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Holi symbolises the timeless love story between Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna and it is celebrated on the streets of Nandgaon and Barsana. It is a festival that is celebrated because of Lord Vishnu’s victory over King Hiranyakashipu, which is regarded as an illustration of good triumphing over evil. In the cities of Nandgaon and Barsana in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, Holi takes on an especially fascinating part. This place celebrates Lathmar Holi in a way that is different from other regions of the nation. The native people are well-known for using sticks in addition to colours to celebrate Holi in a very special way. Lathmar Holi in Hindi literally translates as “playing Holi with stick and colours.” We will explore this further in the article below.

Lathmar Holi Celebration In Nandgaon

Holi celebration near Shri Nand Baba Temple in Nandgaon.

Image Credit: Vijay Sundararaman Iyer for Wikimedia Commons

Lathmar Holi is a four-day festival in the twin towns of Nandgaon and Barsana, celebrated by women who start preparing for it a month in advance. The celebrations begin with rituals at a temple, followed by a parade of colourful bylanes. Women coat men with colourful powders, and they folk dance to classical songs. The second day involves shepherds (gops) from Nandgaon visiting Barsana, where they celebrate Holi with the gopis. The third day involves men visiting the Shri Radha Rani Temple in Nandgaon, where they are teasing women with teasing songs. Women playfully beat men with bamboo sticks to chase them away. Men do come prepared with shields and padded clothing to bear the beatings. Following the scenes, men and women celebrate Holi by covering colour powders and splashing each other with watercolours. The village appears a colourful look during the festival. The unlucky men who are caught by the women are forced to dance in public in women’s clothing. The final day involves women from both villages celebrating Holi by covering each other with colour.

The festival is celebrated in the villages of Barsana and Nandgaon, the birthplaces of Radha and Krishna. These two villages are between two hills, Brahma Hill and Vishnu Hill, and are adjacent to each other. Lord Krishna resided with his foster parents in Nandgaon village which is located on top of the Nandeeshwar hills. Villagers used to gather together to perform rituals, dancing to the dholak to signify brotherhood and unity. Lord Krishna covered Radha with colours to match his complexion as a prank. Radha and her friends then returned to his village and pranked them with colours. Thus this festival is celebrated by both villages marking it as a significant event in history.

Must Read: Holi In Mathura

Shri Nand Baba Temple Timings And Details

Shri Nand Baba Temple, a historic and spiritual site in Nandgaon.

Image Credit: Hemant Shesh for Wikimedia Commons

The famous temple, located on top of Nandishwar Hill, was built by Raja Rupa Singh in the 19th century with red sandstone. It is said that Nandbaba moved from Gokul to Nandgaon and resided here along with Yashoda Maiya, Lord Krishna, Balram and all people of Gokul. Nand Bhavan literally means the home of Nana Baba and it is the only temple where Yashoda Mata and Nand Baba(foster parents) is worshipped along with Lord Krishna and Balaramji. Nandigram is 50km northwest of the town of Vrindavan. The Nand Baba Temple is over the hill. There are two black marble Deities of Krishna and Balarama inside the temple. This is the only temple that has the shrines of foster parents, Nand Ji and Yashoda Mata, of Lord Shri Krishna.

Opening Time Of The Temple:
During summer: 05:00 AM to 02:00 PM (Morning) and 04:00 AM to 09:00 PM (Evening)
During winter: 06:00 AM to 02:00 PM (Morning) and 04:00 AM to 08:30 PM (Evening)

Best Time to Visit the Temple: February or March are ideal months to visit the temple, considering the climatic conditions and festivals like Holi. Janmashtami is also a major festival celebrated at Nand Baba Mandir, with large crowds.

Places To Visit Around Nandgaon

There are an array of places to visit around Nandgaon. Let’s explore some of the best sites to visit near Nandgaon

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Charan Pahari: Located on the southwest side of Nandgaon, also known as Nandagram, this major tourist attraction has a story going back to the time when Lord Krishna lived here. This is a sacred hill in Nandgaon, known for the impressions of Lord Krishna’s feet. According to mythology, in the Luk Luka Khandar’s cave, Lord Krishna played his flute, breaking sakhis’ meditation. The sound of his flute melted the hill, and the nearby hill where the sakhis were playing also melted due to the sweet sound.

Pavana Sarovar: It is a lake that is located on the highway road to Kamavan and is believed that a holy dip in the water here purifies one’s mind, body, and soul.Pavana signifies purification, and sarovar means lake. It is the most sacred pond in Nadagaon. It is a lake which is believed by locals that one who washes in Pavana Sarovar Lake will see Krishna there, alongside Nanda and Yashoda and every one of his desires to be satisfied.

Nadisvara Temple: The temple has been dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located near the Nandbhavan temple, another popular visit in Nandgaon. This temple is among the five most sacred Lord Shiva temples in the Braj area. Nandisavara means ‘the lord of Nandi’. Maha Shivaratri is considered the temple’s major celebration. The festival is held for more than two days. On the day of Maha Shivaratri, devotees come to this famous temple in Nandagon with their offerings and sacred Ganga water, which are presented to Lord Shiva as part of the tradition. It is also believed that Lord Shiva resides here in the form of a hill relishing the divine activities of Lord Krishna.

Suggested Read: Prem Mandir

How To Reach Nandgaon Temple

View of the Mathura Railway station

Image Source: dendoktoor for Pixabay

It would be best if travellers come through Mathura. Those coming from Mathura can go via Vrindavan, Kosi Kalan, and Nandgaon. Nand Bhawan Nandgaon is just 10.4 KM away from Radha Rani Temple Barsana and Kirti Temple Barsana. Travelling by bus from Mathura is a convenient and recommended option. Mathura has both railway and bus stations. The nearest airports to Mathura are Delhi Airport, which is 156 km, and Agra Airport, around 60 km.

Further Read: Places To Visit In Mathura

After mentioning the list of temples and experiences you must not miss out on, you must now have a clear picture. So get ready to plan your trip to Mathura to witness rich cultural traditions through festivals and get a glimpse into Hindu Mythology with its scenic landscapes. As you walk through the paths of Nandgaon, you will find rich traditions being carried forward generation by generation. 

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Cover Image Source: Ashishkumar468 for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Nandgaon

How to participate in Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon?

Visitors can participate in Lathmar Holi by engaging themselves in Nandgaon's festive environment, where ladies playfully beat men with sticks to symbolize Krishna and Radha's love.

What cultural etiquette in Nandgaon should visitors know about?

Visitors should follow local customs and traditions, especially during religious festivals, and dress respectfully when visiting temples or attending cultural activities.

Are there any accommodations available in Nandgaon for tourists?

Yes, Nandgaon has a number of accommodations to stay, including guesthouses, hotels, and homestays, that will accommodate you according to your budgets and interests.

Are there any local dishes or specialities to try in Nandgaon?

Visitors can try traditional Uttar Pradesh food, like petha (a type of sweet), mathri (savoury fried snacks), and local varieties of dal curries and roti (flatbread).

Will there be any local guides available in Nandgaon to learn more about its history and culture?

Yes, there will be local guides available. Tourists can benefit from local guides who provide insightful tours that highlight the town's rich history, cultural legacy, and religious significance.

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