Fire and Food at Krishna’s Mathura Festival

Festival Essentials

Where: Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India
When: Annually, 8th August
Happenings:Plenty of making merry, worship, free food and fire
Remember to bring: Bucket of water in case of accident and empty stomache!

Where It’s At

Every year thousands of followers of the Hindu god Krishna make a pilgrimage to the town of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate his birth nearly 3,500 years ago. Krishna was the earthly incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu and was born in humble surroundings, which makes him very popular with the poorer classes. Mathura is one of the seven sacred cities in India, and is also an important centre for crafts.

What Happens at the Mathura Krishma Festival?

There is no single temple to worship Krishna in. The crowds visit several of the thousands of small temples spread throughout the city of Mathura.

At night the streets come alive with music, free food and face painting which is seen as a symbolic blessing. However, the party really gets going at midnight, the alleged hour of Lord Krishna’s birth, with processions of floats depicting Krishna in his many forms – the warrior charioteer, the charismatic ladies man, and the baby Krishna who, much like Moses, was saved from slaughter by his parents who sent him adrift on the Yamuna river in a tiny raft.

Physically, this festival involves a lot of chanting and yelling, plus plenty of fire. This is because fire is seen as the carrier to take the peoples messages up to God. Fire is how God communicated back to the people, so when pilgrims touch the fire, it is like there are actually touching God himself.

More Information

India Travel Guide 
Information about the village of Mathura and details for the visitor.


By Lorna Musgrove