Rangeshwar Mahadev Temple / रंगेश्वर महादेव मन्दिर
In the southern part of Mathura, Shri Rangeshwar is the protector of the dham. Conspiring to kill Krishna and Balram, Maharaja Kansa, the destroyer of his own Bhoja dynasty, had a wrestling arena (rangashala) built here. Through cunning means, Kansa arranged for Akrur to bring Krishna and Baldev from Nand-Gokul. On the pretext of sight-seeing, Krishna and Baldev reached this wrestling arena with the cowherd boys after asking various people for directions. The wrestling arena was beautifully decorated. Flowers bedecked splendid, arched gateways and the enormous bow of Shankar was placed at the front of the arena. The mad elephant, Kuvalyapida, who had been trained to kill the two brothers, blocked the main entrance, waiting to receive a signal to kill Them. The deity of Rangeshwar Mahadev had been beautifully decorated in various ways, and his splendour was astonishing.
When He entered the arena, Shri Krishna effortlessly picked up the bow with His left hand. In front of everyone, He strung the bow within a moment and pulled the string in such a way that the bow broke into pieces, making a thunderous sound. Both brothers easily killed all the soldiers who were protecting the bow. They then continued Their tour of the city and at sunset returned to Their camp.
At dawn the next day the wrestling festival began. Many gigantic and fierce wrestlers, such as Chanura, Mustika, Sala and Toshala, were ready for the wrestling match inside the arena. Maharaja Kansa, together with his friends and prominent citizens, were seated on an elevated platform. Krishna and Balram returned to the arena, and after slaying Kuvalyapida, Shri Krishna pulled out the elephant's two tusks and used them to kill the elephant-keeper and other wicked people. Some soldiers ran to Maharaja Kansa to tell him about the incident. Grinding his teeth in anger, Kansa signalled to Canura and Mustika to quickly kill the two boys. Just then, Krishna and Baldev, smiling like two lion-cubs, reached the wrestling arena carrying the huge elephant-tusks on Their shoulders, Their bodies sprinkled with blood. Canura and Mustika challenged the two brothers to wrestle by making gestures, like flexing their muscles, to display their power and strength. Shri Krishna, the propagator of decent conduct, suggested that He and Balram fight with wrestlers Their own age; but to entertain Maharaja Kansa, Camara arrogantly challenged Shri Krishna, and Mustika challenged Balram. This is what Shri Krishna and Balram in fact wanted. And so the fight began. Considering this wrestling match to be immoral and improper, the women of the city stood up and prepared to leave. Beholding the sweetness of Shri Krishna's form, they said, "Aah, in truth, only the land of Braj is supremely sacred and blessed. The most exalted Supreme Person resides there, disguised as an ordinary human being. That Lord, whose lotus feet are worshipped by the god of gods, Mahadev Shankar, and by Lakshmi, wanders about there in great bliss, wearing a garland of many-coloured flowers. He plays His flute and performs various pastimes with Balram and His sakhas while tending the cows. This sweetness of Shri Krishna's form is easily available only to the residents of Vrindavan, especially the gopis. The peacocks, male and female parrots, cows, calves and rivers of Braj are all blessed. They are satisfied by freely relishing Krishna's variegated sweetness.
As the women of Mathura were discussing this, Shri Krishna defeated and killed Canura and Balram defeated and killed Mustika. Then the two brothers also killed Kuta, Sala, Toshala and the other wrestlers. Kansa became furious and ordered that Krishna, Baldev, Nand and Vasudev be taken prisoners. However, in a moment and with great speed, Shri Krishna leapt onto the platform where Kansa was sitting. Grabbing him by the hair, Krishna threw him to the ground. Krishna then straddled Kansa's chest, and striking him with His fists, He caused Kansa's life-air to leave him like a bird in flight. Shri Krishna effortlessly and wonderfully slew Kansa and his associates in the wrestling arena. Seeing this spectacle (ranga), Shankar, whom Kansa had worshipped, became overjoyed. Hence, his name became Shri Rangeshwar. To this day, Ranga-bhumi glorifies this colourful pastime of Shri Krishna.
According to Shrimad-Bhagavat and Shri Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur, Kansa was killed on the day of Shiva Ratri (Chaturdashi). Since Kansa had called Akrur to his home for advice on the night of Ekadashi, Akrur had reached Nand-bhavan on Dvadashi, and on Trayodashi, Shri Krishna and Balram had travelled from Nand Gaon to Mathura in Akrur's chariot. That evening, They wandered around the city of Mathura and the bow sacrifice was performed. The next day, on Shiva-chaturdashi, the two brothers killed Kuvalayapida, Canura, Mustika and Kansa. Every year in the month of Kartika on Shukla-dashami, one day before Devotthana-ekadashi, the Chaube community organises a festival to celebrate the killing of Kansa. During this festival a twenty-five to thirty foot tall statue of Kansa is built to be killed by Shri Krishna.
Temples Of Mathura
Bhuteshwar Mahadev · Dirgha Vishnu Temple · Dwarkadhish Temple · Gatashram Temple · Krishn Janm Bhumi · Gokarneshwar Mahadev · Gaudiya Matha Shri Keshavji · Kankali Devi Temple · Mahavidya Temple · Mathura Devi Temple · Pipaleshwar Mahadev · Padmanabhji Temple · Rangeshwar Mahadev · Adivarah Temple