She is the Hindu Goddess of the river Yamuna. She is also known as Yami and Yamini. Yamunanji is an affectionate term. Goddess Ganga and Yamuna are said to be twins; their rivers running parallel. Goddess Yamuna is mentioned... in the Rig Veda, the AtharvaVeda and Brahmanas such as Aitareya Brahmana and Shatapatha Brahmana. There are various mythology related to the Yamuna river. Of the many some are stated here in brevity. It is said that she came down from the heavens to sanctify Mother Earth. From the heavens she rested on Kalinda mountain in the Himalayas, hence she is also known as Kalinda. A dip in her holy waters annihilates fear of death.
VISHNU PURANA: States Goddess Yamuna to be the daughter of Lord Surya, Sun God and Goddess Sanjana, Goddess of Dawn and Clouds. Sanjana was the daughter of Visvakarma, the Divine Architect. They had three children: Yamuna and the her twin brothers, Yama and Manu, the first human. However, Sanjana found Surya’s
radiance unbearable and wanted to leave him. So, she got her twin sister Chhaya or Shadow to take her place and withdrew into the forest disguised as a mare to meditate.
Chaaya, the step mother, had a son of her own with Surya, and ignored the other children. This made Yama very angry, and he threatened Chaaya. He left to become the God of Death. Yamuna was devastated by the loss of
her brother, and she wept and wept. It is said her tears became the river Yamuna. It is believed that anyone dipping in the Yamuna is spared a painful death.
LORD SHIVA MYTH:
According to legends, the great deluge submerges the earth at the end of each yuga. Prayag is said to remain intact and Lord Vishnu resides there as Yoga Murthy. Taking the form of a child, He stays safe on a banyan leaf. It is also said that Veni Mahadeva is a reference to Vishnu and that Lord Siva personified as the immortal banyan tree or Akshya Vata Vriksham. There is now a shrine dedicated to Siva near the banyan tree.
According to the legends, Yamuna is the daughter of Sun God, sister of Lord Yama, the God of Death and Shani Deva. As goddess the river, she is also known as Yami, sister of Yama. The Rig Vedic account is the excessive
love for her twin, Yama. Yamuna in turn seeks Yama to look for a suitable bride. This turns out to be Lord Krishna. So Yamuna descents from the heavens to meet her prospective bridegroom and also to further to purify the world.
Another version is closely connected to the Mahabaratha. Indraprastha, the capital of Pandavas was situated on the banks of Yamuna. The Mahabaratha tale is that Vasudeva was crossing the Yamuna while carrying baby Krishna. He was seeking a safe place at Gokula on the other bank from Mathura. It was then that Krishna fell into the river. The dust of his lotus feet is said to have sanctified Yamuna. Since this blissful touch of the Lord’s feet, Yamuna claims to be holier than the Ganges river, which on similar facts, was touched by the feet of Lord Vishnu. It was at the Yamuna that one hears of the Krishna lilas with the gopis of Vraja. The convergence of Krisna, his devotees and populace at large on the ghats in Vrindavan, Mathura and Agra later gave birth to the
Jamashtami festival. On this day devotees reenact the legend of baby Krishna lowering his holy feet into the river.
There are other mythologies to claim that Jamuna is also said to have emerged from the left side of Lord
Krishna and after flowing through the plains, the river ascends again as stream to flow towards Vaikuntha which is the abode of Lord Krishna. Yamuna is also linked Krishna sects. She holds a central position in Pushti Marga, a sect based on the SuddhAdvaita, where Sri Krishna is the main deity.
Mathura has its origins in mythology. It is now located 50km north of Agra and about eleven km from the Vrandavan. It is located of the banks of the Yamuna. The Ramayana mentions that Prince Shatrughna of the Ishwaku clan slays the demon Lavanasura and makes a claim of his thickly wooded land. Lavanasura was the
progeny of a devout king Madhu who is given the boon of Shiva’s trident. This place is known as Madhuvan. Eventually this place is known as Madhupura and thereafter Mathura. The name could have also originated from Ayu, son of the Puravas and a celestial nympth Urvashi. There was also a King Madhu from the Yadav clan to which Krishna belonged to.
Mathura is also known as Brahbhoomi or Krishna Janmabhoomi and is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. He is
the eighth child of Devaki. Krishna’s father Vasudeva carried Krishna to Mathura to avoid the onslaught by Kamsa. According to the Mahabaratha and Bhagavata Purana, Mathura was the capital of Surasena Kingdom ruled by Kamsa. He is the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna. Krishna’s was born in a prison cell as his parents were detained by Kamsa. Mathura depicts the childhood exploits of Krishna. He grows up in Mathura and also slays Kamsa later.
The Garuda Purana names seven cities as the giver of moksha. They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika, Puri and Dvaravati. Garuda Purana 96.14 states that Mathura is one of the seven holy places and amongst the seven, Varanasi is the holiest holy city.
The rivers Ganga and Yamuna along with the now dried Saraswati river, are the most sacred rivers in India. It is
also known as Jamuna. It is the largest tributary of the Ganges. Yamuna originates in the Champasar Glacier in Uttaranchal. This is on the slopes of Banderpooch peaks. Geographically, its source is at Yamunotri or Janmotri in the Himalayan foothills and flows onto the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Then it turns southwards near Mathura. It passes Delhi to feed the Agra Canal.
The source, Yamunotri constitutes one of the four major pilgrimages collectively called Chardham of the Garhwal Himalayas of the Uttarakand. Yamunitri houses a sacred shrine dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. This is one of the holiest shrines dedicated to Godess Yamuna. Yamuna merges with the Hanuman Ganga near Hanumanchatti. This is a secluded hilly area which according to legends contained the hermitage of the Sage Asit Muni.
Some claim that the source of the Yamuna is Saptarishi Kund which is a glacial lake. Yamuna flows through the states of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh covering a distance of 1300 km before merging with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, site for the Kumbha Mela. The main tributaries joining in this reach are the Hindon from the eastern bank and the Chambal, the Sind, Betwa and the Ken from south-western bank.
(1) Tone River : Tone River is the largest and longest tributary of Yamuna. This originates high up the Bandarpoonch mountains, and has a large basin in Himachal Pradesh. Tons river meets Yamuna below Kalsi near Dehradun in Uttarakhand. (2) Hindon River: Hindon river originates in the Saharanpur District from Upper Shivalik in Lower Himalayan Range. (3) Ken River: Ken river flows through Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It originates from village Ahirgawan in Jabalpur district. (4) Chambal River: Chambal River known as Charmanvati in ancient times, flows through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
PRAYAG: Prayag is revered in the hymns of the Rig Veda. The Prayag confluence is a holy site. Saraswathi is physically not visible but there are scientific writings about an underground river flow or subterranean river. Payag is also associated with the legend of Amrit , the nectar of immortality. The demons were trying to snatch
the divine pot. The devas picked up the pot of the celestial nectar as it emerged from the milky ocean and made off with it. During the chase, the kumbha overflowed. The nectar is said to have fallen in four place corresponding to Prayad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar.
The Prayag is the famous pilgrimage spot – the Triveni Sangam. Triveni Sangam is considered special in the Hindu month of Magha - when the sun resides in Capricorn - especially on Makara Sankranti, Ratha Saptami, the full moon and new moon day. Prayag is a major tributary of River Ganga. It is said that a dip in the holy waters of Prayag/Allahbad helps in attainment of salvation. Every 12 years the ghats around the Sangam are the venue of large congregation of people who dip the holy waters of the confluence. River Yamuna cuts across the entire northen plains and its waters are extensively used for irrigation.
The Yamuna flows through the transcendental land of Vrindavana. One of the reasons
attributed to Yamuna’s sacredness is its flowing through both Mathura and the
Vrandavan and thus intimately connected to Lord Krishna's pastimes. Both
Vrandavan and Yamuna are directly connected to Lord Krishna than the River
Ganges. Both Vrandavan and Yamuna are sanctified by the Lord from the beginning
of his transcendental pastimes in the world. It is stated in the Garga Samhita
Mathura Khanda 25.27 "Simply by walking in Vrindavan one reaches the benefits of
a great pilgrimage at every step." As time went by the bhakti cult inspired the
resurgence of Hindu movement. The Hindu rulers were instrumental in building up
temples, river front ghats and finally revived the legend of Lord Krishna. The
intertwined accounts of Yamuna river and Lord Krishna is eternal divinity.
TAJ MAHAL: Meanindering through Agra, the Yamuna passes some of the Mghal
sites such as Chini-ka Rauza and Itimad-ud-Daulah. The Taj Mahal is located on
the west bank of the Yamuna. The river played an important role in the
construction of the Taj Mahal. Even now, the shining waters of the Yamuna
provides a mirrot effect of the Taj as if it is a floating tomb. The sunset at
the Taj site is a panoramic marvel. It is said that part of the Yamuna was
physically moved so that the Taj channels are fed from the river. During
construction, the river was a popular mode of transport as Yamuna links Agra to
Delhi. Labour force and material arrived by boat. It is also a transportation
mode for visitors. Indeed the body of Mumtaz Mahal also arrived via Yamuna to
the burial tomb. Similarly, Shah Jahan’s remains also was taken to the Taj Mahal
down the river before being left to rest next to Mumtaz. Whatever Shah Jahan
intended, he managed to build a great monument. It was a twenty years royal
project which took shape with nearly twenty thousand workers. Along with the Taj
Mahal, the Yamuna river is a spiritual and religious marvel by itself.