Govardhan Parikrama

Govardhan or Giriraj ji is the sanctified site and is identified as a natural form of a major Hindu deity Lord Krishna. It is located 20 Kms away from Mathura. During the festival of Govardhan puja, or Annakut in Giriraj Temple, people pay obeisance to Lord Krishna by circumambulating the hill.There are no fixed dates for the yatra, but devotees prefer to start the Parikrama (circumambulation) on Guru Purnima or Mudiya Poono (June-July). The number of devotees increases at the time of Ekadashi to Purnima of every month. During the Adhikmas (leap year of Hindi calendar) the number of devotees reaches lakh. Ekadashi to Purnima of Aashar month (4th month of the Hindi calendar) is considered the most auspicious occasion to perform Parikrama. The number of devotees during this time reaches almost a crore. There are three kinds of Parikrama - one is done barefoot, the second is doodh (milk) Parikrama where the devotees carry a pot of milk with a small hole in it and the third is...

Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple

The Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple complex is the main pilgrimage spot in Mathura and the focal point of Lord Krishna legend. A narrow street full of shops precedes the temple complex where visitors are subjected to security checks. Once inside, peace, calm and spirituality prevails.Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple is built around the prison cell in which Lord Krishna was born after his parents Mata Devaki & Vasudeva were imprisoned by his evil uncle Kansa. Inside the complex is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna adorned with ornaments, a well from where jail inmates were fed water and a shrine for yogmaya (Daughter of Nand Baba).The legend has it that the temple was first built on this site by Vajranabha, Krishna’s great grandson; and has been rebuilt several times over in the centuries that followed. The present temple houses paintings of scenes from Lord Krishna’s life and idols of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha.

Nidhivan

One of the most famous spots and intriguing draws of the town is Nidhivan, a small shrubby place. Legend has it that Lord Krishna performed the Rasleela (divine dance) here with Radha and his gopis over 5000 years ago. The stone path leads to the Samadhi of the mystic musician Swami Haridas whose devotion to Lord Krishna inspired the lord to materialise here. In the middle of the enclosure lies Lalita Kund, a pond named after a gopi who asked Lord Krishna for water after dancing. He then plucked the earth with his flute and water emerged for them. A small shrine called Rang Mahal is where Lord Krishna is said to have done Srinagar (make-up) for Radha. Every night the priests leave toiletries on a sandalwood bed here; the next morning these appear to have been moved. Another shrine shows Radha, flanked by Lalita and Vishakha who conspired to steal Lord Krishna’s flute, which took away his attention from them.

Sri Rangji Temple

This huge south Indian-style temple dates back to 1851, an expression of gratitude from a businessman for a much-awaited progeny to Lord Vishnu. The 30m-high gopuram, a large kund and a tall golden pillar in the main courtyard are its most striking features. Inside the temple is an idol of Lord Vishnu lying down on the Shesha Nag (divine serpent). The temple is known for a 10 day Rath (chariot) festival held in March-April.

Gokul

As per Hindu mythology, this pastoral village on the banks of Yamuna about 10 Kms from Mathura was where Lord Krishna grew up in secrecy. Every year Gokul witnesses the unprecedented celebration of Krishna Janmashtami and Nandotsav with huge fairs attended by devotees from all over the country. Other places of interest in Gokul are Dauji Temple, Raja Thakur Temple, Yogmaya Temple, Gopal Lalji Temple, Gokul Nath Temple, Morwala Temple, Thakurani Ghat and Nand Bhawan.RadhaKund/ShyamkundAs per legends the bull demon Artisa was killed by Lord Krishna, since killing a bull is believed to be a sin, Radharani and other gopis compelled Lord Krishna to take a dip in the holy rivers as an act of repentance. The lord struck the ground with his heel and all the holy rivers sprung up and filled the Kund (pond). The kund later became famous as Shyam Kund. Radharani and her friends dug out another kund with their bangles. It came to be known as Radhakund. The spot has ever since been a venue for...

Kansa Qila

On the banks of River Yamuna are the ruins of Kansa Qila, believed to be the cruel King Kansa's fort. The present structure, however, was built by Raja Man Singh in the 16th Century and later an observatory was added in the complex by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The architecture of the place shows a blend of Hindu-Muslim artistry. In earlier times, this fort was considered to be a barrier against floods as it is located on the northern bank of River Yamuna. The form is maintained by the State Archaeology Department.

Vishram Ghat

Located on the banks of River Yamuna, the Vishram Ghat is the most popular ghat in the city. Vishram mean to take rest. It is believed that after killing his evil uncle Kansa, Lord Krishna along with Lord Balram rested here. The evening aarti organised at this ghat, with diyas spread over the River Yamuna, combined with the chant of mantras is worth experiencing. The main shrine at this Ghat is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, dressed in great finery with a bejewelled crown on her head and garlands of fresh flowers. There are 25 more picturesque Ghats that are worth visiting.

Potra Kund

Adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhoomi, a large stepwell stands enclosed within a locked railing known as Potra Kund. The story goes that Devaki (Krishna’s mother) washed her children’s clothes (potra) in this kund (pond). It is fed by the Yamuna River, which flows 3 KM away, through a network of underground pipes.

Prem Mandir

Prem Mandir is made in Italian white marble. Its interiors show the favourite pastimes of Lord Krishna. The pathways through a garden, a restaurant, shops and fountains are part of the temple facility. The light and sound show in the evening makes this temple unique.

Dwarkadhish Temple

Built in 1815 by affluent treasurer of the province of Gwalior, Seth Gokuldas Parikh, Dwarkadhish Temple counts among the most revered temples in the country. Situated on the north side of the town, it is dedicated to Lord Krishna and attracts a huge crowd during festivals. This temple is adorned with beautiful colours, yellow pillars with floral designs prop up a large hall with a sanctum on a higher platform.

Nandgaon

The small town is believed to be the home of Shri Nandji, the foster father of Lord Krishna. Situated about 8 Kms on the northern side of Barsana, it has a temple of Nand Rai on the crest of a hill. This town is majorly visited for attractions like temples of Yashoda Nandan, Nritya Gopal, Nand Nandan, Udhav Kyaro and Gopinath. A little bit further is the lake named Pan Sarovar, where Shri Krishna’s cattle used to drink water. About 4 km from here is Kokilavan and the famous temple of Shanidev.