Famous as the ‘Birthplace of Lord Krishna’, Mathura is an ancient city in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, its existence is mentioned in the revered Hindu epic, Ramayana, and was the capital of Kushan Empire. Considered as one of the sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindu devotees, this temple city houses a large number of Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. Culturally-rich and historically-significant this popular tourist destination attracts visitors from all over the world.
Here’s our much-researched list of top 10 interesting places to checkout in Mathura in order to experience its beauty and significance:
1. Dwarkadheesh Temple
Seth Gokuldas Parikh erected this Hindu shrine in the year 1814. This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and has the idols of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha in the innermost sanctum. Interestingly, Lord Krishna’s idol doesn’t bear his symbolic flute and peacock feather. In fact, he is portrayed in this statue as the ‘King of Dwarka’. This temple houses few statues of other Hindu deities, too. This magnificent structure boasts of beautiful carvings, colorful paintings, and other pleasant works of art. The followers belonging to the Vallabhacharya sect oversee the management of this sacred and famous shrine. Every year, at the onset of Monsoon, in the Hindu month of Saawan, devotees and tourists throng this place to attend its grand and popular Swing Festival.
2. Lord Krishna Birth Place
Popularly known as ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi Mandir’, this revered temple is believed as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. It contains a marble slab upon a raised platform inside a small room which marks the original site of his birth. This platform is decorated with lovely pictures of the infant Krishna. Also, the walls of this room have both, inscriptions and illustrations which convey the amazing story of his momentous birth. The Hindu festivals of Janmashtami and Holi are celebrated here with much opulence and fanfare, every year.
3. Gita Mandir
Also called as Birla Mandir, this popular temple is situated on the outskirts of the city. This one-of-its-kind picturesque temple draws thousands of visitors, all year round. A specially-designed tower named Gita Stambh is erected on its premises. The inner sanctum houses a lovely statue of its presiding deity, Lord Krishna. Amazingly, its walls are etched with written verses and pictorial interpretations of the Bhagvad Gita, one of the holy scriptures of Hindu community.
Located opposite to the Mathura post office, this place is one of the most-visited tourist spots in Mathura. You can hire a rickshaw, taxi-cab, and private vehicle to travel to this site.
5. Mathura Museum or Government Museum
Sir FS Growse built this museum in 1874 AD and originally it was named as Curzon Museum of Archaeology. It is the home to numerous archaeological relics and artworks dating back to ancient Indian dynasties, the Kushan and the Gupta. These artifacts include stone sculptures, coins, pottery, and paintings belonging to old Mathura School of Art. The Government of India has issued a few postal stamps featuring t it because of its fascinating almost-circular structure and treasure-trove of artifacts.
6. Vishram Ghat
According to Indian mythology, Lord Krishna took rest at this site after killing the evil king and his archenemy, Maharaja Kans. There are many Hindu shrines situated nearby, such as, Murli Manohar mandir, Mukut mandir, Neelkantheshwar mandir, Narasimha mandir, Langali Hanuman Mandir, and Yamuna-Krishna Mandir. Every morning and evening, the priests perform an Aarti, accompanied by religious chants, at this ghat. Meanwhile, many devotees lit small diyas or earthen lamps filled with oil and make these float on the water of River Yamuna. Due to this, the entire water-surface appears illuminated and this spectacular scene will surely leave you speechless!
7. Kans Qila
This ancient fort is one of the historical landmarks of the city of Mathura. It is named after Maharaja Kans, the evil maternal uncle and nemesis of Lord Krishna. One of the ‘Navaratans’ of Mughal ruler Akbar, Rajput king Mansingh built this unique fort in Indian and Mughal styles of architecture. Currently, this fort lies in ruins, due to lack of maintenance-work.
8. Kusum Sarovar
This is a famous tourist hotspot in Mathura and also considered a major religious site in India. This natural reservoir measures 450 feet in length and runs 60 feet in depth. An evening Aarti is also performed here by the local priest which is a major crowd-puller. Devotees, photographers, and sightseers frequently throng this site, all day long.
9. Govind Dev Temple
Constructed in 1590 AD, this is another magnificent structure built by Rajput King Man Singh in Mathura. Made of red sandstone, this temple originally had 7 floor-levels. Later, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished four floor-levels. However, its stunningly-beautiful edifice and remaining 3 levels stand erect to this date. Just like the Kans Quila, this religious shrine has elements of both, Hindu and Muslim architectural styles.
10. Jama Masjid
The Mughal governor Nabir Khan erected this popular Islamic shrine in 1661 AD. This mosque lies adjacent to the revered ‘Krishna Janmabhoomi Mandir’. It boasts of 4 tall and elegant minarets and also houses the tomb of the governor Nabir Khan. The entire structure is decorated with vividly-colored plaster mosaic and is quite a visual treat. Thousands of Muslim devotees visit this mosque to offer prayers, throughout the year.
We suggest you to visit another important religious place named Govardhan Parvat. This mountain area lies on the outskirts of the main city. As per Hindu legends, this hill was lifted by Lord Krishna to protect the villagers from the wrath of Lord Indra, the Hindu god of rain and thunder.