Mathura, Uttar Pradesh- Lord Krishna’s abode

Mathura, Uttar Pradesh- Lord Krishna

Located within the proverbial ‘Golden Triangle’ of tourism DelhiAgra– Jaipur, Mathura has greater religious value for Hindu devotees. Mathura is significant by being the blessed place where Lord Krishna was born and considered as top religious destination of India. Mathura with nearby areas of Braj, Nandgaon and Vrindavan is identified as land of Krishna or Brij bhumi or Krishna Janmbhumi. Krishna is remembered in folklores for his childhood episodes and adolescent time ‘Krishna Leelas’. In Mahabharata, the epic war, he gave one of the best archaic discourses that became legendary ‘Bhagwad Gita’, the sacred book that enlightened Arjun and showed him the real path of life to follow.

How to reach– Mathura is connected by trains from Delhi 145 km on way to Agra in Uttar Pradesh which is 50 km from Mathura. Also the city is connected by road transport to Agra and Delhi.

Mathura

Mathura’s historical significance

Mathura had reference from Ramayana era when Rama’s brother Shatrughna slayed a demon here. Then 5000 years back Krishna gave identity to Mathura. That time Yadu dynasty rulers were a force to reckon with in Mathura. Mathura also had Buddhist links in 6th century.



Places to see

Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi Temple– This prison temple is the biggest attraction for devotees and their reason for coming to Mathura. As per the legend Krishna was born in prison to Devki and Vasudev. This prison is now the part of this most sought after temple. The temple is managed by Vallabhacharya sect since it was rebuilt in 1814 AD after artifacts discovered affirmed it to be Krishna’s birthplace.  The temple is in the middle of the city and crowd of devotees throng the spot in huge numbers. At the Janm-asthmi, birthday of Krishna, there is a great fest and the devotees fill up Mathura to the brim.

Lord Krishna Janmbhoomi Temple Mathura

Dwarkadheesh Temple- Not far from Ram Janm Bhoomi temple, this one is famous for its architecture and intricate carvings. Built in early 19th century is known also as Nija mandir or Jagat Mandir.

Dwarkadheesh Temple Mathura

Gita Mandir–  a holy temple as name suggests Gita is inscribed on the walls of the temple. Built by industrial group Birlas, this temple is spectacular in its construction having idols of deities Krishna, Rama and Sita.

Gita Mandir Mathura

Vishram Ghat– Said to be the place where Lord Krishna rested after he killed tyrant Kansa. Surrounded by many important temples, one can have a thrilling time at aarti in the evening on the banks of Yamuna river here.

Vishram Ghat Mathura

Museum–  A museum was built in 1874 and was known as Curzon museum. It has artifacts and peep into art and culture history of Mathura. Octagonal sand stone building is amazing to behold. One can have a reflection of Mathura’s history by looking at coins, terracotta and clay models besides other artifacts of the bygone era.

Museum Mathura

Other significant religious places in Mathura are Juma Masjid, Shri Jambu Swami Nirvan Sthal Digamber Jain Mandir Chaurasi   and Gayatri Tapobhumi.

Haridwar- Holy Ganga Pilgrimage

Haridwar- holy ganga pilgrimage

Holy Ganga river begins its Himalayan sojourn originating at Gaumukh and touching plain topography in Haridwar. It’s regarded as one of the seven holiest places for Hindus in India. As per mythology there are seven pious cities ‘Saptapuri’, namely Haridwar, Mathura, Ayodhya, Nasik, Varanasi, Ujjain and Dwarka. In ancient times there was Samudra manthan or great churning of ocean from where the elixir of immortality was discovered. The pot of the elixir or Amrit was being carried by celestial bird Garuda and few drops spilled over at four places.

To celebrate that occasion after every 12 years a great Kumbh fair is organized. Haridwar is one of the four venues for this mega event when millions take dip in holy waters. It’s wonderful to see people coming from everywhere even western countries and enjoy the wonderful religious festive time.



Interesting fact about Haridwar, the top religious destination of India

Most Hindus go to Haridwar for a dip in Ganga waters, mostly for two reasons, happy reasons or unhappy reasons. Happy reason is when they go for pilgrimage and unhappy reason is when they go to immerse the ashes their dead ones in holy waters of Ganga. Interesting fact is that the Pandas can be found by naming your native place. They are sure to have complete record of your family tree. How they keep the record for centuries is just unbelievable. You must record your visit with them for whatever reason you have come to Haridwar, just to keep your genealogical record in order.

Haridwar

How to reach

Haridwar is accessible from all the places by rail, road and air. Delhi is about 220 km and is well connected by trains and luxury buses by roads. It is connected by air; the nearest airport being Jolly Grant 35 km away.

Sightseeing

  • Har ki pauri- Literally meaning staircase to God, it’s a Hindu belief that prayers done here for the departed soul gives peace and paves the way to heaven. This is where the prayers, holy dips and charities are done in the memory for the one who has left this perishable and    transient world. Besides, Har ki pauri is the central place for people who visit Haridwar. Ganga arti is its unique and amazing sight that is done in the wee hours of morning and after sunset.

Har ki pauri Hardwar

  • Mansa devi- Located on Bilwa parbat on Shivalik hills is the highly revered temple of Goddess Mansa Devi. Accessible by foot on a pathway, stairs and ropeway which what most adopt to climb up.

Mansa devi Hardwar

  • Chandi Devi Temple- Is located on Neel parbat was built in 1929 by King of Kashmir, it’s statue of Goddess is said to be of 8th One must visit when in Haridwar.

Chandi Devi Temple Hardwar

  • Daksheshwara mahadev temple- 4 km from Haridwar Kankhal is the place where this ancient Shiva temple is located. Its religious and historical connection is very impressive.

Daksheshwara mahadev temple Hardwar

  • Rishikesh- Rishikesh is a temple city with ashrams and temples all along the Ganga river. 30 km away from Haridwar it’s a place of ultimate peace and spirituality.

Rishikesh

Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine of Faith

Mata Vaishno Devi shrine of faith

Mata Vaishno Devi is a much revered shrine for Hindu devotees and that’s why included in top 20 religious destinations of India. Vaishno Devi is a representation of Goddess Durga. Located on Trikuta mountains in Jammu & Kashmir, Vaishno Devi annually has 10 million devotee visitors. This is a religious belief that 33 Koti (Form or type) deities pay respect to Devi at one time or other at ‘Arti and puja’ time in holy caves. It’s also believed you can only visit her to worship when Goddess beckons you.

Mata Vaishno Devi  Holy Caves

Best time to visit Maa Vaishno Devi

The shrine is open all through the year and 24 hours a day. The devotees crowd the place in Navratras, in spring and autumn time twice a year for nine days. Summer holidays too is also the prime reason for more footfalls. During maximum rush time one has to wait for 12 to 20 hours for Devi Darshan. If you want to avoid the rush, visit in the winters. Come armed with light woolens in summers and heavy woolens in winters.

How to reach

The devotees need to reach Katra before visiting the shrine on the mountain top. Katra is a small town which serves as base camp with ample of accommodation facilities.

Train- Katra is 50 km from Jammu city. Both Katra as well as Jammu are well connected to all major cities via railways.

Air– Jammu is the nearest airport, the flight from Delhi takes 1 hour 20 minutes. One can hire private cab to reach Katra from Jammu.

Road– Jammu is on National highway 1A and roads are good to travel. Both public and private transport can be considered to visit Katra via Jammu.



Passage to Vaishno Devi Holy Caves from Katra

On foot-

Your passage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine starts by getting yourself registered at YRC (Yatri Registration Counter). Traveler is photographed and the details are to be filled.  A Yatri Parchi or Yatra access card is issued free but don’t forget to carry your photo ID. The first entry check post is Banganga that is to be passed within 6 hours of issue of the access card. The registration entitles travelers with accidental insurance also. You can use online service to register yourself.

Yatri Parchi Vaishno Devi

14 km path from Katra to Bhawan area is developed extremely traveler friendly. Since centuries, old path was being used that was re-laid about 25 years back. The road is wide and has easy gradient to climb. About 5 km stretch of the path is covered with rain shelter. The path is well illuminated and has water points and toilet facilities on the way up to Bhawan.

Via helicopter-

One can use Helicopter services run by shrine board that lands at Sanjhi Chhat few kilometers away from Sanctum Santorum. Using pathway provides more sightseeing options and company of enthusiastic devotees who keep on chanting the praises of Mata. If physically one is not fit to walk, palki and horses are also available.

Sanjhi Chhat Vaishno Devi

On way to shrine

  • Banganga– First check-in point for devotees is Banganga at 2700ft above sea level, legend is Goddess used her arrow to induce water spring from the earth.

Banganga Vaishno devi

  • Charan Paduka– Little ahead of Banganga this place, as legend goes, has the prints of Goddess’s feet.

Charan Paduka Vaishno devi

  • Adhkuwari– Midway to the sojourn Adhkuwari or eternal virgin is one important landmark associated with the Goddess.

Adhkuwari Vaishno Devi

  • Holy Bhawan and caves– The caves of Goddess are in holy Bhawan where three holy pindies forms of Goddess Mahakali, Maha Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati are there for ultimate Darshan, thus culminating Yatra of Mata Vaishno Devi. Praise be with Goddess-Jai Mata Di.

Mata Vaishno Devi

Bhaironath Mandir

It is believed that pilgrim to the shrine is incomplete till the devotees pay visit to the Bhaironath temple.

Bhaironath Mandir near Vaishno Devi