Holi in Krishna Nagri by Garima Sharma

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A festival itself is synonymous with bright colours but when colour itself is a part of a festival we then get rainbow of different hues and celebrations abundance.

The world is changing, we are changing, world is becoming modernized and somewhere along the way we are leaving behind our roots and our tradition’s.

I personally don’t like to play Holi as it’s played nowadays. Though I am interested in playing Holi the way it was originally celebrated. And the only place where Holi is celebrated the way it should be is KRISHNA NAGRI. Our very own Mathura, Vrindavan and Barsana.

The tradition of playing colours on Holi draws its roots from the legend of Radha and Krishna. It is said that young Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark. He narrated his woe to his mother Yashoda, who teasingly asked him to colour Radha’s face in whichever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, Krishna applied colour on Radha’s face

Over the years, Krishna from his village Nandgaon used to go to Barsana (Radha’s village) to color Radha and other Gopi’s. They in return would playfully beat him with sticks. And hence the tradition evolved.

In Barsana Holi celebrations start about a week before the actual date of Holi. Barsana is a village near Mathura.  Barsana is the place where Radha used to live and Krishna used to visit this place to put color on Radha. It is famous for its lathmar Holi in which women beat men (playfully) with sticks.

Celebrations in Barsana is followed up with similar celebrations in Nandgaon (Krishna’s village) on the very next day. Nandgaon has found reference in religious texts as the place where Krishna spent most of his childhood days. According to legends, after Krishna went to Barsana to put color on Radha, Radha and her friends use to come to Nandgaon the next day to put color on Krishna. And hence, Holi celebrations shift from Barsana to Nandgaon.

The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is one such place to enjoy the festivities as it hosts a week long Holi celebrations here. During these days, Bihariji (Krishna’s another name) is dressed up in white coloured clothes and 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. Goswamis (priests in the temple) sprinkle colors on everyone using buckets, water guns, etc. The whole atmosphere is made livelier with music (bhajans) in the background.

Every other major Krishna Temple in Mathura and Vrindavan has some special celebrations going on for the entire week.

The Gulal-Kund in Braj is also another interesting place to celebrate Vrindavan Holi. It is a small lake near the Govardhan hill. Local people act in Krishna-Lila drama and re-enact the scenes of Holi for the pilgrims. I feel that the heart, mind and soul travel’s back to that era, there is a feeling of trust, happiness, purity, enjoyment and belongingness. Though times have changed our traditions should be maintained but in sync with today’s time.

Let us Enjoy and promote a safe and an environment-friendly HOLI.

-Garima Sharma