India is known for its never-ending list of festivals and traditions. One such, that is celebrated across India with much gusto and thrill, is the festival of colours, Holi. Vibrant colours, song, dance and merriment mark this occasion. People let lose their inhibitions and enjoy this festival to the hilt.
Traditionally, too, this festival has a lot of stories and myths attached to it. Commonly known for ushering in the season of and to bid goodbye to winters. Other widely accepted story are of the win of good over evil.
Two such towns that have their own unique style of celebrating this festival are Barsana and Nandgaon, near Mathura. For people who want to experience Holi differently and traditionally, head to these places on the 15th and 16th of March 2019.
So, what’s special about Holi here?
Apart from celebrating with colours, people additionally celebrate along with a ‘lath’ or bamboo. When men rush towards women with colours, they use these sticks. The festivities here are not just fun to be a part of but also to watch.
March 15, 2019 in Barsana
March 16, 2019 in Nandgaon
The small town of Barsana located at a distance of about 42 km from Mathura is famous for its characteristic manner of celebrating Holi. Mythologically, it is known to be the birth place of Radha, Lord Krishna’s beloved.
On the first day, the men of Nandgaon come to Barsana. The distance between the two town is about 7 kms apart. The intention of the men is to take over the temple of Shri Radhikaji. But the women of Barsana stand strong and stop them from doing so. What follows is a mischievous, happy war with colours, giggles and songs afloat in the air. The women resist with playful banter and their bamboo sticks. That’s is why Holi here is also popularly known as Lathmar Holi.
The men who are caught are rather unfortunate. They are forced to clad themselves in women’s attire, dress up with cosmetics and then dance in front of everyone.
The entire episode is done in the right spirit. For decades the festival of Holi is celebrated here in this fashion.
It is a mock war and legend has it that Lord Krishna was also treated the same way when he would come to their town.
The next day, the 16th of March this year, will be the reverse. This day, the men of Barsana try to drench the women of Nandgaon. Nandgaon is part of Braj Bhoomi, the region where Lord Krishna is said to have spent his childhood.
They come in a grand procession and their objective is to win over the temple of Shriji in Nandgaon. The same process takes place. The men try to dowse the women in colours and water whereas they fight back with their bamboo sticks.
The euphoria of colours and music and gaiety fills the air up. A must visit for those who want to experience Holi like never before.
Mathura is very connected by rail and road.