A week full of colours and laughter; Holi isn’t just a two day affair in the city of Krishna. Right from “Phoolon Wali Holi” (Holi of Flowers) of Vrindavan to “Holi procession” of Mathura; there’s lot more to it than you can imagine. Skip the synthetic colours and hit the road to the Brijwasis to see how it’s done.
The Holi celebration in the village of Barsana and Nandgaon start way before the actual date of Holi. And it goes beyond the water guns and colours. A Holi where men from Nandgaon gather to tease and colour the women of Barsana and get beaten up with “laathis” (sticks) in turn. It is said that Lord Krishna with his friends too did the same and got chased away by Radha and the Gopikas with Lathis, hence the ritual. Drop by at the Radha Rani temple at Barsana to check out this playful thrashing but men, be sure to choose a safe corner.
A sight to behold, the massive crowd at Banke Bihari temple covered in flowers involves people from all over the world. It is believed that the god only watches the devotees play on the main day of Holi and plays with them a day before. Be sure to drop by this temple to see everyone play with the flowers instead of the gulal and pichkaris. The celebration starts early in the morning with the priests commencing the prayers and showering the devotees with flower petals.
Right after the Phoolon Wali Holi wraps up at Banke Bihari Temple, the streets of Mathura start bursting with colours. If you think you are tired and can’t continue; don’t worry, the Holi Procession from Vishram Ghat will get you all charged up. You will find yourself dancing to the loud music and enjoying the balloon and colour attacks from everywhere. See kids dressed as Radha and Krishna riding the chariot, which too is covered in colours. You won’t see many women as the crowd gets really rowdy. The procession ends at the Holi gate.
A night before Holi marks the celebration of victory of good over evil. Bonfires are lit; symbolising the death of Holika, the devil. You will see a bonfire at every other crossroad of both these cities. This ritual is widely followed in the country and even in some parts of Nepal.
5. Widow’s Holi in Vrindavan:
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The “city of widows”, as it is known, Vrindavan hosts widows shunned from their families from all over the country. Only recently, the widows in Vrindavan have challenged the norms of society and started celebrating Holi at their ashram.The impeccable joys of these women can only be felt by experiencing it with them. To join them head to Pagal Baba Widow Ashram in Vrindavan on the main day of Holi.
6. Huranga at Dauji temple, Mathura:
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Holi doesn’t just end at that in Mathura. The Dauji temple of Mathura celebrates this season in the most unique way. A more aggressive form of Holi; men come in with buckets of saffron coloured water and drench the women, who in turn strip them off their shirts and whip them with it. This takes place a day after the main event of Holi.
Now you know why people from all over the world head to these two gems for the festival of colours. If you haven’t had your share of experiences, now is the time. Get planning already!
Feature Image Source: traveljee.com