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Things To Do In Mathura
While going on a pilgrimage is on top of the to do list in Mathura, there are lot many other things to do and places to see in this religious city. The city of Mathura is the birth place of Lord Krishna and the place where he grew up, making it very religious for the devotees of Lord Krishna. You can indulge in various activities like taking a dip in Radha Kund or a swim in Kusum Sarovar. Whether you want to explore the market of Tilak Dwar or simply take a boat ride by the Vishram Ghat, there are a number of things to do in Mathura that will keep you occupied on your trip.
Visit the Vishram Ghat
The Vishram Ghat is one of the main ghats in Mathura and serves as the center for several other ghats. The ghat is made up of white marble and also consists of a large stone arch. Once you reach the Vishram Ghat, you can see the place lined up with beautiful temples like the Mukut Temple, Langali Hanuman Temple, Radha-Damodar Temple, and Narasimha Temple. The best time to visit the ghat is during evening, when shayan aarti is held and prayers are offered to the goddess Yamuna. The evening aarti at the ghat is spectacular with lit oil lamps floating on the river and priests reciting prayers, with the aroma of incense sticks all around.
Swim in Kusum Sarovar
Located at a distance of 26 km from the center of Mathura city, the Kusum Sarovar is a man-made reservoir that is 60 feet deep and 450 feet long with flights of stairs all around. It is believed that Kusum Sarovar was the place where Radha along with her gopis would collect flowers, to gift to Krishna. Around the lake is a structure that was built by Jawahar Singh in the 18th century and consists of three tombs as well. The ceilings and walls of this structure have beautiful paintings depicting life in that era and other paintings of Lord Krishna and how he lead his life. Many travelers go swimming in the water as well, as it is inviting and perfect to relax for a moment and regain your senses.
Go See the Tilak Dwar
If you are trying to see what the local life in Mathura is like, a visit to the Tilak Dwar will give you an insight of the culture of the city and its people. The Tilak Dwar is a gateway into a market which is absolutely sprawling and so very vibrant. You can browse through different varieties of shops in this market and skim through various kinds of jewelry, ethnic items, paintings, small idols of Lord Krishna and other Gods etc. The market also has many religious stores that have items like small idols of Lord Krishna and other Gods and Goddesses asw ell as paintings and sculptures that are made by the locals in the region.
Take a Stroll around Govardhan Hill
Govardhan Hill, located in the district of Mathura and very close to Vrindavan, is a sacred Hindu site located in the Govardhan area. This hill has great religious significance for Vaishnavs as this is the hill that formed the hub of Shri Krishna's leila's or divine plays in Vraj, where he grew up as a cowherd. This is the same hill where he played with his friends, herded his cows and when Indradev inflicted rainstorm on the people of Vraj, this is the same hill that he lifted on his little finger to provide shelter for all.
The Govardhan Hill (also known as Girirajji) is worshipped just as a swaroop of Krishna in some Hindu sects, because when Krishna convinced the people of Vraj to ditch worshipping Indradev (rain god) and worship Govardhan hill instead, the people of Vraj saw with their own eyes that a demigod looking just like Krishna emerged from Govardhan Hill and accepted their food offerings. With all these anecdotes and leelas, Govardhan hill is a mighty entity in Mathura. And you will find hundreds of people walking on and on, on a parikrama or circumambulation of Girirajji.
Explore Kans Quila
Built by Raja Maansingh I of Jaipur, the Kans Quila is a fort in Mathura is named after Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle. Raja Maansingh was also one of the gems of Akbar’s court back in day. The fort is situated near the banks of the River Yamuna and has a beautiful combination of Mughal and Hindu architecture. It is also said that Kans Quila acted as a place of refuge for the people of Mathura during a massive flood in the Yamuna. The fort is now in ruins, but still worth seeing and knowing about. It is situated close to a few ghats like Vasudev and Brahma Ghat as well.
Enjoy a Boat Ride
If you are looking to calm your senses and have a peaceful boat ride, the Yamuna River close to Vishram Ghat in Mathura offers a perfect boat ride. Vishram Ghat is said to be the place where Lord Krishna took rest after his battle with King Kansa. A boat ride on the River, overlooking this ghat is absolutely serene with a view of the entire ghat from the boat itself. As you sway your boat through the river, you can see the calm water ahead of you and on the ghats you can notice devotees and priests lighting up oil lamps and humming their prayers. The scent of the incense sticks from all around the place brings a sense of piousness that is rare to find. The best time to indulge in this activity is either early mornings or the late evenings when you can see the beautiful aarti ceremony from the middle of the river's flow.
Visit Radha Kund
Situated close to Govardhan hill, is a small lake surrounded by steps known as Radha Kund. It is said that this lake was a private and confidential place for Radha and Krishna to bathe together; and that the celebrated Raslila would be performed here by them as well. It is also believed that King Kansa had sent a demon in the form of a bull to attack and kill Lord Krishna; it is at the Radha Kund that Lord Krishna fought the bull and killed the demon inside. This is a place of great religious significance for Hindus and a great place to spend an afternoon and go for a dip.