Holi, our most colourful festival, Starts around a month before its actual time at Village Barsana and Nandgaon, near Mathura… Its really wonderful and Mesmerizing to be a Part of this festival as an artist there.
Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, a village, where, men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. But, instead of colours they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi. Smart enough, men come fully padded as they are fully aware what kind of welcome awaits them and also the fact that they are not allowed to retaliate on that day.
I remember one of mesmerizing moment.. A women in the crowd at Barsana… A tears in her eyes with the cry putting her hand high in the sky… as if asking for relief in the crowd all alone with her own God… In this mock battle of sorts, they try their best not to be captured. Further, they are made to wear a female attire and dance in public. All in the spirit of Holi. Lord Krishna received similar treatment and was forced to don a sari and wear make-up and perform dance before being released by the gopies. Menfolk drench the womenfolk of Nandgaon in colours of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye and palash. It is a colourful site.
However, in the interest of tourism and safety, the state tourist board has set up excellent vantage points for the public. A large open ground, on the outskirts of the town is specially set aside for the most magnificent display of the festivities. The week long Holi celebrations also continue in the various Krishna temples on different days. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colours and of course, much fun.
Ravindra Kumar Tanwar