Vrindavan, 2018.12.13 (VT): In line with recent trends, the number of devotees expected to visit Mathura-Vrindavan this New Year is once again on the upward trajectory. According to administration, around 15 lakh visitors can be expected as 2018 becomes 2019, as opposed to 10 lakh in 2017-2018.
With winter vacations approaching, online hotel bookings are already apace in Mathura, Vrindavan and Goverdhan as it will become difficult to get a reservation after the 20th. December 30 being Sunday, people are expected to make use of the long weekend to spend their New Year in the holy city.
A large number of visitors also plan an 8-day tour from December 25 to January 1 to visit temples in Mathura-Vrindavan, Goverdhan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon and Mahavan. Of these, maximum crowds are seen in Banke Bihari, Radharaman and Radha Damodar temples in Vrindavan and Goverdhan’s Daan Ghati and Parikrama Marg.
Many devotees prefer to ring in the New Year while doing Parikrama. In Mathura, Keshav Dev temple, Sri Krishna Janmasthan and Dwarkadheesh temple in Raja Dhiraj Bazaar are likely to act as magnets for pilgrims.
Tourism department data shows that the number of visitors has been on the rise every year, despite the cold and foggy conditions that prevail in the winter break. According to the management of various well-known hotels in the city, the largest numbers of visitors are from Delhi-NCR due to the capital’s proximity to Braj.
Lack of basic amenities such as public toilets create inconvenience for tourists as well as the locals who live near places where tourist buses park.
Police are in the process of drafting a New Year traffic policy, which they hope will be ready by December 20. Important routes will be made one-way in order to avoid jams.
In the past, despite efforts by the police to keep cars and auto rickshaws out of the bazaar, in an attempt to capture tourist dollar, auto operators tried to make runs on the most popular route – from Bihariji to Prem Mandir – even though it would have been quicker for people to walk.
Police attempts at creating a one-way flow of tourists around Banke Bihari temple also failed as forceful crowds pushed their way into all entrances. Hence, this year additional forces will be deployed in Vrindavan.
The police also plan to restrict heavy vehicles on Goverdhan Parikrama Marg. Visitors can expect a ban on tourist/private vehicles during the entire ‘winter vacation – New Year’ period, as has been the practice in previous years.
Usually traffic is diverted to parking facilities at the exit of the Yamuna Expressway and the Chhatikara Road exit of the NH2. Most residents are in favour of the ban as Vrindavan’s narrow streets cannot handle heavy traffic and the streets end up becoming impassable even for pedestrians and devotees doing Parikrama.