Mystical Mathura of Lord Krishna

We avoided visiting Delhi inorder to visit Mathura which had a direct connecting train from Mumbai. It is definitely worth a visit during the winter months starting from November to March. The cresendo of visit culminates during the month of Holi ( please check according to Hindu calender dates vary every year ) when there is plenty of festivity arranged by locals and operators. This year it falls on 13th March. Generally the festivity is carried over for two days and it signifies festival of colours and mending broken relationship.
Historical background :
Mathura is the fabled birthplace of Lord Krishna who was born in an undergroud prison. A temple is built over the birthplace known as Keshav Dev. One can find security personnel guarding the temple and its premises like hawks. It is a potential target for terrorists considering that a mosque is also built besides it. It is barricaded with high walls and a gulley in between. Similarly the mosque too is well protected by machine gun totting security personnel.
After the demolition of Babri Masjid, this Jama Masjid mosque was thought to be target of attack by the minority community. Thankfully nothing of sorts happened because of the heightened security in the complex. Aurangazeb built this mosque in 1669 after destroying a temple besides it. This is the prime cause of heart burn amongst the locals of the land. For a tourist like us it is an excellent landmark and should have been ideally a symbol of living in harmony. I wanted to visit this mosque for the sheer size and architecture but unfortunately it became dark and we had to rush back to our accomodation.
Other tourist spots :
Vridavan is supposed to be main pilgrimage & tourist spot in Mathura. Enroute to Vrindavan are Goshala and Birla Mandir. It is located on the river bed of Jammuna. The main temples are :
Madan Mohan Temple : It is one of the oldest temple in Vrindavan built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. The original diety was shifted to a shrine in Rajasthan fearing the raid of Aurangazeb. A replica of Lord Madan Mohan is worshipped today in the shrine.
Banke Bihari Temple : One needs to be extremely cautious in the temple premises because of the notorious monkeys and packed crowd during holidays. The monkeys snatch all eatables carried by tourist and in some case they pick one’s specs too. This temple was constructed in 1862 and the diety installed was found in Nidhi Vana by Haridas.
Prem Mandir : A modern spiritual complex with various statues of Lord Krishna’s antics adorn the complex. It is closed between 12 to 5 pm. This complex is built and maintained by a charitable foundation of Jagatguru Kripalu Maharaj. The complex was opened to public in Feb 2012.
Meera Bai Temple : This temple is dedicated to Meera Bai who happened to be a poetess and ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. We happened to see one devotee while travelling in a shared rikshaw from Mathura to Vrindavan.
Sri Krishna Balarama Temple : This temple was built by the ISKON group. It has been dedicated to Lord Krishna and his brother Balarama. There is a samadhi of the founder of ISKON group Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  This temple is located near Raman Reti.
Nidhi Vana : A mini forest type of area is found inside Vrindavan which is infested with monkeys which are not aggressive as prevalent in Banke Bihari temple. There is a small pond and other landmarks inside this premises.
I never knew that Mathura was known as city of widows too. Probably many of the ashrams housing them are in bad shape. We did come across a dignified lady with her son who never revealed that her husband is no more. She finds solace in Vrindavan.

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