Mathura is a city that carries a plethora of folklore with cultural significance. Located about 150 kilometres from the capital city of Delhi, it is brimming with pilgrims seeking enlightenment. It is the homeland of Lord Krishna, a widely revered divinity – the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The oldest Indian epic, Ramayana, mentions this city as Madhuvan (meaning thickly covered forest), later named Madhupura, and then Mathura. The city’s narrow lanes and remains of old broken houses speak of when local artisans hand-built the beauty of Mathura. Every by-lane murmurs of its defiance of urbanisation. The true essence of this spiritual land can only be felt upon visiting the temples, cornered streets, and long conversations with the locals who have protected the beatitude of the land for generations, making it a perfect getaway for travelling architects on the lookout for untold stories and undiscovered niches. Here are the top 15 places to visit in Mathura that must be explored!

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Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple | Places to Visit in Mathura

Among the countless temples, India is blessed to have, this is one of the temples that is close to the hearts of Hindus. A deity and philosopher, Lord Krishna is considered an Almighty strength which shows people the way of life. Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex is where Lord Krishna revealed Himself to the world. It is centred on the prison cell where Lord Krishna’s parents were held imprisoned. The complex consists of several temples dedicated to the Lord. The spiritual essence of these temples is told to bring peace and tranquillity to all who seek his help. 

Built about 5000 years ago, these ornate temples were destroyed and reconstructed 17 times by several Kings. After the Britishers took over India, the temple was auctioned off and later rebuilt through a trust foundation. The complex houses the Keshavdev Temple, the Garba Griha Shrine, and the Bhagavata Bhavan. Architecture is used as a beautiful medium to portray the significant events of Lord Krishna’s life. Innate craftsmanship through intricate carvings, motifs, and paintings in the temple tell the tales of the bygone past even today.

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Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple_©

Vishram Ghat

Located about 4 kilometers from Mathura junction, Vishram Ghat is a beautiful ghat of the Yamuna River that embraces the city of Mathura. Vishram translates to “rest”, making this the resting place of Lord Krishna after defeating a wicked demon ruler. A traditional ritual takes place in the holy waters of this ghat that is said to cleanse a person from within. The ghat is made of marble stonework, including a massive stone archway. It lies along 23 other ghats, lined with significant temples and shrines. People float lamps into the river, followed by a holy dip in the river, asking the Lord to grant their prayers and clean them of their misfortunes. 

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Vishram Ghat_©

Jama Masjid | Places to Visit in Mathura

More than anyone, an architect truly understands that religion does not stand in the way of architecture but instead facilitates it. This Masjid, located about 1km from Janmabhoomi temple, is a marvel of architecture, making it one of the most visited sites in Mathura. Built of red sandstone, it is constructed at the highest point of Mathura, raised by a high plinth. It has four minarets enclosing a large open central courtyard with an ablution pool. The pavilions around the open courtyard are made of Bangla roofs, ogival arches, and Persian inscriptions. The prayer hall features three bulbous domes, with the central one being the largest. 

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Jama Masjid_©

Iskcon Temple

Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir, also known as Iskcon Temple, is the physical manifestation of the vision of Iskcon’s founder. The incomparable beauty of the temple portrays the kinship of two brothers, Krishna and Balaram. The temple exemplifies remarkable craftsmanship in white marble, adorned with intricately carved walls, domes, and archways. Beautiful architectural elements like checkered black and white marble flooring in the courtyard are used, that is a wonder to the eye. 

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Iskcon Temple_©

Govardhan Hill | Places to Visit in Mathura

Govardhan Hill, also known as Giriraj, located 22 kilometres away from Vrindavan, is believed to be a manifestation of Lord Krishna himself. Stones of this hill are worshipped just as his idol is worshipped. The 80 ft high hill is made of sandstone. This serene sacred spot is a must-visit for a traveller. A statue depicting Lord Krishna lifting the hill with one hand, protecting the villagers from thunderstorms, reminds the devotees of the unending providence of their God. 

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Govardhan Hill_©

Dwarkadhish Temple 

Dwarkadhish Temple, also known as Jagat Mandir, is dedicated to Lord Krishna, the “King of Dwarka”. The temple stands on a hill and is accessed by steps. It is at the cusp of the Gomati River and Arabian Sea, creating a scenic backdrop for the temple. The fascinating legends associated with the temple make it one of the top 15 places to visit in Mathura.

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Dwarkadhish Temple_©

Kusum Sarovar 

Made of sandstone, this reservoir has a flight of steps descending into a pond. It was used to take a dip in the summer. The bright blue sky is reflected in the clear waters of the pond. Floral gardens adorn the pond with various flowers collected by Radha, Lord Krishna’s wife, to make jewelry for herself. It is a beautiful place for a walk in the evening, right by the pond with a cool breeze while watching the sunset. 

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Kusum Sarovar_© from

Kans Qila | Places to Visit in Mathura 

Along the banks of River Yamuna, Kans Qila is an ancient fortress dedicated to Kans – Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle. Although in a dilapidated state today, it attracts thousands of tourists and history enthusiasts who witness the beautiful amalgamation of Muslim-Hindu architecture. The fortress, built in red sandstone, is believed to have been used as a barrier against floods. 

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Kans Qila_©

Raman Reti

Situated in Gokul, a few kilometers away from Mathura lies Raman Reti where Lord Krishna engaged in divine plays (Raman) with his brother Balaram and his friends. It comprises a deer sanctuary and a few temples making it a relaxing spot for pilgrims and saints. Stepping into this mystical and relaxing region is a beautiful experience on its own.

Raman Reti_©

Akshaya Patra Temple | Places to Visit in Mathura

Also known as Radha Vrindavan Chandra Temple, the temple was built to recognise Maharaja Radha Chandra Swami. White statues carved out of stone are kept in the golden Mandapa – the main hall, which is the biggest attraction here. Carved doors and arches in the temple add to its beauty of the temple. The structure of the temple is a semi-sphere built to resemble a blooming lotus. This temple not only nourishes the soul spiritually through prayer but also with social activities. Akshaya Patra Foundation cooks and serves mid-day meals for nearby school students in a kitchen built behind the temple. 

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Akshaya Patra Temple_©

Radha Kund

It is one of the most revered spots in Mathura, located at the foothills of Govardhan Hill. Legend says Lord Krishna created a lake at Radha’s behest to wash off the sin of killing a bull. Lord Krishna established that anyone who takes a dip in these holy waters would be blessed with eternal love for him. Following this, thousands of devotees take a dip here to cleanse themselves and pay homage to the eternal love for the Lord. 

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Radha Kund_©

Banke Bihari Temple

Bankey translates to “bent in three places”, and Bihari means “supreme enjoyer”. The idol of Lord Krishna stands in the Tribhanga posture, bent in three places, giving the temple its name. It is believed to be the combined form of Radha and Krishna. Worshipers pray in intervals as it is believed that if a devotee looks into the eyes of the Lord for too long, the person will lose consciousness; such is the exceptional charm of this temple. 

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Banke Bihari Temple_©

Prem Mandir | Places to Visit in Mathura

Constructed in 2012 by a non-profitable trust on 54-acre land, this temple is dedicated to Radha Krishna and Sita Ram. Different forms of deities and saints are depicted all over the walls. A 73,000 sqft, column-free, the domed hall is built for large prayer groups. Gardens surround the temple complex with fountains. 

Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple_©

Kokilavan Dham

Known for the Shani Temple, it is located in the middle of a lush green forest on a 20-acre land. It is believed that the person who prays in the temple and circumambulates the forest while chanting receives abundant blessings. Two ancient lakes and cow sheds are a part of the temple complex. There is a holy tree in the temple courtyard where worshipers write their desires and wishes on the walls with their fingers. 

Kokilavan Dham_©

Charan Pahari, Nandgaon | Places to Visit in Mathura

Among the numerous religious sites in the Mathura district, Charan Pahari hill is known for the impressions of the feet of Lord Krishna. Located in Nandgaon, it has a legend dating back to when Lord Krishna resided here. It is believed that when he played his flute, the melody melted the hill, leaving behind his footprints on the hill. The hill also has impressions of footprints of women who are said to have melted by his melodious music. 

Charan Pahari_©


Architecture is never only about the built spaces, but the essence of the space felt by a person. The spirit of Mathura is best experienced during Janmashtami, when thousands of pilgrims come together to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. History, culture, and mythology continue to shape Mathura, one of the oldest cities in the world. The fragrance of incense in the atmosphere, chants of Lord Krishna, floral decorations everywhere, sweets prepared as an offering, and every narrow street filled with joy – it is an emotion that any architect must experience. One truly feels the immense energy in Mathura that rightly shows how far architecture can go to touch people’s lives.


 Online Sources

 Home, Mathura Vrindavan Tourism. Available at: (Accessed: December 10, 2022).

Raman Reti, Gokul, RAMAN RETI, GOKUL | District Mathura, Government of Uttar Pradesh | India. Available at: (Accessed: December 10, 2022).

Prem Mandir, vrindavan (2022) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at:,_Vrindavan (Accessed: December 10, 2022).

Offering sheer tranquility, these are some must-visit places in Mathura in 2022! (2022) TravelTriangle. Available at: (Accessed: December 10, 2022).

Tourism, G., Dwarkadhish temple, Dwarkadhish Temple. Available at: (Accessed: December 10, 2022).

Overview of the city, Mathura HAM STP. Available at: (Accessed: December 10, 2022).


Rhea is an architect by profession who believes that architecture is an intangible form of art that has the power to shape people’s life and surroundings. The relationship between built and unbuilt spaces intrigues her. She is a curious person with a love for art and its various forms of expression. She has a keen interest in travel, photography, and music.