Holi is the festival, we desperately wait for since the year begins. Not only is it the onset of bright and happy weather, but also the day of having unlimited fun with the family and friends. With colors of extreme happiness and love spread all around, everybody is drenched in the bliss, the festival brings along. Every corner of India, celebrates Holi in its unique way.
Check out the 5 most renowned places known for their Holi celebrations and also what is the interesting history behind each one of them.
Mathura & Vrindavan
What better place to celebrate the festival of colors than the birth-place of Lord Krishna, Mathura and the place he spent his childhood it, Vrindavan? The Holi celebrations of both these places are very famous all over the world and attract tourists and pilgrims in large numbers every year.
Holi celebrations are a week-long affair at Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan and are particularly known for Phoolon wali Holi on the Ekadashi before Holi. Unlike the traditional colors, Holi is celebrated with flowers here.
As per the legend, it was from the leela of Radha and Krishna that the tradition of playing colors on Holi first originated. Krishna’s mother, Yashoda is said to suggest him to color Radha with colors as he used to crib about Radha being fair. Hence, the festival is celebrated with a lot of fervor and gaiety.
Ladliji temple, which is dedicated to Radha is known to host the main Holi celebrations at Barsana. Barsana being the home of Radha, is extremely famous for its Holi celebrations. It is said that Krishna used to go to Barsana to tease Radha and her friends who would, in return, chase him away.
Barsana has particularly become famous for its two-day celebrations of lathmar Holi. The men from Nandgaon (Krishna’s village) travel to Barsana to playfully tease women on the first day. The women chase them away with sticks. On the second day, women of Barsana travel to Nandgaon to play Holi. The unique way of celebrating Holi grabs a lot of tourist attention every year.
Sikhs have their own way of celebrating Holi, better known as Hola Mohalla. Anandpur Sahib hosts a three-day annual fair just the next day after the Hindu festival of Holi. Instead of the colors, it is an impressive display of martial arts in simulated battles. The grand celebrations include kirtan, poetry competitions, exhibitions, weapon display, Gatka and also boasts of horse riding stunts which are a demonstration of the unparalleled bravery, the Sikhs possess.
Hola Mohalla was first organized by Sikh Guru Gobind Singh as a day for Sikhs to practise their military exercises, to hold mock battles and to hone their fighting skills.
Holi celebration was started as an annual event in Vishva Bharati University at Shantiniketan by Rabindranath Tagore, famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate. He introduced Basant Utsav at this old and premier university in West Bengal, to relive the ancient tradition. The students, till date, celebrate it with unmatched enthusiasm. Dressed in bright yellow attire, they organize a grand cultural celebration which has folk dances and various other interesting programs, making it a very important event of the Bengali heritage. Tourists visit Shantiniketan in overwhelming numbers to enjoy the Holi celebrations.