Temples of Mathura: Krishna Janmbhumi, Peepleshwar Mahadeo and others

As much as the city of Mathura is dominated by the Dwarkadheesh temple and the mighty river Yamuna, it is also home to the innumerable temples and shrines - many ancient, some others new – all of them together endowing the town with the distinct spiritual flavor that it is known for all over the world.

A Hanuman Temple in Mathura
A Lord Hanuman Temple in the bylanes of Mathura

During the one day that we spent in the town, we managed to visit some of them which are presented below.

Adi Varah Temple

Mathura houses two temples dedicated to Lord Varah, Krishna Varah (also known as Lal Varah) and Sveta Varah, enshrining deities of Lord Varah in dark and fair hues respectively; which is how the respective temples get their name. We could visit only one of them, the Krishna Varah temple, situated in an adjoining lane of the Dwarkadheesh Temple.

Adi Varah Temple in Mathura
Entrance to the Adi Varah Temple

Adi Varah Temple, Mathura
Main deity of Lord Adi Varah inside the temple

Deity of Garud in Adi Varah Temple, Mathura
The divine bird Garud, opposite the deity of Lord Varah

According to the temple priest, the idol in the temple dates back to pre-historic times. Originally belonging to Lord Indra and seized by the demon king Ravana, the idol is believed to have been installed here by Shatrughana, brother of Lord Rama who had got it back from Ravana after defeating him in the Ayodhya war.

Dauji Ki Haveli

Adjacent to the Adi Varah temple is the ancient temple of Dauji ki haveli, the house of the elder brother of Lord Krishna, Balaram (the seventh son of Devaki). Lord Krishna shared a close bond with his elder brother Balaram whom He respectfully referred to as Dau meaning big brother. The temple is an embodiment of this love and enshrines the two deities, that of Lord Balaram alongwith his brother Krishna.

Lord Balaram Temple, Dauji Haveli in Mathura
Entrance to Dauji ki Haveli

Dauji Ki Haveli Balaram Temple in Mathura
The temple sanctum

Peepleshwar Mahadeo Temple

Situated near Vishram Ghat on the banks of River Yamuna is one of the ancient and more significant temples of the town, the Peepleshwar Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. He is one of the four dwarpals (guards) of the town responsible for protecting the eastern region of the town, the other three being Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple in the west, the Gokarneshwar temple towards the north, and the Rangeshwar Mahadev temple to the south of the town.

Peepaleshwar Mahadeo Temple, Mathura
The Peepleshwar Mahadeo Shivling with His consort,
Goddess Parvati in the background

Charchika Mata Temple

In the same bylane as the Peepleshwar Mahadev temple is a very small temple dedicated to the eight armed Hindu Goddess Chamunda, locally known as Maa Charchika. This temple is one among the 51 shaktipeeths of India and Goddess Shakti’s hair is believed to have fallen here.

Charchika Mata Temple in Mathura
Charchika Mata Temple

Krishna Janmbhumi: Birthplace of Lord Krishna

Probably the second most important temple after the Dwarkadheesh temple is the Krishna Janmbhumi. It is believed to be the exact sacred spot which Lord Krishna had chosen for His descend on this mortal world – His birthplace, the Krishna Janmabhumi (birth means janm and bhumi means place).

Krishna Janmbhoomi, Mathura
Entrance to the Krishna Janmbhoomi
(image courtesy brajwasi.in)

Sprawling in a huge area, the place is reminiscent of the times when Vasudev had miraculously fled with his new born son, Krishna, breaking all his captive chains of the prison cells amidst the taut guard set by the demon king Kansa.

Owing to its proximity to the Jama masjid, there is a tight security cover with officers and commanders keeping a close watch over the visitors. Leather bags, camera and mobile phones are strictly prohibited in the complex and there are locker facilities available where one can deposit these items before moving in. We had visited this temple during our previous visit to the city but had to skip it this time around due to lack of time.

Inside the compound, the major attraction is the room shaped like a prison cell, believed to be the exact birth place of Lord Krishna. The room has image idols depicting the puranic tale and the walls have beautiful pictures depicting a few snippets of His story as a child. On the level above this, is the spacious Keshav Deo Temple housing various deities like Radha-Keshav, Jaganath (Lord Vishnu), Sita-Ram, Hanuman, Balram, Subhadra, Shivling, Nav grahas; Radha and Keshav being the central among them.

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  1. Beautiful temples and other buildings. I am always astonished that your culture is so old and the buildings so ancient. You have done a great job writing this post!

    Wil, ABC Team

  2. Arti, you have really done a wonderful blog on Mathura which even I could never have conceived even after my life long association with the place:)

  3. Through Ram's and your blogs, I am starting to understand the magnitude Hinduism plays in your lives. The names of the gods, for instance Krishna, are gradually becoming familiar to me. I can understand the significance of his birthplace. After all, Christians feel the same way about Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

  4. Another wonderful tour of the beautiful temples in your country, Arti! Marvelous captures and information! Hope your week is going well!


  5. Beautifully captured pictures of the temple and very well explained Arti...Thanks for ur wishes :)

  6. Arti, Excellent! you have covered Mathura extensively. Probably I had a different bent of mind and tend to concentrate only at places where the architecture is of proven antiquity (not hearsay)

  7. Amazing pictures Arti. Love seeing the country through your eyes/lens.

  8. Hi Arti,

    Wonderful titbits of all the other temples we tend to miss ... it is so interesting to read the stories related to every temple ... I will surely visit these places next time

    Super Yummy Recipes

  9. How lucky you are! This is one of my dream destination! Thanks for the glimpses.

  10. Beautiful description and images.
    Thank you so much for sharing ...

    Will be here more frequent soon ..
    take care

  11. I always love coming to your blog, Arti -- your photos are so rich and full of mystery for me. xoxo

  12. very interesting!!!


  13. Fantastic description,Arti.
    It's really delighting.

    Many many thanks for visiting
    my blog.

  14. Such amazing temples Arti! The bird Garuda looks mysterious - you have seen so many things around India now!

  15. I love all the bells!!! Do the temples all ring them on a regular basis, at different times? The first temple, so interesting to see it with the wires in front, kind of like both the old and the new.

  16. beautiful pics
    entrance to birthplace
    nice post

  17. Hi Arti,

    Always good to come and see where you go on your travels and I enjoyed seeing the temples and learning more about India.

    Happy day

  18. Arti,
    Thanks a lot for another delightful blog. It is interesting to see the many bells in front of the temple. Do you ring bells before entering it? This time, I found many similarities as many Buddhist guardians and bodhisattvas are converted from Hindu deities. Four directional kings and Garud, especially four directional kings are placed in almost any big temples. I imagine Hindu deities who have different names and shapes from Buddhist ones. How closely connected India and Japan were through Silk Road in ancient days!!
    Have a great week.

  19. since you travel a lot, could you tell me why all temples in south are black whereas in north in bright colours?

  20. Another good article with detailed information... keep it going :)

  21. Just looking at your lovely shots makes me feel at peace.

  22. @ Ginny, Keiko
    All the Temples in India have Temple bells hung at the
    entrance. They are rung by the devotees before entering in. This act of ringing is done to invoke the Gods (kind of inform Them that we are entering your house) and at
    the same time it is also belived to ward the bad spirits away.

  23. @ Keiko
    Yes, India and Japan do have close ties.
    We have Bodh Gaya and Sarnath, 2 of the biggest Buddhist places here in India. I have had the pleasure of visiting Sarnath a few years back and loved the environment there. I am yet to visit Gaya.
    Giving you the link to my Sarnath post, Sarnath - Where Buddha gave his first Sermon

  24. @ Renu
    Its been long since I travelled down South but yes I too have noticed that Temples in north are brightly colored.
    All I can remember from down south is the Meenakshi Temple which is very colorful and Raneshwaram Temple which is probably black.
    I dont have any precise answer though to your query.

  25. @Arti Awesome post, Great to read about " Temples of Mathura", Beautiful photographs.Thanks a lot.We virtually travel trough your blog.Take care.

  26. A very nice post on those beautiful temples ! You have done a great thing.
    Thank you for the useful information and pictures.

  27. Hi Arti
    what a delightful tour of these temples. the second of your photos is my favorite, I could stare at it forever. And I love the bells. It all looks so...timeless. These are all places I would love to visit some day. Now I need you as my tour guide - in person!
    I am feeling much better. It took some time, and I hadn't been ill in many years, so I suspect a part of it was just being overdue for that sort of thing. All healed. thank you for your kind thoughts. It's always a pleasure to visit you Arti. happy week to you.

  28. So many interesting places in this one place; most of those Deities I had never heard of...I learn so much from your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  29. The state of disrepair is sad to see in Mathura temples. The pics of deities was a treat. In the temples of the south, you are not allowed to take photographs of the deities in the sanctum sanctorum.

  30. Your religious culture is so amazing! The temples even though shows a sign of aging, yet I can see the beauty.

    Nice read.

  31. Hi Arti !!!
    I have been to Mathura once for some official work but I didn't went to any one of the temples which I regret a lot.
    But I didn't forgot to bring back Famous Mathura ke paede home.
    Thanks for the Post :)

  32. Please GOD do somethings special for our polluted life.

  33. Such a diverse lot of Temples, I think its interesting to see that most of them feature bells.

  34. Very beautifully written details about the other famous stalas in Mathura- which we often tend to miss.
    And good to see that each of these temples have a story that dates back to very long era. I'm surprised they allowed to take pictures of the main deities inside!

  35. thanks for the tour, I am glad for the opportunity to be learning from you through your photos and words.

  36. @zephyr @Vaish Yes, indeed sad to see the state of the temples. Our government only wakes up when the damage is done!

    In majority of the temples in the north that I have been to, photography is strictly prohibited even inside the temple premises. In the south, I presume from what I have seen in the blogging world, they still allow it within the premises at least if not the sanctum sanctorum. It is only in the relatively smaller and lesser known temples of Mathura and Vrindavan, that the photography rules are relaxed and I could click some pictures and put them up here.

  37. You know Arti ,I am the only one in both my families(mine and my hubby's)who is yet to see Mathura.Once again a big thanks for sharing this series with us .
    Have a beautiful weekend.

  38. Beautiful pictures and lovely narration. So much in-depth information, this is a one-stop place for visitors.

  39. I'd love to see Lord Krishna's birthplace -- looks like a lot of people have the same idea.
    The temples are beautiful. Love the bells.

  40. wow..lovely post Arti..
    happy to recollect my sweet memories, while we visited these places, some eight yrs back..:)

    Tasty Appetite

  41. thank you for the wonderful virtual darshan!!

  42. Leather bag is prohibited. The thing that is prohibited depend on the countries,isn't it?
    When I was a student, I was warned to take off my cap to enter the temple.
    But there are many armed Goddes in our country,too. Maybe it came from your country.
    Have a fabulous week!

  43. When the bells at the entrance are rung.

    We have made our presence.

  44. OMG those Lal Pedas look so so tempting...I tasted them long long back during my first visit to Mathura...can't wait to taste them again!!

  45. This is very interesting and helpful. I can bookmark it as I would read it before a trip to Mathura. I would love to see all the temples there...

    Thanks Arti!

  46. sorry for the late appearance... a nice post again... seems Mathura contains lot of temples dedicated to Lord Krishna as he was born there... most of the temple entrances are deceiving. they don't seem like temples...

  47. Absolutely gorgeous temples. The detailing is exquisite! I sometimes catch a show on TV where the hosts explore India and I am entranced by all the culture. Amazing!

  48. Wonderful images of the temples Arti! Our culture is so rich and yet we try to ape the west! Its like the grass is always greener on the other side.

    PS: Apologies for commenting late yaar. For some reason my Google reader missed your updates ?!? Yeah, even Google is not fool-proof :D I then removed your feed and added it again :)

  49. Beautifully captured pictures of the temple

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