Holi

Colours being sold on the streets of Vrindavan.

Young boys make a quick buck selling gulaal in the lanes of Barsana.

A Hare Krishna follower at the ISKON Temple in Vrindavan.

Devotees wait for darshan of Lord Krishna's idol in the Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan.

A women takes blessings from a metal cow, representing Krishna's childhood occupation as a cow herder.

Flowers are showered from the upper floor of the Banke Bihari Temple on the throngs of devotees below.

A devotee with flowers pray to Lord Krishna in the Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan.

Women tie sacred threads around an effigy which is burnt around midnight before Holi, marking the burning of the demoness Holika, after whom the festival gets its name.

Women of Barsana put colored powder over a man in Barsana village, Radha's historic hometown.

Colored paste is applied on a man in Barsana village during Holi.

A woman with gulaal, or pink colored powder which is the chief coloring material used during Holi.

The rooftops of Barsana village become strategic points to attack people on the streets below with colored water.

Holi Hai! On the lanes of Barsana village.

A young man from Nandgaon village with his son. Both of them wearing the signature head dress worn by men from Nandgaon during Lathmar Holi in Barsana.

A toy seller and a young customer in Barsana village.

A newly married woman with henna designs on her hands and holding a bamboo lathi. The married women of Barsana are believed to be incarnates of Radha and they beat up men from Nandgaon village as an re-enactment of Radha and her friends beating up Krishna after he stole their clothes when they were having a bath in a river.

A women of Barsana threatens men from Nandgaon village with her stick. In a well orchestrated tradition, men from Nandgaon village tease the Barsana women and then volunteer to get thrashed by them.

Lathmar holi in Barsana village. The thrashing given by the women is serious and lasts for an hour or more. Men from Nandgaon take turns to sit with a protective shield over their heads, made form buffalo or rhino hides. Even then, the impact of the sticks is severe, as several women take turns to beat up a single man.

Description

Holi is a spring festival in india, celebrated as a festival of colours. It is religious festival of Hindus, primarily observed in India and Nepal. Holi is of particular significance in the Braj region, which includes locations traditionally connected to the Lord Krishna. Here the festival lasts for sixteen days. In Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, and in Vrindavan, this day is celebrated with special puja and the traditional custom of worshipping Lord Krishna. Barsana is famous for Lathmar Holi in which married women from Barsana deliver a royal thrashing with sticks to men from the neighboring village of Nandgaon. The festival evolved as a celebration of the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land.