While pondering over the things to do in Mathura, you might think that it is just limited to visiting the temples, but that is not the case. Surprisingly there are so many interesting things to do in Mathura which ensure that you have a wonderful time here.
Once you have visited all its popular temples and Govardhan Hill, you can go on a boat ride at the Vishram Ghat, admire the old-world charm of Kansa Qila, and take a dip in Kusum Sarovar, Radha Kund and other holy ponds. In order to know about its rich culture and heritage, you can visit the Government Museum, and to experience the local vibe, you can visit its popular markets.
Follow our guide to know more about these popular things to do in Mathura:
Things to Do in Mathura
1. Visit the Religious Sites
One of the foremost things to do in Mathura is to visit Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple – the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Whether a devotee or not, this place is a must visit for everyone coming to Mathura. Adjacent to this temple lies a large stepwell Potra Kund, where lord’s mother Devaki Ji used to wash the clothes of her children.
Banke Bihari Temple, Dwarkadhish Temple, Gita Mandir, Nand Bhawan, Prem Mandir, Krishna Balaram Mandir – managed by ISKCON, Yama-Yamuna Temple and Jama Masjid are other popular religious places to visit in Mathura. You can also plan a visit to Barsana – home of Lord Krishna’s consort Radharani, Gokul – where the lord grew in secrecy, Nandgaon – home to lord’s foster father Nanda Ji and Nidhivan – venue of lord’s divine dance (Rasleela).
2. Venerate Govardhan Hill
Whether you are in Mathura for a day or more, a visit to Govardhan Hill is inescapable. As per Hindu mythology, this hill was lifted by Lord Krishna on one finger during his childhood to save his village from the ceaseless rain and thunderstorm. Since then, this 80-feet high sandstone hill has gained immense religious significance. Besides, ardent devotees even circumambulate the Govardhan Hill, also known as Govardhan Parvat, Giri Raj, Royal Hill and Mount Govardhan. Other prominent tourist attractions that you can visit nearby are Mansi Ganga Lake, Kusum Sarovar, Haridev Temple and Chhatri of Raja Suraj Mall.
3. Boat Ride at Vishram Ghat
Vishram Ghat is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna along with his elder brother Lord Balram rested after killing his evil uncle Kansa. Thus, this ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River is aptly named as ‘vishram’, which means rest. While here, a boat ride seems an unmissable thing to do and you even get to see the entire ghat while gliding along.
The popular temples on the ghat are Mukut Temple, Murli Manohar Temple and the one dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, whose idol is adorned with beautiful jewellery and a crown. The morning and evening aartis that fill the atmosphere with the chant of mantras, the light of diyas and the aroma of incense and flowers are major crowd pullers.
4. Travel Back in Time at Kansa Qila
Just like most of the tourist attractions in Mathura, Kansa Qila is also associated with a legend. Kansa, the despotic maternal uncle of Lord Krishna, is said to have stayed in this ancient site thousands of years ago.
The heritage attraction that you see today was built during the 16th century by Raja Man Singh and later, an observatory was added by Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh, but no signs of it are visible at present. Although in ruins now, this fort on the banks of the Yamuna River reflects a mix of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture.
5. Take a Dip in the Holy Water
The holy land of Mathura has many ponds, kunds or reservoirs where people take a dip for religious reasons, and one such famous reservoir is Kusum Sarovar. It is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna used to meet his gopis or sakhis. A flight of stairs leads to the pond, which is 60 feet deep and 450 feet long, and is set against a milieu of magnificent palatial buildings and cenotaph of rulers of Bharatpur.
Other revered ponds are Shyam Kund and Radha Kund in Gokul, Potra Kund adjacent to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Lalita Kund in Nidhivan. Mathura even boasts of over 25 picturesque ghats, including the more famous Vishram Ghat and Cheer Ghat, which are worth visiting.
6. Glimpse into the Bygone Era
For a quick glimpse into the past of this popular tourist destination, you must plan a visit to the Government Museum, which is more popularly referred to as Mathura Museum in Uttar Pradesh. Founded in 1874 by F.S. Grouse, this museum is built using red sandstone and can be easily spotted from a distance because of its uncommon octagonal shape.
During your visit, you will see a number of interesting archaeological items on display, including stone sculptures, paintings, coins, seals, terracotta artefacts, etc. The art collection belonging to the Kushan period is considered to be the highlight of this place.
7. Go Shopping
One of the popular things to do in Mathura includes shopping in its popular markets – Chhata Bazaar, Tilak Dwar and Krishna Nagar Market. Chhata Bazaar is one of the oldest shopping destinations in Mathura where you can buy dresses and jewellery for idols, rosaries, stunning silver anklets and clothes at its Kanhaiya Cloth Market.
Tilak Dwar, also known as Holy Gate, is the perfect place to shop for religious items, handicrafts, brass statues, sculptures and decorative items. It boasts of the renowned Brijwasi Mithai Wala, where you must try peda and other Indian sweets and snacks. Furthermore, Krishna Nagar is a posh locality where its namesake high-end market is thronged by shoppers looking for branded stuff, bangles, artificial jewellery, etc.
As you can see, there are many interesting things to do in Mathura and thus, all that you need to do now is plan a trip to this sacred land for upcoming holidays.