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Holi Festival of Colors in Mathura and Vrindavan

Holi Festival of Colors in Shri Krishna Temple in Mathura

You thought you really experienced the “Holi Festival of Colors”, that heralds the arrival of spring, when Indians throw color onto each other and wish each other “Happy Holi”? Have you experienced the Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan and discovered the religious / spiritual part of this Hindu Festival?

I took part to the Holi already twice in Rajatshan: Bundi in 2013 and Udaipur in 2015. And no, I was not in one of those events that only caters for tourists whom, it seems, must be “protected” from the Indians. I was in the streets and really enjoyed this Festival.

In 2023, when I found out our travel dates would include the Holi, I decided to join in in Madhura and Vrindavan, the very place of the birth of Krishna. And honestly, only there did I really discover what Holi is really all about… Because it is not only about fun and madness, it is also about devotion, spirituality… true, with a (significant) touch of extravaganza! One experience that should be on your bucket list!

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True, organizing this part of our trip was REALLY challenging, as information is not only scarce and difficult to understand but also inconsistent / contradictory. What I hadn’t understood is that the very date of Holi is different from one state to the other, and Agra or Madhura / Vrindavan are in Uttar Pradesh and not in Rajasthan! This date is extremely important, as it enables you to calculate back all other events / ceremonies / processions.

Moreover, if in most touristic places, Holi is a one-day event, in Mathura and Vrindavan it lasts more than 2 weeks (!!!), with several major events, both in the street and in temples. Here you find a few good and up-to-date resources about the Holi in both places, that will help you prepare your visit: Tripoto, Tale of 2 Backpackers, Shoe String Travel.

Last but not least, in Mathura and Vrindavan, you definitely leave the “major touristic path”, so be ready for a far more genuine experience of India, on accommodation (that can be quite basic), food (very few restaurants and only really local ones at that), language (not many people speak more than a few words of English), and transportation (have your car in AND out or plan your train ticket weeks or even months in advance: at some points, we thought we wouldn’t be able to find a car out, and paid several times the regular price for the trip to Jaipur).

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