|Proposed capitals||Mathura, Agra|
|Language||Braj Bhasha dialect of Hindi|
Braj, also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in India on both sides of the Yamuna river with its centre at Mathura-Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh state encompassing the area which also includes Palwal and Ballabhgarh in Haryana state, Bharatpur district in Rajasthan state and Morena District in Madhya Pradesh. Within Uttar Pradesh it is very well demarcated culturally, the area stretches from the Mathura, Aligarh, Agra, Hathras and Jaleshar districts up to the Farrukhabad, Mainpuri and Etah districts. This region is associated with Krishna, who according to Hindu legend was born in Mathura and had Vrindavan as his playground, hence why it is now the main centre of Krishna circuit of Hindu pilgrimage.
The term Braj is derived from the Sanskrit word vraja (व्रज). Vraja was first mentioned in Rigveda, and in Sanskrit it means a pasture, shelter or resort for cattle from Sanskrit term "vraj" which means "go" in English.
Braj pilgrimage circuits
Since this is a site associated with the Vedic era Lord Krishna and Mahabharata, it is an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is one of 3 main pilgrimage sites related to Krishna circuit, namely 48 kos parikrama of Kurukshetra in Haryana state, Vraja Parikrama in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh state and Dwarka Parikrama (Dwarkadish yatra) at Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat state.
Braj Yatra circuit of pilgrimage was formally established by the 16th-century sadhus of vaishnava sampradaya with fixed routes, itinerary and rituals. The circuit covers is spread across 2500 km2 area with 84 kos or 300 km long periphery extending 10 km to east and 50 km to north and west. Braj has two main types of pilgrimage circuits, the traditional longer Braj Yatra encompassing the whole circuit, and the other shorter significantly modified contemporary point-to-point pilgrimage to visit the main sites at Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Govardhan. The former, longer traditional pilgrimage route, also includes additional sacred sites Nandgaon and Barsana with travel on foot.
- Vedic era
- Rupert Snell, The Hindi Classical Tradition: A Braj Bhasa Reader. Includes grammar, readings and translations, and a good glossary.
- Janet Cochrane, 2008, Asian Tourism: Growth and Change, page 249.
- Lucia Michelutti (2002). "Sons of Krishna: the politics of Yadav community formation in a North Indian town" (PDF). PhD Thesis Social Anthropology. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London. p. 49. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Lucia Michelutti (2002). "Sons of Krishna: the politics of Yadav community formation in a North Indian town" (PDF). PhD Thesis Social Anthropology. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London. p. 46. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Prasad, Dev (2015). Krishna: A Journey through the Lands & Legends of Krishna. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8495-170-7.