Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi - Mathura


Mathura is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 50 km north of Agra, and 145 km south of Delhi; about 11 kilometers from the town of Vrindavan and 18 kilometers from Govardhan It is the administrative centre of Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh. During the ancient period, Mathura was an economic hub, located at the junction of important caravan routes. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna janma-bhoomi, literary 'Lord Krishna's birth place'. The Keshav Dev temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's legendary birthplace (an underground prison). As per the epics Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana, Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kamsa the maternal uncle of Krishna. Mathura is also famous as one of the first two centres of production for images of the Buddha, the other being Gandhara in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Human images of the Buddha began to appear at approximately the same time in both centres in the 1st Century AD but can be distinguished from one another as the Gandharan images are very clearly Graeco-Roman in inspiration with the Buddha wearing wavy locks tucked up into a chignon and heavier toga-like robes. The Buddha figurines produced in Mathura more closely resemble some of the older Indian male fertility gods and have shorter, curlier hair and lighter, more translucent robes. Mathura is full of stories of Krishna, his birth and the part of his life he spent there with radha Rani. There was a king named Ugrasena ruled over Mathura. Once Ugrasena and his wife were taking a walk in the gardens when a demon saw the queen and fell in love with her. In his lust for her he diverted Ugrasena, assumed his form and the child born of this union was Kansa. Kansa grew up to dethrone his father and imprison his cousin, Devaki. While driving Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in his chariot, Kansa heard a voice in the sky telling him that he way carrying a woman whose eighth child would kill him. Kansa immediately prepared to till Devaki. But Vasudeva intervened and begged for her life with the promise that they would hand over all their children to him soon after their birth. So Kansa imprisoned them and killed seven children. The land of Braj starts from Kotban near Hodel about 95 km from Delhi and ends at Runakuta which is known specially for its association with the poet Surdas, an ardent Krishna devotee 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, emphasise 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 Before the advent of Buddha the territory that Mathura is located in was called Surasena. In Buddhist literature Mathura is called Madhura. It was also known as Mathera. Mathura was a prosperous city and the capital of a large territory. A Buddhist center was established in Mathura during the reign of the Mauryas dynasty. This center existed for a few centuries. Emperor Ashoka made many Buddha stupas in Mathura on the bank of the Yamuna. Emperor Kaniska in the first century BC and his successors constructed many Buddhist stupas and chaityas. At this time Mathura was the largest city in North India and was the capital city for the area for administration. During these times the present town of Vrindavana was just dense forests without any people living there. In the beginning of the 5th century AD the Chinese traveler Fahien saw twenty viharas (Buddhist monasteries) and three thousand Buddhist priests living in Mathura. By the middle of the 6th century AD Buddhism started to decline in the Mathura area. Many Buddhist relics have been found in the Mathura area. Many of which are found in the museums in Mathura, Calcutta and Lucknow. There is not much known about the period between 700 AD and 1018. Mahmud Ghazni invaded Mathura in 1018. He stole all the riches of the Deities, their jewels, diamonds, gold and silver. He then destroyed the temples. It took his men 20 days to plunder the city. He took 5,000 prisoners and took over 30 million rupees. He took so many statues of gold and silver and jewelry that it took over 100 camels to carry everything that he took. Tarikhi Jamina wrote a record of Mahmud Ghazni in which he described Mathura at the time that it was attacked. He wrote "If any emperors would ever dream of building temples and palaces like the one in Mathura he would have to spent thousands of golden drachmas. It is doubtful that the best sculptors and artists could build a city like this if they worked uninterruptedly for two hundred years." According to some historian, in the temples in Mathura at this time, there were five Deities made of pure gold, each 5m (15 ft) high and the eyes of the Deities were made of diamonds, each worth not less than 5,000 golden drachmas.

MATHURA, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA

How To Reach - Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi - Mathura By Road : Mathura is well connected to all the major cities in Uttar Pradesh and India through a network of State and National Highways. Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation plies several buses to adjoining cities such as Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Delhi and Jaipur. Luxury coaches are also available that are very comfortable to travel in.

How To Reach - Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi - Mathura By Train : Access to Mathura is made easier by rail transport as the tourists can travel from the nearby towns of Mathura and also from the important cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gwalior, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Chennai. Mathura is located on the main lines of Central and also the Western Railways. The services of express as well as super fast trains are available on a routine basis thus making travel to Mathura by rail transport very easy.

How To Reach - Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi - Mathura By Air : For the tourists who want to reach Mathura by air, the nearest airport would be at Kheria in Agra located at a distance of 60 km from Mathura. The major public and private carriers operate to and from Mathura and link the important cities of India such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 15, 2010

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