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‘Vrindavan needs change’

Updated on: 24 April,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mathura
Faisal Tandel |

Locals say temple city needs Metro rail, better crowd management and a clean Yamuna

‘Vrindavan needs change’

A local temple in Vrindavan

The city of Mathura holds a profound spiritual aura, with its deep-rooted devotion to Radha-Krishna and the countless temples that dot its landscape. Vrindavan, nestled within Mathura, further amplifies this spiritual essence with its numerous temples and the constant influx of devotees seeking blessings. Vrindavan, spread across a 20 km stretch having around 5,884 temples, with 30 to 40 big temples including the ISKON temple and Premnagar temple, see maximum tourist visits in the region. mid-day visited the bylanes, interacting with locals, shopkeepers, auto-rickshaw drivers and tourists to know what issues they face.

Devotees queue up to visit a temple, one of several in the city, where thousands visit dailyDevotees queue up to visit a temple, one of several in the city, where thousands visit daily

Several locals highlighted two major issues including the cleanliness of the Yamuna River as it is heavily polluted by industrial waste and untreated sewage discharge. The second issue is the development of the Banke Bihari Temple Corridor, along the lines of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, which will offer devotees three convenient routes to reach the Krishna temple.

Rohit Rajput, a hotel manager who moved from Agra to Vrindavan for work, said, “More than 60 per cent of the people staying in Vrindavan are from Madhya Pradesh, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and other parts. Devotion to the lord brings them here and they usually find work locally and continue to stay. Many have been staying here for decades. Even foreigners come to stay here.”

Amit Bajpai and Ashish Bajpai who had come for darshan from Kanpur
Amit Bajpai and Ashish Bajpai who had come for darshan from Kanpur

According to Rajput, there is a lack of planning and crowd management by the local administration and police who have put up barricades around 3 km before temples areas. “If barricades are being installed 3 km ahead, proper arrangements need to be made so that people can reach the temple without hassles. There should be government-run e-rickshaws plying. This will bring in revenue and also prevent people from being cheated by local e-rickshaw drivers who charge exorbitant amounts. There should also be fines imposed on rule violators. Also, there has to be public transport like Metro rail or other options to reach the temples,” he said.

Pushkar Upadyay, an e-rickshaw driver who is also from another state and came to Vrindavan over his devotion, said, “Vrindavan has seen many changes and developments after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took charge. He used up a lot of funds in developing and beautifying the region.”

Regarding actor Hema Malini being given a ticket to contest, Upadyay said, “A ticket should be only given to a local who has an idea about the city and is known to people in the city and villages. Giving celebrities a ticket is just to gain traction. Are they really on the ground, meeting people to know their problems or just campaigning during elections? Also, at times it is a major task to meet a celebrity and so, often locals can’t take up issues with them. The government must develop skills of the people and increase the number of jobs available. Also, the corridor issue has to be resolved to ease the movement of people.”

Pushkar Upadyay, an-e-rickshaw driver who visited Vrindavan and decided to stay there with his family
Pushkar Upadyay, an-e-rickshaw driver who visited Vrindavan and decided to stay there with his family

Mansi Arora from Haryana moved to Vrindavan five years ago. She says there are thousands who visit daily, and the crowd swells to lakhs of people during festivals. “There should be a queue system at temples here as many times senior citizens and kids get stuck in the crowd. Also, the authorities need to regularly clean the Yamuna River. This will enable local use the water and people would also be able to perform rituals,” she said.

Yogita Boche from Maharashtra’s Akola runs a snack and lunch centre in Vrindavan, close to Hema Malini’s house. “Malini-madam has been seen here since Holi and is campaigning regularly. Usually, she visits the area once or twice a week. Many people feel that she is working for betterment,” said Boche.

According to Boche, cleanliness is a major issue in Mathura. “Several areas are littered with garbage. The authorities should conduct more cleanliness drives. Visitors should be careful to not litter… to maintain the hygiene and take in the spiritually,” she added.

Meanwhile, Advocate Ashish Kumar Bajpai, 42, a visitor from Kanpur, told mid-day that local transport is a major issue. “The complete Parikrama Puri in Vrindavan is almost 21 km long. We have come 2-3 times for darshan in Mathura and always found local transport to be an issue. The e-rickshaw drivers charge too much. There is also a lack of proper toilets and refreshment centres. Metro rail connectivity is essential and due to the daily footfall, It will also be a good revenue generator,” Ashish said.

Amit Bajpai, a teacher accompanying Ashish, said he had been coming to Mathura for darshan for decades. “There is an increase in the number of devotees and tourism and many things should have changed accordingly. In the last few years, a major problem is that the Rs 10 coin isn’t accepted here. It is accepted all over India but no one accepts it here. Is it banned in Mathura or is there some other reason?”

Approx no of temples in Vrindavan

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