Unexpected Adventures in Mathura and Vrindavan

Call it either a golden rule or a cliche, but travel in India (in the US too, to be fair) doesn’t always go as planned. Weather, transportation, timing—sometimes everything works together to make a carefully planned trip go completely off the rails. Our trip this past weekend was definitely one of those times.

 

Last Sunday I went with several friends to Mathura and Vrindavan, two extremely important cities in the god Krishna’s childhood. There are a wealth of famous temples and sites in this city, but unfortunately we weren’t able to visit many of them.

 

Our day started off on the wrong note when we somehow boarded the wrong bus. When we asked the driver if the bus went to Mathura, he said yes. Later we found out that “yes” meant it would arrive there after spending the entire day at Agra–whoops. Fortunately we talked the bus driver into stopping on the highway near Mathura to let us get down. From there we stumbled our way off the freeway flyover to catch an auto-rickshaw.

 

The rickshaw driver, however, was from Vrindavan and decided he would rather take us there first (“There’s only one thing to see in Mathura; Vrindavan is where all the important things are” he told us). So we ended up in an extremely crowded Vrindavan. But before we could see anything, a sudden deluge of rain began. Vrindavan’s narrow and poorly drained streets immediately started flooding; at least a half-foot of water was flowing down the streets within a few minutes. Fortunately a kind shopkeeper let us set in his shop and wait out the rain (see picture below).
Soaked but thankful for the shopkeeper’s generosity, we set off for Mathura after the rains ended an hour or so later. Unfortunately the main place we wanted to visit—Sri Krishna Janmasthan (Krishna’s birthplace) didn’t reopen until 6:30, after our 6:00 bus back to Delhi.

 

We regrouped and decided to head to the ghats (steps) on the Yamuna River. The view from there was beautiful, and we even took a short boat ride on the river (as you can see in the picture!)

 

Lastly we bought some peda—a sweet known to be especially delicious in Mathura—and hopped back on our bus to Delhi. Almost nothing went as planned in the trip, but we all agree that we still had a wonderful time and have many memorable stories to tell 🙂

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About Jacob Berexa

University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017, majoring in South Asia Studies and minoring in Linguistics. Intern at LEAP Skills Academy in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana.