Mathura, a little town on the River Yamuna is synonymous with Lord Krishna who is believed have been born here. Alive with devotion to Lord Krishna - the evergreen hero of Hinduism, the lover of Radha and re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu - it has a peaceful and refreshing air about it. Mathura without Lord Krishna is like Bethlehem without Christ.
The city of Mathura is located at a distance of 145 km south-east of Delhi and 58 km north-west of Agra (India). The city has for long attracted Krishna devotees from across the world. Even the casual visitor finds the temples and monuments set in idyllic environs refreshing to core. Places of interest include:
Built by Nabir Khan in 1661 A.D., the Mosque has four lofty minarets, with brightly colored plaster mosaic of which a few panels currently exist.
This is the sacred spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after slaying the tyrant Kansa.
Built in 1814, it is the main temple of the town. The best time to visit the temple is during the festive days of Holi, Janmashtami and Diwali as it is grandly decorated.
Located at Dampier Park, this museum has the finest collection of rare items from the Gupta and Kushan period (400 BC to 1200AD).
The rare wetland grove and bird sanctuary, roughly five acres in size, is located a few miles across the Yamuna River. Local tradition has it that the lake, or 'sarovar', was formed from the tears of Sri Radha, while in an intensely emotional state of wounded love. She came here alone when she feared she had lost Krishna. In her memory a solitary image of her is worshipped in a small shrine beside the lake.
Govardhan Hill was about 16 miles (29 km) high 5,000 years ago. Govardhana is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and Punchari is its back and tail feathers. A peacock often curves its neck and puts his head under its stomach. Govardhana Hill is shaped in this pose of a peacock. It is believed that the hill is sinking by the height of a mustard seed daily as it was cursed by Pulastya Muni.
Kusuma Sarovara is a 25 minutes walk from Radha Kunda. Kusuma means "flower," and here the gopis would pick flowers for Krishna. Kusuma Sarovara is the best swimming spot in Mathura.
There are 25 holy tirthas (bathing places or ghatas) in Mathura. Visram Ghata is in the middle and there are 12 ghatas south of Visrama Ghata and 12 ghatas north. The 12 ghatas in the south extend to Moksa Ghata.
These holy tirthas are mostly located about 400m south of Visrama Ghata, almost right next to each other. Many of the ghatas are known now by different names. Asi Ghata, Prayaga Ghata, Chakra Tirtha Ghata, Krishna Ganga, Dhruva Ghata and Visrama Ghata are still known by the same names.