Monday, April 30, 2012

Flavors of Mathura: Lal Peda, Kachori, Samosa, etc (Where to Eat in Mathura)

Apart from all the history and the exquisite tales of the past, there was one more aspect of Mathura that we took delight in – Food!

Mathura has a lot to offer when it comes to eating out. But let me warn you beforehand, if you are one of those who prefer the luxury and ambiance of high end hotels, then the city will disappoint you big time. The only way to enjoy this small town, when talking of the best food that it has to offer, is by hanging out at those small roadside eating joints on the streets, very often with no names to swank of and at other times referred to as mishthan bhandars or mithaiwala or bhojnalayas - desi indian restaurant style! A day here and you will realize that the true taste when it comes to the food of Mathura lies out there – on the streets and in the lanes.

Let’s see what Mathura had for us in their Flavors Menu for the time that we spent in the city.

Morning Tea

Just cannot be missed. Tucked in some corner with no nameplates, these small kiosks attract the biggest crowds, mostly localiites and some tourists as well. A fresh brew of ginger, cardamom and some other spices thrown in and served in either kulhads (earthen mugs) or glasses, a tea stall is not simply a tea stall here but one of the many ‘sights’ of Mathura.

A Tea shack or Chaiwala in Mathura
A Tea Stall in Mathura

It is a place of social gathering for the locals and a great way to get a local feel for travelers like us. Of all the flavors of Mathura, this is definitely my pick of the lot and should not be missed for anything.

Where: Anywhere in the middle/corner of lanes, it will be very easy to spot them.

Breakfast Snacks

1. Kachori /Samosa

And tea, of course doesn’t stop there. It has to be continued with a host of snacks and nibbles and Mathura has them aplenty. Close to the tea stalls, there is a huge probability that you will find some snack being fried. Some popular ones include crispy kachoris, deep fried samosas and melt-in-the-mouth jalebis and they are usually delicious.

Kachori snack stall, Mathura
A Jalebis (left in the pic) and kachoris (next plate to the right)
stall near the tea shack

Tip: Gorge on them but don’t forget to wash all of it down with a hot cup of tea!

What and Where: Kachori at any one of the small hole-in-the-wall shops.
                           Samosas at Shankar Mithaiwala, Holi gate.

2. Besides the Regional/Local Flavors --> Khaman Dhokla, Pohe

Mathura being the land of a Lord who enjoys a large follower base especially from the Gujarati sect of Hinduism, one can see a dominance of Gujarati flavors on its food. Thus, don’t be surprised if you bump in stalls selling the light-on-the-stomach khamans and dhoklas in the very same lanes selling north Indian specialties like kachoris and samosas.
A Juice and Khaman shop in Mathura
Annapurna Khaman Dhokla House, Chatta Bazaar

Juice glasses in Mathura
Fresh Mosambi Juice at Annapurna House

We found one such shop in the lane leading upto the Vishram Ghat from the Holi Gate (Chatta Bazaar) and took delight in their soft and spongy khamans - freshly cooked and served hot in the mornings. What’s more, they also had my home food - Mumbai delicacy pohe (rice flakes)! So what if it was minus the onion, still it made me feel close to home! 

What: Pohe and Khaman. Their fresh fruit juices are also very good.

Where: Annapurna Khaman Dhokla House, Chatta Bazaar. 

Mobile No.: +91 - 9760242967

Lunch and Dinner --> Gujarati Hindu Lodge

Street food sure does gratify the taste buds but nothing can beat the aroma of authentic cuisine. This is where Gujarati Hindu Lodge came in picture for us.

Gujarati Hindu Lodge, Mathura Eating joint
Gujarati Hindu Lodge in a lane near the Vishram Ghat

Situated in a humble setting, this was our lunch and dinner jaunt in Mathura. The food is fresh, home-like with the usual thali platter -- 2 veggies, dal, rice and chappatis, served unlimited; everything is worth all the money spent!

Owner of Gujarati Hindu Lodge, Mathura
Owner of the Gujarati Hindu Lodge posing for me!

Address: In an adjacent lane leading upto the Vishram Ghat.

Thali Price: Rs. 50/head for adults. Rs. 30/head for children below 10 yrs.

Timings : 10 – 3 Morning; 6 – 9.30 Evening

Other Recommendations: Dalmiya Bhojanalya, near the Vishram Ghat for full Indian Thali. We have had food here the last time we visited the town and this one is pretty good too for authentic fare.

Mid Day Snacks

1. Pani Puri / Tikiya Chaats - Best Street Food in Mathura!

Another popular street snack food of the northern region is Pani Puri. There are three good things with pani puris in general, one that it is easily available in almost every town in India, second that hardly anyone goes wrong with its taste and third and most important that you don’t really need any appetite for it. And for me personally, there is one more addition to the list - It’s my favorite! Hence I make it a point to find some good joints and have these sprout and mint flavored water dumplings whenever I can, wherever I can... in abundance!

Street food in Mathura
On the Vishram Ghat
Pani Puri vendor in Mathura
A Pani Puriwala in the lanes of Chatta Bazaar,
Opposite Kanhaiya Cloth Market

Where: Vishram Ghat, Chatta Bazaar.

2. Milk and Milk products/ Mithai shops / Mathura Sweets

Living to its image of the town of a very mischievous Makhan chor (butter thief) Krishna, every other lane you enter in Mathura, you will find Mathura sweet and mithai shops selling a variety of milk and milk based dairy products. Pure fat dairy delights like lassi (yoghurt based coolant), mava, khurchan, lal pedas, etc are just some of the regulars served in each of these shops. They do tempt your taste buds and it’s really hard not to get wooed by their aroma and scent.

Peda Mishthan shops, Mathura
Sweetmeat shop, Mathura
Sweatmeat or Mithai shops in Mathura
and a glimpse of the variety of sweets they stack

The famed Lal Peda of Mathura
Lal Peda or Mathura Peda,
A famous mithai specialty of Mathura - Just cannot be missed!

Sweet Milk/Chaas and Lassi shop in Mathura
The coolant, lassi being whipped from fresh curd and water

Tip: Eat and enjoy but remember to do everything in moderation as many synthetic ingredients are increasingly on a rampage in many cities today. Pick out a shop that has some crowd and is not completely empty. 

What: Lal Peda / Mathura Peda, Lassi

Where: Shankar Mithaiwala - Holi Gate; Almost every lane you step in Mathura.

Brijwasi Royal Mithaiwala / Brijwasi Sweets

A famous shop at the Holi Gate, Brijwasi Royal Mithaiwala or Brijwasi sweets is probably the biggest food shop that you will come across in Mathura. It has an array of items to pick out from ranging from sweets and snacks to beverages and flavored cold slush’s. Overall, it is a one stop shop for everything if you are too lazy to wander aimlessly on the roads searching for these!

Brijwasi Mithai shop, Mathura
Brijwasi sweet shop near Holi Gate in Mathura
 Brijwasi shop, Mathura
A Sweet called ghevar in Brijwasi shop in Mathura
A Peak into the Brijwasi Royal Mithaiwala, Holi Gate

Address: Holi Gate.

So while in Mathura, its best that you leave your calorific meter behind and get your feet moving because that is certainly the best way to indulge in the authentic flavors of the town!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Temples of Mathura: Krishna Janmbhumi, Peepleshwar Mahadeo and others

As much as the city of Mathura is dominated by the Dwarkadheesh temple and the mighty river Yamuna, it is also home to the innumerable temples and shrines - many ancient, some others new – all of them together endowing the town with the distinct spiritual flavor that it is known for all over the world.

A Hanuman Temple in Mathura
A Lord Hanuman Temple in the bylanes of Mathura

During the one day that we spent in the town, we managed to visit some of them which are presented below.

Adi Varah Temple

Mathura houses two temples dedicated to Lord Varah, Krishna Varah (also known as Lal Varah) and Sveta Varah, enshrining deities of Lord Varah in dark and fair hues respectively; which is how the respective temples get their name. We could visit only one of them, the Krishna Varah temple, situated in an adjoining lane of the Dwarkadheesh Temple.

Adi Varah Temple in Mathura
Entrance to the Adi Varah Temple

Adi Varah Temple, Mathura
Main deity of Lord Adi Varah inside the temple

Deity of Garud in Adi Varah Temple, Mathura
The divine bird Garud, opposite the deity of Lord Varah

According to the temple priest, the idol in the temple dates back to pre-historic times. Originally belonging to Lord Indra and seized by the demon king Ravana, the idol is believed to have been installed here by Shatrughana, brother of Lord Rama who had got it back from Ravana after defeating him in the Ayodhya war.

Dauji Ki Haveli

Adjacent to the Adi Varah temple is the ancient temple of Dauji ki haveli, the house of the elder brother of Lord Krishna, Balaram (the seventh son of Devaki). Lord Krishna shared a close bond with his elder brother Balaram whom He respectfully referred to as Dau meaning big brother. The temple is an embodiment of this love and enshrines the two deities, that of Lord Balaram alongwith his brother Krishna.

Lord Balaram Temple, Dauji Haveli in Mathura
Entrance to Dauji ki Haveli

Dauji Ki Haveli Balaram Temple in Mathura
The temple sanctum

Peepleshwar Mahadeo Temple

Situated near Vishram Ghat on the banks of River Yamuna is one of the ancient and more significant temples of the town, the Peepleshwar Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. He is one of the four dwarpals (guards) of the town responsible for protecting the eastern region of the town, the other three being Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple in the west, the Gokarneshwar temple towards the north, and the Rangeshwar Mahadev temple to the south of the town.

Peepaleshwar Mahadeo Temple, Mathura
The Peepleshwar Mahadeo Shivling with His consort,
Goddess Parvati in the background

Charchika Mata Temple

In the same bylane as the Peepleshwar Mahadev temple is a very small temple dedicated to the eight armed Hindu Goddess Chamunda, locally known as Maa Charchika. This temple is one among the 51 shaktipeeths of India and Goddess Shakti’s hair is believed to have fallen here.

Charchika Mata Temple in Mathura
Charchika Mata Temple

Krishna Janmbhumi: Birthplace of Lord Krishna

Probably the second most important temple after the Dwarkadheesh temple is the Krishna Janmbhumi. It is believed to be the exact sacred spot which Lord Krishna had chosen for His descend on this mortal world – His birthplace, the Krishna Janmabhumi (birth means janm and bhumi means place).

Krishna Janmbhoomi, Mathura
Entrance to the Krishna Janmbhoomi
(image courtesy

Sprawling in a huge area, the place is reminiscent of the times when Vasudev had miraculously fled with his new born son, Krishna, breaking all his captive chains of the prison cells amidst the taut guard set by the demon king Kansa.

Owing to its proximity to the Jama masjid, there is a tight security cover with officers and commanders keeping a close watch over the visitors. Leather bags, camera and mobile phones are strictly prohibited in the complex and there are locker facilities available where one can deposit these items before moving in. We had visited this temple during our previous visit to the city but had to skip it this time around due to lack of time.

Inside the compound, the major attraction is the room shaped like a prison cell, believed to be the exact birth place of Lord Krishna. The room has image idols depicting the puranic tale and the walls have beautiful pictures depicting a few snippets of His story as a child. On the level above this, is the spacious Keshav Deo Temple housing various deities like Radha-Keshav, Jaganath (Lord Vishnu), Sita-Ram, Hanuman, Balram, Subhadra, Shivling, Nav grahas; Radha and Keshav being the central among them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

After purifying ourselves in the sacred waters of the River Yamuna, we head towards the most important temple of Mathura, the Dwarkadheesh Temple dedicated to the king of Dwarka, Lord Krishna.

Market Lane of Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
The lane leading to the Dwarkadheesh Temple

Situated in the midst of a bustling bazaar, buzzing with tunes of Radhe Radhe Radhe.. Barsane wali Radhe and filled with shops selling a variety of vibrant shringaar (decorative) items and other religious stuff, this temple is a very ancient one. It dates back to the year 1814 and is exceedingly striking in every aspect. The temple was built by the treasurer of the Gwalior Estate and a devotee of Lord Krishna - Seth Gokul Das Parikh and is today looked after by the followers of the Vallabhacharya sect. Designed as a haveli, a grand house fit for a king, one can’t help but admire its opulence with the intricate architectural carvings and minute detailing in its structural pattern.

Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
Majestic Temple - Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
The Dwarkadheesh Temple

As mobile phones, cameras and other electronic items are not allowed in the premises; you can either leave them in the hotel room itself or deposit them in the lockers of one of the shops outside. After depositing our belongings in one of the shops, we take a bunch of flowers and some Tulsi leaves for the Lord and enter through one of the two haveli gates. The haveli is a two storey house and there is a wide and a spacious courtyard loaded with pilgrims assembled from various parts of the country on the ground level.

Entrance gate to the Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
Entrance to the Dwarkadheesh Temple,
also gives a sneak peak to the insides of the temple

Entry to the second level is restricted for the devotees and one can just have a glimpse of it from the ground level. The railings on the second level are adorned with beautiful graphical pictures depicting some of the lovely pastimes from Lord Krishna's birth, gopika leelas and life. On the ground level, stands the main temple on a slightly raised platform with a few fleet of stairs leading to it. The curtains of the sanctum are drawn. The Lord is dressing up and there’s still some time to go before we can meet up with Him, says one of the pilgrims on inquiry.

One can hear and see all the usual hubbub of a temple gathering; pilgrims sitting idle, chatting, singing hymns, praying to the potted Tulsi plant present in the courtyard; all of them waiting for the curtains to open up.

In one corner of the temple room is an elaborately decorated swing with the Divine couple, Lord Krishna and His beloved Radhe. This being the month of August, marks the occasion of Jhulan Yatra or the swing festival, one of the bigger festivals
of Mathura besides Janmashtmi, Holi and Diwali  that lasts for 13 days. The whole setting exudes splendor and grandeur as the gold polished swings are beautifully adorned with jewels, jasmine flowers, long tickers of colorful garlands and sprayed with rose water.

Temple compound of Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura
The main temple hall
(image courtesy virtual

After filling myself with this divine sight, I climb the stairs of the main temple room and take a seat next to a bhajan mandali - a group of people singing glory to the Lord. I can grasp the words of the bhajan (devotional hymn) but their meaning fails me, the bhajan being in the local language – Braj bhasha. Nevertheless, there is a unique rhythm and a strong verve in their singing, and I can feel the harmony in their voices. The earnestness in their tones goes beyond my soul.

Soon, there is a loud ringing of bell and the curtain is opened. Dressed in a bright yellow kurti (frock) and decorated with a variety of scented flowers and other ornaments, The King of Dwarka, Lord Krishna is now visible. In contrast to His ornately decked up house, the immediate sitting area - the sanctum sanctorum - resonates in modesty making Him very much endearing to the common man like me. He is flanked by His queens Rukmini and Satyabhama on both sides.

The priests of the temple show Him His reflection in the mirror as a part of the prayer ritual so as to give Him a glimpse of His looks (the shringar aarti). On the other end, in the temple room, loud chants of 'Jai Shri Krishna' echo in the chambers, hands come together in prayers, eyes close in reverence and heads bend down in veneration, the prayers commence.

After the prayers, people disperse and move for the circumambulation. Along the circumambulation path, a cluster of devotees is busy threading flower garlands for the main deity of the temple. There is also a green Tulsi plant in the temple, the eternal consort of Krishna and the most pure devotee and therefore it is also worshiped by the pilgrims.

After the circumambulation, I sit down again to spend the final few minutes in the temple courtyard... at the very same spot that I was sitting a few moments earlier... The melodious chanting of hymns has now given way to noisy commotion and that is all that I can hear. Still, a strange sense of peace seeps through..

The bhajan-mandali has long dispersed,
but not without leaving their vibrations behind...

Fairs and Festivals

At the beginning of the rainy season (July/August), during the month of Shravan, a splendid festival called the Jhulan Yatra or the swing festival takes place in Mathura. Hundreds and thousands of devotees, from all over the world gather here to partake in the festivities. For the 13 days of this festival, highly decorated gold polished swings adorned with jewels, long tickers of garlands and jasmine flowers are set up in one corner of the temple room and the Divine Couple, Lord Krishna along with His consort Radha, come out from the sanctum to bless Their devotees.

I have been during this festival once; the atmosphere is highly captivating and one that will leave you spellbound. If possible, do plan your trip during festivals like Holi, Diwali, Janamasthmi that is celebrated with great grandiose in this part of the country and it will truly be an experience in itself!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Temples on the Ghats of River Yamuna: Yam -Yamuna Temple and others

On the Yamuna River ghats, you will come across numerous temples dedicated to various deities in Hinduism. Presented below are some of these along with the ones that we spotted while our stroll on the Vishram Ghat of River Yamuna in Mathura.

Temples on the Vishram Ghat, Mathura
Temples on the Vishram Ghat in Mathura

Yam-Yamuna Temple

Located on the banks of River Yamuna, it is dedicated to the brother-sister sibling duo of Yam (pronounced as yum) and Yamuna. The story related to this temple is a very interesting one. It is said that once, on the occasion of Bhai Duj (the day following Diwali) Yamuna requested her brother to come over for dinner. After the dinner, as per the customary tradition, Yum insisted his sister ask for something from him. This left Yamuna confused as she already had everything and she dint know what else she could demand for. On much persistence from his brother, Yamuna finally put forth her wish – On this day of Bhai Duj, all those sisters who along with their brothers, will devotedly bathe in my waters and visit our temple together should be freed from all your reprimands and punishments and be granted liberation – that was happily granted by Yam.

Yam-Yamuna Temple, Yamuna River Ghats in Mathura
 Entrance to the Yam-Yamuna Temple

Keeping with that pledge, even today, on the auspicious eve of Bhai duj (the second day of Diwali) every year, the Vishram ghat gets flanked by sister-brother pair coming over from all over the country and the entire river front literally transposes into a huge sibling fair.

Yam-Yamuna Temple, Yamuna River Ghats in Mathura
The sibling duo of Yam (right side of the picture) and Yamuna

I am blessed to have been here twice in the past on this very occasion and to have witnessed this event along with my brother, I must confess, the kind of worship that one experiences when one takes a dip with both hands tightly clutched together, that moment is beyond any expressions... it is a real wonderful feeling, full of pure idyllic love!

Yamuna Temple

Just opposite the Yam-Yamuna Temple is situated the Yamuna Temple dedicated exclusively to Goddess Yamuna. After praying to Her on the River Ghats, devotees come to this temple and do not forget to offer their prayers here as well.

An ancient temple on Vishram ghat in Mathura
Yamuna Temple

Temple of Goddess Yamuna, Vishram Ghat-Mathura
Goddess Yamuna


According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, after bathing at Vishram Ghat, one should visit the deity of Gatashram, which means 'refuge from fatigue'. The original temple is reportedly gone, in place of which is built one that dates back to the 18th century. It houses a four armed standing image of Lord Vishnu flanked by Radha and Kubja on both sides.

Durvasa Muni's Ashram

This place is on the other side of the Yamuna River from Mathura and one can see it during the boat ride. Here sage Durvasa had performed time in penance opposite the Vishram Ghat.

Besides these important temples listed above, there are countless other temples dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses like Laxmi Narayan temple, Krishna - Balaram Temple, Hanuman temple, that one sights with each step that one takes here.

Laxmi Narayan Temple, Vishram Ghat
An ancient temple of Lord Vishnu, Laxmi Narayan Temple

Lord Hanuman Temple with monkey, Yamuna River Ghats in 

A monkey sitting atop a Hanuman temple, just besides the Vishram Ghat

Lord Hanuman Temple, Yamuna River Ghats in Mathura
Hanuman Temple

Radha-Krishna Temple at the Yamuna River Vishram Ghat in Mathura
Radha- Krishna Temple

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Yamuna River: Ghats of Mathura - Vishram Ghat

After freshening up at our hotel room, we head towards the first place in our Mathura itinerary - Vishram Ghat - the chief ghat of Mathura on the banks of the river Yamuna.

The way to the river front is through narrow lanes and a fleet of stairs, lined by shops selling all kinds of religious paraphernalia on both sides of the pathway.

Entrance to the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Vitthal Dwar - Entrance gate to the Vishram Ghat

After ignoring a dozen calls of the shopkeepers to the tune of – ‘Yamuna maiya ko Prasad chadane kuch le jaiye (Take something as offering for Mother Yamuna)’, we finally buy a flower diya (lamp) to float on Her waters as an offering. As we make our way forward towards the ghats (ceremonial steps on the river bank), the first thing that strikes me, thankfully not literally, are monkeys - loads and loads of them! True to their mischief monger image, they can be seen jumping from one terraced-top to another landing with huge thuds on the other one, screeching and squealing while staring at you and your belongings waiting for an opportune moment when they can snatch some worthwhile stuff from you! They all look hungry and they love your gadgets, so it’s better to stick to the old adage that says, prevention is better than cure and avoid carrying unnecessary valuables and gadgets while in the vicinity. Evading the monkeys carefully, we step into the main ghat area.

Monkeys at the Devotees taking a dip at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Monkeys at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Monkeys on the ghats of Mathura

A microcosm of colors and symbols, the ghats open your view to a different picture than the town. Strewn around the area are small-big shrines, touching the sacred river banks; blankets of colorful antic haveli-type structures sweeping over the entire area, and there is a sea of humanity and a swell of spirituality; everything blending together contributing to the reflective beauty of Mathura.

Pilgrims at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Ghats of Mathura

The main ghat, the Vishram Ghat is positioned centrally at the 13th point out of the total 25 ghats of Mathura with 12 of them lying on one side of it while the remaining 12 on the other side. This fact is very well reflected in the flurry of goings-on that one can observe on this ghat, the moment one is here.

Boats stacked up at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
View from the ghats of Mathura

The sun has turned into a burning blob of yellow, the early morning ritualistic hustle-bustle has long subsided, but this has not deterred the enthusiasm of the pilgrims. The river front is dynamic and vibrant with ritualistic colors and effervescent activities of pilgrims coming from different cultures and traditions.

Pilgrims flocking the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Pilgrims on the ghats

Men in saffron robes and dhotis aid the devotees in the performance of traditional ritual prayers,

Pilgrims praying at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
A Priest aids pilgrims in performance of rituals

... some sit deep in meditation eyes closed with prayer beads in their hands chanting mantras of the divine while some others solicit travelers like us to take them in order to please the river.

A priest praying at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
A priest reading a holy text at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
A priest with a tilak on forehead at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Priests, Ascetics and sadhus at the Yamuna River Ghats

Devotees are everywhere your eyes can see, performing various rites and rituals. They laugh and giggle while taking a customary dip in the Yamuna, they offer water to the Sun God through cupped hands,

Devotees taking a dip at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Devotees taking a customary dip in the River Yamuna

... and they pay homage to their ancestors by performing profound and deep rites of passage like the tarpan, shraddha, etc.

Devotees performing rituals for ancestors at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Believers doing shraddha at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
A prayer ceremony being conducted at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Devotees engaged in performance of various rituals

Several wooden boats are neatly harnessed in a pattern waiting for its customers;

Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Wooden boats lined up at the Vishram Ghat

... the boatmen look out with eager eyes occasionally asking if you wish to be taken for a ride.

A Boatman waits for customers at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
A boatman waits...

In the pillared porches, with cymbals in hands and devotional hymns on lips, sit devotees singing glories to Lord Krishna and the Goddess River Yamuna where He’d rested after killing the demon king Kansa.

All in all, the entire place is alive with colors of humanity in its various avatars – moments of laughter, reflection and contemplation, prayers and petition and all the intercultural bindings taking place. I savor the feel of all the sights and sounds bopping around me, and finally descend the final few steps to make it near the Goddess river. Our priest cautions us to first sprinkle some drops onto ourselves, ask for Her permission and only then put our feet in. We do likewise. I set afloat my flower diya in Her gentle waters and say a silent prayer...

Elements of faith at the Yamuna River Ghat, Mathura
Sit down, blank out and listen...

Though the image of the town is very much tarnished for scams and cheating but a few moments here and I realize, its holy currents are way stronger... It is a place of different vibrational frequencies where some hundreds of believers, assembled at the same place, coming from different walks of life, belonging to different economic stratus of society, rooting in different cultures and traditions; speak the very same language – the language of love for the divine – the very language that dissolves all physical boundaries and sends out the universal message of inner peace. There is a different dimension to it all, a facet that is better experienced than understood. All one needs to do, perhaps... is sit down, blank the mind out and listen......

Tips, Points to be kept in Mind:

1. On the auspicious occasion of Bhaiduj or Yama Dwitiya (the fifth day of the festival of Diwali), keeping in accordance to a popular legendary tale, brother-sister duo descend on the ghats by hordes to bathe in the River Yamuna. On account of this, the ghats witness a huge crowd on the day. If you plan to be here on this day, then make sure to reach the ghat and perform the prayers early in the day.

2. Be careful of Monkeys near the ghat area. Try not to carry valuables and if you do, hide or cover them under some cloth or wraps for safety.

3. Remove your footwear before venturing near the water area.

4. Be careful of priests as it is a city known for cons and cheats. Best advice would be to trust your instincts; I don’t think there is any other way to check on this.

5. Be wary of shopkeepers as they might quote higher prices for things than reasonable. Check out the prices in a few shops before buying!

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