Unique ‘bhai-dooj’ in Mathura todayUpdated: Oct 28, 2019, 19:09 IST
Agra Come Tuesday, all the roads in the religious town of Mathura would lead to Vishram Ghat. The day is commonly known as ‘bhai dooj’ elsewhere but in Mathura it is ‘Yam dwitiya’ and siblings (brothers and sisters) reach Vishram Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna to take a holy dip holding each other’s hand. The sisters apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers and pray for saving them from the anger of Yamraj (God of death).
The ritual continues since time immemorial and the belief has withstood the test of time.
Although various ghats in Mathura and Vrindavan attract devotees with people performing similar rituals, Vishram Ghat is considered to be a pilgrimage place and witnesses the maximum turnout on this occasion every year because of the temple of Yam or ‘Dharam Raj’.
“It is believed that the tradition began with Yamuna and Yamraj, children of ‘Surya’ (sun). On Bhai Dooj, Yamraj visited his sister Yamuna and she offered him the best of delicacies. Pleased with this, Yamraj asked Yamuna to make a wish.”
“Yamuna asked Yam to spare the lives of those men who took a dip in river Yamuna holding the hands of their sisters on bhai dooj. Yamuna’s wish was granted and since then this tradition has been popular as ‘Yam Dwitiya’ in Braj region,” said Padma Shri awardee Mohan Swaroop Bhatia .
Gopeshwar Chaturvedi, 68, a renowned environmentalist and patron of ‘Shri Mathur Chaturved Parishad’ finds the tradition growing over the years.
“Brothers and sisters come here from different parts of the country. Most of them are from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan and reach Mathura days in advance. They visit nearby places related to Lord Krishna but gather in Mathura a night before Yam Dwitiya and begin moving to Vishram Ghat,” he said.
Chaturvedi added, “They take a dip in Yamuna and then move to the temple of ‘Yamunaji-Dharamraj’ on Vishram Ghat, which is believed to be a rare temple dedicated to the God of death. The sisters pray to Yamraj for releasing their brothers from the tentacles of death and pardon them for wrongdoings so that they enjoy both a long life as well as a good afterlife. The ritual of bathing begins early after ‘Yamuna aarti’ at 3 am. Devotees reach a day in advance to attend the aarti.”