Krishna, the popular incarnation of Vishnu, is believed to have been born in Mathura. This area, popularly known as Brij Bhoomi, is a major pilgrimage place for Hindus and this area is closely linked with many episodes in Krishna early life. The region is richly interwoven with the legend of Krishna, kept alive today by millions of devotees who look upon him as the most endearing incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and by specific locations associated with the legend. Mathura's history dates back to atleast 600 BC and archaeological remains have testified its importance. It was of significance during the Mauryan era and received great stimulus under Emperor Ashoka. Later, under the Kushans it became a centre of trade and learning, and was practically their southern capital during the first two centuries AD. The earliest sculptural art of india, which is Buddhist, emerged in this region. Mathura, and Braj Bhoomi region, is also important for its festivals in which Lord Krishna forms the principal theme and are distinct to the area. Holi, Janmashtami, Radha Ashtami, Kans Vadh, Yam Dwitiya and Hariyali Teej are some which revolve around Lord Krishna and his most famous consort, Radha. Nearby is Vrindavan, 15 km away, is also integral to the legend of Krishna. This is where Lord Krishna played his flute and sported with the gopis. The town was later immortalized in the poems of Mirabai, a princess of medieval India who became an ardent devotee of Krishna. Vrindavan is one of the most important religious centres of Hindu.