Attractions in Mathura
The main tourist attractions in Mathura are the temples
and the ghats on the Yamuna river. The tourist
attractions in Mathura are the Jami Masjid, Sati Burj,
Kans Qila, Dwarkadheesh Temple and Sri Krishna
The Yamuna river is a focal point for Hindu
pilgrims and a paved street runs the length of it.
There are a number of bathing ghats which leads to
the water's edge and punctuated by arched gateways
and temple spires that extend along the right bank
of the river. There are 25 ghats on the Yamuna
river and the Vishram ghat is one of the important ghats. The Vishram Ghat is the place where Krishna
rested after battle with Kans. The steps were
reconstructed in 1814. The aarti at this ghat is
splendid sight, for hundreds of little oil lamps float
out on the river at dusk as offering.
The Jami Masjid is situated in the centre of the town of
Mathura and was built by Abd-un-Nadi, the governor who
was killed. This has four minarets, which were once
covered with brightly coloured enamel tiles. The
courtyard is raised and above the façade are the ninety
nine names of Allah.
The Sati Burj is a 17 m. tall four storeyed square tower
of red sandstone with a plastered dome. It is said to
have been built in the late 16th century to commemorate
the death of the wife of Raja Bhar Mal of Amber, who
The Dwarkadheesh Temple is situated close to Vishram
Ghat and offers an introduction to the heart of Braj.
This temple was built in 1814 by the treasurer of
Gwalior state. Dwarkadheesh Temple is an architectural
jewel, but the barely three-feet-high black deity inside
is the show-stealer. The living deity with twinkling
eyes and naughty smiles charms visitors. Braj-ki-Holi,
the festival of colours is celebrated here in the month
of March, Jhulan Utsav in July, Janmashtami in August,
and Sharad Purnima in early winter. The Utsav is a
recurrent world in Braj lore, meaning to be close to
God. The festival is an opportunity to celebrate the
innate relationship that God Almighty has with the rest
of his creation, of love.
The Kans Quila (fort) was built by Raja Man Singh of
Amber and on the banks of the Yamuna river was rebuilt
by Akbar. But, now only the ruins remains of this fort.
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur also built an
observatory here at a later date.
Sri Krishna Janmasthan
The splendid temple of Katra Keshav Dev is built over
the little prison cell and is believed to be the
birthplace of Lord Krishna. A visit to Sri Krishna
Janmabhoomi brings one face to face with both facets of
Sanatan, ancient Indian theology Sagun and Nirgun.
Excursion from Mathura
Vrindavan is situated about 12 kms from Mathura, and it
is the place where Radha Rani rules. Some of the Krishna
temples in Braj often have Radhaji’s crown and jewellery
kept near Krishna to symbolize their inseparable
identity. Vrindavan is also closely linked to the Lord
Krishna's youth and the stories of his playful pranks.
It is an important place of pilgrimage like Mathura.
Today, it is temple town with ghats along the river and
numerous shrines. Kesi Gaht is the most popular ghat on
Yamuna river in Vrindavan. It has a grand old frontage.
The Yamuna arti is carried out here in the morning and
evening. The most important temples in Vrindavan are the
Govind Dev temple. This temple was built at an enormous
cost of one crore rupees by Raja man Singh of Jaipur in
1590 AD. This temple was under the care of Sri Rupa
Goswami, one of the 6 disciples that Chitanya Mahaprabhu
entrusted with the revival of Vrindavan. This temple is
built in the red sandstone in the shape of a Greek
cross, and was once a magnificent seven storeyed
structure. The other temples in Vrindavan are the
Rangaji Temple, the Madan mohan Temple, Banke Bihari
temple, Radha Vallabh Temple and Shahji Temple. The
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness)
has also built an ornamental temple at Vrindavan. The
Iskcon temple was built in 1975 by Sri Prabhupada, who
charmed the west towards Radha Krishna.
Mahaban is situated about 9 km of Mathura on the eastern
banks of the Yamuna river. Mahaban means a great forest.
There is no forest now, but in 1634 Shah Jahan is
recorded as having held a hunt here and killed four
tigers. The town was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni and in
1234 was a rendezvous point for the armies of Shams-ud-din
Altamish sent against Kalinjar. The temple of
Mathuranathji is worth visiting.
Gokul is situated on the banks of the Yamuna river and
approached by a long flight of steps (ghat) from the
river. Gokul means cow herd. Gokul is situated about 15
km away from Mathura and is associated with very early
Hindu legends and is where Vishnu first appeared as Lord
Krishna. It is the place where the young Krishna was
hidden after his birth and brought up in secrecy by his
parents Nand and Yashoda to protect him from Kansa. The
members of the Valabhacharya Sect made this place as the
headquarters and have built some large temples. The 16th
and 17th century temples built here house silver cradles
for baby Krishna. Thakurani ghat at Gokul is the seat of
Valabhacharya’s followers to this day.
Baldeo is situated about 8 km south east of Mathura, and
another place of pilgrimage. This place is associated
with Baladeva, Krishna’s elder brother. There is a
temple which is dedicated to the Baldeo and the
Khirsagar tank (Sea of Milk).
Barsana is known as the birthplace of the Sri Radha Rani,
Lord Krishna’s consort. The temples built on the
elevation of four hillocks are dedicated to the divine
couple. These are the only temples in India which Radha
is worshipped. The main temple is the Radha Rani temple
which is mainly known as the Ladliji Temple. It is a
splendid structure in red sandstone and was built by
Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo of Orchha in 1675. Barsana is also
known for the Lathmar holi.
Nandgaon was the home of the Lord Krishna's father Nand.
The spacious temple dedicated to Nand Rai was built by
the Jat ruler Roop singh on the hill. Nandgaon is famous
for its Lathmar Holi. Charkula dance is traditionally
associated with Braj ki holi. It rules the night with
lit diyas, small traditional lamps balanced on the
dancing damsels’ heads. They are accompanied by heady
Govardhan is greatly venerated as it is considered an
incarnation of Krishna himself. It is also famous as the
young Krishna lifted the Giriraj Hill or Govardhan
Parvat on the tip of the finger to protect the people
from an onslaught of rain sent down by the Lord Indra.