Do you know Vrindavan will have the world’s tallest temple by 2024? Not only that, it’d supposedly be the costliest temple in the world with an expense of approximately ₹300 crores!
That’d be an architectural marvel, a sight to adore when it is ready.
But Mathura and Vrindavan have yet many reasons to visit now. And in this post, we intend to show you those exact reasons and how beautiful and soul-satisfying this place is. We’ll list out the places you can visit, how you can plan the trip, the famous local sweet-dish Peda, and more.
The birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura, is a pilgrimage that hosts tourists and travelers visiting all year long. You’ll see disciples coming from all over the world, not just from India.
- Planning The Trip
- 10 Places To Visit in Mathura Vrindavan
- Visiting Gokul Govardhan
- Local Foods & Places
- Activities To Do
- Souvenirs To Buy
- Hygiene & Public Toilets
- Mode of Transport Between Attractions
- How To Reach Mathura?
- Best Time to Visit Mathura and Around
- Number of Days & Budget
- Practical Travel Tips
- Ending Note
Notice: This post may contain a few links which might earn us financial support when you buy or make any reservations through them. They’re in no way affect our opinion or the information presented here.
Planning The Trip
“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
We visited Mathura Vrindavan in January 2021. The COVID effect had somewhat slowed down, and it was a perfect time.
We were already done exploring Agra and around; Mathura was next in the lineup. Mathura is roughly a 2-hour bus ride away from Agra and easily accessible.
Further, Vrindavan is a suburb of Mathura district and is approximately half an hour away from the city center. You can either stay in Mathura or Vrindavan. Nonetheless, all points of interest around Mathura are well connected.
10 Places To Visit in Mathura Vrindavan
“Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
We barely had four days to explore Mathura. And like I said, it was inevitable that we wouldn’t be able to cover everything.
Here are the places we covered. We are listing the places we visited in Mathura first.
1. Vishram Ghat
Legends have it that this is the place where Lord Krishna rested after killing Kansa. It makes sense because Kansa Kila is nearby.
It was the first place we visited after passing through the meshy streets of Mathura. The calming and soothing Yamuna river flows by the Ghat. There are temple bell chimes, hopping monkeys, sages, and devotees arriving to perform their religious duties.
You can take a boat ride and immerse yourself in the holy waters of Yamuna. If you want to soak in the peace, we recommend visiting Vishram Ghat early in the morning.
2. Dwarkadheesh Temple
Situated next to Vishram Ghat, Dwarkadheesh Temple is one of the oldest and highly revered temples in Mathura. The Rajasthani-style entrance gate, paintings depicting Krishna’s life, and the temple’s astonishing architecture are enough for you to get lost in the devotion of Krishna.
The temple’s location is in the narrow lanes of Mathura, and it is perhaps the best idea to walk. Do attend morning or evening Aarti!
3. Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple
Lord Shiva’s form, Bhuteshwar Mahadev, is also referred to as Kotwal, aka Chief Police Office/Protector of Mathura, and this temple is devoted to Him. It is believed that without getting permission from Bhuteshwar Mahadev, one can’t do any deeds inside the city.
There’s also a Shaktipeeth in the temple complex where a lock of hair of Goddess Sati fell.
The temple is approximately 1.5 km from Mathura Junction railway station and about 500 meters from the bus station. One should visit Bhuteshwar Mahadev as it’s one of the temples not devoted to Lord Krishna.
4. Shri Krishna Janm Bhoomi
This temple complex is the most revered, built around the prison where Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva. Devotees visits from all over the world and the number only increases during special occasions.
After getting blessings from Bhuteshwar Mahadev, we walked for another thirty minutes to reach Krishna Janm Sthan/Bhoomi temple.
According to scholars, the original temple was destroyed and looted by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. A mosque was built on the plinth, which still stands. The temple architecture you see today is new, completed in 1982.
Inside, you’ll find life stories of Krishna, temples, and shows depicting the influence of the Lord. It’s a good time to stop, sit for a while, and be lost in the reveredness!
5. Birla Temple
Also known as Gita Mandir, the Birla temple sits on Mathura-Vrindavan road. The temple is devoted to the Lakshmi Narayan avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Jugal Kishore Birla of the Birla Family built this temple in the memory of his parents. The temple architecture is modern and is made of red sandstone. The inscriptions on the pillars read the whole Bhagavad Gita.
There’s a funny story attached to visiting this temple. We were all tired after returning from the Janm Sthan temple, but we had to visit the Birla temple as per our plan.
The rush and dirt from walking the raw streets of Mathura had taken away our energy. There was no direct bus, and the tuk-tuk was charging way too high (we had a super low budget, to be honest).
We were almost ready to give up, and suddenly a Tempo arrived. The guy was shouting and calling for the places. And as we told Birla Temple, he nodded, and our whole world turned slow. We fitted our backs into the backs of that Tempo and finally achieved what we’d set to do. And took this weird selfie as well:
6. Banke Bihari Temple
Okay, so up until now, we were technically in Mathura. Now let’s explore some temples of Vrindavan.
The next day, we visited the Banke Bihari Temple. Another highly revered Hindu temple is dedicated to Krishna. It was built in 1864 by Swami Haridas, the guru of famous singer Tansen.
The temple resides in a narrow location, and you’ll pass through the local streets of Vrindavan to reach here. There are loudspeakers hooked on poles instructing guidelines to follow while visiting the temple. Every street bustles with different items, each giving the expression of Krishna somehow.
7. Radha Vallabh Temple
Situated near Banke Bihari temple, Radha Vallabh temple is dedicated to Radha, a Hindu goddess and consort of Krishna. There’s no deity of Radhaji inside the temple, but a crown is put beside the Lord Radha Vallabh (Krishna), portraying Radha. It was built by the Radha-Vallabh Sect, which emphasizes the worship of Radharani.
The temple is peaceful in inexplicable ways and is a must-visit. It is also situated between the narrow lanes of Vrindavan.
8. ISKCON Temple
Also known as Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir, this temple was built in 1975 by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The beige-colored temple with white marble is architecturally magnificent. It is one of the most peaceful temples, where you can easily spot foreigners and Indians humming the hymns praising Lord Krishna.
It is situated a 10-minute ride away from the Banke Bihari temple. It sits near the Yamuna river’s banks, where Krishna and Balarama used to herd their cows.
9. Prem Mandir
Situated at 5-minutes away from ISKCON Temple, Prem Mandir is a relatively modern-architectured temple that opened in February 2012. The presiding deities are Radha-Krishna on the ground floor and Sita-Ram on the first floor.
The temple architecture is massive, and we liked the life-size sculptures showing different Ras Leelas of Krishna all around the temple’s garden. You should visit it at night to see these tableaus in more vivid colors.
If you call yourself photogenic, be sure to get some good clicks with this beautiful temple after taking the blessings.
10. The Mystical Nidhivan
We were waiting for this place to come. It had influenced us so much with its mystical stories that we couldn’t afford to miss this place, called Nidhivan. It’s not a typical van or forest at present but a group of trees believed to be nothing but forms of Gopis.
It is believed that Krishna performs Ras Leelas with Radha, and these trees turn into Gopis (humans) in the night, even today. Nobody can see them, and the one who tries to do so either goes blind, or something happens, due to which that person can’t express what they saw. Therefore, the complex is emptied by dusk, and no one can stay inside after that.
Nidhivan is situated in another set of Mathura’s narrow lanes. There’s a temple inside the Nidhivan called Rang Mahal.
Visiting Gokul Govardhan
You can not miss visiting Gokul and Govardhan when in Mathura. Check out our detailed travel guide on the best places to visit in Gokul Govardhan.
Gokul is the village where Lord Krishna spent his childhood with his elder brother Dau Ji while Govardhan is the village where He lifted the Govardhan Hill to protect its people from wrathful rain.
Local Foods & Places
“As the kindled fire consumes the fuel, so in the flame of wisdom, the embers of action are burnt to ashes.”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
So, what to eat in Mathura Vrindavan?
Being one of the holiest cities, you won’t find any non-vegetarian foods and products. Mathura Vrindavan is full of milk and milk products — which means there are a lot of sweet dishes to check out. However, Mathura is incomplete without mentioning its famous wholesome sweet, Peda.
Peda is an aromatic, delicious Indian sweet dish made from Khoya (simmered milk), sugar, and cardamom. Though available in many parts of India, it originated from Mathura.
Here is a list of all food items and eateries you should check out in Mathura Vrindavan:
|Peda||Our local host told us that only Brijwasi (Centrum) Sweets sells authentic Mathura Pedas. There were only two outlets back then, and we bought the one near the bus station.|
|Makkhan Misri||You can readily find Makkhan Misri near Banke Bihari temple. People tell that Yashoda Maa fed Lord Krishna with Makkhan Misri as it was his favorite.|
|Malpua||Malpua is an orangish chapati-shaped sweet dish. You can find it in the streets of Mathura and Vrindavan.|
|Samosa||Like in most of North-East India, Samosa is available in Mathura too. It is a great breakfast option.|
|Chole Bhature||Readily available near bus and railway stations, Chole Bhature is a wholesome breakfast or lunch option.|
|Jalebi||Jalebi is another sweet dish that you can find in local shops of Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, and around.|
|Lassi||Common in North India, Lassi is available in Mathura as well. However, the rich dose of Malai and Rabri on the top, along with dry fruits, is what makes Mathura’s lassi a bit different.|
|Ghevar||Originated from Rajasthan, Ghevar is a disc-shaped sweet dish with a rich amount of dry fruits in it. You will find it in most restaurants and shops.|
|Kachoris||Kachori is a deep-fried snack, fit for breakfast, available with street vendors, restaurants, and hotels alike.|
Activities To Do
“One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men.”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
Other than Mathura Vrindavan visiting places, what are your options? What activities can you do in Mathura Vrindavan and around?
1. Dip in Holy Waters of Yamuna
What better way to indulge in the divinity of Mathura Vrindavan than taking dips into the holy river?
You can do so at Vishram Ghat or any ghat within the city’s sphere, for that matter.
2. Circumambulate the Holy Govardhan Parvat
Want to give yourself exercise? How about trekking 21 km? If that sounds exciting to you, go on a full circumambulation around Govardhan Parvat, situated in the outskirts of Mathura Vrindavan.
3. See The Kans Qila
Kans was the mischievous uncle of Lord Krishna, who tried to kill him many times but failed at every attempt. His Qila or fort is still in existence but in dire condition.
You wouldn’t find it in plain sight as it’s practically hidden in the haste of city buildings on one side and a water body on the other. So, ask locals to locate its exact position (because Google Maps is no help here). Note that it’s somewhere near the Vishram Ghat. Also, beware of monkeys here.
4. Go On a Self-Guided City Tour
Want to see the best of the city? Go on foot.
The land of Krishna is best visible when you see it like a local. You’ll see an image of Krishna in the lifestyle of people, things, buildings, and everything that exists. From “राधे-राधे” imprints on the foreheads to the respect for cows and other animals — divinity lives here.
Take help from this Mathura Vrindavan guide and the Gokul Govardhan article to develop your self-guided tour.
Souvenirs To Buy
Mathura, Vrindavan, and the places around it are full of objects you can buy as souvenirs. From small items such as bells and miniature idols to oversized items such as woodwork and clothes, you can get many beautiful souvenirs in the local markets.
Here’s a table that can help you:
|Market Name||What Can You Buy?|
|Tilak Dwar Market||You can buy religious items such as prayer bells, Shringar clothes, beads, and more.|
|Chatta (Chowk) Bazaar||Dresses and jewelry mostly.|
|Bengali Ghat||Temple accessories and religious items.|
|Lal Bazaar||Wooden idols, handicrafts, brass items, and incense sticks.|
|Krishna Nagar Market||You can buy travel accessories, leather items, jewelry, and electronic items.|
Hygiene & Public Toilets
Team Misfit spent around three days scouring the Mathura city, mostly on foot. On these days, we had used public toilets and restrooms, which are available in most parts of the city and around the attractions.
You can find the toilet/restroom list by Nagar Nigam.
In terms of cleanliness, we felt the city had more to do. For example, Yamuna seems polluted, and lots of plastic bags are lying in even the main parts of the city. There should be a dustbin at frequent intervals.
However, we are optimistic that authorities are actively working on the issue, and a few years later, people will have the consciousness.
Mode of Transport Between Attractions
Traveling between attractions and temples is easy. You can easily cover most Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan, and Gokul temples on foot. However, you’ll need public transport to travel between Vrindavan, Govardhan, and Gokul.
Tuk-tuk and shared auto are readily available for Vrindavan and Gokul from Mathura. Since Govardhan is around 50 km, you can get a bus from the highway or the bus stand. City buses also travel through these places at a regular interval.
See the map:
How To Reach Mathura?
Mathura Junction railway station (MTJ) lies in the city, only a few kilometers away from the city center. You can find trains to MTJ from major railway stations in India.
Mathura has depot and bus stations connected to nearby state’s major bus stations. You can find the list of stations operated by UPSRTC in Mathura, which falls in the Agra region.
The nearest international airport is Delhi at ~145 km, and the nearest domestic airport is Agra at ~50 km. Private and public transport is available from Agra and Delhi to Mathura.
Best Time to Visit Mathura and Around
Holi is undoubtedly the best time to visit Mathura Vrindavan. Mathura celebrates the festival of colors, Holi, in unique and different styles. According to the Indian calendar, Holi typically falls in March every year. Search Google for the exact date, and plan your trip accordingly.
The next best time to visit Mathura Vrindavan and Gokul Govardhan is Janmashtmi — formally the birthday of Lord Krishna. Since the entire region bores hymns of Krishna, you can imagine the city’s vibrancy during this time. Tableaus, decorations, religious sermons, blooming markets, and more.
Please note these are the peak times as most tourists and travelers come to Mathura’s sacredness to celebrate Holi and Janmashtmi.
So, if you’re not comfortable with the crowd, you can visit in other seasons. The best time to visit Mathura and around is from October to March, in winters and moderate summer.
Number of Days & Budget
The number of days and budget for Mathura are highly subjective topics. It depends significantly on what type of traveler you’re and how lavish your travels are generally.
Here, we’re explaining things for a budget traveler who wants to get the best of the place in minimal time.
Number of Days For Mathura, Vrindavan, and Around
Three to four days are enough to explore Mathura and around. Keep in mind that most temples in Mathura and Vrindavan are closed between 12 pm and 4 pm. During this time interval, you can explore markets and go shopping.
Since Mathura is a holy city, you don’t pay a dime for the blessings from the almighty. No one will force you. So, your huge expenses while in the town will be food, stay, transport, and shopping.
Here’s a table with an estimated budget. Bear in mind that the expenses listed here will change as time ages.
|What?||Estimated Cost Per Day Per Person|
Accommodation options start from INR 300 and go beyond INR 4,500 — many hotels, paying guest houses, youth hostels, and ashrams.
It is advisable to stay in Mathura or Vrindavan as Gokul and Govardhan don’t have many options and are significantly far from the city center.
Practical Travel Tips
“Strive to still your thoughts. Make your mind one-pointed in meditation.”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
Before visiting Mathura Vrindavan, be sure to keep these practical travel tips in mind:
- Mathura is around 183 km from India’s capital Delhi and about 397 km from Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow.
- Rail, road, and airways are available. The nearest airport is in Agra, and the railway station is Mathura Junction.
- Almost all the temples in Mathura and Vrindavan remain closed between ~12 pm to ~5 pm.
- Vrindavan is at ~22 km from Mathura, and you can quickly get tuk-tuk for around INR 30-40.
- Most of the temples don’t allow cameras inside.
- Temples in Mathura and Vrindavan are not very far from each other. If you’re a good walker, you can easily cover them via foot.
- You need at least 3-4 days to explore Mathura, Vrindavan and around.
How to plan a Mathura Vrindavan trip?
First, identify how many days you can give. It requires at least two to four days to visit essential places. For more, read this guide to travel Mathura Vrindavan.
What to eat in Mathura Vrindavan?
You can try local foods such as Kachori, Maal Pua, Bedai Puri, etc. You can get all North Indian dishes promptly. Don’t forget to buy the famous Peda from Brijwasi Sweets in Mathura.
What to see in Mathura Vrindavan?
Mathura is a holy city and the birthplace of Lord Krishna. So you will have numerous temples dedicated to the deity. The ones you shouldn’t miss seeing are Dwarkadheesh, Shree Krishna Janm Bhoomi/Sthan, ISKCON, Prem Mandir, Birla Mandir, Nidhivan, and more.
What to buy in Mathura Vrindavan?
The whole city gives the expression of Lord Krishna and Radha. You can buy clothes, miniatures, decoratives, toys, and several other items.
“Set thy heart upon thy work but never its reward.”Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
We hope this travel guide will help you to fully explore Mathura and the places around it. This guide is based on personal experience and extensive research. If you find any discrepancy, please let us know, we’ll act promptly.
If you have been to Mathura already, how about your feedback for this travel guide? Please use the comments box.
An appeal: Please do not throw litter around. Use a dustbin and if you can’t find one, take the trash with you and throw it when you find it. Your small steps like this one can make the world clean and green.