Buddha only came to Mathura once and he doesn't seem to
have been very impressed by the place. In the Anguttara
Nikaya he says, "Mathura has five disadvantages. What five?
The ground is uneven, there is a lot of dust, the dogs are
fierce, there are evil spirits and it is difficult to get
alms food". The town certainly hasn't changed very much
but don't let that turn you off. If you are interested in
Indian art, especially Buddhist art, Mathura is not to be
city was a great centre of Buddhism for nearly a thousand
years and in that time its artists turned out an astonishing
variety and amount of sculpture. The art of Mathura is to
be found in collections all over the world but the biggest
and most representative collection is in the city's Government
Museum. As for opening and closing times, I'll quote from
the museums brochure. "From July 1st to April 30th, 10:
30 am to 4: 30 pm. From May 1st to June 30th, 7.30 am to
1 pm. Week end holiday - Monday. Galleries are also closed
on Sunday followed by second Saturday of the month and on
gazetted holidays." I hope you can remember that! Allow
at least two hours for the museum. In 2000 more than half
the galleries were closed for renovations. The work is supposed
to take 6 months but in India such things can sometimes
eight kilometres from Mathura is Agra with its Taj Mahal
and other gems of Mogul architecture which you will
probably want to see. So if you leave Delhi early you can
see Mathura, move on to Agra and spend the night there.
If you do stay in Mathura try the Hotel Modern near the
old bus stand and within walking distance of the museum.
After Agra you have two choices, to take the train directly
to Varanasi or to break your journey in Allahabad to visit
Kosambi and then proceed to Varanasi.