Color fills the air as people dance and sing, celebrating the victory of good over evil. Holi, the season of colors, marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new season. Holi in Vrindavan and Mathura is a sight to behold, as they are known for the grand celebration of the festival. In Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the festivities start a week before Holi with a procession of Lord Krishna's idol. In Vrindavan, known as the city of Lord Krishna, the festivities are spread over several days with temple processions, colorful water, and powder play. The energy and enthusiasm of the locals and tourists alike make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Holi In Vrindavan and Mathura 2023
27th February 2023 Laddoo Holi in Barsana
The distance between Barsana and Mathura is 50 km. The event occurs at Barsara's Radha Rani Temple, also known as Shriji Temple.
Legend: The Goddess Radha spent her early life and her formative years in Barsara. The Radha Rani Temple was erected atop the Brahmagiri Hills to honor Radha. Priests throw laddoos to worshippers as a blessing. The most popular laddoos are bright yellow because Lord Krishna loves them.
28th February 2023 Lathmaar Holi in Barsana
The Lathmaar Holi is very famous in Barsana. The Nandgaon men reach Barsana to put colors on women, and the women playfully chase them with sticks. The event takes place on the streets of Radha Rani Temple. Holi celebrations in Barsara feature joyful and festive traditions, including colors and sticks to honor the memory of the love romance of Krishna and Radha.
- Legend: It was said that Krishna was ashamed of his blue skin, so he didn't dare to confess his love for Radha (who lived in Barsana). He went to Barsanaa on the recommendation of his mother, Yashoda, and put colors on Radha and her friend's skin. Initially, Radha used to chase him with sticks but eventually fell in love with his endearing personality.
- Timings: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
1st March 2023 Lathmaar Holi in Nandgaon
About 60 kilometers separate Mathura from Nandgaon. The events on Holi Day 3 are similar to those on Holi Day 2 in Barsana. The change is that on day three, males from Barsara go to Nandgaon to color the women. Women in Nandgaon then exact revenge on the men in their village who were chased (and beaten) with sticks on day 2. The activity is just amusing.
- Timings: 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm
3rd March 2023 Phoolwali Holi in Vrindavan and Mathura
Day 4 features two significant occasions. One is the Holi celebration in Mathura, which is also known as Phoolwali Holi (also known as Flower Holi), and the other is in Vrindavan. In Vrindavan, Phoolwali Holi is primarily about flowers. It is observed at Banke Bihari Temple, which is regarded as the most revered and well-known temple in the world devoted to Lord Krishna.
- Timings: 1:00 pm onwards
4th March 2023 Chhadi Maar Holi in Gokul
Mathura is located about 15 kilometers from Gokul. Chhadi Mar Holi is a more moderate form of Lathmar Holi in that local women chase males with chaddi ('little sticks' or 'wands'). During the event, children will be dressed as Krishna, and an idol of Radha will be carried. It lasts approximately 112 hours. When the celebrations reach their peak, ladies will use thin sticks to beat men playfully.
- Legend: Krishna spent his early years in Gokul, where he is regarded as a child during festivals. In Gokul, you can find his idols on the jhoola.
- Timings: 12:00 pm onwards
4th March 2023 Widow Holi in Vrindavan
Widows only celebrate Holi in Vrindavan, the lone city in all of Uttar Pradesh, India. In India, widows are thought to have been cursed with bad luck following the death of their husbands. Vrindavan is also known as the "city of widows" because it is home to over 6,000 widows. Widows are only allowed to wear white saris and are not permitted to participate in any festivity.
Vrindavan widows can dress in red, pink, and other vibrant colors on Holi Day 6. People gather in Gopinath Temple, including some from Varanasi, and fling colorful powders and flower petals while dancing, singing, and playing Lord Krishna bhajans (devotional songs). This is a significant uplifting moment in their difficult life.
7th March 2023 Holika Dahan in Mathura
National celebrations of Holika Dahan are held to honor the victory of good over evil. At Mathura's Holi Gate, a ritual is performed. An effigy of the demon Holika is burned on a big bonfire as the centerpiece of Holika Dahan to represent the annihilation of evil. One event occurs at Banke Bihari Temple, and another at Vishram Ghat after sunset.
- Timings: 9:00 am to 1:30 pm
8th March 2023 Holi in Mathura
The major day of the yearly Holi festival is Day 8. The Holi Gate and surrounding areas of Mathura's main town are the greatest sites to celebrate. You shouldn't skip the festivities at the Dwarkadhish Temple (about one kilometer from the Holi Gate). If you arrive early, you can observe priests preparing bhang (an edible cannabis drink commonly used during traditional Hindu celebrations) and processions at Yamuna Ghat.
- Timings: 10:00 am onwards
9th march 2023 Huranga Holi in Baldeo
Baldeo is around 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Mathura. Men are not only chased and beaten with lathis (bamboo batons wrapped in iron) in Baldeo but they are also stripped. Baldeo has a large holy Talab ('pond'). Many devotees come to bathe there to ponder life's meaning and strive for a better life. On day 9, locals bid farewell to Holi 2023 by singing, dancing, and swimming in the vibrant talab.
- Legend: It is considered to be the home of Krishna's elder brother. People in Dauji Temple celebrate the conclusion of Holi on the day after the major day of Holi.
- Timings: 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Why is the Holi in Vrindavan and Mathura famous?
Holi celebrations in Vrindavan are unique and attract people from all over the world. The festival is celebrated for a period of 16 days, with different traditions and rituals observed each day. The most popular celebration is the 'Lathmar Holi,' where women playfully hit men with sticks, symbolizing the story of Lord Krishna and Radha.
Holi is celebrated in Mathura, commemorating Lord Krishna's playful and mischievous nature and his love for Radha. The city boasts many of Lord Krishna's temples, such as Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Dwarikadhish Temple. The colorful and lively festivities attract thousands of yearly visitors, making Holi in Mathura a popular and cherished tradition.
Staying options in Vrindavan and Mathura:
Vrindavan and Mathura provide various lodging choices, from opulent resorts to affordable guesthouses.
Vrindavan: Popular choices for inexpensive lodging in Vrindavan include guesthouses close to the ISKCON temple, such as the MVT Guesthouse or the Gopinath Bhavan Guesthouse.
Mathura: Guesthouses like the Brijwasi Royal or the Mukund Dham Guest House are examples of affordable lodging alternatives in Mathura.
Popular Eating Places:
Vrindavan: It is known for delicious vegetarian food. Here are some of the eateries in Vrindavan listed below.
Address: Vansda, Navsari
Timing: 10:30 am to 11:00 pm
Cost: INR 350 for two (approx)
Must Try: Aloo Puri and Chole Bhature
2. MTV Restaurant
Address: MTV Restaurant, Raman Reiti, Vrindavan
Timing:10:30 am to 11:00 pm
Cost: INR 300 for two (approx)
Must Try: Thali and Pizza
Mathura: It has a culinary tradition, especially regarding vegetarian dishes. Here are some of the famous restaurants you should try.
1. Bansal Foods
Address: Krishna Nagar, Mathura
Timing: 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
Cost: INR 200 to 500 for two (approx)
Must Try: Samosas and chole bhature
2. Gopala Restaurant
Address: Damier Nagar, Mathura
Timing: 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm; 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Cost: INR 400 for two
Must Try: Pizza and sandwiches
Best time to visit Mathura and Vrindavan:
Apart from the Holi season in Vrindavan and Mathura, if you want to explore, here are the ideal time for your perfect vacation:
Vrindavan: The wintertime is the ideal time to visit Vrindavan. The temperature is still pleasant and suitable for touring the monuments and other attractions. September, October, November, December, February, and March are the ideal months to travel.
Mathura: The ideal months to visit Mathura are October and November since the city has beautiful scenery. The winter months are December through February. The temperature ranges from 14 °C at the least to 32 °C at the maximum. The days are relaxing, and the nights are cool.
How to reach Vrindavan?
By Air: The closest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport (150 kilometers) in Delhi, which would take roughly three and a half hours to reach Vrindavan.
By Rail: There is a train station in Vrindavan, but not all trains stop there. The closest railroad station is Mathurapur Road (14 kilometers away in Mathura).
By Road: From Mathura to Vrindavan, taxis, buses, and rented auto rickshaws are all options.
How to reach Mathura?
By Air: The airport in Agra (50 kilometers from Mathura), is the closest airport, whereas the Indira Gandhi International Airport (147 kilometers away) is the closest major international airport to Mathura.
By Rail: Regular trains connect India's major cities with the Mathura railway station.
By Road: Buses from surrounding cities like Agra, Faizabad, Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, and even Delhi can take you to Mathura.
If you are in Vrindavan or Mathura, do you know what places you can explore?
1. Banke Bihari temple (Mathura)
Various occasions in Lord Krishna's life are celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor at the Banke Bihari Temple. Mangala aarti is conducted in the temple during Janmashtami, and Akshaya Tritiya is the only day when the deity's lotus feet are visible. The deity can only be seen with a flute in hand and wearing a certain crown on the full moon day in the fall.
Entrance Fee: Free
Entrance Timings: 8:30 am to 1:00 pm,4:30 pm to 8:30 pm
2. Radha Raman Temple (Vrindavan)
The city of Radha Raman is home to this Hindu temple. The hymn is devoted to Lord Krishna, often known as Radha Raman or Radha's Joy Provider. Both Radharani, the self-manifested deity from Shaligram Shila who sports a wonderful grin, and the original Shaligram idol of Krishna are housed in the shrine.
Entrance Fee: Free
Entrance Timings: 5:30 am to 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
3. Govardhan Hill (Mathura)
According to legend, Lord Krishna raised the Govardhan Hill with just one finger while still a baby to protect his home village of Mathura from ferocious downpours and thunderstorms. This hill is revered as a result, and on Guru Purnima, Govardhan Puja, devotees circumambulate it 23 kilometers in bare feet out of devotion.
Entrance Fee: Free
Entrance Timings: Open 24 hours
4. Govind Devji Temple (Vrindavan)
One of the most sacred temples in the region, the Govind Devji Temple, is tucked away among numerous other places of worship for the Lord. Although the original Lord Krishna idol in the temple is no longer there, it is said that the Lord Krishna idol in the Govind Devji Temple resembled the Lord's face when he was a baby.
Entrance Fee: Free
Entrance Timings: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
5. Prem Mandir (Vrindavan)
The temple is surrounded by piety and serenity and is situated in the holy city of Vrindavan in the Mathura region of Uttar Pradesh. This newly built temple, which is the most magnificent in the entire Brij region, is crowded with worshippers during the Aarti. Due to its white marble construction and exquisite sculptures, this temple is renowned for its architectural splendor.
Entrance Fee: Free
Entrance Timings: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, 4:30 to 8:30 pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Which season is ideal for visiting Vrindavan?
Winter is the ideal time to visit Vrindavan.
Where can I celebrate Holi in Vrindavan?
To witness the Holi festival with flowers and colors inside the temple grounds, go to the Banke Bihari temple.
Where to visit first, Vrindavan or Mathura?
Since the temple closes at 11 AM, you should go to Mathura first. You can then go on to Vrindavan.
Will two days suffice to visit Mathura and Vrindavan?
Three days should be enough to see the most popular sites in Agra, Mathura, and Vrindavan.