The abode of Krishna (perhaps the most popular Hindu deity), a former Buddhist centre, and one of the Sapt Puri or the seven sacred cities in Hinduism—welcome to the holy city of Mathura. Set on the banks of river Yamuna, Mathura is an ancient city that forms the heart of brajbhoomi, the land of Lord Krishna, and attracts theists as well as atheists from all over the world. It’s here that it is believed the Supreme God was born and that explains the importance the city holds for devotees. With its many temples, frequent sounds of gongs and bells, and constant chants of ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’, the town is a spiritual journey like no other. Although Mathura is chaotic like most Indian cities, with too many people in too little space, there is a sense of calm in its chaos and clarity in its confusion.
Mathura also happens to be a budget traveller’s delight. You can easily find guest houses here to suit your preferences in prime localities of the city. And when these holiday homes offer services and facilities on par with hotels, including AC, WiFi, and a doctor-on-call, at considerably lower prices, it makes perfect sense to give hotels a pass and stay here for that quintessential personalised lodging experience. You can book a room in these vacation rentals for as low as around INR 450 and can go up to INR 2300 for a night.
Owing to the number of travellers who flock to the city, Mathura has a plenty of guest house properties that are conveniently located. You can find one in Dhauli Pyau and Dholi Pyau near Mathura Junction as well as along the Junction Road. Should you wish to stay in proximity to major temples, choose an holiday accommodation in the Janam bhumi area, where Shri Krishna Janam Bhumi Temple is located. Shri Dwarikadheesh Temple is also not too far from this area. You can also opt to stay in Masani and be close to the Birla Temple. Dampier Nagar, home to Mathura Museum, is another prominent area of Mathura and there are ample lodgings here for you to choose from.
To get even closer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, venture about twelve kilometres outside the city to Vrindavan that is home to the iconic Banke Bihari Temple, ISKCON Temple, and Nidhivan. Guest houses here offer rooms in the range of INR 600 to INR 2300.
Though the city of twenty-five ghats basks in religious glory all through the year, you should ideally plan a trip around the festivals of Janamashtmi or Holi, for Mathura at these times of the year is another story altogether. Yes, there will be crowd, so much that you’ll feel the whole country has gathered in one place, but the spirit and character the city displays during the two Krishna festivals is unparalleled. There’s a reason why the Mathura-Vrindavan holi is famous all over the world. It’s an experience that will change you and that you will cherish for the rest of your life. Janamashtmi celebrated in the land of Krishna is another spectacle you must witness. Visit Mathura and you will find the way to find yourself!