Vrindavan Holi : A mystical , magical experience.

I have been visiting Vrindavan since I was a kid, running through the tiny lanes , knowing the shortcuts, being wary of the monkeys and gorging on the Birla Mandir tikkis at Mathura.  The connection with Vrindavan is deep rooted.

Everything is magical and divine about Vrindavan and cannot be summed up in a single post.

As a kid I remember, during holi how I was  allowed right in front of the idol and the pandits poured Tesu flower water with huge pichkaris over the devotees. I loved getting drenched there. Even though I hated the holi kids play in cities,there was something divine about the Holi at the Bankey Bihari Temple, Vrindavan. Devotees played holi with their beloved Krishna. Clouds of Dry color , wisps of pink gulaal and flowers, Holi at its purest best! Getting drenched here was like drenching in his love.

This year for the first time, I witnessed this festival as a “photographer”. So instead of being a part of the crowds , drenching in the color , I was capturing them getting drenched. This was an experience in itself too.

Holi in Vrindavan is a big, big thing! Here the festivities start way before the rest of the nation.

What makes the Vrindavan Temple Holi so different?

1. More than playing Holi amongst themselves, people play Holi with Krishna. So there are colors all around. People throw fistfuls of color on their beloved Bihariji ( form of Radha and Krishna ) . In return they are rewarded with color thrown by the priests. This color is dry as well as wet color filled in silver pichkaaris. (long tubes). There is no escaping the color. The whole hall is full of a plethora of colors.

The color riot
Colour clouds traveling amidst the devotees!

2. Ekadashi Holi: Holi with Flowers

The festival is 5 day long. On the Ekadashi day, lakhs of people do the Vrindavan Parikrama. So not only are there crowds due to Holi but also crowds due to the parikrama.

People walk through the town and throw colors on the way. These are mostly dry colors.

But the highlight of Ekadashi Holi is the Phool Holi: Holi with flowers.

Flower Holi

For 15 minutes , non stop , the devotees in the temple witness the most stunning display of Holi. As soon as the darshan opens, flowers are showered on the devotees. The flower rain is sheer beauty! I froze for a second, not clicking. Such sights need to be captured with your eyes and they remain etched in your minds forever.

Its raining flowers!

DSC_0613

3. Tesu flower water: Organic Holi

The color poured on the devotees is not chemical color but pure, organic color. The tesu flowers are boiled in huge cauldrons and then natural color is extracted and used in the temple holi.

But the colors brought by the devotees are market colors. So one needs to be careful of those.

TIPS for photographers:

While it is fun to capture all these moments, there are quite a few challenges.

1. Crowds:

The crowds!

The first challenge is the crowds. The temple is a quadrilateral hall and there are 3 entrances. People keep pouring in and out and there is really no line for darshan.

DSC_0680-001

Not only is it crowded inside, but also all the lanes leading to the temple during darshan hours are extremely crowded.

Keep a note of the timings. Reach well in time so you can secure your shooting spot.

2. Permissions:

Photography of the Idol is strictly prohibited and the guards can be really a nuisance.

To avoid any trouble, get official permission to click from the Manager of the temple. They would ask you to sign a declaration stating you would follow the rules and ask for a Photo ID and thats about it!

3. Low light:

They might sometimes open the roof top, sometimes no.

Be prepared for the low light situation and carry a fast lens.

Portrait of a devotee

4. Camera protection:

It is very very important to secure your equipment. Use a rain cover for your camera as well as lens and secure it with tapes and polythene sheets.People are bound to pour water and douse your camera with colors.

Lastly, chances of changing lenses and batteries are almost NIL due to the crowds.

It is a crazy experience and a lifetime one. Its best to go there, have fun and get drenched in those moments.

Rang Barse

You may get photographs , you may not. What is important is you get to witness a color riot like never before! 🙂

How to get there:

Vrindavan is 160 Km by road from New Delhi.

One can also reach Vrindavan from Agra via the Yamuna Expressway. ( 73km)

Nearest railway station is : Mathura (12 km)

44 thoughts on “Vrindavan Holi : A mystical , magical experience.

  1. Amazing captures,I cant pick my fav all totally all are super and infornative. Thanks babe loved it. Oh happy holi.

  2. Beautiful.. Vrindavan it is next holi.. I will be one among crowd.. can’t miss it 😀 u can take devotee pics (mine..mine 😛 ) Mast clicks divsi 🙂

  3. You have captured the spirit of Holi perfectly in these images…

    Gorgeous images 🙂

    I really wish I were there, right among the people, playing Holi 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of our country with the world 🙂

  4. What striking photos. I especially like the orange Holi flowers and the devotee with the purple. I do not understand the ceremony, but it is interesting to see how other people worship.

    1. This is the holi celebration in northern India. People celebrate this festival of joy with colours! 🙂 there are colours all round and showers of flowers as well! Thanks so much for the visit! 😊

  5. amazing post… a virtual treat for the eyes, beautiful pictures. Especially love how you ended the post with your last line 🙂 Cheers!

  6. Awesome clicks :). Didn’t know Holi in Vrindavan was so colourful. Seeing the fantastic pics and post, I am sure it must have been one fantastic experience :D.

  7. A holi of flowers, organic colours and simply-awesome photographs. Looks like you had a great one. Thank you for the sights from Vrindavan.
    Once again, Awsome pictures!! 🙂

  8. Mind blowing… Awesome… Superb post! 🙂 It’s a complete visual treat. I didn’t know about flower Holi. It’s a grand affair. Great photographs and very very useful tips and information. Thanks a lot for sharing. 🙂

  9. Brilliant photography. I never photographed holi. And I had questions when I first saw the pictures, but you clarified them at the end of the post. I was worried about the protection of camera from the dust and water.

Leave a Reply