Friday, February 17, 2012


Dear Readers,

First question: Which picture is more attractive? The one to the left. Right ?

Second question: Why so? Because it is colourful. Right?

That's the effect that colours have. They make things lively. The more colourful a place or a situation is, the more lively it is.

          So, Third question: How to celebrate colours? 
           Well, there may be different ways, but when it is a festival of colours then there is only one way. Make everything and everyone colourful. 
        That's exactly how Holi is celebrated

         The festival which generally falls in the first week of march has only one motto. Freak out, Go crazy and play with colours any which way that suits your childish instincts.

The festival is celebrated all over India with much fervour but is especially important in Northern parts of India.

According to Indian Mythology, the demon king Hiranyakashipu was greatly embarassed as his own son was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. After numerous failed attempts to get his son Prahlad killed, on this day he arranged for his sister Holika to sit with Prahlad on her lap in a bonfire to burn him. 

    Holika had a boon that fire could not burn her. But, when Holika sat with Prahlad in the bonfire, Prahlad kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu and it was she who was burnt alive. Prahlad didn't so much as have a blister. So, the festival Holi is celebrated to commemorate this victory of good over evil. 

Bonfires are lit on the night before Holi and is known as Holika-Dahan.
There is another legend associated with Holi. It is said that the child Krishna once asked Yashoda, “Why is Radha fair and I am dark?”. 

To this Yashoda simply said, “Go colour her if you are so jealous of her.” As everyone knows, Krishna doesn't need anything more than this to do some mischief. He did exactly as his mother told. He coloured Radha with dark colours. 

And when God does something, he sets a trend. So, the festival is being celebrated from then on as the festival of colours.

On this day the people go all out to colour others with coloured powder and coloured water. Nothing, No-one and Nowhere is taboo. Colours are sprayed everywhere. As a precaution that no one is offended the people always say “Bura na mano, Holi hai!” or “Its Holi, so don't be offended.”

Lath Mar Holi.

Legend has it that once Krishna with his friends went from their village Nandgaon to Barsana, the village where Radha stayed. There Krishna and his friends teased Radha and other Gopis and sprayed colours on them. In a phenomenal climax, the annoyed Radha and her friends chased Krishna and the other Gopas from Nandgaon through the streets of Barsana with bamboo sticks in their hands with the sole intention of beating them.

But the smart Gopas dodged their blows and ran. (But I guess they never went about teasing the Gopis again!!).
This event is re-enacted again and again even to this day. Every year, a few days before Holi. Youngsters from Nandgaon come to Barsana and tease the women. They spray colours everywhere. Songs are sung and snippets are exchanged, all with an intension of teasing the women of Barsana, until they are annoyed. 
The stage is set in the courtyard of the Radha-Rani temple in Barsana.The women chase the men from Nandgaon to the courtyard and hit on their shields depicting the way in which the Gopis of ancient times hit the Gopas and Krishna of Nandgaon. This is the climax. 

          Every youngster of Nandgaon takes his turn and sits patiently with a shield on his head as the women hit it as hard as they can with their sticks. This event is known as the Lath Mar Holi. It is a great tourist attraction. 

So, if you want to witness this unique way of celebrating Holi then this is how you get there.
Mathura is the nearest city to Barsana. Nearest city to Mathura is Agra. Agra is easily accessible by air, rail and road from Delhi. Mathura can be reached from Agra by road. Distance is approximately 57km. You can plan your stay in Mathura and visit Barsana. The distance is approx. 42Km.

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A search for Hotels in Mathura is as follows :

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Participating in Holi is easy. Just wield a Pichkari, which is a barrel with a piston in which coloured water can be filled. Better still, fill your hands with all sorts of coloured powders available in the market during the festival. That's it. You are ready. Go out and smear and spray colours on everyone coming your way. Don't need to worry because every other person on the street will also do the same. 

Fight, run, chase do everything with colours and with a smile on your face. That's it. You are part of Holi. So, have a colourful Holi. Use only natural colours for safety. 
Till next time, “Holi Hai!!”.
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