The pole festival or the latthe ka mela was celebrated at RangJi Mandir during the occasion of Nandotsava. Nandotsava happens to be the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth. To make this event even grander, the sporting event of latthe ka mela was organized. People thronged the field outside the western gate of the temple to witness the pole riding competition.
Several wrestles from dusayat mohalla and other parts of Vrindavan took part in this competition. A wooden pole or a lattha was erected on the ground and the wrestlers had to climb it and reach the top. A vessel full of copper, bronze and silver coins and currency notes were placed on the top. The wrestler who climbed the pole the fastest and reached the top was given the vessel and its contents as the prize.
This feat would have been easy enough except that the pole was made slippery with oil before it was erected. In fact while the wrestlers were climbing, water mixed with oil, curd and turmeric was constantly poured on the pole from the top. The audience took great enjoyment in watching the wrestles slip all the way down after they had nearly reached the target.
Finally it was a wrestler named Danvir who succeeded in reaching the top of the pole and he was awarded the vessel with its rich contents. However, being a good sport, Danvir distributed the prize among all the participating wrestlers equally. It all ended with the wrestlers taking a bath in the kund situated inside the temple grounds.
Mathura and Vrindavan presented a dazzling spectacle on Thursday: Thousands of Krishna devotees hailing not only from India but also abroad, chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ and ‘Radhey Radhey’ as they went through the worship, prayers, paying obeisance to the god, and performing other colourful rituals.
The most venerated site in Mathura is the Sri Krishna Janambhoomi temple, which is The Lord’s birth place. The temple hosted the mid-night puja of Lord Krishna, and it was presided over by Ayodhya’s Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
At Mathura’s Dwarkadheesh temple preparations were in full swing for the gala around mid-night.
The Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan also attracted thousands of pilgrims with hardly an inch of space left.
The temples across the Braj area — whose boundaries go across districts of Mathura, Agra, Hathras (all in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatpur (Rajasthan) and even beyond — and much of north India were all decked up for the celebrations.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent in Vrindavan, his wooden sandals arrived in Vrindavan amidst tight security and were kept at Haribol Kutir, in front of the new Madan Mohan Temple. The wooden sandals were brought from Nabadweep Dham in Bengal, which also happens to be the birth place of the Lord. It was an ecstatic moment for the devotees to see Mahaprabhu’s charan paduka or footwear. They cried tears of joy upon laying their eyes on the wooden sandals that their Lord used to wear.
After one night at the Haribol Kutir, the paduka were taken to Jatipura in Govardhan for the Giriraj Darshan. After that the paduka were brought back to Vrindavan once again. The paduka were also taken for a nagar parikrama and saptadevalaya darshan. The devotees were singing and dancing as a part of the procession and every time the paduka stopped at a temple, the sevayats performed aarti and welcomed it lovingly.
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Thakur Bankey Bihari Ji celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan with his devotees. Rakhis, letters and other items had been received from devotees around the globe and they were presented to Thakur Ji on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. Devotees thronged the temple till late at night as the temple was kept open for a few more hours past the regular closing time.
The goswamis of the temple presented rakhis to the Lord and then tied it on each other’s wrist to celebrate the festival. After the gifts from the devotees were presented to Thakur Ji, they were distributed among the devotees present at the temple. Every year the Lord receives a lot of gifts on Rakhi as many devotees consider the Lord to be their brother.