Madhu Forest better known as Madhuvana is vividly depicted in Ramayana and Mahabharata. According to the Indian epic Ramayana, there was a demon named Madhu, ruled this forest and its territory. Madhu, the demon 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.
Later, Madhu Forest became the capital of Surasena Kingdom. This was depicted in another epic Mahabharata. The Yadava kings Ugrasrena and Kansa ruled from Madhu Forest for a log time.
In medieval period of Indian history, Lord Chaitanya, a Hindu Sufi saint form Bengal and Nityananda came here to Madhuvan for meditation.
The Holy Book of Shrimad Bhagvatam describes that in the Satya Yuga, the son of Maharaj Uttanpada, his five years old son Dhruva, being disturbed by the ignorance of his father went into the forest to perform austerities with the goal of attaining a kingdom greater than his great grandfather Brahma. There he met with Narada who advised him to go to this holy place of Madhuvan on the banks of the Yamuna River and worship the Supreme Lord. It was here that Dhruva performed severe austerities and meditation. Lord Vasudeva appeared to him in His incarnation of Prishni-Garbha. There He fulfilled all of Dhruva's innermost desires. A temple of Dhruva and Narayan is there in Madhuvan.
Mathura Puri was called Madhu Puri in Treta Yuga. It was because that this place was ruled by a demon called Madhu. In Treta Yuga, this Madhu Puri was being ruled by Madhu's son, Lavanasura who was especially depraved and horrendous. The sages of Madhuvan, being completely terrorized by Lavanasura approached Lord Rama for protection. Shatrughana, the youngest brother of Lord Rama came forward to subdue the demon. Lord Rama made Shatrughana as the King of Madhu Puri. Shatrughana prompted Lavanasura for a fight and thus a very fierce battle ensued between the two warriors. Finally Shatrughana shot the arrow given by Lord Rama on Lavanasura and the mighty demon fell dead on the ground. Then Shatrughana reigned as the King of this place. A temple of Shatrughana is also there in Madhuvan.
At the time of Lord Krishna in Dwapar Yuga, Madhuvan was filled with Kalpavriksha trees covered with the most nectarine bee hives which would produce the honey. Therefore, the forest came to be known as Madhuvan.