Mathura Related Links
- Mathura is a holy city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
- It is located approximately 50 km north of Agra, and 150 km south of Delhi; about twenty kilometers from holy Vrindavan.
- Mathura is believed to be the third oldest living city of the world, only behind Kashi (Varanasi) and Rome.
- It is the administrative centre of Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh.
- During the ancient period, this was an economic hub, located at the junction of some relatively important caravan routes.
- Mathura is reputed to be the birthplace of Krishna at the centre of Braj, called Krishn Janm Bhumi, literary 'Krishna's birth place'.
- Muttra is the location of the plantation where Jonathan Small worked in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Sign of Four". Though Muttra sounds like Mathura it is a fictitious place. Mathura never had indigo plantations around it and Mathura is nowhere near the Northwest Provinces.
Introduction of Mathura
Mathura is believed to be the third oldest living city of the world, only behind Kashi (Varanasi) and Rome. For the past more than 2,500 years it has witnessed many dynasties and innumerable rulers deciding its destiny and ruling its fate. Nature, mainly through flooding from River Yamuna has wrecked less havoc on its temples, shrines, stupas and monasteries than the waves of marauding invaders. Being a prominent religious city and located on the main highway it has always been on the hit list of the invading armies. Its dauntless spirit always made it to rise up after every fall. Krishna told Arjun in Gita that whenever there is darkness and loss of Dharma he would take incarnation to uplift and reestablish the Dharma (order and rule of law), ominously Mathura recovered miraculously after its devastation at the hands of Huns. After Sikander Lodhi's destruction it saw the revival through Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disciples, Vallabhacharya, music maestro Haridas, Mirabai, Surdas, and innumerable devotee poets and saints. Again when Aurangzeb let loose hell over this sacred city, Jats and Marathas proved saviours of its cultural vestiges. People mostly regarded it only as a Vaishnava religious city and termed Krishna, its presiding deity, as a mythological figure. It was rediscovered by the civilized world in 1836 when Colonel L.R. Stacy chanced upon a mound and got unearthed an antiquarian masterpiece popularly known as Silenus and a Cage-bearing Yakshi. It turned out to be a groundbreaking momentous discovery. The renowned archaeologist Alexander Cunningham became quite fascinated with Mathura. Between 1853 and 1882 he made several trips to the city and its outskirts and carried out excavation work in different mounds. These mounds proved to be a goldmine of classic sculptures. He and an archaeologist administrator, F.S. Growse (Collector of Mathura) made herculean efforts in bringing out innumerable sculptures and art pieces and in the process unveiled the historical, social, economic and political life of Mathura in last about 2,000 years. Recovery of huge haul of sculptures, inscribed stone-pieces, coins and architraves proved beyond doubt that Mathura in ancient times was a great centre where not only Hinduism, but Buddhism and Jainism also flourished. This book is a humble attempt to piece together these scattered historical facts. It is rather a spiritual journey into Mathura's colourful history. There is some magnetism in Mathura, popularly known as Brajbhoomi, because once in Mathura's lands, one feels immersed in the devotional feelings. This magical land erstwhile was a melting pot of a diverse cultural heritage—rich, diverse and colourful. Hence we hope that tourists, pilgrims and the followers of Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira will find in this book some food for their thoughts. Mathura is such an ancient and sacred city that it should have a huge number of visitors to it. But in comparison to Varanasi or Rome (other cities older than it), the number of its pilgrims, tourists and visitors are far less. Reason being its historical, religious and cultural importance has not yet been publicized properly and aggressively. Hence, feeling a spiritual urge to fulfill this vacuum and promote the glory of ancient Mathura this treatise is being brought out.