Mathura
—  city  —
Mathura
Location of Mathura
in Uttar Pradesh and India
Coordinates 27°27′N 77°43′E / 27.45°N 77.72°E / 27.45; 77.72Coordinates: 27°27′N 77°43′E / 27.45°N 77.72°E / 27.45; 77.72
District(s) Mathura
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Website mathura.nic.in/

Mathura (Hindi: मथुरा, IAST: mathurā (About this sound pronunciation ) is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 50  km north of Agra, and 145 km south-east of Delhi; about 11 kilometers from the town of Vrindavan and 22 kilometers from Govardhan. 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.

Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna Janma-Bhoomi, literally: 'Lord Krishna's birth place'.

The Keshav Dev temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's legendary birthplace (an underground prison). According to the Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana epics, Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kansa the maternal uncle of Krishna.

Contents

History

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places (Title and location names are in English.)
Krishna temple in Mathura.

Mathura has an ancient history. According to the Archeological 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. The demon that Shatrughan killed in Ramayana, Lavanasura was the progeny of a devout king Madhu who gets Lord Shiva's Trident in a boon in the Puranas. The Puranas ascribe the founding of the city to Ayu, the son of Pururavas and the celestial nymph Urvashi. The city might also have got its name from a famous Yadav king Madhu who reigned around 1,600 BCE.[citation needed]

In the 6th century BCE Mathura became the capital of the Surasena mahajanapada.[1] The city was later ruled by the Maurya empire (4th to 2nd centuries BCE) and the Sunga dynasty (2nd century BCE). It may have come under the control of Indo-Greeks some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE. It then reverted to local rule before being conquered by the Indo-Scythians during the 1st century BCE. Archaeological evidence seems to indicate that, by 100 BCE, there was a group of Jains living in Mathura [Bowker].[citation needed]

Mathuran art and culture reached its zenith under the Kushan dynasty which had Mathura as one of their capitals, the other being Purushapura (Peshawar). The dynasty had kings with the names of Kujula Kadphises, Kanishka, Huvishka and Vasudeva. All the Kushans were patrons of Buddhism except Vasudeo,[citation needed] mentioned on coins as Bazodeo. Kanishka even hosted the third Buddhist council, the first two being hosted by Ajatshatru and Ashoka the Great. The headless statue of Kanishka is in the Mathura Museum.

Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city under the name Μέθορα (Méthora).[2]

The Indo-Scythians (aka Sakas or Shakas) conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE. One of their satraps was Hagamasha, who was in turn followed by the Saka Great Satrap Rajuvula.[citation needed]

The findings of ancient stone inscriptions in Maghera, a town 17 km from Mathura, provide historical artifacts giving more details on this era of Mathura.[3] The opening of the 3 line text of these inscriptions are in Brahmi script and were translated as: "In the 116th year of the Greek kings..." [4][5]

The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula. The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura.[citation needed]

Rajuvula apparently eliminated the last of the Indo-Greek kings, Strato II, around 10 CE, and took his capital city, Sagala.[citation needed]

The Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions attest that Mathura fell under the control of the Sakas. The inscriptions contain references to Kharaosta Kamuio and Aiyasi Kamuia. Yuvaraja Kharostes (Kshatrapa) was the son of Arta, as is attested by his own coins.[6]

Arta is stated to be brother of King Moga or Maues.[7] Princess Aiyasi Kambojaka, also called Kambojika, was the chief queen of Shaka Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula. Kamboja presence in Mathura is also verified from some verses of the epic, the Mahabharata, which are believed to have been composed around this period.[8] This may suggest that Sakas and Kambojas may have jointly ruled over Mathura and Uttar Pradesh. It is revealing that the Mahabharata verses only attest the Kambojas and Yavanas as the inhabitants of Mathura, but do not make any reference to the Sakas.[citation needed]

The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", as opposed to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (c 130 CE), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.[9]

Mathura served as one of the Kushan Empire's two capitals from the first to the third centuries. The Mathura Museum has the largest collection of redstone sculptures in Asia, depicting many famous Buddha figurines.

Fa Xian mentions the city, as a centre of Buddhism about A.D. 400; while his successor Xuanzang, who visited the city in 634 CE, which he mentions as Mot'ulo, and said that it contained twenty Buddhist monasteries and five Brahmanical temples.[10] Later, he went east to Thanesar, Jalandhar in the eastern Punjab, before climbing up to visit predominantly Theravada monasteries in the Kulu valley and turning southward again to Bairat and then Mathura, on the Yamuna river.[11]

The city was sacked and many of its temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018 and again by Sikandar Lodhi, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi from 1489 to 1517.[12][13]

Sikander Lodhi earned the epithet of 'But Shikan', the 'Destroyer of Hindu deities'. The Keshav Dev temple was partially destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who built the city's Jami Masjid (Friday mosque) believed to be on the Kishnajanmabhoomi.[citation needed] It was won over from the Mughals by the Jat kings of Bharatpur but subsequently the area was passed on to the Marathas who constructed a garbh-griha shrine sharing the wall of mosque. The garbh-griha mandir is a small underground temple which houses black moorti of Laddu-Gopal. The ambience of this Krishnajanmbhoomi mandir has been made to resemble that of Prison cell. A noteworthy fact about this garbh-griha is that the wall just behind Laddu-Gopal belongs to Mosque which was constructed by Aurangzeb after destroying the ancient Keshav Dev temple. The bigger Krishna shrine, better known as Dwarkadeesh temple is a few metres away from what is believed to be the actual birthplace of Krishna, was built in 1815 by Seth Gokuldas Parikh, Treasurer of Gwalior.[citation needed]

Mathura, India

Among the "seven holy cities of India"

Moreover, Mathura is one of the seven most holy places for Hindus in India where Varanasi is considered as the holiest of the seven holy cities.

Ayodhyā Mathurā Māyā Kāsi Kāñchī Avantikā I

Purī Dvārāvatī chaiva saptaitā moksadāyikāh II

- Garuḍa Purāṇa I XVI .14

A Kṣetra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where Moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven cities as giver of Moksha, They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Māyā, Kāsi, Kāñchī, Avantikā and Dvārāvatī.[14]

Geography

Mathura is located at 27°17′N 77°25′E / 27.28°N 77.41°E / 27.28; 77.41.[15] It has an average elevation of 174 metres (570 feet).

Demographics

As of 2011 India census,[16] Mathura had a population of 2,541,894. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Mathura has an average literacy rate of 72.65%, lower than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy is 84.39%, and female literacy is 58.93%. In Mathura, 15.61% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Transportation

Rail

Mathura is well connected by train from major cities in India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Rewa, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi etc. 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. Bhooteshwar serves for local trains for Delhi, Agra and Alwar. Another station Krishnajanmabhoomi connects to Vrindavan via rail bus.

Road

Mathura is well connected by road to the rest of Uttar Pradesh and India. NH 2 (Delhi-Howrah) Highway passes through the city which connects to NH-3 (to Mumbai), a part of it is known as Mathura Road, NH-11 (to Ajmer) and NH-93 (Moradabad) in Agra. Yamuna Expressway also connects to Mathura. City is served by Upsrtc,JNNURAM, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, DTC, Chandigrah and Punjab state transports. Mathura depot (upsrtc) has 120 buses. Direct buses are available to Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajimer, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut,haridwar Rohtak and other cities. An intercity JnNURM bus facility also exists.

Air

The city does not have an airport but a new airport is being built near Baldev. Construction is in progress with plans to open in the next five[when?] years with flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Ujjain and Varanasi.[citation needed]

Tourism

Pilgrimage to
Buddha's
Holy Sites
Dharma Wheel.svg
The Four Main Sites
Lumbini · Bodh Gaya
Sarnath · Kushinagar
Four Additional Sites
Sravasti · Rajgir
Sankissa · Vaishali
Other Sites
Patna · Gaya · Kosambi
Kapilavastu · Devadaha
Kesariya · Pava
Nalanda · Varanasi
Later Sites
Sanchi · Mathura
Ellora · Ajanta · Vikramshila
Ratnagiri · Udayagiri · Lalitgiri
Bharhut · Barabar Caves
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Lath mar Holi being played in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh

There are many place of historic and religious importance in Mathura and its neighbouring towns. Most of them are linked with Hindu heritage. Major places are listed here.

Major tourist sites

  • Krishnajanmabhoomi
  • Jai gurudev Ashram - Naam Yog Sadhna Mandir
  • Dwarikadheesh Temple
  • Durvasa Rishi Ashram
  • Kans Tila
  • Sri Keshavji Gaudiya Matha
  • Vishram Ghat, a bath and worship place on the banks of river Yamuna is the main ghat in Mathura, central to 25 other ghats.
  • Rangeshwar Mahadev Mandir
  • Bhooteshwar Mahadev Mandir
  • Mathura museum

Places of interest

A very famous twin-city to Mathura is Vrindavan. As the home of Lord Krishna in his youth, the small town is host to a multitude of temples belonging to various sects of Hinduism proclaiming Lord Krishna in various forms and Avatars. Some of the most famous temples are Banke Bihari Temple, Rang ji Temple and Iskcon Temple.

Strategic importance

Mathura is the home for Indian I Corps (Strike Formation) [17][18] within the Indian Army's Central Command, hosting Strike I Corps headquarters in a large classified area in the outskirts of the city known as Mathura Cantonment (Central Command itself has its headquarters at Lucknow). It hosts Strike Infantry units, Air Defence units, Armoured Divisions, Engineer brigades, Aritillery Units and classified units of Strategic Nuclear Command. Corps I is primarily responsible for western borders of India. In 2007 during Exercise Ashwamedha, all the armoured, artillery and infantry divisions performed a simulation of an overall NBC (nuclear-chemical-biological) environment. The aim was to show operational ability in high intensity, short duration and 'sudden' battles.[19]

Industries

One of the major contributors in the economy of Uttar Pradesh are Mathura Industries.[citation needed] Mathura Refinery located in the city is one of the biggest oil refineries of Asia.[citation needed] This oil refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation is a highly technologically advanced oil refinery.[citation needed] Silver polishing industry is another industry.[citation needed] Textile printing industry that includes both sari-printing and fabric dyeing is another major industry of the region.[citation needed] Apart from these other industries are water tap manufacturing units and other decorative and household items.[citation needed]

Educational institutions

Mathura is home to the Uttar Pradesh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Veterinary University, the first of its kind in the state and the fourth in the country to be made independent veterinary universities.[20] The University is located on the Mathura-Agra road, about 5 km from Mathura Junction. The main campus of the University is spread over a land area of 782.32 acres (3.1659 km2) in Mathura Cantt and about 1,400 acres (6 km2) at Madhurikund, about 20 km from the main campus.[citation needed]

In modern times Mathura has become a hub of engineering colleges and universities.(GLA engineering college and BSA College of engg and technology has been accorded as status of university)40 engineering & management colleges had been established in Mathura up to 12-12-2009.[citation needed]

Culture

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. According to popular belief, 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. Before Hindi and until past few centuries, Brajbhasha used to be the dominant language in literature.

Notes

  1. ^ Mathura History The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 18, p. 64.
  2. ^ Megasthenes, fragment 23 "The Surasenians, an Indian tribe, with two great cities, Methora and Clisobora; the navigable river Iomanes flows through their territory" quoted in Arrian Indica 8.5. Also "The river Jomanes (Yamuna) flows through the Palibothri into the Ganges between the towns Methora and Carisobora." in FRAGM. LVI. Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8-23. 11.
  3. ^ Bulletin of the Asia Institute. Wayne State University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=RuhtAAAAMAAJ. 
  4. ^ Bratindra Nath Mukherjee. Kushāṇa studies: new perspectives. Firma KLM. p. 13. ISBN 8171021093. http://books.google.com/books?id=6VBuAAAAMAAJ. 
  5. ^ Osmund Bopearachchi; Wilfried Pieper (1998). Ancient Indian coins. Brepols. ISBN 2503507301. http://books.google.com/books?id=6UVmAAAAMAAJ. 
  6. ^ Kshatrapasa pra Kharaostasa Artasa putrasa. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 398, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 307, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Ancient India, 1956, pp 220–221, Dr R. K. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 168, S Kirpal Singh.
  7. ^ Ancient India, pp 220–221, Dr R. k. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 168–169, S Kirpal Singh; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 306–09, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part 1, p 36, D S Konow
  8. ^ Dr Jayaswal writes:"Mathura was under outlandish people like the Yavanas and Kambojas... who had a special mode of fighting" (Manu and Yajnavalkya, Dr K. P. Jayswal); See also: Indian Historical Quarterly, XXVI-2, p 124. Prof Shashi Asthana comments: "Epic Mahabharata refers to the siege of Mathura by the Yavanas and Kambojas (see: History and Archaeology of India's Contacts with Other Countries, from Earliest Times to 300 B.C., 1976, p. 153, Shashi Asthana). Dr Buddha Prakash observes: "Along with the Sakas, the Kambojas had also entered Indian mainland and spread into whole of North India, especially in Panjab and Uttar Pradesh. The Mahabharata contains references to Yavanas and Kambojas having conquered Mathura (12/105/5)....There is also a reference to the Kambojas in the Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions of Saka Satrap (Kshatrapa) Rajuvula found in Mathura " (India and the World, p. 154, Dr Buddha Parkash); cf: Ancient India, 1956, p 220, Dr R. K. Mukerjee
  9. ^ A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc.... Rapson, p. ciii.
  10. ^ Mathura  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
  11. ^ Hsuan Tsang  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
  12. ^ Sultan Sikandar Lodi The Muntakhabu-’rūkh by Al-Badāoni (16th century historian), Packard Humanities Institute.
  13. ^ Lodi Kings: Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 369..
  14. ^ The Hindu temple, Volume 1 By Stella Kramrisch, Raymond Burnier p.3
  15. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Mathura
  16. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/prov_data_products_UP.html
  17. ^ India - Army Central Command Order of Battle
  18. ^ Organisational Structure
  19. ^ Indian Army tests network centric warfare capability in Ashwamedh war games
  20. ^ [1]

References

  • Mathura-The Cultural Heritage. Edited by Doris Meth Srinivasan, published in 1989 by AIIS/Manohar.
  • Bowker, John (2002). The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions, p. 60.
  • Konow, Sten. Editor. 1929. Kharoshthī Inscriptions with Exception of those of Asoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. II, Part I. Reprint: Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1969.
  • Mukherjee, B. N. 1981. Mathurā and its Society: The Śaka-Pahlava Phase. Firma K. L. M. Private Limited, Calcutta.
  • Sharma, R. C. 1976. Mathura Museum and Art. 2nd revised and enlarged edition. Government Museum, Mathura.
  • Growse, F. S. 1882. " Mathura A District Memoir.
  • Drake-Brockman, D. L. 1911. " Muttra A Gaztteer.
  • The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathura, by Smith, Vincent Arthur, 1848-1920. (1901)

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