Holi is one of the most loved festivals in India. This festival of colours celebrates life and the arrival of spring. It also commemorates the love story of Krishna and Radha, with the origin of the festival being attributed to Lord Krishna. If you miss celebrating Holi the way it used to be traditionally observed, then you must see how some of India’s ancient Krishna temples celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm. Here is our list of Krishna temples in India that you can visit for Holi. Go back to your roots and celebrate Krishna’s festival the way it used to be!
Dwarkadhish Temple, Dwarka
Shri Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka is one of the most important Krishna temples in India, and perhaps in the world. It is believed to have been constructed by the grandson of Lord Krishna more than 2500 years ago. Watch devotees offer prayers and Holi colours to their Kanha at this ancient temple on the Gujarat coast. Festivities start a few days before the festival, with various rituals being observed daily. The grand finale of the celebrations takes place on Holi day with fragrant gulaal powder being thrown in all directions, accompanied by the chants of priests. Many devotees like to end their Holi celebrations at the temple with a dip in the sacred water tank.
How to Reach: Dwarka is connected to major Indian cities by rail and road. The closest airport is Jamnagar, 45km away.
Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara
Holi is one of the most important festivals at this sacred Krishna temple near Udaipur. Festivities start picking up weeks in advance, although the most fervent celebrations are reserved for the last 2-3 days of Holi. Huge crowds of devotees visit the temple for this festival with their families. The temple, and indeed a large part of the town, is transformed into a colorful zone with huge amounts of coloured water and gulaal being thrown around. The priests of the Shrinathji temple lovingly play Holi with the deities Shri Nathji and Navnit Lalji by sprinkling their images with gulaal and abeer. On the morning of Holi, people play Holi in the streets of the town with great enthusiasm before heading to the temple for the afternoon Darshan. As the Darshan begins, devotees get liberally sprinkled with colours as they line up for a glimpse of the Lords of Nathdwara. The sight is worth witnessing at least once!
How to Reach: Nathdwara can be easily visited on a day-trip from Udaipur, 45km away. Udaipur is very well-connected with major Indian cities by air, rail and road.
Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
To catch a Holi celebration in its true essence, full of joy and fervour, you should make a trip to Lord Krishna’s birthplace, Mathura. Reach a day before Holi so that you can watch - and join - the colourful Holi procession that wends its way from Vishram Ghat to Holi Gate in the afternoon. With participants flinging colours in all directions, it is quite the sight to see. The big celebration the next day happens, of course, at the revered Dwarkadheesh temple, one of the most famous Krishna temples in India. Watch crowds of devotees gather outside the temple gates, singing songs, beating drums, dancing and throwing colour on each other. Once the gates open, you can join the singing and dancing crowds into the temple where the priests are beating traditional drums and sprinkling coloured water in all directions. The atmosphere is unbelievable, and some traditional add-ons like bhaang and gujiyas just add to the magic of the day!
How to Reach: Mathura is connected to many Indian cities by rail and road. The nearest airport is in New Delhi, 180 km away.
Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan
This is definitely one of the most important Krishna temples in India to witness Holi celebrations at. If you visit a couple of days before Holi, you will be able to participate in a unique event at the temple known as “Phoolon Wali Holi”. In a short span of 20-minutes, large quantities of different kinds of flowers are showered on all present. It makes for a beautiful sight, perfect for photography! The real celebration though, happens on the day before Holi. On this day, the temple is a riot of wet and dry colours as priests throw buckets full of colour on the gathered devotees. People sing and dance along to the devotional music being played, and celebrate Krishna. The next day is marked with a performance of the traditional Krishna Leela in Braj.
How to Reach: The nearest train station for Vrindavan in Mathura, 10km away. The nearest airport is in New Delhi, 190 km away.
Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur
Holi festivities at this Krishna Temple extend over an entire week preceding the Holi date. A week before Holi, a three-day cultural program is held at the temple where various music and dance performances are organised. This is followed by the famous two-day Fagotsav, marked by a performance of the traditional Krishna Leela dance drama. During this festival, devotees and visitors can also watch folk artists performing a variety of Rajasthani dances like the ghoomar, and singing popular folk songs. A unique Holi celebration also takes place during the Fagotsav, with flower petals being used instead of colours. It is a beautiful and colorful sight! Ultimately, a day before Dhulendi, the temple authorities organise a Gulaal Holi within the temple premises. After the day’s Aarti, all those present in the temple liberally sprinkle each other with Holi colours and enjoy the festival in the presence of Krishna!