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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Explosion of Colors- Let’s Play Holi

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Imtiaz Ullah
Imtiaz Ullahhttps://nomadlawyer.org/about/
Imtiaz Ullah is the founder of travel website - NomadLawyer. A Corporate Lawyer, Senior Travel Correspondent, The Traveller Trails magazine and also acts as an Advisory Member, NGO - Sarvahitey. His travel philosophy is exploring new places, meeting new people, knowing the culture, eating like a local. He always believes in the idea-“ Don't just be a traveller but a Responsible one”.

Well, it will be idiotic to ask someone in india, “Do you know about Holi?”

Every Indian irrespective of race, religion, caste, creed and sex will know about Holi. So, I will not waste my time in writing a blog on Holi rather I will take a deep dive into Lathmar Holi in Barsana and Phoolon Wali Holi, at Banke Bihari Temple.

People including writers, bloggers and photographers from all corners of the world visit India to enjoy the real flavors of Holi and capture its unique customs and traditions in photographs and stories.

The Holi festival commemorates the victory of good over evil, particularly the burning and destruction of a demoness named Holika.

Holi is a Hindu spring festival, celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the Evening of Purnima (full moon day) falling in the month of Phalguna, which falls somewhere between the end of February and middle of March in the Indian calendar. The vibrancy of color on just the other day is something that brings a lot of positivity in our lives and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing

Holi at Banke-Bihari Temple In Vrindavan

During the time of Holi,  the idol of Bihariji (Krishna’s another name) is dressed up in white coloured clothes and it is brought closer to his devotees to play Holi. Vrindavan Holi is played with coloured water and gulal, a form of colour made using organic substances like flowers and kesar.

A riot of colours is what you see at the Banke-Bihari temple where temple priests, also called Goswamis, sprinkle buckets of colours on the devotees. Water guns, dry and wet colours are smeared on everybody inside the temple complex while devotional music or bhajans are played in the background. You see everyone dancing in unison irrespective of the caste, creed, religion, and colour.

Holi at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is not just a festival in Vrindavan, it is a celebration of life. Every year thousands of people throng to this beautiful town to celebrate Holi at the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and play Holi with God himself. The tradition of Holi at the Banke Bihari Temple is also really interesting. It is believed that on the day of Holi, the almighty only sits and observes his devotees play Holi and himself does not participate in the festivities.

Lathmar Holi in Barsana

This celebration takes place in the Radha Rani temple in Barsana. It is important to note that it is the only temple dedicated to Radha.

According to legend, it is believed that Lord Krishna from Nandgaon visited Radha’s (his beloved) town in Barsana during Holi. Lord Krishna who was known to be friendly with all the ‘Gopis’, applied colour on Radha’s face in jest. The friends and the elder females of the town, in turn, took offence and drove him out of Barsana, with bamboo sticks. 

Lathmar Holi keeps this tale alive and is a recreation of this episode from Lord Krishna’s Life. Every year, men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana and the women there, drive them out, playing with sticks (i.e., lathi) and colours.

No more words and I will let pictures do the talking. Thanks to my friend Manik Luthra, for contributing the photos from Holi, 2020.

Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan

Lathmar Holi in Barsana

Hope you enjoyed the riot of colors with a touch of history!

Photos Contributed by Manik Luthra

Travel, and Don’t Stop!

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