At a distance of 56 km from Agra, 159 km from Delhi, 419 km from Lucknow and 224 km from Jaipur, Mathura is an ancient city and also the district headquarters of Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Mathura is one of the popular pilgrimage places in Uttar Pradesh and also one of the best places to visit near Delhi.
Mathura is one of the seven cities (Sapta Puri) considered holy by Hindus, the other six are Ayodhya, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanchipuram, Ujjain and Dwarka. Mathura has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India. Mathura is also one of the popular Delhi weekend getaways for 2 day trip. Mathura is located at the banks of river Yamuna and is popularly known as the Brajbhoomi, the sacred land of Lord Krishna. The Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple is home to a prison cell called Garbha Griha that is believed to be the exact birthplace of Krishna. Large number of devotees visit this temple every year on Janmashtami.
The city of Mathura has a rich history. In the traditional times, Mathura was an important point of culture and civilization. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the city is mentioned in the epic, 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 BC Mathura became the capital of the Surasena Mahajanapada. The city was later ruled by the Maurya Empire and the Shunga dynasty. Mathura saw its golden age during the rule of the Kushanas and the able governance of rulers like Kanishka, Huvishka, and Vasishka, when the arts flourished and economic wealth grew. The city was sacked and many of its temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018 and again by Sikandar Lodi, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi from 1489 to 1517.
Apart from Sri Krishna Janma Bhumi, Dwarkadheesh Temple, Gita mandir, Kusum Sarovar, Vishram Ghat and Jama Masjid are the top places to visit in Mathura. The Government Museum in Mathura is one of the best museums and attracts people with archaeological interest. The museum has some of the best collections of artifacts from the Gupta and Kushan period (400 BC-1200AD).
Holi and Janmastami are the major festivals celebrated in Mathura. The Holi festival attracts national and international tourists to this town. Tourists can also visit nearby Barsana where the interesting tradition of Lath Mar Holi is observed. Mathura is also known for its milk and is famous for ghee (clarified butter) that is considered one of the best in the country.
Agra Airport is the closest airport, which is 60 km away. Mathura Junction Railway Station is a major rail head with regular train services to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Vizag, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Trivandrum, Shirdi, Jammu Tawi, Chennai, Hubli, Goa, Patna, Lucknow, Bangalore and Chhattisgarh. Mathura is also well connected by road with Agra, Jaipur, Lucknow, Delhi, Indore and Allahabad.
The best time to visit Mathura is from October to March.