Mathura Knowledge Guide
Mathura has an ancient history and also believed to be the homeland and birthplace of Krishna who was born in Yadu dynasty. According to the Archaeological Survey of India plaque at the Mathura Museum, the city is mentioned in the oldest Indian epic, the Ramayana. In the epic, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slays a demon called Lavanasura and claims the land. Afterwards, the place came to be known as Madhuvan as it was thickly wooded, then Madhupura and later Mathura.Archaeological excavations at Mathura show the gradual growth of a village into an important city. The earliest period belonged to the Painted Grey Ware culture (1100-500 BCE), followed by the Northern Black Polished Ware culture (700-200 BCE). Mathura derived its importance as a center of trade due to its location where the northern trade route of the Indo-Gangetic Plain met with the routes to Malwa (central India) and the west coast.By the 6th century BCE Mathura became the capital of the Surasena Kingdom. The city was later ruled by the Maurya empire (4th to 2nd centuries BCE). Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city under the name Μέθορα (Méthora). It seems it never was under the direct control of the following Shunga dynasty (2nd century BCE) as not a single archaeological remain of a Shunga presence were ever found in Mathura.The Indo-Greeks may have taken control, direct or indirect, of Mathura some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE, and remained so as late as 70 BCE according to the Yavanarajya inscription, which was found in Maghera, a town 17 kilometres (11 mi) from Mathura. The opening of the 3 line text of this inscription in Brahmi script translates as: "In the 116th year of the Yavana kingdom..." or '"In the 116th year of Yavana hegemony" ("Yavanarajya") However, this also corresponds to the presence of the native Mitra dynasty of local rulers in Mathura, in approximately the same time frame (150 BCE—50 BCE), possibly pointing to a vassalage relationship with the Indo-Greeks.After a period of local rule, Mathura was conquered by the Indo-Scythians during the first 1st century BCE. The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", as opposed to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. However, Indo-Scythian control proved to be short lived, following the reign of the Indo-Scythian Mahakshatrapa ("Great Satrap") Rajuvula, c. 10–25 CE. The Kushan Empire took control of Mathura some time after Rajuvula, although several of his successors ruled as Kushans vassals, such as the Indo-Scythian "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, both of whom paid allegiance to the Kushans in an inscription at Sarnath, dating to the 3rd year of the reign of the Kushan emperor Kanishka c. 130 CE. Mathuran art and culture reached its zenith under the Kushan dynasty which had Mathura as one of its capitals. The preceding capitals of the Kushans included Kapisa (modern Bagram, Afghanistan), Purushapura (modern Peshawar, Pakistan) and Takshasila/Sirsukh/ (modern Taxila, Pakistan). During 3rd century Nagas ruled Mathura after decline of Kushan Empire.Faxian mentions the city as a centre of Buddhism about 400 CE while his successor Xuanzang, who visited the city in 634 CE, mentions it as Mot'ulo, recording that it contained twenty Buddhist monasteries and five Hindu temples. Later, he went east to Thanesar, Jalandhar in the eastern Punjab, before climbing up to visit predominantly Theravada monasteries in the Kulu valley and turning southward again to Bairat and then Mathura, on the Yamuna river.The city was sacked and many of its temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018 CE and again by Sikandar Lodhi, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi from 1489 to 1517 CE. Sikander Lodhi earned the epithet of 'Butt Shikan', the 'Destroyer of Hindu deities'. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, built the Shahi-Eidgah Mosque during his rule, which is adjacent to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi believed to be over a Hindu temple.
Mathura Junction railway station is situated on the major Delhi-Mumbai train route. Both Central Railway and Western Railway routes pass through Mathura. Trains from NCR (north-central railway) to ER (eastern railway) also pass from the Mathura junction railway station. Mathura Cantt railway station is a major route for an eastern and central railway. Important train that origin/terminate from Mathura: 12177/Howrah - Mathura Chambal Express.
Mathura is connected by road to the rest of Uttar Pradesh and India. NH-19 (NH-2 as per old numbering system) which is having connectivity from Delhi to Kolkata and diversion for Chennai also passes from Mathura. Yamuna expressway Greater-Noida to Agra(165 km 6 lane access controlled express highway) also passes from here so there is connectivity to Noida and Agra and Lucknow.
A tram network has been proposed in the city, which would make Mathura only the second city in India (after Kolkata) to get tram transport. In 2017, the local MLA Shrikant Sharma announced that the trams will be operation in Mathura and Vrindavan by 2018.
Currently the city has no airport, nearest airport is Agra (about 60 kms away) and Delhi Airport (about 160kms away) with major national and international air routes. Under-construction Jewar Airport in Greater Noida will be approximately 75kms away from Mathura and is expected to be country's largest airport when fully operational. Land has been earmarked, and construction is in progress near the Yamuna Expressway, with plans to open in the next five years with regular flights to major national and international air routes in future.Then civil aviation minister Ajit Singh suggested Mathura's name for the site of a new greenfield international airport to chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav in 2012. Mathura's name came into play when group of ministers terminated the planning of building Taj International Airport at Agra.