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Holi 2024 in Vrindavan, Barsana, Mathura: 10-Day Schedule

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Feb. 29, 2024

Holi 2025 falls on March 13th. The celebrations in most of India last for just 2 days: March 13th for Holika Dahan and March 14th for color fights. However, in Barsana, Vrindavan, and Mathura, Holi celebrations may start a week early and the festivities span 10 days. The date and schedule for Holi 2025 in Uttar Pradesh have not been published yet. We will promptly update this article as soon as the information is released.

Holi, a joyful Indian festival, is all about vibrant colors. People come together, throwing colored powder, singing, and dancing. While the festival is widely celebrated, Vrindavan and Mathura, being Lord Krishna's hometowns, boast the most authentic and grand celebrations.

When Is Holi 2024 Celebrated in Vrindavan, Barsana, and Mathura?

Holi 2024 in Vrindavan, Barsana, and Mathura will kick off on March 17th and last until March 26th, which is a week earlier than in other parts of India. The festivities will span 10 days.

During these 10 days, there are various celebrations in the Braj area each day, including in Vrindavan, Mathura, Barsana, Nandgaon, Govardhan, and Gokul.

Holi Decoration 2024 in Vrindavan

In Vrindavan and Mathura, the grandest celebrations are due to take place on March 20th, 2024 when the "flower Holi" takes place in Banke Bihari Temple. The famous Lathmar Holi is to be held in Barsana on March 18th and in Nandgaon on March 19th. See below for a detailed Holi schedule for the Braj area.

Holi 2024 Date in Uttar Pradesh (Barsana, Vrindavan, Mathura)

Holi in Braj 2024 Schedule — a Day-by-Day Guide

Dates Places Events
March 17 (Sunday) Barsana (Ladliji Temple) Laddoo Holi (sweet Holi)
March 18 (Monday Barsana Lathmar Holi (stick Holi) at Shri Radha Rani Temple
March 19 (Tuesday) Nandgaon Lathmar Holi (stick Holi)
March 20 (Wednesday) Vrindavan Phoolon wali Holi (flower Holi) at Banke Bihari Temple
March 20 (Wednesday) Mathura Vibrant celebrations at Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple
March 21 (Thursday) Gokul Chhadi Mar Holi (a simpler version of Lathmar Holi)
March 22 (Friday) Dwarkadhish
March 23 (Saturday) Vrindavan Widows' Holi in the Gopinath Temple grounds
March 24 (Sunday) Mathura Holika Dahan
March 25 (Monday) Mathura Color fights in every street
March 26 (Tuesday) Baldeo Huranga Holi at Dauji Temple

March 17th, 2024: Laddoo Holi (Sweet Holi) in Barsana

  • Venue: Shriji Temple in Barsana, about 50 km (30 miles) from Mathura
  • Activities: Priests throw laddoos to devotees, songs and dances

Laddoo Holi involves tossing laddoos, a kind of round Indian sweet, during the festival celebrations.

The activity is held at Shri Radha Rani Temple (also called Shriji Temple) in Barsana. During the event, large numbers of devotees gather at the temple and the priests throw laddoos to them as a blessing amid colors, songs, and dances.

Barsana is the place where Goddess Radha spent her childhood and early adulthood. Shri Radha Rani Temple was built on top of the Brahmagiri mountain range to honor Radha.

Shri Radha Rani Temple is located on a hilltop. You would need to climb more than 100 stairs to reach it.

March 18th, 2024: Lathmar Holi (Stick Holi) in Barsana

Lathmar Holi Women playfully beat men with sticks during Lathmar Holi.
  • Venue: on the streets around Shriji Temple
  • Time: starts at about 4:30–5 pm
  • Activities: fun performance of women chase and beat men with sticks

Lathmar Holi is a very popular and unique celebration for Holi, which you can only see in Braj, Uttar Pradesh.

Lath means 'stick' and mar means 'to beat'. It is a really fun performance. During the event, men from Nandgaon go to Barsana to throw colors over the women. The Barsana women playfully chase and beat the men with sticks. Don't freak out! It is just for fun. A man who is caught holds a shield on top of his head. Some men dress in women's clothes to perform dances together. This tradition of Lathmar Holi comes from an interesting legend about Krishna

The legend is that Krishna was poisoned by a demon's milk during childhood. Rather than killing young Krishna, the milk had the unintended effect of turning his skin to its characteristic dark shade of blue. Growing up, Krishna lived in Nandgaon and fell in love with Radha, who lived in Barsana.

Krishna was ashamed of his blue skin and didn't dare to profess his love. Following the advice of his mother Yashoda, he went to Barsara and simply colored the skin of Radha and her friends. Though Radha fell in love with Krishna because of his charming personality, she and her friends chased Krishna with sticks at first.

To memorialize the love story of Krishna and Radha, Holi celebrations in Barsara have fun and happy traditions of colors and sticks.

March 19th, 2024: Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon

Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon is quite similar to that in Barsana, which is held on the previous day.

Large groups of people gather, singing and dancing together. Men from Barsana go there to throw colors over the women of Nandgaon. The women then playfully take revenge, and chase and beat them with colorful sticks. This action is seen as a symbol of love.

The activities usually start at about 4:30–5pm. Don't forget to reach Nandgaon before 4pm to catch all of the happenings. Nandgaon is about 60 km (40 miles) from Mathura.

March 20th, 2024: Phoolon Wali Holi (Flower Holi) in Vrindavan and Mathura

Idols of Krishna and Radha are colorfully decorated at Banke Bihari Temple temple
  • Venue: Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, about 15 km (10 miles) from Mathura
  • Time: about 4 pm
  • Activities: priests throw flowers to devotees as a blessing. People chant and dance together.

Phoolon wali Holi in Vrindavan is mainly about throwing flowers or petals. It is celebrated at Banke Bihari Temple, which is considered to be the holiest and most famous temple devoted to Lord Krishna in the world.

The priests throw flowers to devotees as a blessing. People chant and dance together with colorful flowers spraying upon them. The whole event lasts for 20–25 minutes.

The temple opens at about 4 pm. You're advised to arrive early for entry as numerous devotees go there to worship.

Another big celebration on March 20th is in Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple in Mathura. It is about 11 km (7 miles) from Banke Bihari Temple. The events there start at about 1 pm and last until evening. The highlights there are lathis (weighty sticks used for beating people), flowers, color fights, and songs and dances performed by the locals.

March 21st in 2024: Chhadi Mar Holi ('Wand Beating' Holi) in Gokul

Gokul is about 15 km (10 miles) from Mathura.

Chhadi Mar Holi is in some ways the moderate version of Lathmar Holi as local women use chadi ('little sticks' or 'wands') to chase men.

Don't miss the procession if you go to Gokul on this day. Children dress as Krishna and an idol of Radha is carried during the procession. The procession starts from Gokul Dham Temple at about 12pm. It lasts for about 1½ hours. After that, women use thin sticks to playfully beat men when the celebrations have reached their summit.

It is said that Krishna spent his days as a baby and toddler in Gokul. Therefore, in the celebrations there, Krishna is represented as a kid. You would see his idols on jhoola (bench swings) in Gokul.

March 23rd, 2024: Widow's Holi in Vrindavan

Widow's Holi, VrindavanHoli

Widows' Holi is the Holi celebration that's mainly for widows to take part in. Vrindavan is the only place in India where widows are allowed to celebrate Holi.

On this day, widows wear red, pink, and other colorful clothing, which they are not allowed to wear on other days. They get together in Gopinath Temple, throw colored powders and flower petals over each other, sing and dance, and enjoy themselves.

In India, widows live a hard life and they are not accepted by society. They are considered to be bad luck and are not accepted by their families. Most widows have to go to the ashrams (hermitage communities) in Varanasi or Vrindavan. Vrindavan is also called a "city of widows" as more than 6,000 widows live there.

Widows are only allowed to wear white saris and are not allowed to celebrate any festivals. However, since 2013, they are allowed to celebrate Holi.

March 24th 2024: Holika Dahan in Mathura

Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan refers to the ritual setting alight of a bonfire and burning an effigy of Holika (a symbol of evil in India). This action symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

The ritual in Mathura is held at Holi Gate. People gather and set a large bonfire where a statue of the demoness Holika is burnt. This symbolizes the burning of evil.

People then sing and dance around the bonfire to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

If you want to see it, go to Holi Gate after sunset when the ritual is usually organized.

There is also a grand procession in Mathura. It starts at Vishram Ghat at about 3 pm and continues to Holi Gate until sunset. Young people dress as Krishna and Radha in the procession and throw colors over each other. Join in the parade to enjoy the locals' zeal.

March 24th, 2024: Colorful Water Holi in Vrindavan

The priests throw colors and holy water on devotees. Immerse yourself in the joy of Holi there with dancing, singing, colored powder fights, fun water fights, etc. It takes place at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan from 9 am to 1:30 pm.

March 25th, 2024: Holi Color Battle in Mathura

Holi colors play

It is the main day of the annual Holi festival. The best place to enjoy the celebration is the main town area of Mathura at Holi Gate and nearby places. Celebrations at Dwarkadhish Temple (about 1 km from Holi Gate) shouldn't be missed.

The temple accepts visitors from about 10 am. Usually, crowds gather there early. If you arrive early, you might get the chance to see priests preparing bhang (an edible cannabis drink that is often used during traditional Hindu festivals) and processions at Yamuna Ghat.

The joyful color fights also start at about 10 am. Enjoy the fun of dancing and singing. There are fewer people there than at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, but the revelry would not disappoint you.

March 26th, 2024: Huranga Holi in Baldeo

Baldeo is a village located about 30 km (20 miles) from Mathura. It is said to be the area where Krishna's elder brother ruled. On the day after the main day of Holi, people there celebrate the end of Holi in Dauji Temple.

The festivities last for about 3½ hours from 12:30 pm to 4 pm. In Baldeo, men are not only chased and beaten with lathis (bamboo batons wrapped in iron) but also stripped.

There is a big holy talab ('pond') in Baldeo. Many devotees go and bathe there to contemplate the meaning of life and pursue a better life. Local people say goodbye to Holi 2024 by singing, dancing, and bathing in the colorful talab.

How to Take Part in Holi Celebrations in Vrindavan, Mathura...?

To participate in these celebrations, you could make Mathura your base. The surrounding areas can be reached via bus or cab from Mathura. The accommodation in Mathura offers better conditions than in the surrounding villages. Contact us for worry-free arrangements and expert advice.

Holi 2024 Date in Uttar Pradesh (Barsana, Vrindavan, Mathura)

How to Get to Mathura

  • By road: From Delhi and Agra, there are public buses and taxis available, which take about 3½ hours and 1½ hours respectively.
  • By air: Agra airport is the nearest airport to Mathura. But there are more flight options at the airport in Delhi.
  • By rail: Rail travel is the most cost-effective way to reach Mathura. From Agra to Mathura, it takes about 1 hour. From Delhi, it takes about 2 hours.

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