Mathura, India: The Seat of Enlightenment

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Mathura, India: The Seat of Enlightenment

Mathura, how do I describe it? Better to start with the questions that lead one here.

What makes our life turn? What are we really looking for? Is it truth, spirituality, simplicity or happiness? People from all over the globe have embarked on quests to find the answers to these questions, but with little success. We have become so lost in trying to make ends meet that the meaning of life, the meaning of God, and the essence of spirituality is forgotten. Why? Has anybody tried to unlock the key and find out?

In a world of skyscrapers, pubs, malls and high end stores, catering to the avarice in us, there stands a town, untouched by materialism and unfazed by globalization. It stands tall in a country filled with diversity and spirituality. Mathura holds the clue to a meaningful living. It contains religion, God, and celestial charm, serving as a refuge for the restless souls of travellers from all over the world.

There's something about this place that draws you here, and sometimes destiny just makes you come here, traversing kilometres in search of peace and the invigorating presence of Krishna.


The land of Krishna, the land where the cow is mother, where fields, milk, cattle, and temples infused with incense and flowers make up the entire expanse. A town 10 years in retrograde, with little to offer in terms of amenities, but nevertheless brimming with life and vigour and hope.

When I first landed in this place for medical school, I had no idea of the fascination people have with Mathura, the land of Krishna, the kingdom of evil Kansa. Days were spent lamenting the decision to be here, amongst the village folk, struggling to adjust from a life of comfort and modernization. Having to travel several kilometres to the nearest grocery store – trapped in the nothingness of the vast expanse of fields, only to end up in a clustered marketplace filled with congestion, yet surrounded by a strange sense of benevolence from the people of this town, with their rough tongues, yet clear hearts. This place is an oxymoron I thought. 

Mathura’s contrasts are exemplified by the contrast between the bitter, intoxicating cannabis drink, Bhaang, and the sweetness of the specialty of this place, a dessert called Peda. Peda is manufactured by processing milk and adding cardamom and sugar to make it even more delectable. It just melts in your mouth. Pedas have been served as Prasad, or holy food, in literally all the temples of this town – each with their unique modifications and variants serving to satiate the taste buds.

The typical breakfast in this town is as indulgent as Krishna himself. A sweet, juicy succulent delicacy, called Jalebi, along with potato curry and potato stuffed bread, known as Kachori and Sabzia. You really need to try it – I was actually addicted to this breakfast!


Mathura – Jalebi

Temples, like the Dwarikadheesh, are epitomes of the architectural and spiritual enrichment of this town. The birthplace of Lord Krishna, Krishna Janmbhoomi, has a mosque standing adjacent to it – a testimonial to the religious tolerance and spiritual exquisiteness of this quiet town.

A few kilometres from the main city is a small settlement where Krishna lived with his cattle and his foster mother, Yashoda. Here he reared cattle, stole butter from young milkmaids, and stood up to bullying. This little settlement, known as Vrindavan, is replete with lush greenery, clandestine lanes, and a host of temples, including the Banke Bihari Temple, which stays packed throughout the year and has a special significance in the lives of pilgrims.


Mathura – Dwarikadheesh

You will also be surprised by the large number of foreigners who live permanently in this area, dressed in traditional attire – women in lehenga choli and men in dhoti kurta. Some have turned into hermits, living in the intoxication of Lord Krishna. All around the temples you will see them, especially the world renowned Isckon temple, where you will find them reciting the Bhagwad Gita, the sacred scripture of the Hindus, and dancing in euphoria every evening, chanting Hare Rama Hare Krishna.

There’s something about this place that draws you here, and sometimes destiny just makes you come here, traversing kilometres in search of peace and the invigorating presence of Krishna. You have to be here to find it, because as far as I’m concerned, I still need to find the answer for myself.

For those who want to visit more of the spiritual places in the world, check out Wadi Rum.

Aishwarya Sharma

Aishwarya Sharma

A dentist by profession, and a writer, traveler and musician by passion - I never fail to explore some of the most underrated aspects of India. I have a special love for the hills as I grew up in the small, quaint hill town of Dehradun. I never leave out an opportunity to explore any landscape, whether it's the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh, the breezy beaches of Goa or the regal environs of Rajasthan. There's a pride I carry in my heart because I belong to one of the most diverse, fulfilling and vibrant regions of the world, India.

1 Comment

  • Erika

    Mathura sounds like a fascinating place. We will have to visit next time we are in India.

    July 20, 2017 at 8:23 pm