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Whenever Holi approaches near, my mind automatically think of going to Mathura. Specifically, my enthusiasm for seizing moments never gets fulfilled.

So, while scrolling online, I learned that the Fujifilm community was organising a Nandgaon Holi photo tour. Though, I’m a part of Fujifilm community. Consequently, I reserved my spot at Rs. 1499. The price includes both-way journeys, lunch, and dinner.

At Mathura, Holi begins a week before the actual day of Holi. Accordingly, Nandgaon Holi happened on the 3rd day of the week-long Holi.

However, Holi would still get played at Mathura even after the day of Holi, Huranga Holi.

The Day before leaving for Nandgaon Holi

I kept necessary items in a small carry bag, including extra clothes and a water bottle.

Genuinely, I stayed confused between a prime lens and a kit lens; which should I keep? 

I came up with a solution that with a fixed prime lens, I needed to be constantly present at a distance from the subject, whereas, in a kit lens, I can adjust the lens according to my needs. 

Thus, I kept the kit lens, 18-55mm.

Furthermore, the traveler would depart from Lajpat Nagar at 6:00 a.m. So, I slept very early to wake up on time.

The Day

The day came, and I was running on time. 

I booked the cab and reached the location before the departure time.

The traveler started around 6:30-6:40 a.m., a little late until everyone arrived.

After traveling for 2 hrs, the bus stopped at a restaurant named “Asli Pappu Dhaba”.

Indeed, the restaurant looked pleasing, so the organizers decided to stop there and have brunch. 

Brunch, because, when we are in the middle of the action, we can’t find anything to eat until evening. 

Hence, a heavy brunch becomes a must.

Camera Wrapping in the Restaurant

After satisfying the stomach, it was time to pullproof camera safety. 

The Fujifilm organisers handed the plastic bags to wrap around the camera for safety from water and colors.

I took a little time to understand how to wrap it. Then, one member helped me to wrap & I stood ready.

However, earlier, I went for the Barsana Holi alone and covered my camera with a waterproof case. That has worked that time. 

Reaching Nandgaon for Holi

The restaurant where we halted was approximately 15 km away from Nandgaon. Therefore, it took us 40-45 mins to reach the destination. 

As we reached, there was a parking ground allocated for parking. We’ll came out of the traveler.

Refreshments to keep

It was a wonder—the organizers had packed sandwiches, chips, and a small water bottle for everyone to carry and have whenever someone needed.

We’ll stay near the action till evening, so we all had kept the refreshments. 

I carried a small bag containing the necessary camera items like cleaner and refreshments.

To walk barefoot or not?

I decided to wear slippers throughout the Nandgaon Holi event. So, I carried that from home.

While moving out of the traveler, everyone removed the shoes inside the bus. Because in the temple, not slippers and shoes are allowed.

However, I walked in slippers and had thought to keep the slippers in the carry bag when inching closer to the temple. Notably, it would be very slippery till there, and I wanted to avoid any misfortune.

Likewise, I suggest you walk in slippers till there, and keep them in the bag afterwards. Though the slippers would be dirty while keeping them, a polybag would help.

Approaching towards the Nandgaon Temple

Nandgaon Holi

It takes time to arrive at the Shri Nand Bhavan temple, where the Holi happens.

Indeed, during Holi, you would halt in between numerous times.

Hence, there’s no approximate time when you reach.

Undoubtedly, colors and water will get thrown upon you before you enter the Nandgaon. 

The vibes would be unmatched—the colors and colorful faces! That would be madness! You should join it. Otherwise, you look odd; a fixed target for many.

The small lanes are overfilled with people standing, ready to make you coloured. 

Wait…

Don’t forget to look up. Water will be sprayed on you from anywhere!

Is the Nandgaon Holi safe for women traveler’s?

If you’re traveling solo, then it would be unsafe because people tend to target women there for throwing colours and water.

However knowingly, if you want to come solo, then you should be mentally prepared. Your patience and tolerance level should be extreme.

It’s not that if you have someone accompanying, preferably male, you will not get targeted. But still, you would have confidence that someone is there with you.

Stay a little cautious, but don’t forget to enjoy! You came to witness Nandgaon Holi, so relish your moment.

Entering Shri Nand Bhavan/Baba Temple Nandgaon

Entering the temple is extremely challenging during the Holi, as people come there in mass numbers.

The chances of push and shove are extreme, so you must stay cautious.

Furthermore, take care of your phone and wallet. The suspicious characters will try to take advantage of the gatherings.

As I entered the temple, firstly, I took my slippers and kept them in the bag. Indeed, it was dirty, but I had to keep it anyway.

The temple was over-packed, individuals celebrating in full enthusiasm.

I began seizing the moments. The place was full of photographers. There are double the photographers, as people came to celebrate there.

Every photographer is putting extra effort into getting an outstanding picture.

People target women by throwing water from the first floor of the temple. I saw a woman, standing upset with something, the people from above, were quietly throwing water at her, and even following the places to irritate her.

Authority making a business in the Holi Event

I saw the first floor of the temple. The people were standing there as well. Indeed, a lot of crowd was standing on the premises, including myself.

Sooner, I realised that the people standing on the first floor had paid Rs. 2000 to stand there. You’ll get a 60-degree angle view from there.

I heard someone say it’s the first time people are paying to go to the first floor of the temple. Earlier, it was always free to move around the temple. The authority is making a business out of this Holi event.

After much consideration, I decided not to carry a drone there. But, when I saw the sky, it appeared like a dronemania. Everyone flying their drones seamlessly!

The Cops made everybody go out of the temple

It was almost 3:30p.m, when cops started making individuals go outside the temple premises before the main event was about to commence. 

I went to the Nandgaon Holi to celebrate and capture that particular event, which was about to begin. People from Barsana and nearby towns come and play intense colorful Holi. However, I tried hard to stay somewhere inside, but, the cops emptied the entire premises.

Disappointing!

I walked outside the temple with other friends, sat, and discussed the action.

The rest of them were also surprised, as this was the first time:

  1. People pay to go to the first floor of the temple to watch the action.
  2. Authoritative people emptied the complete premises and did not allow people to see the main event.

Indeed, those who had paid to stay on the first floor of the temple were only permitted to stay and watch.

While roaming on the streets

The mentor accompanying us from the Fujifilm community came and told us that lathmar Holi was about to start. So, we had to reach the spot.

Hence, I started walking again on the temple route. But before we encountered a place where the men from Barsana village gathered and got ready for lathmar Holi.

It was an awesome opportunity to take the portraits!

Thus, I went near, indeed, the moments were priceless. 

Beautiful side lights made the portraits more interesting.

Honestly, I was upset when I couldn’t able to witness the main happening inside the temple. However, towards the end, I stayed content with the portraits.

Indeed, the wait and try was worth it.

Before it turned dark, we gathered and proceeded straightway to the parking.

Undoubtedly, I was full of colors.

I noticed some of the participants had already changed their clothes. Likewise, I thought to do it, but the gathering was in large numbers. Therefore, I hesitated and considered changing when I reached home.

Also read, 5 Silly Mistakes I made while taking Mathura Holi Photos

Way back to home

Everybody sat in the travel, and at 9p.m, we took a break for dinner.

Moving forward,

I reached home at 11:30 p.m.

Conclusion

I was extremely excited to witness the main event at the temple. Unfortunately, this time, nobody was allowed to stay on the premises and watch. Indeed, you have to paid for that. That was unexpected!

During the last few hours of the daytime, I once more attempted and ventured out in search of moments. Amazingly, I came across a group of people getting prepared for lathmar Holi. Even that was unexpected!

Nandgaon Holi was truly expect the unexpected!

Have you got a chance to celebrate Holi at Nandgaon?

About Author

Vansh Tiwari is a passionate traveler who explores every corner. Then, he presents his vision in images and writing. Further, he loves long walks along the roadside!

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