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.

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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.

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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.

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Government Museum

The edifice can be easily identified in its octagonal shape reinforced in red sandstone. The repository, established by Mr. F.S. Growse in 1874 preserves and exhibits Kushana sculptures, coins made of gold, silver and copper, paintings, terracotta products and many more. 

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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.

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Yama-Yamuna Temple

The temple has bright new murals and ancient idols dedicated to the mythological siblings Yama and Yamuna – the God of death and the Goddess of River. The temple draws great crowd in November on Bhai Dooj, the festival of brothers and sisters, as it is believed that Yamuna grants liberation to any pair of siblings who seek blessings on this day. 

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Gita Mandir

This temple also falls on the Mathura Vrindavan road. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is an amalgam of marble and stone, with a mighty pillar in the garden. The tall sthamb has shlokas from the epic Bhagwatgita inscribed on it.

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Gayatri Tapobhoomi

In 1950, Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya (Gurudev) is said to have gathered holy soil from 2400 pilgrimage sites to establish this temple, on the right side of the Mathura-Vrindavan Road.

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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.

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ISKCON Temple

Built in 1975, Sri Krishna-Balram Mandir is one of the many temples in the world made by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The glowing white marble temple is known for the shrine of brothers Lord Krishna and Lord Balram. On the right side are Radha and Krishna with gopis Lalita and Vishakha. The temple also houses the tomb of Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the founder of Hare Krishna organisation. Hundreds of foreigners attend courses and seminars here annually.

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Pagal Baba Temple

Built in white marble, the temple stands beautifully at the entrance of Vrindavan. The word ‘pagal’ here signifies the intense devotion of the temple’s founder to Lord Krishna. Each tier of the seven-storeyed structure is dedicated to a different avatar of Lord Krishna. The top floor of the temple gives a bird’s eye-view of Mathura and Vrindavan. On the ground floor is the famous animated puppet show, where scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana are enacted.

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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.

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Govind Dev Temple

Constructed by Raja Man Singh in 1590, this is a slice of Jaipur in Vrindavan. It is said that Akbar, the Mughal King, donated the red sandstone for this temple. It took many labourers and five years to complete it, but almost 80 years later Aurangzeb brought down five storeys, leaving only two, along with several desecrated sculptures. The legend goes that Aurangzeb lost his sight for 40 days during this period until Lord Krishna appeared in his dream and told him that he has no right to force his own faith on anyone. Aurangzeb repented and his sight was returned.

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Cheer Ghat

Walk through narrow alleys surrounding old temples to reach the edge of the Yamuna River where the famous Cheer Ghat stands. Lord Krishna was known for his mischievous pranks on the gopis of Vrindavan. He would often climb atop a Kadamba Tree while gopis were taking bath, teasing them to come out of the water. Such a tree still stands in Cheer Ghat, saris swaying on its branches as a nod to the legend.

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Banke Bihari Temple

The temple is named after Banke Bihari, where Lord Krishna assumes the tribhanga pose. Lord Krishna here is worshipped as a child, and the temple bells are never rung for fear that it may wake up the sleeping child God. The temple is reached via winding narrow streets. Shops selling lassi, butter and religious paraphernalia flank the route. The idol housed in the sanctum of the temple remains covered by a curtain that the priest opens and close every few minutes throughout the day, so one does not lose consciousness gazing at the brilliant eyes of Banke Bihari.

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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.

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Madan Mohan Temple

This is the oldest temple in Vrindavan, built in 1580 and closely associated with the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. During Aurangzeb’s reign, the original idol was shifted to Rajasthan for safekeeping and a replica was placed due to which no puja (worship) is performed here.

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Govardhan

The small town of Govardhan is settled on the hill name Giriraj, as per legend this mountain was held by young Krishna for upto 7 days on his little finger to save the people of Braj from torrential rainfall caused by Devraj Indra. The picturesque stone tank Mansi Ganga Lake, built by Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer is a major attraction here. Other popular places include Kusum Sarovar, Chhatri of Raja Suraj Mall of Bharatpur, and Temple of Haridev.

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Kusum Sarovar

This beautiful pond is believed to be the meeting point of Lord Krishna and his gopis. Located at close proximity is the magnificent cenotaph. Built by the kings of Bharatpur, this architectural wonder with its intricate carvings and majestic designs illustrate the glorious life of Raja Suraj Mall. 

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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.

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Barsana

Hindu Folklore believes that this place was home to Radharani the soulmate of lord Krishna. Among the numerous temples in the area, the most prominent is the Radharani Temple, fondly known as Ladliji or Shriji. Other places to visit here are Jaipur temple, Peeli Pokhar, Man Mandir, Sankari Khor, Dangarh and Mor-Kuti, Bhanokhar Tank, Prem Sarovar, Roop Sarovar etc. The major celebration here is the birth anniversary of Radharani. Female devotees visit the temple early in the morning and offer laddoo to peacocks as it symbolises the offering made to lord Krishna by Radharani. Barsana is also renowned for its celebration of Lathmar Holi.

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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.

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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 the annual Ahoi Ashtami fair which takes place during the months of Oct-Nov.

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Mahavan

Renowned for the shrine of Mathuranath, this little town is located 14 km from Mathura. The temple of Chhathi-Palana used to be the palatial residence of Baldeo’s mother Rohini. Being a revered pilgrimage spot, Mahavan is dotted with various shrines and temples; most popular among them being Yogmaya, Tranairatri, Shymlaji, Raskhan Samadhi, Raman Reti, Brahmand Ghat, Chintaharan Mahadev and Mahamall Rai Ji’s Palace. The magnificent Chaurasi Khambha or Eighty Four pillars is surely no to be missed.

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Baldeo

The town about 20 km towards south-east of Mathura, is famous for the Baldeo Temple. Every year devotees visit here amass to pay obeisance to Lord Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna, who presides here along with his consort Revati. The image worshipped here is believed to have been found in a tank, called Balbhadra Kund is also famous as Kshir Sagar. Elaborate Holi celebrations famous as Dauji Ka Huranga takes place here.

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