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 PLACES NEAR TAJ MAHAL - Mathura

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This area popularly known as Brij Bhoomi, is a major pilgrimage place for Hindus- there are literally thousands of temples here. Krishna, the popular incarnation of Vishnu, is believed to have been born in Mathura and the area is closely linked with many episodes in his early life. Nearby is Vrindaban where Krishna ‘sported’ with his gopis (milkmaids) and where the Hare Krishnas have their headquarters.

MathuraHistory
The Buddhist monasteries here received considerable patronage from Ashoka, and Mathura was mentioned by Ptolemy and by the Chinese visitors Fa Hien (who visited India in 401-410 AD) and Hieun Tsang (634 AD). Buddhism began to give way to Hinduism here with considerable drop in Buddhist population.

In 1017, Mahmud of Ghazni arrived on his rape, burn and pillage trip from Afghanistan, damaging the Hindu and remaining Buddhist shrines. Sikander Lodi continued the destruction in 1500 and the fanatical Aurangzeb flattened the Kesava Deo Temple, which had been built o the site of one of the most important Buddhist monasteries, and built a mosque in its place.

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Shri Krishna JanamBhoomi
Amongst the foundations of the Kesava Deo Temple is a small room made up to look like a prison cell. Here pilgrims file paste the stone slab onto which Krishna is said to have been born, 3500 years ago. He was obliged to make his entry into the world I these undignified surroundings as his parents had been imprisoned by the tyrannical King Kansa. Aurangzeb’s mosque rises above the site and there’s a more recent Hindu temple beside it.

Shri KrishnaAlong the Yamuna River
The 300-metre wide Yamuna River, which flows through Mathura, is lined with ghats. Vishram Ghat is the most important bathing ghat and is where Krishna is said to have rested after killing King Kansa. The Sati Burj, beside Vishram Ghat, is a Four storey tower built by the son of Behari Mal of Jaipur in 1570 to commemorate his mother’s sati. The ruined fort, Kans Qila,

Set back from the river in the main part of the town are the Jama Masjid, which was built by Abo-in Nabir Khan in 1661, and the Dwarkadheesh Temple. Built in 1814 by Seth Gokuldass of Gwalior, this is Mathura’s main temple and is dedicated to Krishna.


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Archeolo Museum
The Archaeological Museum is worth a visit for its large collection of examples of the Mathura school of ancient Indian sculpture. This includes the famous, and impressive, 5th century standing Buddha found here. There are many other sculptures, terracotta work, coins and bronze objects and there’s a pleasant garden. It’s open daily (except Monday)

Gita Mandir
This modern temple was funded by the Birla family (the wealthy industrialists). Pilgrims stop off on their way to Vrindaban to see the Gita Stambh, a pillar on which the whole of the Bhagavad Gita is carved.



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