Thursday, March 21, 2013

Barsaane ki Holi

Holi, the festival of colours has a very special celebration in the Braj Bhoomi of Uttar Pradesh. 

Braj bhoomi encompasses the region of Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Nandgaon and Barsana, all of those having played an important role in Hindu mythology, where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. Amorous songs, devotional and religious fervor and sprinkled colors present a delightful scene. 

At Barsana, the 'latthmaar holi' is famous. The men of Nandgaon known as 'gops' raid Barsana and try to mark their victory over the temple of Radhika by furling flag over it while the women of Barsana try to fend them off with long bamboo sticks. The men are well padded because they cannot retaliate to the women and can only try to keep them off by sprinkling colors on them. In case they get trapped, they are dressed as a lady in a sari and cosmetics are applied and they are made to dance like a lady. It is said that even Lord Krishna was made to dance like this by the gopis of Barsana. Next day, the same scene is repeated in Nandgaon as men of Barsana raid the village to win over temple of Shriji and women of Nandgaon beat them with sticks to keep them off. Holi songs known as 'Hori' are sung by the men and women and are mostly based on the dialogues exchanged between Krishna and Radhika.

Barsana ki Holi by iamShishir
Barsana ki Holi, a photo by iamShishir on Flickr.
While the facilities at these villages are very basic and it may be inconvenient for most of us to spend a night there, this festival of Holi can be experienced in its most interesting form in these two villages.

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