The Visram Ghaut, Muttra [Mathura].
Photographer: Impey, Eugene Clutterbuck
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 80 albumen prints taken by Eugene Clutterbuck Impey. Mathura, on the banks of the river Yamuna 150 kms south of Delhi, is a sacred city for Hindus. Established as far back as 600 BC, it was famous as an important city of the Kushana empire in the 1st century AD, and when the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited it in the 7th century it was well-known for its Buddhist monasteries. It was an artistic centre for several centuries, producing images for all the great religions of India, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Its influence on Indian art declined when it was subjected to upheavals, most notably the sacking of the city by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018. Mathura's fortunes revived when it became a centre for the Vaishnava cult by the 15th century and it is celebrated now above all as the
site which Hindu mythology designates as the birthplace of Krishna, the popular incarnation of Vishnu. As an important pilgrimage site there are hundreds of temples here. In India ghats are stepped embankments leading down to the river, and dozens line the Yamuna as it flows through the city. The Vishram Ghat is the most important of the ghats of Mathura. Legend states that Krishna rested at this ghat after killing the demon Kamsa (hence the name Vishram which means 'repose').