1. Madhurā. The capital of Surasena, situated on the Yamunā. Its king, soon after the death of Bimbisāra, was Avantiputta (M.ii.83), who, judging by his name, was probably related to the royal family of Ujjeni. Madhurā was visited by the Buddha (A.ii.57; iii.256), but there is no record of his having stayed there. In fact, the Madhura Sutta (2) states that he viewed the city with distinct disfavour. But Mahā Kaccāna evidently liked it, for he stayed there in the Gundāvana, and was visited there by the king of the city, Avantiputta (M.ii.83), and the brahmin Kandarāyana (A.i.67).
One of the most important suttas on caste, the Madhura Sutta 1, was preached to Avantiputta by Mahā Kaccāna at Madhurā. Perhaps it was through the agency of Mahā Kaccāna that Buddhism gained ground in Madhurā. Already in the Buddha's time there were, in and around Madhurā, those who accepted his teachings, for the Anguttara Nikāya (A.ii.57) mentions that once when he was journeying from Madhurā to Verañjā and stopped under a tree by the wayside, a large number of householders, both men and women, came and worshipped him. Later, about 300 B.C., Madhurā became a Jain centre (CHI.i.167), but when Fa Hsien (Giles, p. 20) and Hiouen Thsang visited it, Buddhism was flourishing there, and there were many sanghārāmas and stūpas. Beal.i.179ff.; for a prophecy (attributed to the Buddha) regarding the future greatness of Madhurā, see Dvy.348ff.
From Sankassa to Madhurā was a distance of four yojanas (thus in Kaccāyana's Grammar, iii.1).
Madhurā is sometimes referred to as Uttara Madhurā, to distinguish it from a city of the same name in South India. Thus, in the Vimānavatthu Commentary (VvA.118f), a woman of Uttara Madhurā is mentioned as having been born in Tāvatimsa as a result of having given alms to the Buddha.
The Ghata Jātaka (J.355,454) speaks of Mahāsāgara as the king of Uttara Madhurā, and relates what is evidently the story of Kamsa’s attempt to tyrannize over Madhurā by overpowering the Yādavas and his consequent death at the hands of Krsna, a story which is found both in the Epics and in the Purānas. This Jātaka confirms the Brahmanical tradition as to the association of Vasudeva's family with Madhurā (PHAL, p. 89).
There is a story (Cv.xcii.23ff ) of a king called Mahāsena of Pātaliputta, who was very generous in feeding the monks, and once thought of giving alms by cultivating a piece of land himself. He, therefore, went to Uttara Madhurā in disguise, worked as a laborer, and held an almsgiving with the gains so obtained.
Madhurā is generally identified with Maholi, five miles to the Southeast of the present town of Mathurā or Muttra. It is the Modura of Ptolemy and the Methoras of Pliny (CAGI. 427f).
The Milindapañha (p. 331) refers to Madhurā as one of the chief cities of India. In the past, Sādhina and twenty two of his descendants, the last of whom was Dhammagutta, reigned in Madhurā (Dpv.iii.21).
2. Madhurā. A city in South India, in the Madras Presidency, and now known as Madura. It is generally referred to as Dakkhina-Madhurā, to distinguish it from (Uttara-)Madhura on the Yamunā. Dakkhina-Madhurā was the second capital of the Pandyan kingdom (their first being Korkai, see Vincent Smith, EHI.335ff), and there was constant intercourse between this city and Ceylon. From Madhurā came the consort of Vijaya, first king of Ceylon, and she was accompanied by many maidens of various families who settled in Ceylon (Mhv.vii.49ff). Sena II. sent an army to pillage Madhurā, and set upon the throne a Pandu prince who had begged for his support (Cv.li.27ff). Later, Madhurā was attacked by Kulasekhara, and its king, Parakkama, sought the assistance of Parakkamabāhu I. of Ceylon. The latter sent an army under his general Lankāpura, but in the meantime the Pāndyan king had been slain and his capital taken. The Singhalese army, however, landed on the opposite coast and carried on a war against the Colas, and built a fortress near Rāmnād, which they called Parakkamapura. They managed to defeat Kulasekhara and restore the crown of Madhurā to the Pāndyan king's son, Vīra Pandu. The captives taken by the army were sent to Ceylon. For details see Cv.lxxvi.76ff.; lxxvii.1ff.; see also Cv.Trs.ii.100, n. 1.
Rājasīha II. is said to have obtained wives from Madhurā (Cv.xcvi.40), as did his successors Vimaladhammasūriya II., Narindasīha and Vijayarājasīha. Ibid., xcvii.2, 24; xcviii.4.