Top 5 offbeat things to to in Mathura!

Coming to the land of Gods, there are a very large number of places to visit in Mathura and multiple things to do in and around the town. I was in town recently for the legendary Vrindavan-Mathura Holi and ended up also exploring a lot of Mathura beyond it's temples.

places to visit in mathura vishram ghat
Mathura - Places to visit!

Here are my Top Five recommendations to the slightly unusual things you can do in Mathura. All of these can be done in just one day - so pack you bags, get your camera ready and hit the streets :)

Here is a video to give you a more visual overview. Do SUBSCRIBE to my channel if you enjoy the video :)

1. Bhang

Bhang was outlawed in most of India in the late 1980s, but it remained legal in some cities still like Varanasi, Jaisalmer and Mathura. I have been all of these places and have sampled the bhang everywhere.

Places to see in Mathura Bhang streets vishram ghat
Bhang in the making on Mathura streets :)
Mathura and Varanasi can be a lot of fun if you have some good dosage of Bhang right in the morning and top it up every few hour with a glass of two. There are Bhang shops all around the city, especially in the lanes near the Vishram ghat. I would say that these shops are my top places to visit in the city. If you want even more adventure, you must go to the temple early in the morning when fresh Bhang is crushed. Ask the priests nicely and you might get a dose of super-strong Bhang goli also from them :)

For those who do not know Bhang, its a preparation from the female cannabis plant and has been a part of North India culture and traditions from the Vedic times.

2. Walk the Streets

Street Walks are usually always there on my recommendations when it comes to exploring a city, and these are specially good in Mathura. Do not look for guided walks, as those do not exist much, it's best to just walk yourself and explore the city.

Places to see in Mathura streets walk
A view of the street near Vishram Ghat
My favourite area is the one around the Ghats, especially the area and the lanes between Vishram and Bengali Ghats. People are extremely friendly and it's great to just pick conversations and learn more. There is a lot of history to be explored through its architecture, old temples and the general life that exists on the streets.

Best time for a walk are mornings till about 11am and evenings from 4pm to sunset.

3. Explore the gully food

It's difficult to think of an old Indian city which does not have great street food, and Mathura is no exception. The top two street food items are Kachodi and Jalebis! There are so many more things like chaat, gulab-jamuns, aalu-poori and so on, but my favourite are these two. These are available through the day, but its best to start eating at 6am in a small shop opposite the more famous Brijwasi shop at the Holi gate.

Places to see in Mathura street food chaat pani puri
Street food is the best!
Mathura gets a large number of pilgrims from Gujarat so there are many Gujarati food places as well. However, I found the Gujju food extremely disappointing. However, you must visit some of these places just for the experience of eating there. The one place I can recommend is "Girdhar Murari Dharmashala" on Bengali Ghat. You need to take coupons in advance for dinner as they make very limited food and dinner walk-ins are not welcome :)

The best place for chaat is 'Shreeji Chaat'. It's impossible to give directions to just ask for it in the lanes around Vishram Ghat.

4. Doors of Mathura

Any conversation about places to visit in Mathura is incomplete without a mention of the Doors of Mathura. Strangely, I have not seen much written about it discussed on these absolutely gorgeous doors of this historical town. I even think that if developed and promoted more, these could also become the highlight of a trip to the town.

Places to see in Mathura doors of temple
Door of an old temple...
The best place for Door watching is actually the lanes and the streets around the ghats. Most of these intricately carved wooden doors are actually doors of temples or old Havelis. If you ask nicely, you will certainly be allowed inside (especially in the temples) and also allowed to take the pictures, as long as you do not click the deity.

5. Kushti in an Akhara

And finally, the legendary Indian sport which is a dying art, but continues to remain popular in rural areas. There is no Akhara in Mathura town itself, but just as you cross the Yamuna Railway bridge, there is one about a 1km from the end of the bridge on the left side. The walk to the Akhara through the field is fun, and watching an active game of the sport live is even more fun! If you get lost, just ask for Shivalay Pehalwanji ka Akhara and you will be given directions to reach by anyone.

Indian Men doing Kushti in Mathura akhara Places to see in Mathura makes langot bulge diskslip
Men in a Kushti match in Mathura

While in the Akhara, you can even volunteer for a sort of fake match to get the experience. You might be required to strip and don a langot to play though, which is not a big glitch for such an unusual experience.

Unfortunately, women are not allowed in an akhara and only men can go in. The best time to reach would be around 8.30am and catch the wrestlers as they practice and get ready for action.


  1. A great view to the city!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Glad to know beyond the temples of Mathura.

  3. Hari Om
    Lovely teasers you gave us Sid! YAM xx

  4. Yes! You must try these and more new things when you go there...

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  6. Awesome! Did you try the pedas? My father used to get the famous mathura ke pedes from every trip!

  7. Loved the pictures! I'm glad you see it more than just a religious city. I've been trying to convince people of the same. :)

    - Sachi

  8. Of course I did :) They are great...

  9. Awesome....! Thank You Sir Joshi for share...!!!

  10. Great Article, Thanks for write this...

  11. I want to go to photograph at Banke Bihari temple, what time would you suggest to be there ( I'll artive at Delhi airport around 6am. On 1st March 2018

    1. I would suggest go directly from the airport to Vrindavan and into the Banke Bihari temple - waste no time. Reaching there early will let you negotiate your way up and also plan for the shots.

  12. Namaste!
    What is the name of temple where early in the morning when fresh Bhang is crushed?


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