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Famed for being the birthplace of the much-loved Hindu god Krishna, Mathura is one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities and attracts floods of pilgrims, particularly during Janmastami (Krishna’s birthday) in August/September and Holi in February/March. The town is dotted with temples from various ages and the stretch of the sacred Yamuna River that flows past here is lined with 25 ghats.

Mathura was once a Kushan capital and a major Buddhist centre with 20 monasteries that housed 3000 monks, but after the rise of Hinduism, and later sackings by Afghan and Mughal rulers, all that’s left of the oldest sights are the beautiful sculptures recovered from ruins, now on display in the excellent Archaeological Museum.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mathura.