A long line of picturesque ghats – with their steps leading to the edge of the water, arched gateways and temple spiresa extending along the right bank of the River Yamuna, emphasizes the sacredness of Mathura. The birth place of Lord Krishna, Mathura is an important place of pilgrimage. The climate of Mathura is tropical. Summers are hot and winters are cold. It experiences rains from July to September.
An ancient city whose origins fade into history, Mathura’s strategic location at the junction point of various trade routes – ensured its position as a center of trade and a meeting point for varied cultures. By the 5th century BC, during the time of Buddha, it was a major metropolis and the capital of the Surasena kingdom – one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of the period. Mathura saw its `golden age’ during the rulae of the Kushanas and the able governance of rulers like Kanishka, Huvishka, and Vasishka, when the arts and commerce flourished. It remained a hub of power during the Mauryan period, through the enlightened rule of Emperor Ashoka to the Gupta era. Every year in Kartika (Oct/Nov) ISKCON conducts a Braja Mandala parikrama. This one-month walking tour goes to 12 forests in Vrindavan and visits most of major places in the Braja area including Mathura, Radha Kund, Varsana, Nandagrama, Gokula, Vrindavan, and Govardhana Hill. It is traditional to do this walk barefoot though shoes are allowed now.
Braj Culture in Mathura:-
Each of the ghats in Mathura has its own Krishna story. Lord Krishna was born in a prison cell in Mathura. His father Vasudev aided by Goddess Yogamaya brought him out of Mathura, across the raging river Yamuna into the house of Nanda in Gokula. Krishna spent his early childhood here and revealed His divinity. His uncle Kansa’s numerous attempts to search and kill Krishna led him to leave Gokula and move to Nandgaon, a much secure home high up on a hill. From the hills of Nandgaon, young Krishna the shepherd boy would wander into the Vrindavan forests to play with His friends and dally with Radha, His consort. Vrindavan, is an illusional world, a place of Krishna’s lila. Each tree in the area sways, as it were, of the love of the Divine Couple.The 1814 built Dvarkadhish Temple is a popular temple in the middle of Mathura town. This is the most visited temple in Mathura and is managed by followers of Vallabhacharya.
The City Of Temples Vrindavan, is a little town and a major place of pilgrimage on the banks of Yamuna. Attracting about 10,00,000 pilgrims every year, mainly during major festivals like Janmashtami, Holi and Radhashtami, it is noted for its numerous temples, around 500 in number. Vrindavan is synonymous with the childhood pastimes of Lord Krishna. Vrindavan is also the center for various Vaishava groups. In a centuries-old tradition many a Hindu widows live their rest of their lives in Vrindavan. They are expected to shed all physical adornments, including long hair, wear only white cotton saris and lead an austere lifestyle. In Vrindavan there are thousands of widows coming mostly from Bengal. They begin their day by bathing in the Yamuna and congregate at ashrams to sing bhajans (devotional songs). In return, they get a daily ration of rice and pulses and some cash. Subsisting on charitable donations made by wealthy traders, the widows pass their life in devotion to Krishna, the Supreme Lord.
The name ‘Vrindavan’ is derived from ‘Vrinda’, another name for the sacred tulsi plant. It is presumed that in its entirety Vrindavan was a forest of basil leaves. According to tradition, it was named after Vrinda Devi, one of Krishna’s consorts. The earliest known shrine in Vrindavan is said to have been built in a large garden called Nidhiban. One of Vrindavan’s most popular and famous temple is the Banke Bihari Temple, built in 1864.
Food One can find a whole range of hole-in-the-wall eating joints selling a variety of milk based products and freshly cooked street chaat to savour on the road side kiosks wooing you with their peppery snacks, famous sweets and other delicacies.The wide range of spicy chaats like kachoris and samosas, milk based products such as khurchan, mavaand milk peda and the curd based sweet coolant lassi served in kulhads (earthen cups) - basically all the best in Vrindavan.If you are not the one to be wooed by street food, then check out one of the many Vrindavan restaurants or dhabas.
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