagwan Das on the right bank of the Yamuna at Sati Ghat

The Jama Masjid

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

The Government Museum

The Government Museum, Mathura originally founded by F.S. Growse in 1874, is today one of the leading centres for research, study and the preservation of Mathura' s splendid heritage of art. The museum housed in a fine octagonal, red sandstone building, located at Dampier Park, 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.