Holi at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan

Holi at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is not just a festival in Vrindavan, its a celebration of life. Every year thousands of people throng to this beautiful town to celebrate Holi at the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and play Holi with God himself.

Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Holi at Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan

The tradition of Holi at the Banke Bihari Temple is also really interesting. It is believed that on the day of Holi, the almighty only sits and observes his devotees play Holi and himself does not participate in the festivities. So it's actually the day before the main Holi festival, that the temple comes alive when God himself actually plays Holi with his devotees. The priests spray holy water and colors and the devotees chant in unison.

Check out the video below to know more about the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan. Also, do subscribe to my Travel Channel for more videos and stories from my Travels in India and across the globe.





Before going ahead, let us learn a bit more about the Banke Bihari Temple itself. The word 'Banke' means bent and 'Bihari' means enjoyer, and these words give the name to Lord Krishna here. The temple was established by Swami Haridas in the year 1862 and since then has become the cultural and the religious centre of the town.

The Holi celebrations at the temple starts at 9am and goes on till 1.30pm. As expected, there are thousands of devotees who come and play Holi and the place is packed through the hours the temple is open. However, most devotees come, play Holi and leave shortly. In my opinion, it's the photographers and journalists who stay here the longest. In the process they get to experience Holi for the longest, though most do not join the crowd to play Holi directly.

Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
The Holi crowd at Banke Bihari Temple is unbelievable!
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Colors getting splashed around!


Its a sight unlike any other, and no words or images can recreate the environment. You have to be there in person to experience the thrill, as you walk within the crowd and get sprayed with water and colors every few minutes. The energy within the space is unbelievable.

My visit to Vrindavan this year happened purely by chance, and was completely unplanned. This also meant that I ended up soiling my clothes and my camera (almost)! But at the end of the day I was a very satisfied man :)

Holi at Banke Bihari Temple is not the first major Holi celebration in the area, it actually starts with Lathmar Holi at Barsana a week before the actually Holi event.

Here are some images from Holi festival from the Temple.

Crowd of Indian men Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Lots of people, lots of colors...Holi festivities at Banke Bihari Temple
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
The seat of God - Banke Bihari! 
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men dancing
Young men dancing to the music!
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
And more people playing Holi at the Banke Bihari Temple
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
It was great to walk within the crowds just in front of seat of Banke Bihari himself

Meanwhile outside the temple also there was lots of fun. People play for a while inside and soon shift outside to play even more. This is especially true for the localities who are prepared with colors and water and wait at the doorsteps of their houses in the narrow lanes all around the temple. I tried walking in those and got drenched multiple times. Then, I hatched a conspiracy with the kids and actually joined them in throwing colors on others - they considered me one of them and actually spared me any more collars :) Of course my camera was packed as I became the fearless warrior on the streets!

Right outside the temple there is also quite a bit of food (though I didn't see any bhang thandai), and people keep taking breaks to drink some chai, eat some kachori and bite into some jalebis. It's not the best food, but it's quite decent. I had come almost directly from the Railway Station, was was rather starved. Breakfast happened only around noon even as people continued to play more and more Holi with Banke Bhiari ji inside the temple.

Here are some images from the life ousted which is super fun and super colourful! I recommend spending as much time outside as inside, and also a few conversations with people. I now regret not interviewing some more people for my Tell me your Dream project. Next time I shall always be ready :)

And dandy, don't forget to leave me a comment if you liked the post :)

Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Banke Bihari Temple from outside
Women getting colored in holi Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Let's throw some colors :)
Small girl playing holi Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
A young girl ready to attack!
Local Indian men on streets Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Bunch of local dudes in sunglasses :)
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men spray cans
Spraying colors from cans!
Holi Banke Bihari Temple Vrindavan 2015 colors gulal red yellow green men
Another colored face :)

Comments

  1. Luis Armando GomezMarch 11, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Superb captures!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Christine PembertonMarch 11, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    Stunning stunning photos. Next year, won't you please take me?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow must have been such an amazing experience! These photos would make for an interesting magazine photo story! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks absolutely magical! How did you protect your camera gear?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hari Om
    Meanwhile I had a very sedate, table-based Holi! Cooked up a storm and used food colours to paint the faces which joined me. Not the same at all.... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brilliant captures! A riot of colours.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Superb colorful pics Sid!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It was magical! And unfortunately I didn't protect my camera well...still cleaning it up :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Chaitali! It was pretty amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It was great! You would have loved it too...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Of course Christine! I would surely take you along :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Sid, Good to see your Vrindavan pics... but you also clicked pics of a HOLI procession in Mathura... hope you remember we even had a brief chat....


    Would love to see those pics... if at all possible for you....

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey Siddharth, This is Manav from Mumbai & Pune.... Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful article through your blog... me and some my friends are going to vrindavan this holi ..... your blog is really very much helpful who intend to go there.... Thanks a lot.... Manav... 22/2/2016

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey Siddharth, This is Manav from Mumbai & Pune.... Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful article through your blog... me and some my friends are going to vrindavan this holi ..... your blog is really very much helpful who intend to go there.... Thanks a lot.... Manav... 22/2/2016

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you found these posts helpful Manav :) I wish you a great time at Holi and hope you come back with great memories (and images) :)

      Delete
  16. Lovely post, great pictures and wonderful description ! Just a small query - I was recently in Banke Bihari temple and they did not allow photography inside the temple. Do they allow that during Holi? Also do they allow you to go to the higher floors to take photos? REgards. Chandra

    ReplyDelete
  17. How nice pictures you have captured for future preservation of Indian Heritage,see how naturally people are playing rang holi festival,fantastic,very nice,god preserve all this for world also......great..... Regards Babubhai Patel....

    ReplyDelete
  18. How to protect camera while clicking?? As I'm planning to be there this year at time of holi!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment