Holi celebrations in Mathura & Vrindavan

Want to know how you can make your Braj Ki Holi – celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan memorable in 2024? Read on!

The festival of colours is almost here! The sweet taste of homecoming, balloons filled with colours and not air, the gala feast with family – Holi holds a special place in all our hearts. And if you are wondering how you could celebrate it differently this year, then this blog is for you! Read on to find out about this unique custom of celebrating Holi in the heart of North India.

We are talking about the land of Lord Krishna – Mathura and Vrindavan. Holi in Mathura is a great experience for anyone who loves this festival. The colours and the madness make it beautiful and fun for its visitors. The celebrations continue in Vrindavan and nearby areas making it an exciting event that lasts for over a week. Holi in Vrindavan, Mathura, Nandgaon, Barsana and other local areas are popularly known as Braj Ki Holi.

Braj is the region that covers Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon and Barsana. Each lane of these places has stories of Lord Krishna and his divine love story with Radha. Lord Krishna was born in Mathura and spent his childhood in Vrindavan. While his beloved, Radha was from Barsana. 

Devotees visit these towns throughout the year to sing along the bhajans and recall the mischievous stories of Lord Krishna. However, these pilgrim towns see a massive surge in tourists during the festive season of Holi. 

The origin tale of Braj ki Holi

The legend goes like this – as a kid, Krishna often complained to his mother, Yashodha, about his dark complexion. Radha, on the other hand, was fair. Envious of her fairness, he used to throw colors at Radha so as to balance out each other’s skin tones. Krishna, along with his friends, used to visit Barsana from his village, Nandgaon to playfully put colours on Radha and her friends. The women offended by the act, drove them out of the town using sticks or Lathis

Today, the people of Barsana, recreate this tale by celebrating it as ‘Lathmar Holi’. Men of Nandgaon visit Barsana during Holi while the women hurl sticks at them. The men protect themselves from being hit by using shields. To add to the fun, some of the men dress up as women to avoid being hurled at. Locals take all the necessary safety precautions to ensure that no one gets hurt. People sing the popular folk songs and dance to perform the age-old traditional stories. 

The celebrations in Barsana are followed by similar festivities in Nandgaon the next day. After a day of immersing in the colours of Nandgaon, Vridanvan is the next stop for devotees. The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan hosts a week-long Holi celebration. People play with organic colours or gulaal, flowers and kesar. Devotees dance to the bhajans and distribute sweets and dry fruits as gifts to each other. You would hear chants of ‘Shri Radha’ and ‘Shri Krishna’ everywhere around while devotees enjoy themselves by drinking the traditional Braj ki Holi drink – Thandai.


Holi Celebrations at different places of Mathura and Vrindavan:

Banke Bihari temple, Vrindavan – Visit Banke Bihari Temple to play Holi with colourful flowers, popularly known as Phoolwaalon ki Holi. Devotees near the temple premises come together to play with flower petals. The sight on this day is a treat for the eyes! Catch this unique celebration that lasts for about 30 minutes. Visit the temple around 4 pm to be a part of the celebrations. 

Vishram Ghat, Mathura – The Holi procession takes place in Vishram Ghat. During this, young boys and girls dress up as Lord Krishna and Radha to sit on vehicles accompanying the group of devotees taking part in the procession. People sing and dance while being drenched in colours. The procession starts around 3 pm from Vishram Ghat. 

Huranga – Head to Huranga which is about 30 km from Mathura, after the day of Holi. The festivities here start at around 12:30. Expect a crazy celebration near Daoji temple as men are not only beaten to imitate Lathmar Holi but also stripped! You might get a chance to jump in the temple pond of colours when you are here!

Holi Dates in Mathura & Vrindavan 2024 and Full Calendar


Dates Event of Brij ki Holi
March 17, 2024 Phag Invitational Festival and Laddu Holi at Radha Rani Temple, Barsana
March 18, 2024 Lathmar Holi at Radha Rani Temple, Barsana
March 19, 2024 Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon
March 20, 2024 Phoolwali Holi at Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan
March 20, 2024 Program at Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple
March 21, 2024 Lath Mar Holi at Gokul
March 23, 2024 Widow’s Holi at Radha Gopinath Temple, Vrindavan
March 24, 2024 Holika Dahan and Holi of flowers at Banke Bihari Temple
March 25, 2024 Main Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan
March 26, 2024 Huranga Holi in Baldev at Dauji Temple

Holi celebration in Braj

Things to do

Shun taboo at Pagal Baba Widow Ashram – Visit this ashram during Holi as widowed women play with colours as opposed to the age-old traditional belief that widows shouldn’t wear colours. This is a strong and progressive step towards a brighter future for women.

Shop at the local stores – Handmade jewellery, idols and accessories – you will find plenty of antique pieces in the markets of Mathura and Vrindavan. When in Mathura, shop from Holygate, Lal Bazaar and Krishnanagar Market. The local shops are adorned in the Holi theme!

Give your tastebuds a treat – Try the lip-smacking street food of Braj. Chaat, Samosa, Kachori are the famous snacks around the place. Make sure to taste the popular Makhan-Mishri outside any of the major temples!


Braj Bhoomi: The land of Lord Shri Krishna

Braj Bhoomi is the holy land of Lord Krishna. According to mythological tales, the regions of Braj is where Lord Krishna grew up. Some of the popular locations of Braj Bhoomi are –

Maan Mandir – This temple is located at the hilltop of Maan Garh. According to the tales, this was the place where Lord Krishna persuaded his beloved Radha when she got angry with him. Visit during the early morning hours or late evenings to experience the divine prayers in the temple. Take a part in their Daily Prasad Seva, where devotees distribute the ‘prasad’. Hear the locals tell you the divine love story of Lord Krishna and buy souvenirs to take a part of the holy land home.

Mor Kutir Mandir – Another temple dedicated to the love of Radha-Krishna, the holy Mor Kutir Mandir experiences heavy footfalls of devotees all throughout the year. You will spot many peacocks on the premises. It is said that the peacocks come together to celebrate the love of Radha and Krishna. The shops nearby are famous for their hand-woven materials and sarees. 

Rangeeli Mahal – Founded in 1996, Rangeeli Mahal is one of the major attractions of Barsana. The premises of the palace is embellished with colourful gardens and serene waterfalls. It is said that this was the place where Radha lived about 5,000 years ago. Don’t forget to visit Kirti Mandir, dedicated to the glory of Radha, which is very close to Rangeeli Mahal. Outside the palace, try the famous chaat of Barsana at Shri Radha Chaat Bhandar Shop.

Nand Bhavan – Nand Bhavan is the only place where Nand and Yashoda, the foster parents of Lord Krishna are worshipped. The temple is located at the top of the Nandishwar Hills. The temple is also called Chaurasi Khamba temple because of the 84 pillars that support the temple. The number 84 signifies the 84,00,000 species of life that exists in the world according to Hindu scriptures.

Popular food of Braj Bhoomi

When you are in Braj, you should definitely try the ‘Bhog’ served in temples across towns. ‘Mathura ke Pede’ is a famous sweet prepared from milk, khoya and cardamon. You can find this sweet everywhere in Mathura. Other food items that you just can’t miss are – Chana Chiwda, Moong Dal ke Pakode, Kachori Sabzi and Jalebi, Malai Lassi and Thandai.

How to reach

Be a part of the Braj Ki Holi celebrations this year! Barsana-Nandgaon is only 12 km from Mathura. Here are all the ways you can reach these places – 

By Air: Agra Airport is the closest airport which is at a distance of about 60 km from Mathura. You may also travel to Mathura by taking a flight to Delhi. Delhi International airport is almost 172 km away. You book a cab from Delhi airport which can then ferry you to all the areas of the Braj region. 

By Rail: Mathura is well-connected with the major cities via rail. The closest railway station is in Mathura.

By Road: The holy pilgrimage of the Braj region is well-connected with roads. You can simply book a taxi to travel to Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon and Barsana from any major city.

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Shabari Shankar

About the author

Roaming less trodden paths, Hritika, a true mountain enthusiast, unveils the stories and secrets of uncharted territories. Her spontaneous spirit thrives on making unplanned adventures and immersing herself in the tales of the people she encounters. Her writing is a window into these hidden places, capturing their essence and sharing unique perspectives that resonate deeply with the adventurous soul. With every word, she invites her readers to join her on impromptu journeys, as she unveils the world beyond the well-known map, where every twist in the road holds a new story waiting to be discovered.

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