Tourist Attractions in Mathura

Mathura is one of the prominent historical, cultural and religious cities in India. It lies on the railway line between Agra and Delhi . It is one of the most holy places of Hindu India, being associated with the birth and exploits of Lord Krishna, the most loved and widely adored avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. The town lies on the right bank of the Yamuna and is set in very picturesque surroundings. The broad river, the continuous line of ghats rising from the water’s edge, the beautiful temples and houses that fill the road along the ghats, the wide streets and flat-roofed houses of the city—all make Mathura an ideal pilgrim-centre. The sites related to Lord Krishna, numerous temples, sacred ashramas, riverfronts of Yamuna and traditional lifestyle & religious practices are prime tourist attractions in Mathura. Mathura holds cultural significance since time immemorial. The city derives its sanctity from very ancient times. It is said to have been founded by Shatrughna, brother of Lord Ram. It contained the hermitage of many a holy sage, Dhruva and others. In historic times, it was a great centre of Buddhist and Jain cultures. After the expulsion of Saka Satraps under whose aegis Buddhism nourished, it again became a sacred place of the Hindus. When the Vaishnava movement was at its highest in Northern India, Mathura became the centre of all the great Vaishnava sects, and among them the Sri Vaishnavas of South India may be noted also and most of the present buildings and temples date from that period.

Being cultural stronghold and immensely prosperous, Mathura had attracted saints, sages, businessmen and pillagers alike. Mathura suffered largely at the hands of the barbaric & uncivilized Islamic invaders in the Middle Ages. Muslim historians always refer to the city as a seat of idolatry to be destroyed. Mahmud of Ghazni sacked it in 1018-19. Sultan Sikandar Lodi in 1500 AD destroyed all its temples and images. Shah Jahan too appointed a governor to stamp out idolatry in Mathura. Finally, Aurangzeb had its many temples destroyed and built a mosque on the site of Keshav Temple said to have been the most beautiful temple in Mathura. The Islamic invaders, soaked in religious intolerance preached by their holy scriptures, kept devastating whatever non-Islamic. Hindu temples, sculptures, religious symbols and practices and the very existence of ‘kafir’ (non-believer in Quran & Islam) had to face the incessant attack of the Muslim invaders out of religious hatred. But, the indefatigable zeal of subsequent generations, and the piety of Maratha and Rajput Chiefs, have again filled the city with temples and beautiful buildings which to-day make up the pilgrim city. Dwarikadhish Temple is the largest temple at present in Mathura. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Elaborate ceremonial worship is performed every day in this temple. Raslila performances are given here on Ekadashi evenings. A great festival is held in the month of Shravan (June-July) when thousands of pilgrims attend. The other important temples are : Keshav Dev Temple, temples to Gopinath, Devaki, Thakur Kishori Raman, and Mathuresh Govardhannath.

In addition to ashram and temples, ghats on Yamuna are also places to visit in Mathura. The riverfronts, known popularly as ghats, are kind of embankment which serve as platforms to perform various daily activities, including purifying bath and religious rituals. Of the twenty-four sacred bathing-ghats, two important ones may be mentioned - Vishram Ghat and Dhruva Ghat, the latter being the spot where Dhruva after great penance was vouchsafed the vision of Lord Vishnu and blessed with immortality by Him. Lord Krishna’s actual place of nativity is now marked by a temple built and dedicated to him. There is a well near this temple with the water of which Krishna’s mother is said to have washed the Divine Baby’s clothes. The well is known as Patal Kund and is resorted to by pilgrims for purificatory bath. A huge mound near Mathura is shown as the place where Kansa held the wrestling matches and where Lord Krishna put Kansa to death. Govardhan Hill, where Sri Krishna performed the miracle of lifting a mountain to give protection to the cowherds and cattle, lies 18 miles from Mathura. There are several tirthas (sacred bathing places) and a temple in it.

Mathura tour remains incomplete without exploring Vrindavan. Vrindavan is a satellite town of Mathura. There are several famous temples in Vrindavan. Some of the most visited temples in Vrindavan are Govind Dev Temple, Rangnath Temple, Gopinath Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, Seva Kunj Temple, Shahji Temple, Radha Mohan Temple & Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple.

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