Holi – The most Colorful Festival of the Worldby Manish Chauhan Travel Experts at State Express
The Braj Dhaam region (Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Barsana, and Gokul) of Uttar Pradesh, India is the land of rich culture, temples and ashrams, and the birth place of Lord Krishna. Mathura is only a 4 hour drive, i.e. 160 kilometers, away from Delhi, the capital city of the country. Due to its reputation for having deep cultural and historical roots, the area witnesses thousands of visitors who come to tour the place. It is famous for its zealous celebration of festivals associated with Lord Krishna and Radha. One such major festival is Braj ki Holi or, more commonly known as Holi- the festival of colors.
Although this festival is celebrated in various forms across India, the Holi in Braj is especially charming in its uniqueness. The festivities begin days before the main day of the festival, from the Phalgun Amavas to Ekadashi. During this period, the region comes alive with artists singing around in Braj language and performing dance dramas depicting the life of Lord Krishna, temples and houses beautifully lit up and decorated, and streets covered with colors. This is the best time to tour the region as it is a sight to behold.
The beginning of the festival is marked by the “Lathmaar Holi”, played first in Barsana and the next day in Nandgaon (both 1 hour drive from Mathura). On day one, men from Nandgaon visit Barsana, where they tease women and sing songs for provoke them to playfully hit the men with laths (thick cylindrical wooden sticks) while men defend themselves with shields. Meanwhile bystanders break into devotional songs in Braj language.
The next day, men from Barsana visit Nandgaon where they play Lathmaar Holi with the women of Barsana. This custom is in accord with the legend that says that Krishna and his friends from Nandgaon would visit the adjacent village of Barsana to visit and tease Radha and the gopis. Fed up with their antics, Radha and other gopis would chase Krishna and his friends to hit them with laths.
Next in line is the Holi celebration at the Keshav Dev temple, Mathura. A stage is set up right opposite to the main temple building and the area between the two is packed with thousands of devotees and visitors. First, Guru Sharanand Ji Maharaj performs the Aarti dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha Rani, in which their idols are showered with flowers. Next are peacock dance and Charakula dance, which involves singing and Ras-Leela (dance drama depicting Lord Krishna’s life).
In the evening, “Phool ki Holi”, which means Holi of flowers, is celebrated. This event takes place at the BankeBihari temple in Vrinadavan, a short half hour drive from Mathura. Temple gates open at 4 pm and the event starts immediately after that. The event lasts for just about 20 minutes. Priests rain down flowers at the devotees for the entire duration, thus creating an enchanting spectacle.
During the celebration period, Krishna’s idol at the BankeBihari temple is dressed in white clothes and the devotees play Holi with it. Colored water and gulal, which is a form of dry color made of organic substances such as flowers, saffron, and turmeric, are thrown around by people on each other. Temple priests also indulge in the fun by spraying water using water guns and buckets. People sing bhajans (devotional songs) and dance to them to create a charged atmosphere.
During this festival tour next day the celebrations happen in Gokul, which is only 10 kilometers from Mathura. Girls dress up in traditional attire and pretend to be Radha and gopis. Artists from all over the country gather and perform renditions of Krishna’s life. The ambience is festive as, here too, people play with colors and water, sing devotional songs and gorge on the delicious street food and bhang (flavored milk mixed with cannabis leaves).
On the evening before the main festival day, Holi ka Dahan is celebrated. Pyres are lighted everywhere to commemorate the victory of good over evil, in line with the mythological tale of Holika and Prahlad, in which Holika, the devil, was burnt to death after sitting in a fire, while Prahlad, who was supposed to die, walked away unharmed and unburned.
The merrymaking concludes on the day of Rang Panchami at the Dwarkadheesh temple in Mathura. The day starts early morning and includes the typical singing, dancing, and playing with colors.
State Express organizes a comprehensive tour especially dedicated to make its guests a part of this extravaganza. It ensures that your stay is comfortable and that you thoroughly enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this festival.The tour will also take you through Agra, to visit the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
For more information on this tour, click here!
Original Source: https://indiantravelservices.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/holi-the-most-colorful-festival-of-the-world/
Created on Jan 11th 2019 06:39. Viewed 96 times.