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Hallowed by the aura of Shri Krishna


      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. Mathura, a quiet town on the River Yamuna was transformed into a place of faith after Lord Krishna was born here. Vrindavan, a village - once noted for its fragrant groves, is where he spent an eventful youth. There are numerous other little spots in the area that still reverberate with the enchantment of Lord Krishna.

      The city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of Brajbhoomi, is located at a distances of 145 km south- east of Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra. Covering an area of about 3,800 sq. km. today, 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.

The embodiment of love

      Revered as the most endearing of the Hindu gods, Shri Krishna is fondly remembered for his charm, his mischievous pranks and his extraordinary exploits. As the charioteer and preceptor to Arjun in the famous battle of Kurukshetra, he revealed to the world the supreme truths of life. 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.


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, emphasis the sacred character of the town of Mathura. The birth place of Lord Krishna, "the best known, best loved and most complex of Lord Vishnu's manifestations" - 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.

      Today, Mathura is a city of temples and shrines abustle 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 - the birthplace of the Lord, by his devotees. 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.

      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.

      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.

      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 the 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 - the 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 not to be missed, for the little oil lamps that are floated on the river set the placid water as sparkle with a myriad flickering lights.

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. There is the elegant shiv Tal, the more famous Potara Kund associated closely with Lord Krishna besides the Balbhadra and Saraswati kunds.

      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.

Place Of Interest

      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 mt. 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 with its four lofty minarets and bright mosaic, built in 1661 AD, is also a must see.

      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.

For more information contact

Director, Government Museum, Dampier Park, Mathura, Ph : (0565)2403191

Museum visiting hours

1st July to 30th April: 10.30 AM to 4.30 PM, 1st May to 30th June : 7.30 AM to 12.30 PM

Closed on Monday, and every second Sunday of every month and other Govt. gazetted holidays.

About The City

Area : 3,780 sq. km. (Mathura District)

Population (urban) : 4,55,251 (1991 census)

Altitude above sea level : 187 metres

Population : 4,74,746 (1991 Census)

Area : 2.25 sq. km.


Season Max Min
Summer 4500C 220C
Winter 320 C 140 C

Rainfall : 65 cms (June to September)

Clothing : Summer - Cottons

Winter - Light woollens

Languages : Hindi, Brajbhasha and English



Nearest airport is Kheria (Agra), 62 km


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.


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

Local Transport:

Private buses, Tempos, Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws and Tongas are also available.

Hotel Madhuvan, Krishna Nagar, Ph : (0565)2420064,2420058, Fax : 2420684

Best Western Radha Ashok, Masani By Pass Road, Chhatikara, Ph : (0565)2420064, Fax : 2420084.

Hotel Mansarovar Palace, State Bank Crossing, Ph : (0565)2408686, 2406525. Fax : (0565)2401611.

Agra Hotel, Bengali Ghat Ph : 2403318

Dwapar Resorts, 162 milestone, NH-2, Delhi-Agra Road, Ph : 2842103, 2842092

Hotel Megh Raj, Roshan Bazar, Tilak Dwar, Ph : (0565)2406162

Modern Hotel, Opp Old Bus Stand, Ph : (0565)2404747

Hotel Braj Vihar, Tilak Bazar, Ph : (0565)2404209

Hotel Raj Mahal, Agra Road, Holi Gate, Ph : (0565)2406598

Hotel Sanjay Palace, Arya Samaj Road, Holi Gate, Ph : (0565)2407867

Hotel Sanjay Palace, Arya Samaj Road, Holi Gate, Ph : (0565)2407867

Hotel Surya International, Near Bus Stand, Station Road, Ph : (0565)2409344

Mangalam Tourist Lodge, Dampier Nagar, Ph : (0565)2405965

Hotel Satyam, Masani Road, Near Janam Bhumi, Ph : (0565)2406767

International Guest House, Krishna Janam Bhumi, Ph : (0565)2405888

Rukmani Cottage, Dwarikadhish Temple, Ph : (0565)2404200

Orphic Resorts Country Inn, Kosi Kalan (Mathura) Ph : 05662-232945

UPSTDC, Hotel Kadamb, Civil Lines, Ph : (0565)2407822

Krishna Lodge, Station Road

     Mathura, the land of cows, is famed for its milk based sweetmeats. A variety of mouth watering savouries are also well known specialties of the town.

Fairs & Feast

     The little town comes alive with colourful festivals throughout the year. The Rang Gulal Mahotsav, held annually, celebrates Holi in an exuberant fashion. During the festival of colour which heralds the onset of spring. Several classical and folk artistes render enthralling performances.

Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna is celebrated with great pomp and splendour throughout Braj. The Raaslila is enacted recreating the many legends of Shri Krishna's life - his exploits and his amorous dalliances with the gopies. Ceremonies in the temples at midnight include the bathing of the image of infant Krishna which is then placed in a silver cradle. Songs of devotion are sung and toys offered for the amusement of the divine child. Thousands gather to offer their prayers and Mathura is astir with their devotion and celebrations.

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)

Date of Holi Celebrations at Braj Bhoomi : 1997 – 2000

06.3.1998 Friday Barsana
07.3.1998 Saturday Nandgaon
08.3.1998 Sunday Janam Bhoomi
12.3.1998 Thursday Bathain & Falan
15.3.1998 Sunday Dauji ka Huranga & Mukhrai ka Charkula
24.2.1999 Wednesday Barsana
25.2.1999 Thursday Nandgaon
26.2.1999 Friday Janam Bhoomi
01.3.1999 Monday Bathain & Falan
04.3.1999 Thursday Dauji ka Huranga & Mukhrai ka Charkula
14.3.2000 Tuesday Barsana
15.3.2000 Wednesday Nandgaon
16.3.2000 Thursday Janam Bhoomi
19.3.2000 Sunday Bathain & Falan
22.3.2000 Wednesday Dauji ka Huranga & Mukhrai ka Charkula

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.


     The most celebrated of Shri Krishna's abode, Gokul lies to the west of Sadabad, 1.6 km from Mahavan and 15 km south-east of Mathura, on the Mathura - Etah metalled road. It was here that Lord Krishna was brought up in secrecy by Yashoda, in the pastoral beauty of this village on the banks of the Yamuna.

     Gokul attained importance during the time of Vallabhacharya (1479-1531) when it became a major centre of the Bhakti cult. The three oldest temples in the place are those dedicated to Gokulnath, Madan Mohan and Vitthalnath, said to have been built around 1511. The other temples include those of Dwarika Nath and Balkrishna in the shrines which were built in the honour of Lord Mahadeo in 1602 by Raja Vijai Singh of Jodhpur.

     The celebration of Janmashtami in August is unparalleled for its gaiety and melas are constant attraction here. Other festivities celebrated with traditional fervour include the Janmotsav in Bhadon, the Annakut festival and Trinavat Mela held on the fourth day of the dark half of Kartik month.

     Important sites worth visiting in Gokul include the Gokulnath Temple, Raja Thakur Temple, Gopal Lalji Temple and the Morwala Temple.


     Around 18 km from Mathura, lying on the left bank of the River Yamuna, is the large shrine of Mathuranath. It is famed for its Chaurasi Khambha (eighty four pillars). The palace of Rohini, the mother of Baldeo is now the Chhathi-Palana Temple. Other important shrines include, the Shymlalji Temple, the Yogmaya Temple, Tranairatri Temple and the Mahamall Rai Ji's palace.


     Baldeo is 20 km south-east of Mathura and 8.5 km south - east of Mahavan on the road to Sadabad. It derives its name from the famous temple dedicated to Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. It was built by Shyam Das of Delhi 200 years ago. The main image in the sanctum is that the Baldeo or Balram with his spouse Revati. Near by is the brick lined tank, the Khir Sagar or Balbhadra Kund, from where the original image housed in the temple was found.


     Govardhan is situated 26 km west of Mathura on the state highway to Deeg. A famous place of Hindu pilgrimage, Govardhan is located on a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj which is about 8 km in length. The young Lord Krishna is said to have held Giriraj up on the tip of a finger for 7 days and nights to shield the people of Braj from the deluge of rain sent down by Lord Indra.

     Govardhan is set along the edge of a large masonry tank known as the Mansi Ganga, which is believed to have been brought into existence by the operation of the divine will. Its enclosures were built by Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer in 1637 and embellished by Raja Man Singh, who built a long flight of steps leading up, from the end of the tank. Close by is the famous red sandstone temple of Haridev and the Kusum Sarovar with exquisitely carved chhatris - the cenotaphs of the members of the royal family of Bharatpur, who perished whilst fighting against the British in 1825. Towards the south is the beautiful chhatri of Raja Surajmal of Bharatpur. Fine frescoes - illuminating the life of Surajmal, vividly depict darbar and hunting scenes, royal processions and wars.


     Barsana, 50 km to the north-west of Mathura and 19 km north-west of Govardhan, is situated at the foot of a hill that is named after Brahma. Barsana was once the home of Radha-Rani, Krishna's beloved and consort.

     Temples dedicated to the divine couple ornament the four elevations of the hill. The main among them is the Radha-Rani Temple, more fondly referred to as the Ladliji Temple. The most beautiful temple at Barsana, it was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo of Orchha in 1675. The new marble temple adjoining it is a later addition. The other three shrines are the Man Mandir, Dargah and Mor-Kutir temples. The area between the hill housing the Radha-Rani Temple and the adjoining one, is known as the Sankari-Khor. This is the venue of the annual fair held in the month of Bhadon (July-August).

     The birth anniversary of Radha-Rani is celebrated on the ninth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad (July-August) at the Mor-Kutir Temple which was built about 300 years ago. Women celebrate the occasion by giving laddus to the peacocks - to symbolize the serving of sweets by Radha to Lord Krishna.

     Some of the ancient tanks also survive which can be seen, the Prem Sarovar, Roop Sagar, Jal Mahal and the Bhanokhar Tank.

     Barsana is also famous for its 'Latthmar' Holi-celebration of the festival of colour that is unique to this town.


     Nadgaon lies 8.5 km north of Barsana on the metalled road to Mathura (56 km). According to tradition, it was the home of Shri Krishna's foster father, Nand. On the top of the hill is the spacious temple of Nand Rai, built by the Jat ruler Roop Singh. The other temples here are dedicated to Narsingha, Gophinath, Nritya Gopal, Girdhari, Nand Nandan and Yashoda Nandan which is located half way up the hill. A little beyond is the Pan Sarovar, a large lake with masonry ghats along its sides. Legend has it, that this was the place where Shri Krishna used to take his cows for water. Not far away is the Kadamb grove called Udhoji - Ka- Kyar.


     Just 5 km north of Govardhan and 26 km west of Mathura, Radhakund is a large lake, where Shri Krishna is said to have killed Arista - the bull demon. To commemorate this event, every year on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), a large fair is held here.


     Vrindavan, just 15 km from Mathura, is another major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples - both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. This is the wood where he frolicked with the gopis and tenderly wooed Radha.

     Vrindavan today, is noted for its numerous temples.

The most important are :

     The Madan Mohan Temple located near the Kali Ghat which was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. This is the oldest existent temple in Vrindavan today. The temple is closely associated with the saint Chaitanya. The original idol of Lord Madan Gopal was shifted from the shrine to Karauli in Rajasthan for safe keeping, during Aurangzeb's rule. Today, replica of the image is worshipped at the temple.

     The Banke Bihari Temple built in 1864 is the most popular shrine at Vrindavan. The image of Banke Bihari was discovered in Nidhi Vana by Swami Haridas Ji, the great Krishna devotee, belonging to the Nimbarka sect.

     The famous Radha Vallab Temple set up by the Radha-Vallab sect, has the crown of Radha-Rani placed next to the Shri Krishna idol in the sanctum.

     The Jaipur Temple which was built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917, is a richly embellished and opulent temple. The fine hand - carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship. The temple is dedicated to Shri Radha-Madhav.

     The Shahji Temple, another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller, Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow. The deities at the temple are popularly known as the Chhote Radha Raman.

     Noted for its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculpture, the temple has twelve spiral columns each 15 feet high. The 'Basanti Kamra' - the darbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and fine paintings.

     The Rangaji Temple, built in 1851, is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji depicted as Lord Vishnu in his Sheshashayi pose, resting on the coils of the sacred Shesha-nag. The temple built in the Dravidian style has a tall gopuram (gateway) of six storeys and a gold plated Dhwaja Stambha, 50 feet high. A water tank and a picturesque garden lie within the temple enclosure. The annual festival of Jal Vihar of the presiding deity is performed with great pomp and splendour at the tank. The temple is also famous for its 'Brahmotsav' celebration in March-April, more popularly known as the 'Rath ka Mela'. The ten day long celebrations are marked by the pulling of the rath (the chariot car) by the devotees from the temple to the adjoining gardens.

     The Govind Deo Temple was once a magnificent seven storeyed structure built in the form of a Greek cross. It is said that the Emperor Akbar donated some of the red sandstone that had been brought for the Red Fort at Agra, for the construction of this temple. Built at the astronomical cost of one Crore rupees in 1590 by his general Man Singh, the temple combines western, Hindu and Muslim architectural elements in its structure.

     The Shri Krishna-Balram Temple built by the International Society for Shri Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is one the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan today. The principal deities of this temple are Shri Krishna - Balram and Shri Radha - Shyam Sundar. Adjoining the temple is the samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON sect, built in pure white marble.

     Other places of interest include the Sriji Temple, Jugal Kishore Temple, Kesi Ghat, Lal Babu Temple, Raj Ghat, Meera Bai Temple, Imli Tal, Kaliya Ghat, Raman Reti, Varah Ghat and Chir Ghat.

     The Seva Kunj is where Lord Krishna once performed the Raaslila with Radha Rani and the Gopis and Nidhi Van where the divine couple rested. The samadhi of Swami Haridasji is situated here.

Lyrical expressions of Braj culture


     This is the colourful art of decorating the ground with flowers. The story goes that Shri Krishna in order to please Radha, decorated the floor with flowers one evening and thereafter this art was known as Sanjhee.

Raaslila :

     According to the Bhagwat Purana, Shri Krishna along with the gopis had danced the Raas on the banks of the Yamuna at Vrindavan. When the gopis felt conceited about Lord Krishna dancing with them, he disappeared from their midst. In the agony of separation from the beloved Krishna, the gopis recalled and enacted his lilas (divine episodes of his life) which in course of time came to be known as the Raaslila. The Raaslila in its present form is ascribed to Swami Haridas and Shri Narayan Bhatt. Only young Brahmin boys of 13 to 14 years of age can perform the Raaslila. The charming childhood pranks of Shri Krishna constitute the main theme of these dramas.


      This is a traditional folk dance of Braj, where a female dancer balances a column of lighted lamps over her head while dancing. The charkula, a tapered wooden column with four to five circular tiers has earthen lamps on each level. The number of lamps can range from 51 to 108 at times. The dancer with her face veiled, moves with swift, graceful movements while balancing the 40 to 50 kilogram charkula on her head. A dramatic dance that is visually attractive, it is performed on the Dooj of Holi, to the accompaniment of Rasiya songs rendered by the menfolk.


      This is the rich tradition of folk-songs that is found in the Braj area. Rasiya songs describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Shri Krishna. It is an inseparable part of the Holi celebrations and all other festive occasions at Braj. The Rasiya is sung to the rhythm of huge drums, locally known as bumb.



      Once the capital of the Mughals and the city of the Taj Mahal, Agra is just 50 km from Matura. The Taj Mahal, a symphony in white marble, a tribute to eternal love, was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Other splendid examples of Mughal architecture in Agra include the Agra Fort with its exquisite Pearl Mosque, palaces and darbar halls; the imposing mausoleum of Emperor Akbar at Sikandra, built in an amalgam of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles and Itmad-ud-Daula's tomb, embellished with coloured stone inlay and filigree marble screens.

Fatehpur Sikri

      (60 km from Mathura) The wonderful city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Emperor Akbar. The marvellously preserved fort, palaces and the tomb of Salim Chishti with its delicate lacy marble screens are worth seeing.

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Tourist Attraction
Tourist Attraction
Dudhwa National Park
Fatehpur Sikri

Couryard Of Shriji Temple, Barsana

Dauji Temple, Baldeoji

Statues Of Krishna, Balaram, Subhadra at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan.

Kusum Sarover Goyardhan

The ISCKON Temple

Couryard Of Shriji Temple, Barsana

Dauji Temple, Baldeoji

Statues Of Krishna, Balaram, Subhadra at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan.

Kusum Sarover Goyardhan

The ISCKON Temple

Couryard Of Shriji Temple, Barsana

Dauji Temple, Baldeoji

Statues Of Krishna, Balaram, Subhadra at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan.

Kusum Sarover Goyardhan

The ISCKON Temple

Couryard Of Shriji Temple, Barsana

Dauji Temple, Baldeoji

Statues Of Krishna, Balaram, Subhadra at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan.

Kusum Sarover Goyardhan

The ISCKON Temple

Couryard Of Shriji Temple, Barsana

Dauji Temple, Baldeoji

Statues Of Krishna, Balaram, Subhadra at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan.

Kusum Sarover Goyardhan

Religious Places