By: Madhudvisa dasa

Hare Krishna

I would like to let you know about a very rare guide to Vrindavan and Mathura originally published in 1874 by F.S. Growse who was a British District Officer in the East India Company days. He lived for many years in Mathura and produced this fabulous book documenting all aspects of Vrindavan and Mathura at the time. The book includes many illustrations and stunning photographs of the area including many photographs of the Vrindavan area and temples.

Mathura: A District Memoir

Guide Book for Vrindavan and Mathura from 1874!

Vrindavan-Mathura GuidebookThis is truly a dictionary or encyclopedia of Mathura and Vrindvan from the 1870's. It is superb book and we have the remaining copies from the last printing in 1978, they will not last long so please get this while it is still available.

There are more recent editions in print but the books we have are exact replicas of the 1870's book printed in 1978 (the Third Edition originally printed in 1883). These are not recently printed editions. A real collectors item.

I was personally not aware that this book existed and am very suprized that such a detailed account of Mathura and Vrindavan exists from 1874.  The author goes very deeply into everything related to Krishna including the temples, he documents all the festivals observed in Mathura and Vrindavan extensively, he provides floor plans of all the major temples, he even provides the Sanskrit and English translations for many of the devotional songs sung by the devotees at that time.

It is a very interesting book indeed.

F.S. Growse, well known as a scholar and archaeologist, while stationed in Mathura as a district officer for the British East India Company produced this monumental study of Mathura and Vrindavan by studying the traditions, language, religious customs and other manifestations of the local culture at the time. He witnessed and recorded all the local festivals connected with Krishna. His study was well timed as it was made at a time when many of the old traditions were dying — a fact which Growse complains about — in the wake of a "new" society emerging out of the British contacts.

Nowhere else have these seemingly trivial pieces of information about the Vedic culture of Vrindavan and Mathura been recorded. This is a truly unique book. Growse documents the religious movements, caste system, social institutions, languages, the history and legends, the monuments and temples, and even the local luminaries. His work shows precision and depth and is evidence of his deep and continuous research among the Indian people and their culture.

Growse says in his introduction: "I dwell at considerable length on the legends connected with the deified Krishna, the divinity of the district… [because] they have materially effected the course of local history are are still household words, to which allusion is constantly made in conversation, either to animate a description or to enforce an argument."

He goes on to say: "So much irreparable damage has been done in past years from simple ignorance as to the value of ancient architectural remains, that I have been careful to describe in full every building in the district which possesses the slightest historical or artistic interest. So "Mathura — A District Memoir" is a truly unique and rare book fully documenting in an encyclopedic way the district of Mathura / Vrindavan in the 1870's.

You can get more information about this book at: