One of the biggest festival in India is Holi, and what makes it more special is celebrating this festival which takes place at the historical Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura. It is recommended to start your day much earlier at 7am. Head out to Vishram ghat and catch the process of making Bhang by the priests. If possible, maybe take a glass for yourself as well
The gates of the temple open at 10am and there is already a big crowd outside the gates by then playing Holi and colouring anyone who dares cross the road. Mostly local men and kids participate, and women are again conspicuous by their absence. However, there are many traveler women who do participate.
The atmosphere inside the temple is really nice, the scale of Holi is smaller and the place is much friendlier. Priest play Dhols and you can even join the dancing there. Inside the temple, more women play Holi.
Barsana Holi celebrations start about a week before the actual date of Holi. Barsana is a village near Mathura and it was the village of Radha. It is famous for its lathmar Holi in which women beat men (playfully) with sticks. Barsana is the place where Radha used to live and Krishna used to visit this place to put color on Radha.
When Krishna was young, he cribbed to his mother about Radha (his friend) being fair while Krishna himself was dark complexioned. His mother (Yashoda) suggested him to colour Radha with colors in a playful manner. Over the years, Krishna from his village Nandgaon used to go to Barsana (Radha’s village) to color Radha and other Gopis. They also used to playfully beat him with sticks. And hence the tradition evolved
Below are the list of different types of Holi played at different places in Mathura
- Lathmar Holi in Barasana
- Lathmar Holi in NandGaon
- Range Bharni Ekadashi – Lathmar Holi in Krishna Janmabhoomi, Mathura; Colorful Holi celebration in Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan
- Widow’s Holi – Lathmar at Pagal Baba Widow Ashram in Vrindavan that is a strong step against the traditional convention that widows in India are not allowed to wear colorful clothes or play with colors
- Holika Dahan in entire Brijmandal; priests crossing holi fire in Phalen Village, Kosi, Mathura
- Dhulandi Holi – colored water holi in Brijmandal, color Holi celebrations in Mathura Vrindavan temples
- Huranga – famous Huranga Holi celebration in Dauji temple, Baldeo, Mathura
- Rang Panchami – end of Holi celebrations in Braj mandal temples
The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is one such place to enjoy the festivities as it hosts a week-long Holi celebrations here. During these days, Bihariji (Krishna’s another name) is dressed up in white coloured clothes and it is brought closer to his devotees to play holi.
Vrindavan Holi is played with coloured water and gulal, a form of colour made using organic substances like flowers and kesar. Goswamis (priests in the temple) sprinkle colors on everyone using buckets, water guns, etc. The whole atmosphere is made even more lively with music (bhajans) in the background and people dance to the tunes while enjoying the colors.
You can also visit other major Krishna Temple in Mathura and Vrindavan, as all will be having some special celebrations going on for the entire week.
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