Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex

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Krishna Temple, Mathura, India

Krishna Janmasthan or Keshav Dev Temple is a Hindu temple in Mathura, India. It is among the most sacred of Hindu sites, and is revered as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. It is situated beside the main Krishnajanmabhoomi complex, the birthplace of Krishna. Kehsav Dev (Krishna) is the deity of this temple. According to traditions, the original deity was installed by Bajranabh, who was great-grandson of Krishna.

Quotes[edit]

  • In the year 997 a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of the little state of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young and poor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious. Pretending a holy zeal for destroying Hindu idolatry, he swept across the frontier with a force inspired by a pious aspiration for booty. He met the unprepared Hindus at Bhimnagar, slaughtered them, pillaged their cities, destroyed their temples, and carried away the accumulated treasures of centuries. Returning to Ghazni he astonished the ambassadors of foreign powers by displaying "jewels and unbored pearls and rubies shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates." Each winter Mahmud descended into India, filled his treasure chest with spoils, and amused his men with full freedom to pillage and kill; each spring he returned to his capital richer than before. At Mathura (on the Jumna) he took from the temple its statues of gold encrusted with precious stones, and emptied its coffers of a vast quantity of gold, silver and jewelry; he expressed his admiration for the architecture of the great shrine, judged that its duplication would cost one hundred million dinars and the labor of two hundred years, and then ordered it to be soaked with naphtha and burnt to the ground.
  • The temple of Kešavadeva was destroyed in January, 1670. This was done in obedience to an imperial firmãn proclaimed by Aurangzeb on April 9, 1669. On that date, according to Ma’sîr-i-Ãlamgîrî, “The Emperor ordered the governors of all provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and strongly put down their teaching and religious practices.” Jadunath Sarkar has cited several sources regarding the subsequent destruction of temples which went on all over the country, and right up to January 1705, two years before Aurangzeb died. ... Soon after, in 1665, Aurangzeb imposed a pilgrim tax on the Hindus. In 1668, he prohibited celebration of all Hindu festivals, particularly Holi and Diwali. The Jats who rightly regarded themselves as the defenders of Hindu hounour were no longer in a mood to take it lying.
    • Ma’sîr-i-Ãlamgîrî, quoted in Arun Shourie, Sita Ram Goel: Hindu Temples - What Happened to Them? Vol. II, ch. 4
  • 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.
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964.
  • 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.'...'
    • Akhbãrãt, cited in Sarkar, Jadu Nath, History of Aurangzeb,Volume III, Calcutta, 1972 Impression. p. 186-189.
  • 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
  • Let us see what Aurangzeb did to the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura built at a cost of rupees thirty-three lakhs by Raja Bir Singh Bundela. The author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri writes: In this month of Ramzan (January 1670), the religious-minded Emperor ordered the demolition of the temple at Mathura. In a short time by the great exertions of his officers the destruction of this great centre of infidelity was accomplished. A grand mosque was built on its site at a vast expenditure. 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 Begum Sahib (Jahanara's mosque) in order to be continually trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.
    • K.S. Lal, Legacy of Muslim rule in India, Ch. 2. Referencing Saqi Mustaad Khan, Maasir-i-Alamgiri.(Mustaad Khan, Saqi, Maasir-i-Alamgiri, trs. and annotated by Jadunath Sarkar, Calcutta, 1947.)
  • The Varãha PurãNa says, The is no God like Kešava and no BrãhmaNas like those of Mathurã.
    • Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [1]
  • “Mathurã on the Yamunã is famous as the birthplace of KRishNa. It was the scat of the Bhãgvata religion from about second century BC to fifth Century AD…. “Brãhmanical shrines of Mathurã began to be built quite early as shown by the discovery of an epigraph, viz. the Morã Well-Inscription as well as other records like the lintel of the time of ŠoDãsa. It was in the reign of Chandragupta Vikramãditya that a magnificent temple of VishNu was built at the site of KaTrã Kešavadeva… “The rich store of Brãhmanical images in Mathurã Museum is specially noteworthy. The formulation of these images was a natural result of the strong Bhãgavata movement of which Mathurã had been the radiating centre from about the first century BC… The chronological priority in the making of Brãhmanical images to that of the Buddha should be taken as a settled fact on the basis of an image of Balarãma from JãnsuTî village. It is definitely in the style of the Šuñga period. Patañjali also writing in the same age informs us of the existence of shrines dedicated of Rãma and Kešava i.e., Balarãma and KrishNa…”
    • V.S. Agarawala, Masterpieces of Mathura Sculpture, Varanasi, 1965. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [2]
  • ‘At the great temple of Lord Vãsudeva, a gateway and a railing was erected by Vasu son of Kaušiki Pãkšakã. May Lord Vãsudeva be pleased and promote the welfare of Svãmî Mahãksatrapa ŠoDãsa.’
    • Part of an inscription of Svãmî MahãkSatrapa ŠoDãsa: R.C. Sharma, ‘New Inscriptions from Mathurã’ in Mathurã: The Cultural Heritage, op. cit., p. 309. quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [3]
  • Jajja, who long carried the burden of the varga together with the committee of trustees (gosThîjana) built a large temple of VishNu brilliantly white and touching the clouds.
    • Part of an inscription discovered by Dr. A. Fuhrer in 1889 11 Epigraphia Indica, Vol. I (1892), New Delhi, Reprint, 1983, quoted from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [4]
  • The temple of Kešavadeva was destroyed in January, 1670. This was done in obedience to an imperial firmãn proclaimed by Aurangzeb on April 9, 1669. On that date, according to Ma’sîr-i-Ãlamgîrî, “The Emperor ordered the governors of all provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and strongly put down their teaching and religious practices.” Jadunath Sarkar has cited several sources regarding the subsequent destruction of temples which went on all over the country, and right up to January 1705, two years before Aurangzeb died. None of the instances cited by him make any reference whatsoever to booty or the political problem of rebellion. The sole motive that stands out in every case is religious zeal. Our Marxist professors will find it very hard, if not impossible, to discover economic and/or political motives for all these instances of temple destruction. The alibis that they have invented in defence of Aurangzeb’s destruction of the Kešavadeva temple are, therefore, only plausible, if not downright fraudulent. It is difficult to believe that the learned professors did not know of Aurangzeb’s firmãn dated April 9, 1669 and the large-scale destruction of Hindu temples that followed. If they did not, one wonders what sort of professors they are, and by what right they pronounce pontifically on this subject.
    • Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, Vol. III, Calcutta, 1972 cited from Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [5]
  • The desecration and conversion of the temple of Bir Singh Bundela at Mathura built at a cost of thirty-three lakh rupees sent a wave of consternation in the contemporary Hindu mind. The idol was removed by its priests and taken to Rajasthan. Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar installed it in a tiny village of Sihar on 10 March 1672. Sihar has now grown into an important town, which named after the deity, is now known at Nathdwara.
    • Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • The temple was levelled to the ground and a mosque was ordered to be built on the site to mark the acquisition of religious merit by the emperor. No wonder that this created consternation in the Hindu mind. Priests and protesters from Brindaban fled the place with the idol of Lord Krishna.... After an adventurous journey they reached Jodhpur... Maharaja Raj Singh at Udaipur who himself received the fugitives on the frontiers of the state and decided to house the god at Sihar on 10 March, 1672. In course of time the tiny village of Sihar became famous as Nathdwar after the name of its god, and Mewar of Mira Bai became a great centre of Vaishnavism in India.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • The grandest shrine of Mathura, Kesav Rai’s temple, built at a cost of 33 lakhs of rupees by the Bundela Rajah Birsingh Dev, was razed to the ground in January 1670, and a mosque built on its site. The idols were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of Jahanara’s mosque that they might be constantly trodden on by the Muslims going in to pray.
    • Quoting from ‘Anecdotes of Aurangzeb And Historical Essays By Jadunath Sarkar,’ Published By M. C. Sarkar & Sons. 902-a Harrison Road, Calcutta 1917. On page 11 ff. also quoted in [6] [7] [8] [9]
  • He constructed such an idol-house (deorha) in Mathura as will endure till the time of Resurrection. About ten lakh rupees have been spent on it. He had constructed in his native state a tank, forts and lofty edifices. A number of times he seated himself to weigh against gold, and once gave in charity one thousand coins with one thousand silver ewers (lotas) to Brahmins (Dhakhiratul Khawanin 2003: 134).
    • Shaikh Farid Bhakkari wrote of Bir Singh’s temple, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • Between Dehli and Agra, a distance of fifty or sixty leagues, there are no fine towns such as travellers pass through in France; the whole road is cheerless and uninteresting; nothing is worthy of observation but Maturas (Mathura), where an ancient and magnificent temple of idols is still to be seen (Bernier 1916: 284).
    • Francois Bernier saw the temple in 1663, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • It is one of the most sumptuous buildings in alll India ... Although this pagoda, which is very large, is in a hollow, one sees it from more than 5 or 6 coss distance, the building being very elevated and very magnificent ... ([avernier 1889: 240-243).
    • The French merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689) described it in 1650, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • Outside this grand and matchless building are a school, a worship house, an inn, about 80 houses in all, fully occupied and engaged. Although the worship was coming to an end, the men and women were dispersing, nearly thirty thousand men and women together and close (to each other) were present on that unique place. Orators, reciters of holy books, dominis, and all the administrators of affairs and others were present. Everyone stayed with their respective guides. Due to the large crowd and the ecstasy due to religious songs, it was difficult to keep one’s bearing there (O/Hanlon 2011: 196).
    • M. Balkhi, quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • On 14th October, 1666, learning that there was a stone railing in the temple of Keshav Rai, which Darn Shulcoh had presented to it, Aurangzib ordered it to be removed, ns a scandalous example of a Muslim’s coquetry wth idolatry. And finally in January 1670, his zeal, stimulated by the pious meditations of Ramzan, led him to send forth commands to destroy this temple altogether and to change the name of the city to Islamabad.
    • Sarkar J, III, [10] also in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • “On Thursday, 27th January /15 Ramzan (27 January 1670) ... 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 Mathura, famous as the Dehra of Kesho Rai. 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 by the expenditure of a large sum... Praised be the august God of the faith of Islam, 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 Begum Sahib in order to be continuously trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.
    • Saqi Mustaid Khan 1947: 60). quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • ... the great temple of Matora (Mathura), which was of such a height that its gilded pinnacle could be seen from Agrah, eighteen leagues away. In its place a mosque was to be erected, to which he gave the name of Essalamabad (Islamabad) - that is, ‘built by the faithful’...
    • Manucci Vol. Tt 1907: 154). quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • ... during the fast of Ramazan ... Aurangzeb had descended in person on Mathura. The temple specially marked out for destruction, was one built so recently, in the reign of Jahangir, at a cost of 33 lakhs by Bir Singh Deva, the Bundela, of Urcha. Beyond all doubt this was the last of the famous shrines of Kesava Deva ... The mosque erected on its ruins is a building of little architectural value but the natural advantage of its lofty and isolated position render it a striking feature in the landscape (Growse 1874: 37, 126).
    • F.S. Growse, Collector and District Magistrate of Mathura, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • ... there can be little doubt that the great temple of Kesava had stood on this site (Katra) from a very early date, although often thrown down and as often renewed (Cunningham 1969: 31).
    • Alexander Cunningham, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.
  • ..by means of some inscriptions on the pavement slabs, which were recorded by Hindu pilgrims to the shrine of Kesava Ray. In relaying the pavement the Muhammadan architect was obliged to cut many of the slabs to make them fit into their new places. This was proved by several slabs bearing incomplete portions of Nagari inscriptions of a late date. One slab has ‘... vat. 1713, Phalgun,’ the initial Sam of Samvat having been cut off. Another slab has the name of Keso Ray, the rest being wanting, while a third bears the date of Samvat 1720. These dates are equivalent to AD 1656 and 1663; and, as the latter is five years subsequent to the accession of Aurangzeb, it is certain that the Hindu temple was still standing at the beginning of his reign (Cunningham 1885: 39).
    • Alexander Cunningham, in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history.

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