Bateshwar is a temple town located 70 km away from the city of Agra, and situated on the banks of River Yamuna. It is believed that the name 'Bateshwar' was derived from Vateshwarnathji, one of the many names of Lord Shiva who is the presiding deity of this pilgrim town. It is also believed to have been the birthplace of Lord Krishna’s mother, Devaki. She was the daughter of Raja Surajsen, who is said to have been the founder of the town, originally called Surajpur.

Bateshwar is an important part of Hindu pilgrim circuits, and is also known as the son of the dhams – meant to be visited after the four main dhams considered sacred by Hindus have been visited. It boasts a number of temples that once totalled to 101. Presently, 42 of those temples are still intact. This town finds a reference in texts of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Matsya Puran etc. The long line of ghats flanked by several temples makes the quaint town a visual as well as spiritual treat.

Apart from spiritual enrichment, the temples here also bear traces of ancient architecture that can be admired by visitors. Beautiful frescoes painted with traditional vegetable paints that are still intact in some of the temples are mesmerising to behold.

The Jains also hold Bateshwar in high regard as one legend holds that it was here that the 22nd Jain tirthankar, Nemichand, was born. This makes it an important pilgrim site for both sects of Jainism: Svetambara and Digambara. Various intricately carved Jain temples pay tribute to the tirthankar here, as well as at Shoripur, about 3 km away.

Bateshwar is also famous for its annual cattle fair, which has been held here for over 400 years. With varying dates every year, the fair is meant to coincide with the most auspicious period for praying in the town, and is an important destination for saints, traders as well as local villagers. From camels, oxen, goats and horses to locally made furniture, spices and traditional cooking utensils, it has a lot to offer besides a truly authentic experience of rural Indian life in the region. One of the largest fairs of its kind in north India, it is spread over three weeks and draws thousands of tourists every year.

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