I was invited to see the work that had been taking place at the Mathura Ghats a few days ago and enthusiastically went with the camera to see the results.
The Ghats in Mathura are the most mentioned tirtha in all of the shastra. The Yamuna near Mathura is a repository of the pastimes associated with Krishna. The river bank is embellished with stone steps leading to the surface of the water. Each ghat has a story associated with it. The city of Mathura is spread on the right bank of the Yamuna and the ghats, temple spires and archways provide a wonderful view from the opposite bank.
It is believed that the ghats were built at the sites of ancient ashrams, where the great sages performed their penances. Today they are crowded with pilgrims who visit these sacred sites for the ritual dip in the water. Of the 25 ghats that exist today, Vishram Ghat is the most important. It is stated in shastra that Lord Krishna rested here after killing the tyrant demon Kansa.
The 12 ghats to the north of Vishram Ghat include the Ganesh Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat with its Neelakantheshwar Temple, Saraswati Sangam Ghat, Chakratirtha Ghat, Krishnaganga Ghat, Somatirth or Swami Ghat, Ghantagharan Ghat, Dharapattan Ghat, Vaikuntha Ghat, Navtirtha or Varahkshetra Ghat, Asikunda ghat and Manikarnika Ghat.
To the south, of Vishram Ghat there are 11 ghats – the Guptatirth Ghat, Prayag Ghat marked by the Veni Madhav Temple, Shyam Ghat, Ram Ghat, Kankhal Ghat, the site of the Janmashtami and Jhula festivals, Dhruva ghat, Saptrishi Ghat, Mokshatirth Ghat, Surya Ghat, Ravan Koti Ghat and Buddha Ghat.
Some of the most elegant temples of Mathura, like the Mukut Temple, Radha-Damodar, Murli Manohar, Neelkantheshwar, Yamuna-Krishna, Langali Hanuman and Narasimha temples are situated near Vishram Ghat. The baithak of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is also nearby.
There importance to all Vaishnavas from all sampradayas cannot be estimated. So it is wonderful that some restoration is taking place.