March 22nd, 2016 by Abhijit Chakraborty admin

Holi, the festival of colours, is widely celebrated across India. However, Holi celebrations in Vrindavan and adjoining towns (in Uttar Pradesh’s Braj region) are a special treat for anyone interested in discovering more about the festival.

A Trip To Vrindavan

While the vast majority of people are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Holi (and the long weekend accompanying it), we decided to take to the field and made a short trip to Vrindavan from Delhi for to capture Holi celebration in Brijbhoomi. Vrindavan is located just 11 km away from the city of Mathura (believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna). The celebrations start here a week before the actual day of the festival and continue for a few days after Holi.

Apart from Mathura and Vrindavan, the towns of Barsana and Nandgaon are also famous for their unique Holi celebrations (also called Lathmar Holi) that involve women beating up men with sticks, literally!

Related Search: Top 8 Places to Visit in the Holy City of Vrindavan

Holi in Nandgaon
Holi in Nandgaon

Lathmar Holi

According to a legend, Lord Krishna is believed to have visited Radha’s village on this day and ended up offending the women of Barsana who chased him away. Since that time, men from Nandgaon (Lord Krishna’s village) visit Barsana to play Holi in the town.

A Gopi from Barsana visits Nandgaon
A Gopi from Barsana visits Nandgaon

With Holi songs playing in the background, women beat up these men with sticks as they try to protect themselves with improvised protective gear.

A man enjoys looking while women playfully beat lathis
A man enjoys looking while women playfully beat lathis
Women all ready for Lathmar Holi
Women all ready for Lathmar Holi
The base of the temple in Nandgaon
The base of the temple in Nandgaon

Bankey Bihari Temple

The hub of Holi celebrations in Vrindavan is the Bankey Bihari temple. The temple, built in the 19th century, has four gates (three for entry and one for exit) and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The season for Holi in Bankey Bihari starts off with Phoolon ki Holi and ends with the main festival where colour and gulal are thrown. Besides Bankey Bihari temple there’s Prem Mandir, Pagal Baba Mandir and Iskcon temple.

Holi is considered to be major festival in all Vrindavan & Mathura temples.

A boy dressed as Krishna

A boy dressed as KrishnaBesides visiting the streets of Braj area, we also took a detour and went around the ghats of Vrindavan.  At Kesi Ghat we witnessed the aarti in the evening.

Arti at Kesi Ghat
Arti at Kesi Ghat

“While Holi can be an extremely enriching and a once in a lifetime experience, capturing it through a lens requires a lot of tact and patience. One has to watch the water, make a mental note of the schedule, stand in a queue for entry to the temple and also create enough space to handle the camera despite the hordes of humanity that throng to the temple,” our team member Siddharth said.

The Streets of Vrindavan
The Streets of Vrindavan

The Food

Vrindavan is a pure vegetarian zone. Meat-lovers need to keep this in mind to avoid possible heartbreak. However, the place also serves some of the most delicious vegetarian food ever, prepared in pure desi ghee. The sweet lassi, chaat, tikki and dhokla are almost omnipresent in this town. Do try the delicious Peda that is a speciality of this area.

The famous Peda of Braj region
The famous Peda of Braj region

The place sees crowds most parts of the year but reaches epic proportions during festivals. Finding good hotels can be a little tricky unless one books through the OYO app which can be downloaded here. OYO in Mathura can be booked here and OYO in Vrindavan can be booked here.

Related Searches: 7 Best Places to visit in Mathura

All images are under copyright owned by Siddharth Jain for OYO Rooms & Mayank Choudhary for OYO Rooms.