Mathura: The Birth Place of Lord Krishna
Mathura is closely linked to Krishna.
According to Vaishnava philosophy, Lord Krishna is the source of all things, both spiritual and material. However, in order to engage in loving relationships with his pure devotees, he accepts a mother and a father. Around 5000 years ago, Lord Krishna accepted Vasudeva and Devaki as His mother and father in line with His own prophesy, while they were imprisoned in Mathura by a ruthless king called Kamsa, who was Devaki’s brother. Soon after his birth the Lord was taken to nearby Gokula to be looked after by his foster mother and father, Yashoda and Nanda. Later, out of fear of the demons sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna, Nanda and his family moved to Nandagram, near Vrindavan.
Mathura is an extremely important pilgrimage city because it is the birth place of Krishna. The main temple is called Keshava Deo Temple, where Radha-Keshava (Krishna) are worshipped. The first temple here was constructed 5000 years ago by Vajranabha, the great grandson of Lord Krishna. Since then the temple has been reconstructed several times. Next to this temple is a small room which looks like a prison cell, where Lord Krishna made his appearance in this world.
About twelve years after his appearance, Lord Krishna returned to Mathura and killed the cruel King Kamsa, after which he rested on the bank of the river Yamuna. This happened at Vishrama-ghat, where devotees can bathe and purify themselves.
Mathura is 95 miles south of Delhi and is within the Braja Mandala where Lord Krishna performed his pastimes 5000 years ago. Braja Mandala covers an area of 1453 square miles, where there are twelve principle forests, and these are all considered places of pilgrimage. Other major places in Braja are Vrindavana, Nandagrama, Varshana (Radha’s birthplace), Gokula, Govardhana Hill and Radhakunda.