The Mathura Krishna Janam Bhumi temple is one of India’s most renowned religious sites and the focal point of the little town of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. The temple, which is supposed to have been constructed five times over, is said to have been built around the prison cell where Krishna is said to have been born. While various stories regarding the temple’s origins have circulated for decades, one legend claims that the temple was built by Vajranabha, Krishna’s great-grandson. It is thought to have been built in the 6th century BC.
The temple’s current look is the result of extensive remodeling and renovation work completed over the 20th century. It comprises the Keshav Deva Temple and the Bhagavata Bhavan, as well as the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum). Nonetheless, ownership of the 13.37 acres of land surrounding the Krishna Janmabhoomi, on which both the idgah and temple are built, has been a controversial subject for more than eight decades.
Mathura Krishna Janam Bhumi Temple History
According to historical archives and sources, the mosque was built in 1669 near the ruins of the Krishna temple. The area was possessed by the King of Varanasi at the turn of the twentieth century. The ownership was affirmed by the Allahabad High Court in 1935.
The site was purchased in 1944 by businessman Yugal Kishor Birla, who established the Sri Krishnabhoomi Trust with the goal of constructing a Krishna temple in the vicinity. In 1958, the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh was formed, which took over the functions and obligations of the temple trust. The Sangh filed a civil complaint regarding land ownership in 1964. However, in 1965, an agreement was struck between the temple trust and the Shahi Idgah mosque management committee.
The legally registered temple trust and the mosque trust both signed the settlement, which declared that while the temple trust retained ownership of the land, the Trust Masjid Idgah had management rights to govern the temple. This meant that the temple trust no longer had the power to lodge claims on the masjid property.
A civil claim filed in Mathura in 2020 asserted that the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah illegally encroached upon Mathura Krishna Janam Bhumi land and raised it with the agreement of the Sunni Central Board at Katra Keshav Dev.
According to the complaint, “on October 12, 1968, the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah entered into an illegal compromise with the Society Shree Krishna Janamasthan Seva Sangh,” and both committed “fraud upon the court, the plaintiff deities, and devotees” in order to capture and grab the property in question.
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