This was our first time in Vrindavan and we were taken aback by the celebrations that are performed here.. People from various states of India and countries around the world participate in this holy Holi festival..
Once inside the Bankey Bihari temple, it seems like a grand movie set.. Pink color particles flying around makes the temple look like a little girl's castle.. And once amongst all people inside, you would come out printed by a color printer..
A video in and around Bankey Bihari temple..
In the video you saw a man opposing use of camera in the temple.. You can use your camera from the top floor by paying some 500 INR for 10 minutes.. I didnt have a DSLR so I didnt bother.. Stealth mode GoPro!
When to go:
Well, if you've got holidays, go 7 days before the last Holi day.. You can go to Barsana, Vrindavan, Mathura and enjoy Holi on all these days.. Go there, connect with the locals and find out more..
If you cannot manage 7 days, at least 2 days before is a must.. Holi celebration does not take place in the temples on the last day (day after Holika is burnt).. Temple Holi is what you need, not the last-day-Holi that people play on the road..
Holi here is about photography, enjoying yourself, knowing the culture and shouting Radhe-Radhe :D
Do book your hotels in advance.. I saw many tourists running around in hotels asking for an available room..
Please note that the hotels are good.. They are not grand or ultra luxurious.. All you need the hotel is for a bath and sleep.. The entire day you would be out playing or eating.. I would recommend Hotel Vrindavan Garden near Jaipur Temple.. AC spacious room, hot water, comfy bed and TV.. Food from the hotel is also good.. Oh food! lets write about it..
Probably the best vegetarian street food in India that we have come across.. The moong-daal Butter Chila is the deadliest dish man-kind can prepare.. If I go here again, Chila is the first thing I am gonna eat.. While on your way to Bankey Bihari temple, you cannot miss a big Halwaii shop with benches inside.. I think the name is: Radhe Shyam Agrawal Pede Wale.. here you will get everything.. Please dont limit yourself to one shop.. I bet all the shops have amazing food.. Try out sweets/chat/namkeen and possibly anything you can during your stay..
Safety / Security:
There are many blogs/articles written by women, which say they had horrible experiences.. "PS: I wasnt noticing all the time", but I didnt find anything where a woman was not being treated well in Vrindavan.. So, all the female section who is afraid of travelling to Vrindavan at Holi, I think its safer than what you read.. Women do get targeted, colors and water are thrown at them purposely, but that was it.. nothing more.. Anyways, prefer going in groups and surely not Solo.. You wont even have fun going solo (unless you stick with a powerful camera).. Your best buddies/family got to be with you..
Beware of monkeys.. do not wear glasses or caps while walking on narrow streets.. the monkey will snatch it and then you need to shell out some money to the kids there to get your stuff back from the monkey.. This is a setup by the joint association of human kids and their ancestors (monkeys).. Also, dont be smart, its not just 1 monkey..