Last year on Holi we had been to Vrindavan to soak in the festive gaiety over there particularly at Shri Giriraj Ji Mukharvind Temple and Shri Vrindavan Chandrodaya Temple. To guide us in this tour we were joined by Ashwani Bhambani from Incredible Braj which is an outstanding local tour and service organization.
Our first destination was the famous Shri Giriraj Ji Mukharvind Temple in Jatipura. Devotees had thronged the place to seek blessings on this auspicious day. After darshan, we paid a visit to the nearby market and bought a big sized aalu jalebi for prasad. This potato and curd based jalebi is a specialty of this town.
On returning we went to the temple kitchen where the preparation of 56 dishes was underway for the holy offering. This humongous spread included fritters, curries, breads, sweets, condiments, nuts and fruits. Watching the coordination between the team of devotees and priests in preparing this spread was indeed a surreal experience. This was interspersed with mythological stories and references from them. Once ready the spread was laid out on a huge thali and offered to the Lord.
The prasad was then served to the devotees who sat on the floor and had it. Every morsel felt like a divine blessing. We could just taste half of the available options and that too felt surfeit.
After a short break we reached Shri Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. It is another beautiful temple with delightful architecture and natural ambience. Here we met one of the Prabhuji or priest who showed us around and enlightened us with the heritage and history of this place. On the occasion of Holi the place was beautifully decorated with flowers and day long kirtan was underway. In the evening we joined the devotees for partaking the prasad that was served as a buffet. The soulful spread included some traditional fares like puri, halwa, aalu ki sabzi etc. As always is the case with any prasad, this prasad too was was delicious.