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. The 2011 census of India estimated the population of Mathura to be 441,894.
Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of Krishna which is located at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna Janma-Bhoomi, literally: 'Lord Krishna's birthplace' (Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi). It is one of the seven cities (Sapta Puri) considered holy by Hindus. The Keshav Dev Temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's birthplace (an underground prison). Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kansa the maternal uncle of Krishna.
Mathura has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
Mathura has an ancient history and also homeland and birthplace of Krishna who was born in Yadu dynasty. According to the Archaeological Survey of India plaque at the Mathura Museum, the city is mentioned in the oldest Indian epic, the Ramayana. In the epic, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slays a demon called Lavanasura and claims the land. Afterwards, the place came to be known as Madhuvan as it was thickly wooded, then Madhupura and later Mathura.
In the 6th century BCE Mathura became the capital of the Surasena Kingdom. The city was later ruled by the Maurya empire (4th to 2nd centuries BCE). Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city under the name Μέθορα (Méthora). It seems it never was under the direct control of the following Shunga dynasty (2nd century BCE) as not a single archaeological remain of a Shunga presence were ever found in Mathura. Mathura may have come under the control, direct or indirect, of the Indo-Greeks some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE, and remained so as late as 70 BCE according to the Yavanarajya inscription, which was found in Maghera, a town 17 kilometres (11 mi) from Mathura. The opening of the 3 line text of this inscription in Brahmi script translates as: "In the 116th year of the Yavana kingdom..." or '"In the 116th year of Yavana hegemony" ("Yavanarajya") However, this also corresponds to the presence of the native Mitra dynasty of local rulers in Mathura, in approximately the same time frame (150 BCE—50 BCE), possibly pointing to a vassalage relationship with the Indo-Greeks.
The famous cities/villages of Mathura District:
Mathura is well connected by train to major cities in India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Indore, Alwar, Jaipur, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Rewa, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi etc.
The city is served by four stations, Mathura Junction being the biggest one connecting to West, North and Southern India. Mathura Cantt connects to eastern Uttar Pradesh. Bhuteshwar serves for local trains for Delhi, Delhi NCR, Agra, Bharatpur and Alwar. Another station Krishnajanmabhoomi connects to Vrindavan via rail bus.
Train A local train in Mathura.
Important train that origin/terminate from Mathura: 12177/Howrah - Mathura Chambal Express.
Mathura is well connected by road to the rest of Uttar Pradesh and India. NH 19 (Delhi-Howrah) and NH 44 (Srinagar to Kanyakumari) pass through the city. UP SH 33 (Bareilly to Mathura via Badaun, Ujhani, Kasganj, Soron, Sikandra Rao, Hathras) is a prominent arterial highway. Yamuna Expressway also connects to Mathura and, in fact, is the shortest way to reach Mathura by road.
The city is served by Upsrtc, JNNURAM, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, DTC, Chandigarh and Punjab state transportation bus companies. Mathura depot, run by the Uttar Pradesh State Bus Company - runs 120 buses. Direct buses are available to Alwar, Agra, Aligarh, Khair, Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Haridwar, Rohtak and other Indian cities. An intercity JNNURM bus facility also exists.
As of now, the city has no airport but the airport was proposed to Mathura in 2012. The civil aviation minister Ajit Singh suggested Mathura's name for the site of a new greenfield international airport to chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav. Mathura's name came into play when group of ministers terminated the planning of building Taj International Airport at Greater Noida. Land has been marked, and construction is in progress near the Yamuna Expressway, with plans to open in the next five years with regular flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Ujjain and Varanasi and some international routes in future.
Mathura is a holy city for Hinduism, the world's third-largest religion. There are many places of historic and religious importance in Mathura and its neighbouring towns. The twin-city to Mathura is Vrindavan. As the home of Krishna in his youth, the small town is host to a multitude of temples belonging to various sects of Hinduism proclaiming Krishna in various forms and avatars. Some places of interest are:
Temple in Barsana, near Mathura, dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna. Being the birthplace of Krishna, Mathura is an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
Mathura has contributed a lot towards Indian Culture through its rich heritage. The ethos of Mathura, and in fact the whole of Braj mandal is centered on Krishna and his tales. Mathura sees heightened activities during the major festivities dedicated to Krishna.
The Braj culture has been expressed widely through various practices.
Sanjhee is the colourful art of decorating the ground with flowers.
Rasiya is a tradition that is integral to Mathura's culture. It is the tradition of folk-songs that describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Krshnaji. It is an inseparable part of the Holi celebrations and all other festive occasions at Mathura. (Dhulendi – Holi with drums (dholak), colours, etc. originated from Braj region hundreds of millennia before today.)
Raaslilas of Mathura have become an integral part of Indian Folklore. Krshnaji had danced the Raas with gopis on banks of Yamuna river.
Charkula is a traditional folk dance of the Braj. In this dance, a woman balances a column of deepikas on her head and dances to the accompaniment of Rasiya songs by the menfolk.
The language spoken in the Braj mandal is mainly Hindi which is spoken in a different dialect. This dialect is characteristic with the Braj region and known as Brajbhasha. Being close to haryana and uttar pradesh haryanwi is spoken by people and very few people speak Punjabi. Before Hindi and until past few centuries, Brajbhasha used to be the dominant language in literature.
Mathura is one of the seven most holy places for Hindus in India.
(Inputs from wikipeida, Pics: Youtube)
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