Use of polythene bags was banned in Vrindavan last year. Then, activists had taken warmly to the Allahabad high court order, hoping that the menace of litter would finally be dented in the city. But fast forward a year, the whole town remains strewn with polythene of all shapes, hues and sizes.

“The (high court’s) decision was greeted with relief, but unfortunately the order could not be implemented for want of will,” said activist Madan Gopal Sharma.

The Mathura district magistrate was asked to form a committee to monitor the implementation of the ban. The court ruling was the result of a petition filed by Braj Life-Line Welfare Association, which underscored the failure of sewage treatment plants in the district behind the mounds of litter ubiquitous in the city.

The division bench asked the district magistrate to file a status report on the state of cleanliness and sanitation in the district. The civic officials were also asked to launch an awareness campaign to discourage use of polythene and plastic bags. However, their efforts are hardly visible when one walks on the road.

Heaps of garbage and poly-waste remain at their old haunts, keeping flies and mosquitoes busy through the day. Quintals of polythene and plastic bags are dumped by pilgrims and locals all over.

Ballabh Pandit, a Mathura resident, was terse when asked about the menace of litter in the city. He felt that the local civic body should taken stringent action against people using polythene bags. “Perhaps even ban them if someone is caught using polythene bags,” he said, before sardonically adding that the heaps of litter would have become mountains by now if not for the rag-pickers.

Nandan Shrotriya, another resident, questioned aloud how the municipal body cannot succeed in preventing the use of poly-bags. “Many municipal bodies in the country have succeeded in checking polythene nuisance, so why can’t the Mathura district administration work on this? I think it is a case of dereliction of duty,” she said.

Friends of Vrindavan convener Jagan Nath Poddar said the inaction has been “a contempt of court” and was of the opinion that the people responsible should be hauled up and questioned.

The litter tentacle has sunk its talons not just in Vrindavan. The problem has spread across all Braj towns, including Goverdhan and Gokul.

Vrindavan local body chief Mukesh Gautam admitted that it was a major problem, but complained of lack of resources for not successfully following the high court’s order. And when the Mathura district officials were asked to respond, they stated that state pollution board was in the process of taking necessary action.




The municipality of Vrindavan and Mathura are in the process to merger both cities. It is for them more convenient for administration purposes but for the village of Vrindavan, its inhabitants and its culture it is a very negative change for many reasons.

The seniors representatives of Sri Vrindavan Dham are strongly against it, and so is the vaishnava community of the WVA – Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha.

Therefore, we request all devotees and friends of devotees to sign this petition created by the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance that will be taken to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Akhilesh Yadav. Please, share it with all your friends, collect the maximum signatures as possible. Let us together fight for the protection of the Holy Dham and our culture, by also giving a chance to all devotees and friends to participate on this great Dham Seva.


Click here to sign the petition “Don’t Merge Vrindavan in Mathura Nagar Nigam”.

Read the letter that will be sent to the chief minister along with the signatures in which are listed the negative changes that will be implanted in the Dham:

Shri Akhilesh Yadav,

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

Dear Sir

We, the undersigned, call on the government of Uttar Pradesh to reconsider the proposal of merging Shri Dham Vrindavan with Mathura by constituting a Municipal Corporation (Nagar Nigam).  The proposed Municipal Corporation will be a disaster for the ecology, heritage, culture and identity of Vrindavan. We feel that the decision to merge Vrindavan in Mathura should be reversed for the following reasons:

The new proposed civic body will be called Mathura Nagar Nigam whereas Vrindavan has enormous international recognition and has a separate identity than Mathura.  The Vrindavan Nagar Palika Parishad or the Vrindavan Municipal Council was formed in the early sixties of the Nineteenth Century. A civic body also existed before the formation of the municipality, which was formed by Akbar including three settlements of Rajpura, Dhaurera and Dusayaj. While the Mughals and British preserved its separate identity then the Uttar Pradesh government shouldn’t do anything that the temple town loses its name.

2.  Maximum three to five members will be elected from Vrindavan area in the proposed Nagar Nigam, so there will not be any voice for Vrindavan people in the board meetings of the Municipal Corporations. All the efforts to get Vrindavan the heritage tag will go in vain.

3.  A big numbers of widows and saints reside in Vrindavan by making their small houses in the form of ashrams. It will be difficult for them to pay the hefty amount of house and other taxes to be introduced after the formation of the Muncipal Corporation. The old saints and the widows will have to face problems to go to Mathura for every small work

4.  Mathura and Vrindavan will be counted as a single entity. So, the wine, egg, fish, meat will be openly sold in Vrindavan, on the footsteps of Mathura. It will pose a serious threat to our faith.

5.  Those favoring the Nagar Nigam argue that a big amount of fund will be received from the Central Government directly to the Nagar Nigam. Vrindavan has already received big amount of funds during the tenure of the Mayavati Government. We have seen how that grant has destroyed the ecology, heritage and culture of this Divine town. The eco-spiritual development of Vrindavan can be done by giving it a special status such as shrine board.

6.  The small villages around Vrindavan are the ‘Krishna leela van’ where the devotees go for the 84 kms parikrama.  The formation of the Nagar Nigam will invite the real estate investments, which will be a death nail for the remaining forest culture of Vraja. Moreover the amalgamation of the villages into the Nagar Nigam will violate the 74th amendment of our constitution, which gives the rights to the village panchayats.

7.  Vrindavan is a temple town, which has a unique identity. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Vrindavan from different parts of the country and around the world. The identities of both the towns are different to each other. The development in Vrindavan should be done according to its spiritual and cultural essence.

8.   Due to the so called development, Vrindavan has already lost its sacred groves, heritage buildings, the Yamuna bank, the culture and the holy dust. People around the world are attracted to Vrindavan for its name. If it is merged in the Mathura Nagar Nigam, then the remaining eco-spiritual culture will be diminished.

9.  New multi starred hotels will be opened in Vrindavan, which will encourage the sale of non-vegetarian food, wine and other intoxicants.

We request the government to expand the boundaries of the Vrindavan Municipality and give it a special status of the pilgrimage town where non-vegetarian foods, wine should be totally banned.

Yours sincerely

the devotees and lovers of Shri Dham Vrindavan





The 1,000-odd widows of Vrindavan Tuesday evening marched through the narrow streets of this holy town, demanding a cleaner Yamuna and urgent steps to check pollution in the river.

Several hundred of them were holding “diyas” in their hands to draw public attention towards the sad state of the river in the Braj area.
“The virtually dead river has been reduced to a vast sewage canal that carries waste and toxins from upstream cities and Delhi,” said Roopa, an elderly widow.

Lalita Adhikari, 104, said: “Like others, we too are concerned about the river. Most of us come to Vrindavan because of our love for Krishna and the Yamuna river, but now the situation has become unbearable.”

On the initiative of NGO Sulabh International, the widows began their three-day Diwali celebrations at the seven ashrams here.
All the ashrams have been decorated tastefully with lights and earthen lamps.

The festival mood was infectious as locals too joined them in singing bhajans.

Earlier treated as “inauspicious”, the widows were not allowed to take part in rituals till Sulabh took a keen interest in their uplift.
The NGO takes care of the health and day-to-day requirements of the widows. Vocational training is also provided to many.
Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said: “Sulabh will continue with its nationwide campaign for the welfare of the widows.”

Pathak said he intends to draft a bill and hand it over to parliament to improve the plight of widows, abandoned by their families. He said he will urge all political parties to support the proposed bill.




Mathura, 2014.10.11


The Central Government has begun to work on the initiative of making Mathura a heritage city. The Modi government has sought complete data on what needs to be done for developing Mathura in that direction. A report has to be sent to the government within a week, describing the culture, archaeology and urban development.

Senior officials from the Union Urban Development Ministry interacted with the District Magistrate of Mathura and the Vice Chairman of the Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority by video conferencing, and sought the report on heritage city within a week.

They wanted to know on what basis Mathura can be qualified as a heritage city. They wanted a list of ancient historical heritage buildings and a full description of its cultural heritage. They are also seeking suggestions from the Mathura District Administration on how to conserve these heritage buildings and culture.

The Union Government announced the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) for seven cities of the country in its yearly budget. Mathura was also selected to be part of this plan along with Amritsar, Ajmer, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Varanasi, Vailenkani.

The joint secretary of the Urban Development Ministry held video conferences with the District Magistrates of all these seven cities. B. Chandrakala, the District Magistrate of Mathura and Nagendra Pratap, Vice-chairman of the Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority participated in the video conferencing from Mathura.

After the video conferencing the District magistrate has instructed all the officials of the various departments to be present in a meeting to discuss the heritage tag for Mathura. She asked them to come in the meeting with the suggestions on the link road between the heritage buildings, their conversation and their present condition.

Rs 200 Cr has been set aside by the Union government to conserve and preserve heritage in the above-mentioned cities by way of a joint program between government, academic institutions and local communities. The government’s stated goal is to increase global tourism.

“India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation as an industry,” the Finance Minister said in his speech announcing the plan back in July.

The travel and tourism sector in India has seen a 40 percent jump in employment in June 2014 compared to the same period last year. In 2013, the travel and tourism sector in India generated 35 million jobs.




On the 03 October, 2014, Sri Radha Raman gave a Special darshan celebrating Sri Ramachandra Vijay Utsav. The temple was full of His devotees offering Him beautiful garlands and many gifts.

Sandhya Aarti Sandarshan:







The Mathura-Vrindavan-Goverdhan circuit holds a dozen festivals and fairs every year which draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Estimates of the crowd vary from eight lakh to 80 lakh.

The Mathura-Vrindavan-Goverdhan circuit holds a dozen festivals and fairs every year which draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Estimates of the crowd vary from eight lakh to 80 lakh.

The world’s tallest Krishna temple under construction, numerous religious shrines, forests and historical holy ponds, a living cultural entity with a distinct identity, visited by millions of people round the year: Vrindavan – the abode of the much-loved and playful Hindu god Krishna – is crying for heritage town status to preserve its rich traditions and physical assets.

“Hundreds of holy ponds in Braj mandal and the sacred groves where Krishna and (his consort) Radha frolicked with gopis are revered and worshipped by millions of bhaktas (devotees) spread all over the globe. A town associated with the living legend of Krishna and Radha deserves to be granted heritage status to protect what is left,” Rajneesh Kapur of the NGO Braj Foundation told IANS in this town 160 km from Delhi.

“Vrindavan is considered in many sacred texts as the centre of Braj, a region covering over 45 square miles (117 sq km) in which the majority of the villages, water tanks and natural landscape are connected to a long-standing living tradition of local folklore associated with the events narrated in the holy scripture called Srimad Bhaagavatam,” activist Rakesh Haripriya told IANS.

Each year hundreds of thousands of Vaishanavites from across the globe visit Vrindavan for a “darshan” or “parikrama” of the shrines associated with Krishna and his consort Radha.

The Mathura-Vrindavan-Goverdhan circuit holds a dozen festivals and fairs every year which draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Estimates of the crowd vary from eight lakh to 80 lakh.

“Every month, a few million pilgrims join the Goverdhan parikrama,” Gopi Ballabh, a panda, told IANS.

“Vrindavan annually receives 80 lakh pilgrims who demonstrate the living devotional heritage of Braj by engaging in various unique and heartfelt activities, including the 21-kilometre circumnambulation of Govardhan Hill in dandavats (the act of lying down, marking one’s place, and then moving one body length forward to lie down again until circumnambulation is complete),” Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of the Friends of Vrindavan NGO, told IANS.

“In the realm of arts and music, the area has nurtured haveli sangeet, samaj gayan, raas leelas, dance forms like Charakula and inspired paintings and sculptures. Hindi literature in Braj bhasha dilect has been enriched by great poets like Surdas and Rasa Khan. Krishna and Radha are the chief focus of the dance called Rasa dance, which teaches the world that God loves everyone and allows all to long for Him and to enter His abode,” said Madhumangal Shukla, convenor of the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance (BVHA).

Vrindavan and the greater area of Braj have inspired the founding of religious and monastic communities all over the world, many of which are named after places in Braj such as Vrindavan and the events which have taken place there. “There are not many New Yorks but many New Vrindavans, New Varsanas, New Goverdhans, and New Gokulas in all countries around the world which are visited by pilgrims. These are all places created in the spirit and image of Vrindavan and greater Braj,” Girdhari Brajwasi, a local priest,
told IANS.

All philosophical schools of India have ashrams in Vrindavan, making it home to a wider variety of Hindu philosophy than any other tirtha (pilgrim centre) in India.
“Vrindavan and the greater Braj region encompass an amazingly broad range of living devotion; God can be worshipped as a child in Vatsalya Rasa, as a friend in Sakya Rasa, as a servant in Dasya Rasa and even as a sweetheart in Madhurya Rasa. These modes of devotion are unique as a broadly accepted multi-part system, and the theological concepts they embody are arguably more varied than those found in other world religions,” activist Chandra Prakash Sharma told IANS.

Vrindavan and the greater Braj region have the most impressive architectural pieces inspired by love; slave labour was unthinkable for the seers who inspired Braj’s monuments of devotion. Vrindavan and the greater Braj region practise vegetarianism and abstinence from the consumption of alcohol as a spiritual observance, which, even without being imposed, is followed by almost all, Sharma added.

Vrindavan and Braj have a grand history of royal patronage; it was once the place where every Indian maharajah had to have a temple, guesthouse and goshalla (cow shelter), among others. Today, Krishna devotees who come from distant countries often acquire and renovate these palaces, which are abandoned and neglected since the maharajahs of the past have had their government stipends and royal status taken away.

The name of Krishna in the form of the Mahamantra or Govinda is the most recorded and heard music in the world; for example, George Harrison’s song, “My Sweet Lord”, is still amongst the world’s most requested and well-known songs, Poddar explained.

The Yamuna river in Vrindavan has numerous ghats with permanent structures that need to be conserved. The ghats have to be renovated and a canal can bring water to attract visitors and facilitate boating.

“We hope our MP, Hema Malini (of the BJP), will pursue the matter and soon we will see some fundamental changes. The state government has already constituted a separate board for the development of the Braj area,” Poddar said.



August 12th, 2014Balaram Purnima

See a few of the Special Darshans for this year’s Balaram Purnima Feast in Sri Vrindaan Dham.



Sri Sri Radha Raman Ji


Sri Sri Radha Raman Ji


Sri Gopeshawar Mahadev


Sri Sri Radha Vallabh



Sripad Sevak Caranji one of the great protectors of Vrindavan from many years ago. Leader of different projects that fight for Braj Mandal protection.


[BVHA] Sevak Caranji one of the great protectors of Vrindavan from many years ago

Srimati Padmashree Geeta Chandran offering a Bharatnayam dance performance to Sri Radha Ramanji, nritya seva.

Radha Raman Temple, Sri Vrindavan Dham on 15 June 2014.

Tewfic El-Sawy is a New York City freelance photographer specializing in documenting endangered cultures and traditional life ways of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Known as The Travel Photographer.


The Birth of Colour

when Krishna met Radha

Holi Vrindavan 01

Holi Vrindavan 02

Holi Vrindavan 03

Holi Vrindavan 04

Holi Vrindavan 05