Mathura, Nov 13: Over one lakh pilgrims thronged the ghats in Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh on Friday and took a dip in Yamuna river on the occasion of Bhai Dooj, officials said.
Thousands of brothers and sisters congregated at the Vishram Ghat in Mathura for the special bath meant to appease the Hindu god of death, Yam Raj.
Priest Yamuna Das Chaubey said the river is believed to be the sister of Yam Raj, and brothers and sisters should take a dip together on the day.
"Only in Mathura, you have a temple of brother and sister," he said.
The Yamuna ghats in Vrindavan and Mathura were swept clean and barricades put up to regulate crowds.
"Over one lakh pilgrims, including many NRIs, reached the ghats on Friday," an official said.
A shopkeeper near the Dwarkadheesh Temple said all hotels near the ghats were packed with devotees.
On Thursday, a day after Diwali, community feasting with 56 different food items in the Sri Krishna temple was the chief attraction for many.
Many started arriving in the Goverdhan hill town for the 'parikrama' and the celebrations. A large number of foreign pilgrims are in Mathura, chanting bhajans as they perform the 21-km long 'parikrama'.
Goverdhan puja is celebrated in Agra division that includes the districts of Aligarh, Firozabad and Hathras too.
The Goverdhan is made of cow-dung and the community collectively worships the deity with sweets and milk.
The immersion in the river or ponds takes place the next day, according to another priest, Mahesh Pandit Shukla.
For the past few years, the size of the Goverdhan has been increasing and is up to 20 feet now.