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An ancient city on the Yamunā river in what is now Uttar Pradesh (a modern city of the same name lies a few miles away), and one of the seven ancient holy cities of India. Mathurā lay at the meeting point of three major trade routes, which accounts, historically, for its immense commercial and cultural importance. Said to have been ruled over initially by the Yādavas, it became the capital city of the Kuṣāṇas, under whom some of the very earliest figurative Jaina and Buddhist art was produced. From the same period, Mathurā provides the first archaeological evidence of Hindu temples in India. Its flowering as an artistic and religious centre continued under the Gupta dynasty. Recognized by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism as the birthplace of Kṛṣṇa, and lying at the heart of the Braj region, close to the Vṛndāvana forest, Mathurā was re-established as a major pilgrimage site in the 16th century.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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