Pappan drives his rickety rickshaw through the crowded Mathura near “Dwarkadeesh Temple”. He wiggles his steering and swivels his body as he maneuvers the Rickshaw through the sea of bodies. Suddenly in front of him he sees a dog lying peacefully on the middle of the road. Pappan looks at the dog, smiles and says “Radhe Radhe…Radhe Radhe”.
Beautiful temple in Vrindavan
This trip of mine to Mathura was first “By design” with Jayanta and later turned into “By Default” with Akshay.OK! It’s time to now introduce my oldest friend in life, Mr Akshay Watts. The fact that we go back more than 18 years as friends, is a testimony of our friendship. The best way to introduce Akshay to my blog would be to say that he has always worn his heart on his sleeve. Come rain or shine or heavy weather, that 420 watts (suits his name too) never leaves his face.
Holi is a famous festival acroos India and in mathura and Vrindavan it is celebrated with pomp and show
I had given up on last Saturday trying to think of a person who will join me in this trip to “Krishna Janmabhoomi”.Jayanta had backed out and so had Mr. S(The aspiring singer is going to Chandrataal Lake next week),and I was thinking of cancelling the trip. But Akshay like a “True Knight in Shining Armour” came at 0630 AM, with energies oozing out of his body. I was in a deep slumber and was cursing him to have broken the “Big Sleep”.I was thankful that he came later though.
Radha Mohan temple in Vrindavan
The road to Mathura was the same as that of Mehendipur Balaji, and to top it all NH2 was wet due to persistent rain.Driving down an open highway, which is wet and inviting is the time machine between two separate mental orgasms. I and Akshay stopped at a shady Dhaba (Roadside Food Joint) and had burnt Potato/Onion Parantha to satiate our hungry stomachs. With our belly full and minds filled with anticipation of the approaching storm, we moved on!!!Mathura is about 122 Kms from Delhi and in case one drives non stop, it’s a 2 hour journey, even in my aging LINDA (My M 800 Car guys).
Some of the old architeture of Vrindavan
The big dilemma was whether to stay in Vrindavan or Mathura. I and Akshay both wanted to stay near the Ghats (Near the River Yamuna) and after a few calls to some trusted sources, Mathura was decided as the “Stay Put” joint. The other thing was that both me and Akshay liked was “Comfort” and we liked it a little too much, so a Dharamshala (A Low End Motel) was a strict no no!!!Also the two of us were quite LOADED, and wanted to stay at the best place in Mathura. After checking with quite a few Samaritans, Brijwasi Royal came up again and again as “THE PLACE TO STAY”.
Brijwasi Royal Hotel- photo courtsey http://www.brijwasihotels.com
We were greeted at the door of Brijwasi Royal by the doorman who looked a cross between a walrus and a Humble Man (Humble by his behavior, Walrus by his moustache!).There was more drama at the reception, as we haggled and wiggled with the manager for an “American Express Brand Equity Discount” (Long Live Akshay and His User Acceptance Testing Job) and finally got a 25% discount. The bait that we dropped was that we will recommend more foreigners to this hotel (Lord Krishna, please forgive us this day for this lie!).
Ample of oppartunies are there to click pics in these ancient ruins of Vrindavan
Brijwasi Royal was really a beautiful hotel. Bathrooms with Bath Tubs, main hall with central a/c, and a window view of an open lake…what more did we want. By the way, we had got our Guitar and and Mouthorgan and started playing some covers, and I need to mention here that Akshay is a fantastic guitarist. After jamming for an hour or so,we decided to visit the famous Ghats.
The Ghats are about 2-3 Km from Brijwasi Royal, and one can go there in a shared auto for just 50 – 60 bucks for two people. Before the Ghats come a beautiful Cantonment area and Akshay got reminiscent as his Dads first army posting was at Mathura. After telling the autowallah and the co - passenger all about his dad’s posting, Akshay finally became quiet as we landed near to the Ghats.We got down and first landed near bangle shop first,and then near a perfume shop run by Mr Bholabhai.Bholabhai was very camera savvy by the way,and he posed with all his perfumes(Called “Itre” in Urdu) to my lowly mobile camera.
Don't forget to take Mathura's famous pedas, you can keep it with you for more then 15 days, very tasty
We then had lovely Kachodis at a nearby,and it was awesome! Finally,we wanted to take a boat ride,and went down the Ghats and took an exclusive boat.The normal logic is that in case one shares the boat,the fare comes to a mere 10 -20 INR,but with only me and Akshay in the boat,the boatman Lal Singh charged us much more.It was worth it at the end of the day, as we had we had the huge boat all to ourselves.
For one hour we sat amidst the strange dark silence with Lal Singh telling about Lord Krishna’s bravery and the story of all the 25 Ghats that stretch across the horizon : “Bengali Ghat”,”Vastaav Ghats” etc.To top it all,the Arati that was going on the Ghatside Temple added to all the ambiance.
The priest raised the lit lamp high across the sky in a rotating motion…and we all cried out “Radhe Radhe”