If you are bored of traveling usual places. If you want to express love with colors and share happiness with new friends then mathura is the place to explore. Best time to visit mathura is on march at the time of holi festival. In this post am going to share my travel experience and share few travel hacks, tips and things to do in mathura hand vrindavan. In this blog all the pictures was captured by photographer Naveen Ragul. This post will be helpful for both India as well as International. If you have any doubts feel free to post a question in comment box or write me a direct email.
Why Holi is famous in mathura and vrindavan?
Mathura is a city in North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. It is located 50 kilometres north of Agra, and 145 kilometres from Delhi. Holi is one of the biggest Indian festivals and is also one of the most fun ones. Of course there are prayers to the Gods, but the events then continue on the streets as colourful street festival with many peoples gathered from different states and countries. Festival is celebrated in the suburbs of Mathura that the love life of Krishna and Radha sprouted and grew.
Legends say that Krishna was jealous of her fairness and used to complain about his ‘dusky’ face to his mother. It was only to balance the skin tones of each other that he used to throw colors at Radha and paint her face with multiple colors. From his village Nandgaon, Krishna and his friends used to come to Barsana – Radha’s village to color Radha and her friends. The girls used to beat the guys, playfully though, with sticks.
How to reach?
Nearest airport to mathura is in Agra which is arround 57.9 km. Mathura is a major railway station which is connected main trains operating between Delhi and Agra. From Mathura Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon are near.
There are 2 ways to reach:
1) Fly to agra from there catch train or bus to mathura bus costs arround 250 per person. It takes one and half hour from agra.
2)If you dont have flight to Agra fly to Delhi from there straight train is available to mathura arround 4hrs journey from Delhi.
What we did was we flied to Delhi visited India gate, red fort, cannought place and palika bazar. The next day from paharganj we moved to agra by bus which took arround 3 hours of journey. In Agra we visited beautiful Taj Mahal and red fort and from there we moved to mathura by bus which took around one and half hour. We took a room in mathura from mathura vrindavan is arround 15 to 20 mins you can reach by auto.
Things to do in mathura and vrindavan
Holi is celebrated before a week in Barsana and Nandgaon. I am describing the most famous events there are still more.
1) Lathmar holi at Barsana and Nandgaon
In this event woman of barsana, the birthplace of God Krishna’s beloved Radha chases men from Nandgaon, the hometown of God krishna and beat them up with stick and that’s why the name is Lathmar holi. This event is celebrated in Barsana, and Nandgaon .The festivities take place at the sprawling campus of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, which is said to be the only temple in the country that is dedicated to Radha.
The story behind the lathmar holi is, the playful Krishna, who lived in Nandgaon, is said to have come to Barsana to tease Radha and her friends. They chased him away by using sticks. Men from Nandgaon enact the role of Krishna and his friends, provoking the women of Barsana by singing songs and hurling provocative, sexually explicit abuses.
2) Holi at Banke bihari temple at vrindavan
The event here takes place just a day before the main Holi festival in Banke Bihari temple. The temple opens up its doors to all visitors to come and play Holi with the lord himself. The door will be open from 9 am to 1.30 pm. The festival is celebrated both inside and outside the temple. Peoples used to shout Radhe throw colors on each other’s face and the priest throw colors and holy water and the crowd chants in unison.
Colorful Blessings at Banke Bihari temple, Vrindavan
To have a better view go to the top of the temple and it is the best place for photographers. Peoples inside the temple are very rude they will not allow to take photos and for womens the place is not safe. People use the word “Radhe” instead of telling move. It is very different experience you should have atleast once in your life.
3) Holi Procession at Mathura:
The procession starts at 3 p.m. in mathura after the Holi events in Vrindavan get over around 2pm, head out to Mathura to participate in the colourful Holi procession Vishram Ghat and get over after the Holi Gate. You can have the best view in the street connecting the two landmarks.
A girl dressed up like Radha at Mathura
Photographers can go to top of houses capture beautiful pictures and the view is best from the top. Vehichles are decorated with flowers, and kids dressed up as Radha-Krishna, participate in it. Kids look more beautiful in radha Krishna act. For photographers this is best opportunity to rock your pictures. If you love Street Photography then Mathura is the best place.
The evening after the street procession is the time for Holika dehan – or burning of the effigy of Holika. The biggest such effigy is burnt at the Holi Gate and there are many cultural programs as well. I would suggest you skip this one and go inside the lanes towards ghats. Each small cross-road will have a small intimate function where women come and pray. The prayers are quick and if you are not around you can easily miss it as well.
4) Widow’s Special Holi:
If you want to know more about the culture of India then you should not miss this event. If you want to know more about the life of IndianWoman( click here to know more about Indian women) and difficulties they face then you must head out to Pagal Baba Widow Ashram, Vrindavan. Widows in India have always led a difficult life.
They were often banished form their homes and were forced to live in ashrams in Varanasi and Vrindavan. They wore white clothes and never played with colours. A few years back the widows of Pagal Baba Widow Ashram, Vrindavan decided to break this convention and play with colors. If you really care about Indian women then do make a visit and meet them and play holi with them. I am not sure about the timings because we missed this event.
Phoolon wali Holi(Flowers):
This event is celebrated at Banke Bihari temple, Vrindavan on Ekadashi before Holi. Unlike other holi which is not celebrated with conventional dry or wet colors, but with flowers, and hence the name Phoolon wali holi (Flowers’ Holi).
The event is very short it is about 15 to 20 minutes you will definitely miss it if you don’t start early you will definitely miss the event. The gate of the temple opens at 4 pm the Flower’s Holi starts right after that. So you should be there at 3 pm if you want to capture photography.
Main Holi at Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
Main holi takes place at the historical Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura. Go to Mathura Vishram ghat and capture the process of making bhang please don’t forgot to take a glass and try that bhang after having you will feel top of the world. This event is celebrated by all age people. Men , women and kids share their love with splash of colours and water. This event is very friendly many women traveller also participates in this.
Priest play Dhols and you can even join the dancing there.
A boy throwing colour from the top, Mathura
Best Street food in mathura
If you are a foodie and love to eat street food then Uttar Pradesh is best place. There are lot of street foods in mathura and vrindavan which is so tasty that will make you “SalivateUnattractively”.If you are bored of eating in restaurants try out this street foods.
1) Sweet Lassi in mathura:
LoMathura can be called as “The land of flowing milk” because of the large numbers of cows being raised there. The milk given by the cows is utilized for drinking, making tea and making the world famous sweet lassi. Lassi is a sweetend curd milk is refreshinly coldand fulfilling drink.
It is usually served in Kulhad ( Earthern pot ) in Mathura. This lass is generally served as chilled it is good for summer. No cool drinks or alcohol or any smoothie can replace this lassi. Lassi is served in streets of mathura near vishram ghat. It is good to start the Holi with lassi drink.
Mouth watering sweet lassi in mathura
2) Aalu Chat in Mathura:
For those who live by the taste and crunchy bite of spices there are the large variety of snacks and street food available on the ghats and lane of Mathura. Unlike french fries the potatoes are semi-boiled and cut up into rough pieces and left to shallow fry on a skillet or tawa.
To this is added a range of masalas and chutneys and a spicy dash of green and red chilli. Similarly dahi puri, kachori, samosa, pani puri, Stuffed Paranthe and Dal Vati, aalu tikki are the other famous chat in mathura. You can find these in vishram ghat street. Dont miss it.
Aaloo chat in mathura
3) Pedda in mathura:
Most of Mathura sweets are based milk / milk products. There is a famous sweet shop ” Brijwasi Mithai Wala” which provides best quality sweets in Mathura.Main Sweet Items of Mathura are pedda, ghewar, faini, Kurchan amd Rasmalai. Ghewar and faini are available only on occasion of mathura.
4) Tandoori Roti and dal makhani:
Dal makhani or dal makhni is a popular dish from north india also called as black gold. This is the best dish in Punjab that you can have with tandoori roti amd butter naan.
Dal makhani..as the name suggests is extremely CREAMY in taste with a nice flavourful aroma and taste of the blend of the spices used.
It just melts in your mouth without any bite as the lentils (whole black gram and kidney beans; sometimes bengal gram also) are nicely cooked on low flame, giving it that creamy texture.
It is a multi-rich recipe-
•Rich in CALORIES (most imp)
•Rich in flavour.
•Rich on ingrediants and spices used
Dal Makhani in Yogi raj daba, Mathura
1) Cover your skin with oil and wear clothes that you can throw away
The colors that are applied are very different to remove. It even stays for two to three days. If you apply oil then it will affect the face much. Clothes are a complete write-off. It’s fun to wear something white that you don’t want anymore, so then you can really see the colour!
2) Find a group to play Holi with
It is not safe to travel alone. Some peoples are really rude so find a group to play holi. Holi in India alone as a girl is a whole different matter. I love my country, but sadly a lot of my countrymen will leave no chance in groping women when they can get away with it.
Holi is one such day when they think they can get away with it. They will find reasons to touch you, maybe at pretense of putting color on your face before they grope and run away. Sadly, crime rate against women is very high on this day, so please don’t venture out alone.
3) Use rain cover to avoid your camera getting wet
There is more chance of camera getting wet so cover your camera with rain cover. Buy a good quality camera cover that will save much of your cost.
4) Stay at mathura
Take a room near Vishram ghat because most of the events you can visit by walk. Holi procession is walkable distance from vidhram ghat. Banke bihari temple is just 20 minutes from mathura. Rooms costs are from 500 to 1000 rupees reasonable rate.
5) Don’t go for big restaurants
Food is very cheap and tasty in normal hotels and daba. Dont go for big restaurants and waste your money. On the main holi day most of the hotels and shops will be closed.
So in advance buy some food and keep in bag. Brijwasi sweets at Holi gate opens around 4pm and you can get something hygienic to eat there.
6) Wear Sunglass to protect your eye
Sunglasses come in handy to protect your eyes from colors. Also, women may wear sunglasses to avoid eye contacts with eyes staring you. Keep your Ray bans at home and use cheaper sunglasses, which are available at street shopping.
Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. If color enters your eye accidentally, wash your eyes thoroughly with plenty of clean water. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.