Holi – the festival of colours is not just about gulals and pichkaris or even bhaang. Folklore has always associated Holi with Lord Krishna, who used to celebrate it with the Gopis.
Heralding the arrival of spring, Holi is a happy time of the year when crazy colours are thrown on each other in a joyful battle across the country, but no one plays Holi like the people of Braj. Their version is known as Lathmaar Holi and is something you need to experience first hand.
From Nandgaon to Barsana
Nothing can match the excitement and action of Lathmar Holi of Barsana. Around 42 kms away from Mathura, Barsana – the birthplace of Radha – is where the festivities include a colourful procession of people singing and dancing in the lanes of the small little town. Come afternoon and the Gopas from Nandgaon come prepared with fistfuls of coloured gulal and the the hope that they can raise their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple.
The whole shor-gul starts from the Radha Rani temple as men loaded with gulal march towards the temple on the Rang Rangeeli Gali, all set to be welcomed by Gopis. The battle of colour begins here and as tradition, they are welcomed by woman hitting them with lath (bamboo staffs) while the men try to dodge them as loud cheers ring through the air. The men come prepared with shields and turbans, and no one retaliates at the playful blows.
The womenfolk of Barsana clearly enjoy an upper hand in this mock battle as they all wait to take sweet revenge on the prank that Krishna first initiated. Moreover, men at their mischievous best are only interested in applying colour on the women.
The fun doesn’t end here and next day, the men from Barsana invade Nandgaon to drench the women there. The same ritual follows and this time it’s the woman of Nadagon who beat the invaders from Barsana.
This weeklong Holi celebration is a treat for the senses. The air is filled with floral aromas mixed with sandalwood and rose incense as the rhythmic chants of ‘Radhey-Radhey’ fills your ear. The whole experience puts you in a trance that is indescribable with the tempo, the madness and the riot of colours making it worth a watch.
If you make it there, just remember – Bura na mano, Holi hai!
|Lathmaar Holi at Barsana||17th March 2016||Thursday|
|Lathmaar Holi at Nandgaon||18th March 2016||Friday|
|Holi in Mathura||19th March 2016||Saturday|
|Holi at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan||20th March 2016||Sunday|
|Holi celebration in Gokul||21th March 2016||Monday|
|Dwarkadish Temple in Mathura||22th March 2016||Tuesday|
|Celebration at Temples & streets of Vrindavan||23th March 2016||Wednesday|
|Actual Holi||24th March 2016||Thursday|
How to reach Mathura: Nearest Airport Delhi, Delhi to Mathura- 140 kms by road.
Being a peak season book your stay in advance
Image courtesy: Ramit Mitra