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Mathura Culture

The ethos and culture of Mathura mainly revolves around the birth and life deeds of Lord Krishna and various tales woven along with this mythological Godly character. Mathura is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna was born to Devki and Vasudeo in the underground prison of King Kansa. The city houses numerous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna including the Keshav Dev Temple built at the Krishnajanmabhoomi and at the time of Krishna Janmashtami Festival, the entire Mathura city along with the neighboring Vrindavan and Gokul towns turns vibrant and jubilant. Mathura has been an active pivot of Brahmanism, Jainism and Buddhism for several decades.
The ‘Braj’ culture that is reflected through various customs prevalent in Mathura involves a number of traditional practices such as Sanjhee and Rasiya. Sanjhee is an exclusive art of decorating the floor with colorful flowers while Rasiya is the traditional folk-songs that describe the divine love between Devi Radha and Lord Krishna. Rasiya folk songs are invariably recited at the time of all the festivals celebrated at Mathura; the chief amongst them being Holi. Holi Festival, popularly known as Dhulendi Festival in Mathura finds its origins in Braj culture itself.
Raaslila; the dance form originally supposed to have performed by Lord Krishna along with Devi Radha and the Gopikas of Gokul on the banks of the river Yamuna has now become an integral part of Indian Folklore. The Raaslila dance has been popular in Braj for past several centuries. According to the prevailing custom, only young Brahmin boys of the age of 13 to 14 years are allowed to perform the Raaslila. Charkula is yet another traditional folk dance from Braj region wherein a woman balances a column of lamps on her head and dances to the tunes of Rasiya songs sung by the men folk. Usually the number of lamps varies from 51 to108 in each performance.
The chief language spoken in Mathura is Hindi but what bring variation are its distinct dialects exclusive to the Braj province. The Hindi spoken in Mathura is known as ‘Brajbhasha’ which also used to be the principal language of the literature and poetry produced here until Hindi took over. Mathura is renowned for the brass and copperware items such as jewelry, jewel cases, caskets, Sindoor pots, plates, jars, lamps, hanging lamps, Peacock Deep, Shiv Trishul, vases, other decorative items, and so on. Apart from that, Mathura is also famous for its textile industry. The beautiful embroidery work done by the artisans of Mathura using precious and semi precious stones is well known far and wide.
The economy of the citizens of Mathura is supported by various industries flourishing here including Mathura Refinery (one of the biggest oil refineries of Asia), Silver Polishing Industry, Textile Printing Industry (sari-printing), Fabric Dyeing Industry, Water Tap Manufacturing Units, other decorative and household items manufacturing and so on. Moreover, Mathura has also been a booming center of manufacturing cotton materials; the chief amongst them being pure white bleached cotton saris, dhotis and cotton bed-sheets. Mathura is also a thriving hub of producing milk based sweets like Kesharia Peda, Burfi and other milk products such as ghee, cheese, butter, khurchan and so on.
Mathura has also been a home to the ‘Mathura School of Art’ for past 1200 years, the great school of sculpture making. During the governance of the Kushan and Gupta kings, the art of Mathura reached to its peak. During the Kushan rule in 1st and 2nd century AD two schools of sculptural art evolved; the Gandhara and the Mathura. The Gandhara School of Art is about combining the foreign techniques of art with ethnic Indian ideas whereas the Mathura School of Art entirely stuck to the Indian ethos. The most noteworthy piece of art created during this epoch is the human like image of Lord Buddha who was earlier represented only by symbols. Later, the Mathura School of Sculpture Art also created the human like images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and Jain Tirthankars, some of the models of Mathura School of Art are still preserved in the museums of Mathura, Varanasi, Allahabad and Lucknow.