Open main menu
Along the Ghats of Mathura (circa 1880)

Mathura is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Agra, and 145 kilometres (90 mi) south-east of Delhi; about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from the town of Vrindavan, and 22 kilometres (14 mi) from Govardhan. It is the administrative centre of Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh. In Hinduism, Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of Krishna.

Quotes about MathuraEdit

  • To travel to different places of pilgrimage means to attain emancipation from material bondage. This emancipation, however, is not the highest perfectional stage. After attaining this liberated stage, one has to become engaged in devotional service to the Lord. After attainment of the brahma-bhuta [liberation] stage, one can further advance to engagement in devotional service. So this attainment of transcendental loving devotional service to the Lord is the goal of life, and it can be achieved very easily for one who lives in Mathura-mandala even for a few seconds.
    • Padma Purana
  • Who is that person who will not agree to worship the land of Mathura? Mathura can deliver all the desires and ambitions of the fruitive workers and of the salvationists, who desire to become one with the Supreme Brahman. Certainly Mathura will deliver the desires of the devotees, who simply aspire to be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord."
    • Padma Purana
  • Any person who becomes attracted to places other than Mathura will certainly be captivated by the illusory energy.
    • Varaha Purana
  • A far more important discovery was made in 1860, in digging the foundation of the Magistrate and Collector's new court-house. The site selected for this building was an extensive mound overhanging the Agra road at the entrance to the civil station. It had always been regarded as merely the remains of a series of brick-kilns, and had been further protected against exploration by the fact that it was crowned by a small mosque. This was, for military reasons, blown down during the mutiny ; and afterwards, on clearing away the rubbish and excavating for the new foundations, it was found to have been erected, in accordance with the common usage of the Muhammadan conquerors, upon the ruins of a destroyed temple. A number of Buddhist statues, pillars, and basso-relievos, were disinterred ; and the inscriptions, as partially deciphered, would seem to indicate that the mound was occupied by several different monasteries...
    • Mathurá ; a district memoir, by Growse, Frederic Salmon [1]
  • Thousands of pilgrims who visit Mathura or walk past the site of Vishvanath temple and Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi everyday, are reminded of Mughal vandalism and disregard for Hindu sensitivities by Muslim rulers.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3 (also in K.S. Lal, Historical Essays)
  • The Hindus of this region had been victims of Muslim high-handedness for a long time, particularly in respect of their women. Murshid Qulî Khãn, the faujdãr of Mathura who died in 1638, was notorious for seizing “all their most beautiful women” and forcing them into his harem. “On the birthday of Krishna,” narrates Ma’sîr-ul-Umara, “a vast gathering of Hindu men and women takes place at Govardhan on the Jumna opposite Mathura. The Khan, painting his forehead and wearing dhoti like a Hindu, used to walk up and down in the crowd. Whenever he saw a woman whose beauty filled even the moon with envy, he snatched her away like a wolf pouncing upon a flock, and placing her in the boat which his men kept ready on the bank, he sped to Agra. The Hindu [for shame] never divulged what had happened to his daughter.” Another notorious faujdãr of Mathura was Abdu’n Nabî Khãn. He plundered the people unscrupulously and amassed great wealth. But his worst offence was the pulling down of the foremost Hindu temple in the heart of Mathura and building a Jãmi‘ Masjid on its site. This he did in AD 1660-61.
    • S.R. Goel in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Vol. II (quoting (Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, Vol. III, Calcutta, 1972 ))

Quotes about Ahmed Shah Durrani in MathuraEdit

  • The Hindu Bethlehem now lay utterly prostrate before the invaders. Early at dawn on 1st March the AfghAn cavalry burst into the unwalled and unsuspecting city of MathurA, and neither by their master's orders nor from the severe handling they received in yesterday's fight, were they in a mood to show mercy. For four hours there was an indiscriminate massacre and rape of the unresisting Hindu population - all of them non-combatants and many of them priests' 'Idols were broken and kicked about like polo-balls by the Islamic heroes.' [Husain Shahi, 39.] Houses were demolished in search of plunder and then wantonly set on fire. Glutted with the blood of three thousand men, SardAr JahAn Khan laid a contribution of one lakh on what remained of the population and marched away from the smoking ruins the same night.
    'After the tiger came the jackal. 'When after the massacre Ahmad ShAh's troops marched onward from MathurA, Najib and his army remained there for three days, plundered much money and buried treasure, and carried off many beautiful females as captives.' [Nur, 15 b.] The blue waves of the JamunA gave eternal repose to such of her daughters as could flee to her outstretched arms; some other happy women found a nearer escape from dishonour by death in their household wells. But for those of their sisters who survived there was no escape from a fate worse than death. A Muslim eyewitness thus describes the scene in the ruined city a fortnight later. 'Everywhere in the lanes and bazaars lay the headless trunks of the slain and the whole city was burning. Many buildings had been knocked down. The water of the JamunA flowing past was of a yellowish color, as if polluted by blood. The man [a Muslim jeweller of the city, robbed of his all and fasting for several days] said that for seven days following the general slaughter the water had turned yellow. At the edge of the stream I saw a number of huts of vairAgis and sannyAsis [i.e., Hindu ascetic], in each of which lay a severed head with the head of a dead cow applied to its mouth and tied to it with a rope round its neck.'
    'Issuing from the ruins of MathurA, JahAn Khan roamed the country round, and plundering everywhere as directed. VrindAvan, seven miles north of MathurA could not escape, as its wealth was indicated by its many temples. Here another general massacre was practised upon the inoffensive monks of the most pacific order of Vishnu's worshippers (c. 6th March). As the same Muhammadan diarist records after a visit to VrindAvan: 'Wherever you gazed you beheld heaps of the slain; you could only pick your way with difficulty, owing to the quantity of bodies lying about and the amount of blood spilt. At one place that we reached we saw about two hundred dead children lying in a heap. Not one of the dead bodies had a head' The stench and effluvium in the air were such that it was painful to open your mouth or even to draw breath.'...
    'Moving a fortnight behind his vanguard, the AbdAli king himself came upon the scene. He had stormed Ballabhgarh on 3rd March and halted there for two days. On 15th March he arrived near MathurA, and wisely avoiding that reeking human shambles crossed over to the eastern bank of the Jamuna and encamped at MahAvan, six miles south-east of the city....'
    • Jadunath Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire, Volume II, Fourth Edition, New Delhi, 1991, p.70-71
  • 'I have myself seen the depredations of the Afghans round Dehli and Mattra. God defend us from them! It makes the very hair of the body stand on end to think of them. Two hundred thousand men were destroyed in these massacres, and the hordes of the enemy were without number. Such atrocities, forsooth, were perpetrated in compliance with their religion and law! What cared they for the religion, the law, the honour and reputation of the innocent sufferers? It was enough for such bigots that splendour accrued by their deeds to the faith of Muhammad and 'Ali!'
  • “Ahmad Shah Abdali in the year AH 1171 (AD 1757-58), came from the country of Kandahar to Hindastan, and on the 7th of Jumadal awwal of that year, had an interview with the Emperor ‘Ãlamgir II, at the palace of Shah-Jahanabad… After an interval of a month, he set out to coerce Raja Suraj Mal Jat, who from a distant period, had extended his sway over the province of Ãgra, as far as the environs of the city of Delhi. In three days he captured Balamgarh, situated at a distance of fifteen kos from Delhi… After causing a general massacre of the garrison he hastened towards Mathura, and having razed that ancient sanctuary of the Hindus to the ground, made all the idolaters fall a prey to his relentless sword…”
    • Ahmed Shah Durrani in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Tarikh-i-Ibrahim Khan in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. VIII, pp. 264-65.
  • “Moving a fortnight behind his vanguard, the AbdAli king himself came upon the scene. He had stormed Ballabhgarh on 3rd March and halted there for two days. On 15th March he arrived near MathurA, and wisely avoiding that reeking human shambles crossed over to the eastern bank of the Jamuna and encamped at MahAvan, six miles south-east of the city. Two miles to his west lay Gokul, the seat of the pontiff of the rich VallabhAcharya sect. The AbdAli’s policy of frightfulness had defeated his cupidity: dead men could not be held to ransom. The invader’s unsatisfied need of money was pressing him; he sought the help of ImAd’s local knowledge as to the most promising sources of booty. A detachment from his camp was sent to plunder Gokul. But here the monks were martial NAgA sannyAsis of upper India and RajputAna. Four thousand of these naked ash-smeared warriors stood outside Gokul and fought the AfghAns, till half of their own number was killed after slaying an equal force of the enemy. Then at the entreaty of the Bengal subahdAr’s envoy (Jugalkishor) and his assurance that a hermitage of faqirs could not contain any money, the AbdAli recalled the detachment. ‘All the vairAgis perished but Gokulnath [the deity of the city] was saved’, as a Marathi newsletter puts it.” [Rajwade, i. 63.]
    • About Ahmed Shah Durrani. Jadunath Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire, Volume II, Fourth Edition, New Delhi, 1991, p.70-71

Quotes about Mahmud of Ghazni in MathuraEdit

  • The Sultãn then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindûs. The name of this place was Maharatul Hind' On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work'...'In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultãn thus wrote respecting it: - 'If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand, thousand red dînãrs, and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed The Sultãn gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.
    • Mahmud of Ghazni. Kitãbul-Yamînî, in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. II, p.44-45
  • From that place the Sultãn proceeded to a certain city, which was accounted holy by the people of the country. In that city the men of Ghaznîn saw so many strange and wonderful things, that to tell them or to write a description of them is not easy' In short, the Sultãn Mahmûd having possessed himself of the booty, burned their idol temples and proceeded towards Kanauj.
    • Mahmud of Ghazni. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. IV : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 178-80
  • 'Mahmood having reached Tahnesur before the Hindoos had time to take measures for its defence, the city was plundered, the idols broken, and the idol Jugsom was sent to Ghizny to be trodden under foot...'Mahmood having refreshed his troops, and understanding that at some distance stood the rich city of Mutra, consecrated to Krishn-Vasdew, whom the Hindoos venerate as an emanation of God, directed his march thither and entering it with little opposition from the troops of the Raja of Delhy, to whom it belonged, gave it up to plunder. He broke down or burned all the idols, and amassed a vast quantity of gold and silver, of which the idols were mostly composed. He would have destroyed the temples also, but he found the labour would have been excessive; while some say that he was averted from his purpose by their admirable beauty. He certainly extravagantly extolled the magnificence of the buildings and city in a letter to the governor of Ghizny, in which the following passage occurs: 'There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; most of them of marble, besides innumerable temples; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of deenars, nor could such another be constructed under a period of two centuries.'...'The King tarried in Mutra 20 days; in which time the city suffered greatly from fire, beside the damage it sustained by being pillaged. At length he continued his march along the course of a stream on whose banks were seven strong fortifications, all of which fell in succession: there were also discovered some very ancient temples, which, according to the Hindoos, had existed for 4000 years. Having sacked these temples and forts, the troops were led against the fort of Munj'....'The King, in the year AH 410 (AD 1019), caused an account of his exploits to be written and sent to the Caliph, who ordered it to be read to the people of Bagdad, making a great festival upon the occasion, expressive of his joy at the propagation of the faith.'
    • Mahmud of Ghazni. Tãrîkh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I, pp. 27-37.
  • The Sultan then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindus. The name of this place was Maharatu-l Hind. He saw there a building of exquisite structure, which the inhabitants said had been built, not by men, but by Genii, and there he witnessed practices contrary to the nature of man, and which could not be believed but from evidence of actual sight. The wall of the city was constructed of hard stone, and two gates opened upon the river flowing under the city, which were erected upon strong and lofty foundations to protect them against the floods of the river and rains. On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work; and opposite to them were other buildings, supported on broad wooden pillars, to give them strength.
    In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: - "If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand, thousand red dinars, and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed."...
    The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.
    • About the capture of Mathura. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 44-45 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • From that place [Mahawan] the Sultan advanced to Mathurah, which is a large city containing many temples' and the Sultan completely destroyed the city and burnt the temples. There was one golden idol which was broken up under the orders of the Sultan...
    • Mahmud of Ghazni. The Tabqãt-i-Akbarî translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 11-16
  • From thence he went to Mathra (Mathura) which is a place of worship of the infidels and the birthplace of Kishan, the son of Basudev, whom the Hindus Worship as a divinity - where there are idol temples without number, and took it without any contest and razed it to the ground. Great wealth and booty fell into the hands of the Muslims, among the rest they broke up by the orders of the Sultan, a golden idol.
    • Mahmud of Ghazni. Muntakhãbut-Tawãrikh, translated into English by George S.A. Ranking, Patna Reprint 1973, Vol. I, p. 17-28
  • From that place the Sultan proceeded to a certain city, which was accounted holy by the people of the country. In that city the men of Ghaznin saw so many strange and wonderful things, that to tell them or to write a description of them is not easy' In short, the Sultan Mahmud having possessed himself of the booty, burned their idol temples and proceeded towards Kanauj.....The Ghaznivids found in these forts and their dependencies 10,000 idol temples, and they ascertained the vicious belief of the Hindus to be, that since the erection of these buildings no less than three or four hundred thousand years had elapsed. Sultan Mahmud during this expedition achieved many other conquests after he left Kanauj, and sent to hell many of the infidels with blows of the well tempered sword. Such a number of slaves were assembled in that great camp, that the price of a single one did not exceed ten dirhams.

Quotes about Mathura during the reign of Sikandar LodiEdit

  • He was so zealous a Musalmãn that he utterly destroyed divers places of worship of the infidels, and left not a vestige remaining of them. He entirely ruined the shrines of Mathurã, the mine of heathenism, and turned other principal Hindu places of worship into caravansarais and colleges. Their stone images were given to the butchers to serve them as meat-weight, and all the Hindus in Mathurã were strictly prohibited from shaving their heads and beards, and performing their ablutions...
    • Sikandar Lodi. Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. Eliot and Dowson, Vol. IV, pp. 439-467
  • 'He was firmly attached to the Mahomedan religion, and made a point of destroying all Hindoo temples. In the city of Mutra he caused musjids and bazars to be built opposite the bathing-stairs leading to the river and ordered that no Hindoos should be allowed to bathe there. He forbade the barbers to shave the beards and beads of the inhabitants, in order to prevent the Hindoos following their usual practices at such pilgrimages
    • Sikandar Lodi. Tãrîkh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I, p.338-343
  • He got the temples of the infidels destroyed. No trace of infidelity was left at the place in Mathura where the infidels used to take bath. He got caravanserais constructed so that people could stay there, and also the shops of various professionals such as the butchers, bawarchis, nanbais and sweetmeatsellers. If a Hindu went there for bathing even by mistake, he was made to lose his limbs and punished severely. No Hindu could get shaved at that place. No barber would go near a Hindu, whatever be the payment offered.
    • Sikandar Lodi. Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) . Waqiat-i-Mushtaqi, by Shykh Rizqullah Mushtaqi, in: Uttara Taimura Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1958-59. Vol I. p. 102 ff, and In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What happened to them
  • 'The Islamic sentiment (in him) was so strong that he demolished all temples in his kingdom and left no trace of them. He constructed sarais, bazars, madrasas and mosques in Mathura which is a holy place of the Hindus and where they go for bathing. He appointed government officials in order to see that no Hindu could bathe in Mathra. No barber was permitted to shave the head of any Hindu with his razor. That is how he completely curtailed the public celebration of infidel customs.
    • Sikandar Lodi. Tãrîkh-i-Khãn Jahãn Lodî, Translated from the Urdu version by Muhammad Bashîr Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986, pp. 172-179. In Goel S.R. Hindu Temples What Happened to them. Tãrîkh-i-Khãn Jahãnî wa Makhzan-i-Afghãnî of Khwãjah Niamatallãh Harwî, translated into Urdu by Muhammad Bashîr Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986.
  • His faith (bigotry) in Islam was to that extent, that he went beyond the bounds even of excess. He levelled to the ground all the places of worship of the kafirs ; and left neither their name nor any vestige of them. In Mathurah and other places, where there are places for the ablution of the Hindus, he built serais, and bazaars, and mosques, and colleges, and employed men to prevent the Hindus from bathing. If any Hindu wanted to shave his beard or head in Mathurah, the barber refused to place his hand on his beard or head ; and he completely abolished all heathenish practices by public orders. He forbade the annual procession of the lance of Salar Masa'ud. He also prohibited the going of women to the tombs of holy men.
    • The Tabaqat-i-akbari Of Khwajah-Nizamuddin-Ahmad, Volume 1 [2]
  • 'He was a stout partisan of Islam and made great endeavours on this score. He got all temples of the infidels demolished, and did not allow even a trace of them to remain. In Mathura, where the infidels used to get together for bathing, he got constructed caravanserais, markets, mosques and madrasas, and appointed there officers with instructions that they should allow no one to bathe; if any Hindu desired to get his beard or head shaved in the city of Mathura, no barber was prepared to cut his hair.
    • Tabqat-i-Akhari, Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Uttara Taimur Kalina Bharata, Aligarb, 1958. Vol. I, In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What happened to them

Quotes about Mathura during the reign of AurangzebEdit

  • ‘It was reported to the Emperor (Aurangzeb) that in the Temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura, there was a stone railing presented by ‘Bishukoh’ (one without dignity i.e. Prince Dara, Aurangzeb’s elder brother). On hearing it, the Emperor observed, “In the religion of the Musalmans, it is improper even to look at a Temple and this Bishukoh had installed this kathra (barrier railing). Such an act is totally unbecoming of a Musalman. This railing should be removed (forthwith).”
    • Umurat-i-Hazur Kishwar-Kashai, Julus (R.Yr.) 9, Rabi II 24 / 13 October 1666.
  • “In the reign of Shãh ‘Ãlamgîr Muhîu’ddin Walmillah, the king of the world, Aurangzeb, who is adorned with justice, the lustre of Islãm shone forth to the glory of God; for ‘Abd-un-Nabi Khãn built this beautiful mosque. This second ‘Holy Temple’ caused the idols to bow down in worship. You will see the true meaning of the text, “Truth came and error vanished.’ Whilst I search for a tãrikh, a voice came from blissful Truth ordering me to say ‘Abd-un-Nabi Khãn is the builder of this beautiful mosque.’ May this Jãma Masjid of majestic structure shine forth for ever like the hearts of the pious! Its roof is high like aspirations of love; its court-yard is wide like the arena of thought.”
    • Persian inscription on the Jãmi‘ Masjid in the center of Mathura. Reproduced and translated into English by F.S. Growse in his Mathura: A District Memoir, third edition (1883) reprinted from Ahmadabad in 1978, pp. 150-51. Quoted in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Volume II. Chapter 6.
  • When the imperial army was encamping at Mathura, a holy city of the Hindus, the state of affairs with regard to temples of Mathura was brought to the notice of His Majesty. Thus, he ordered the faujdar of the city, Abdul Nabi Khan, to raze to the ground every temple and to construct big mosques (over their demolished sites).'
    • Futûhãt-i-Ãlamgîrî, translated into English by Tanseem Ahmad, Delhi, 1978. p. 82
  • During this month of Ramzan abounding in miracles, the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as a knower of truth and destroyer of oppression, as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet, issued orders for the demolition of the temple situated in Mathurã, famous as the Dehra of Kesho Rãi. In a short time by the great exertions of his officers the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished, and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum'...'Praised be the august God of the faith of Islãm, that in the auspicious reign of this destroyer of infidelity and turbulence, such a wonderful and seemingly impossible work was successfully accomplished. On seeing this instance of the strength of the Emperor's faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God, the proud Rajas were stifled and in amazement they stood like images facing the wall. The idols, large and small, set with costly jewels which had been set up in the temple were brought to Agra, and buried under the steps of the mosque of the Begam Sãhib, in order to be continually trodden upon. The name of Mathurã was changed to Islãmãbãd.'
    • Maãsir-i-Ãlamgiri, translated into English by Sir Jadu-Nath Sarkar, Calcutta, 1947, pp. 51-60
  • The Emperor learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shukoh, remarked, 'In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara had restored a railing in a temple. This fact is not creditable to the Muhammadans. Remove the railing.' By his order Abdun Nabi Khan (the faujdar of Mathura) removed it (1666).
    • Akhbarat, cited in Sarkar, Jadu Nath, History of Aurangzeb,Volume III, Calcutta, 1972 Impression. p. 186-189., quoted in part in Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: