Every site is marked by Lord Krishna's feet. One aspect of Lord Krishna's enigmatic persona and manifestation which distinguishes HIM from all other deities is HIS leela.This divine play which makes HIM only divine .Delighting in play He endears Himself and brings joy to all His devotees.
The city is extremely ancient; existing since Vedic times. According to the 'Varah Purana' Shri Vajranabhji, great-grandson of Lord Krishna got the birthplace of the Lord built. Initially Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded Mathura, demolishing several sites. Gradually peace was restored and King Vijayendra of Kanauj rebuilt the Lord Vasudev temple in the year 1207. Once again it was ravaged by Sikander Lodhi in 1573. French and Italian travelers acclaimed its beauty and fine art of painting in 1669. Aurangzeb had it scrapped in1669 and erected a mosque instead. Raja Patnimal of Banaras bought Keshav Dev, eager to restore it. Finally Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji, editor of 'Kalyan', motivated many devotees who pitched in with financial aid for building a magnificently huge temple.
The Puranas (a class of voluminous work in Sanskrit dealing with aspects of ancient Indian history, legend and mythology) equate Mathura to a pool of lotuses. Shri Keshavdevji resides in its centre, Hardevji on its west, Govind Devji to its north (Vrindavan), Lord Vishranti in the east and Varah Dev to its south.
Bathing at important pilgrimage sites in this town expiates all our sins as we attain the blessings of Ashwamegh Yagya ( a Vedic horse-sacrifice performed chiefly by kings: often in assertion of a king's dominion over his territory) at every step.
The word Mathura can be likened to Omkar with the syllable Ma standing for Maha Rudra, thu for Lord Vishnu and ra for Lord Brahma.
Along with Lord Krishna his entire parikar or attendants were born in Braj, resulting in several sites being constructed in their memory. We strive to give you a summarized version of the main pilgrimage centres below:--
Lord Krishna's Birthplace:
The main purpose of the Lord's incarnation, lucidly explained in the 'Bhagwad Gita'.is for the salvation of saints, destruction of evil and installation of righteousness. Towards the end of the Dwapar Era, on Krishan Ashtami in the Hindu month of Bhadra, Mathura had the great fortune of witnessing Lord Krishna's birth. Atrocities were on the rise, religion had become a mere farce and all deities were in great pain. King Kansa had imprisoned Vasudev and Devkiji, terrified as he was of his own death, having killed six of their earlier children. The seventh child was to be the Lord Himself. The nakshatra was Rohini, the planets were at peace with the stars twinkling. Precisely at that moment the Lord Vishnuji was born resplendent with a conch, discus, club and a lotus. Vasudev and Devkiji made obeisance to HIM . Vasudevji instantly shifted HIM to Nandraiji's house to hide the truth from Kansa. Simultaneously Yashodaji gave birth to Yogmaya. Miraculously the prison guards fell asleep, Vasudev and Devkiji were unshackled and the doors opened on their own. The clouds drizzled, Lord Sheshnaag protected the infant with His hood and torrential Yamunaji or Krishna's beloved Kalindi embraced His feet, calming her heart's desire. Soon enough she gave way to enter Gokul. Everyone was deep asleep. The infants were swapped with Krishna safely cradled on Yashodaji's bed and baby Yogmaya being taken to Devkiji's arms. Since ages Lord Krishna's birth is celebrated in Gokul with much fanfare.
Shri Keshav Devji:
We find respite from sufferings on earth and the next world. Bathing here leads one to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Sikander Lodhi's anti-Hindu views had impaired Hindu worship. Acharya Keshav Bhatt Kashmiri and Shri Vallabhacharyaji with their devotion and self confidence got rid of the obstacles hounding Vishram Ghat.
Shri Vallabhacharyaji's Baithak:
When Vallabhacharyaji visited this site it was like a cremation ground of Hindus. No religious rites could be performed and barbers were ordered not to shave beards. Appalled at the situation he strongly requested Sikander Lodhi to revoke his stand. Impressed by his courage, the emperor complied making Vallabhacharyaji famous overnight. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Braj and stayed over at Vishram Ghat.
On visiting this spot one attains the blessings of bathing at all the pilgrimages. The Shri Ramanuja Sect is located here.
Considered to guard the western direction, Lord Shiva came to Braj and resided in Mathura as Bhuteshwar Mahadev.
Embellished with beautiful stairs and shaded by dense foliage, the child play and pranks of Lord Krishna are woven around this site.
Adorned with infinite virtues, praised by Lord Shiva, Brahma and other deities, fulfilling the desires of Dhruv and Parashar, with the pristine town of Mathura situated on its banks and inhabited by cowherds of Braj is Shri Yamunaji. Dissolving people's sins it offers the loving worship of Lord Krishna. On one hand it is manifest as a river and on the other it resides as Kalindi, the beloved of Lord Krishna. Helping us tide over the toughest of worldly attachments, fears and difficulties the sacred river is highly revered by all.
Lord Krishna enlightened Yudhistarji about the importance of this day. Shri Yamunaji invited her brother Yamraj to a feast. Contented with the lavish spread, he gave a boon for mankind's well-being, thus fulfilling her wish. Till date when a brother and his sister bathe at Vishranth on the day of Yam Dvitya they get rid of Yamraj's fear.
Undoubtedly bathing at this site leads one to mukti or salvation.
Freed from all bonds in this world, one who bathes here is revered in Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu.
Bali, son of Virochan, prayed to the Sun God at this spot. Bathing here on sankranti (entry of the sun or planet into a new sign of the zodiac) and on solar and lunar eclipse one attains the blessings of the Rajsuya Yagya or sacrifice.
Young Dhruv, motivated by mother Suniti, came to Mathura for spiritual bliss. His austere penance moved the entire universe and Lord Narayana appeared to fulfill his heart's desire. Shri Hari Vyasdevji, a great saint and disciple of Shri Bhathji lived here. The pilgrimage sites of Rishi, Moksha, Koti, Bodhi, Asikund and Nav are close by.
A belief endorses that Lord Krishna bathed in the Yamuna at this spot after killing Kansa. A dip here certainly transports one to the Lord's abode.
Dharapatan and Ghanta Bharnak Pilgrimages:
Somteerth (Gau Ghat) Vaikunth Ghat and KrishanGanga Ghat:
Maharishi Vyasji did austere penance at Krishan Ganga. Bathing here, one achieves ten-fold more blessings than a dip in Naimi Sharanya, Prayag and Pushkar.
A dip at Som Pilgrimage showers one with infinite happiness.
A bath in Vaikunth Pilgrimage frees all bonds and leads one to Vishnu Lok.
After fasting for three nights when one bathes here, he is pardoned for killing a Brahman.
Saraswati Patan is nearby where there is a confluence of rivers Saraswati and Yamuna.
Dash Ashwamegha Pilgrimage:
It is believed that Naag kings performed several Ashvamegha sacrifices here. Ascetics have been worshipping this site since ancient times.
After visiting the shrines of Lords Varaha, Narayana, Vaman and Mangalmay Langli when one bathes here, it is overly believed that he circumambulates the earth four times coupled with blessings of all pilgrimages.
A great attraction for distant travellers, the site is tended with great fondness. Located in the market-place of Asi Kunda, it is renowned as Sethji's or Raja Dheeraj's Temple. Shri Gokul Das of Gwalior inaugurated it in1871, presenting it to the Goswamis. Swings of the Shravan Month and its dense clouds are particularly inviting.
Ruins of Kansa Fort are located on the banks of the Yamuna. Idols found here reveal that it was once the residential station of Kansa.
Shri Amba Reesh Teela or Hillock:
Built in the memory of Amba Reesh's unique devotion, it exhibits the righteous path to us.
Shri Ganesha Ghat:
A resplendent SWAROOP of Lord Ganesha adorns the site. When Baji Rao Peshwa freed Mathura from the rule of the Mughals he performed religious ablutions to omnipresent Ganeshji. Soon enough he handed over this task to the fore-fathers of Pandit Dinanath and Kalicharanji, present day priests. Several miracles woven around this idol have taken place from time to time.
Musclemen of Kansa used to live in this settlement, located between Potra Kund and Keshavdevji.
The Ashram of Durvasa Muni:
This ancient site is situated across the Yamuna opposite Vishram Ghat.
Shri Dauji Madan Mohanji:
Close to Ram Ghat, on the banks of the Yamuna are temples of the religious Vallabha Sect.
Kansa got the Rang Bhoomi constructed for displaying it to Lord Krishna and Balramji.
Invited by King Kansa, Lord Krishna along with Balrmaji and Braj denizens came to Mathura, entering the Rang Shala for the bow sacrifice. Conspiring towards the Lord, Kansa had got the arena constructed. Instantly Krishna lifted the rainbow like bow with His left hand and broke it effortlessly. Diplomatically , Lord Krishna instigated Chanoor and Mushtik for a duel. The Braj folks were overawed as Shri Krishna-Balram killed them along with Koot, Shal and Toshal. Infuriated now, Kansa ordered for the imprisonment of the brothers and cow herds. Soon enough Lord Krishna caught hold of Kansa very much like a vulture strangles a snake and killed him. Since Kansa was petrified, his continual obsession with Lord Krishna led him to salvation. Though now in ruins, the Rang Shala, a historical site, speaks volumes about Lord Krishna and Balramji's valour.
Shri Rangeshwar Mahadev:
Sapt Samudri Koop:
In ancient times traders returning from abroad donated gold at this spot. Newly wed brides of Mathura gather around an old well located here for prayers on Naag Panchami (a Hindu festival falling on the fifth day of the light half of the month Savan when women worship snakes to obtain blessings on their children.)
Mahura Township Shaped like a Lotus:
The Varah Purana describes Mathura as a lotus with Keshav Devji as its central stalk, Govind Devji to its north, Hardevji seated on its western petal, Vishranti in its eastern and Shri Varah Dev in its southern .
New pilgrimage sites:
Shri Dwarka Deeshji, Shri Govind Devji's temple, Goverdhan Nathji, Shri Bihariji, Madan Mohanji, Shri Radhe Shyamji, Shri Mathura Nathji, Shri Radha Krishanji, Shri Dauji, Shri Ramji,Swami Keelji's Cave, Tulsi's Platform and Shari Nathji's Baithak all fall under this segment.
Lord Vishnu killed demons Madhu and Kaitabh at this location. Young Dhruv did austere penance at the Madhu Van. Shatrughanji put an end to Lavana, the son of demon Madhu. Adorable Lord Krishna, a well-wisher of HIS devotees, grazed cattle in this forest. Shri Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji also visited this site.
Tal Van (Taarsi Village):
This is the sacred forest where Lord Krishna and Balramji killed the demon Dhenukasur for the welfare of Yadhus. Once while grazing cattle the cowherds were famished and eagerly desirous to savour the ripe fruits of its trees. Scared of the demon they dared not but soon enough Balramji put an end to the fiend much to the delight of HIS sakhas.
Kumud Van is a forest Lord Krishna frequented for amusement. The Lord and Balramji grazed cattle at this venue and all the cowherds scrambled for their midday meal, ecstatic to eat the Lord's leftovers. Often playing the flute, the breath of love in this forest, Lord Krishna attracted cowherdesses with His melodies.
An incident narrates how Nand Raiji along with other cowherds went to this forest and was almost strangled by a python residing there. Lord Krishna with the touch of His toe nail freed Nand Raiji, soon enough transforming the snake to a radiant handsome man who recounted the tale of how He had been born as a python. Shri Ambica Devi and Gaukaran Mahadevji reside at this site.
Datiya is about six miles from Mathura.
Satoha (Shantanu Kund):
King Shantanu prayed to the Sun God for a son and had His wish fulfilled. Several Braj denizens come here asking for a son in the month of Bhadra (the sixth month of the Indian lunar calendar).
Baati Village (Bahulavan):
Lord Krishna's wife, Bahula, is said to permanently reside in the Baati Village. By feasting and bathing in Padamvan located here, one is invariable rewarded because Lord Vishnu along with His wife Laxmiji lives here. The story of Bahula, the cow, spared by a lion impressed by her true promise of returning after having fed Her calf, has been immortalized in a temple.
Situated in Agnikone about two miles from Arheeg village, it is the place of Madhuri, a
close friend of Shri Radhaji.