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In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata
According to the Ramayana, an Asura named Madhu, ruled this forest and its territory. He was defeated by Shatrughna one of the brothers of king Raghava Rama of Kosala. Shatrughna later cleared this forest and built a city called Mathura here. This later became the capital of Surasena Kingdom as in the epic Mahabharata. Yadava kings Ugrasrena and Kamsa ruled from here.
In the Harivamsa
According to the Harivamsa (95.5242-8), a Yadava king Madhu, the descendant of Yadu ruled from Madhuvana. Rama's brother Shatrughna killed the Madhava Lavana, a descendant of Madhu, cut down the Madhuvana forest and built Mathura city there. After the death of Rama and his brothers, Bhima, son of Satvata, a descendant of Madhu recovered the city.
- Pargiter, F.E. (1972). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.170.