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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular festivals and events hosted in Mathura?

Shikha Gautam DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

It is often said that the best way to explore a destination is through its festivals. It is during festivals and celebrations that the true local colours of a place come forward, giving you a chance to peek into its culture and the various traditions. With an aura of spirituality to keep you company, festivals in Mathura take on a unique character, an experience which will remain with you for a lifetime in your memories. These festivals are observed in Mathura with extra vigour and enthusiasm, so make sure you plan your trip to be a part of the joyous festivities:

  • Krishna Janamashtami

    Visiting the land of Krishna himself, you can’t really be missing his birthday, now can you? Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with extravagant enthusiasm and fervour, a time when the city of Mathura and its various temples see the maximum number of devotees coming to pay their respects, during August/September, depending on the Hindu calendar. Almost all temples in the city dedicated to Lord Krishna are decorated like a new bride, with glittering lights and a very special attire for the central idol of Lord Krishna. The celebrations at the Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple Complex, ISKCON Temple and the Bankey Bihari Temple begin with an elaborate, early morning Mangla Aarti, followed by Abhishek snan (the royal bath), Shringar, Shringar Bhog and a variety of different darshans, eventually ending in the Mahabhog which is a huge, regal feast for all the devotees. After this, the darshans usually close at 3am in the night, once all festivities and celebrations are completed. Of course, no Krishna celebration is ever complete without the nand gher anand bhayo, jai kanhaiya lal ki chant, uniting all devotees in their love for the almighty. Devotees dress up like Radha and Krishna and sing and dance to popular bhajans, praising the birth of the lord.

  • Radha Asthami

    Celebrated 15 days after Krishna Janmashtami, this festival celebrates the “appearance” of Radharani, the companion of Lord Krishna. Radha was born in Barsana, a suburb of Mathura, though devotees believe that she “appeared” and hence could neither be born or die. She is believed to have been born before Krishna, though it is said that she did not open her eyes before he was born. The Radha Kund, which is otherwise forbidden for a dip through the rest of the year, is open to devotees to bathe, at the midnight of the decided date. A special feast is prepared to accompany the songs and dances and the spiritually empowering chant of radhe radhe.

  • Goverdhan Puja

    The Goverdhan Puja festival, right after Diwali in the months of October/November (according to the Hindu calendar) is a particularly auspicious time to undertake the Goverdhan Parvatparikrama (or circumambulation), where several devotees, especially women, offer their prayers. The puja is celebrated as a celebration of Krishna’s defeat of Lord Indra, and later saving the people of Vrindavan-Mathura by lifting the Goverdhan Parvat with his little finger. The festival is particularly special for cow- and shepherds, who worship their cattle at this time and thank them for bringing in prosperity.

  • Holi

    Literally a festival of colours, holi is celebrated with great thrill and excitement in Mathura. It would hard for you to stay out of this festival in March - April every year (according to the Hindu calendar) and soon you’ll find yourself smeared in happy colours that occupy even the air of the city at this time. Though holi is only a day-long festival, preparations for it begin almost a week in advance, with different temples dressing up and gearing up for the crowds. Drink some delicious thandai (milk flavoured with almonds, pistachios, saffron and cardamom), though make sure it is not laced with the intoxicating bhaang, another feature of holi-celebrations in Mathura.

  • A few days before the actual holi is the
    lath-maar holi, celebrated when the cowherds from Nandgaon in Mathura visit the gopis of Radha’s village, Barsana. Legend has it the Krishna once visited this village to tease Radha and her friends and was affectionately shoo-ed away with laths or bamboo sticks. This tradition has continued in the lath-maar holi here, where women get a chance to hit their men with lathis. The atmosphere is frenzied and charged with excitement, with loud songs accompanying the action in the arena.


Bring out your best clothes and the spirit of devotion while you lose yourself in the magnificent festivities and the infectious air of joy. Lose yourself in these festivities and you’re sure to go home with a happy heart, a holiday that will always stay with you in your memories!

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