When the body is immersed in elysian colors and drenched with the shower of spirituality the entire soul blossoms with the essence of divinity. Colors connect us to the very popular festival of Holi which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the entire country. Holi is celebrated in the different corners of India in various interesting ways. Though it is the festival of colors, people enjoy playing it with many different things like water, flowers, powders and much more according to their choice and place.
It is not surprising if we say that Holi is also the pious way of connecting to God and bursting out all your spiritual emotions. Vrindavan and Mahtura in Uttar Pradesh are sacred places where the festival of Holi is rejoiced in a diverse style. These styles and forms are renowned throughout the country due to which tourists travel to this place during Holi only to witness the ecstasy of the festival.
Holi is basically a two day festival in India which begins at the night of full moon day or Purnima popularly celebrated as Holika Dahan or Choti Holi. The next day is relished as the main or badi Holi when the color is played.
There are seven kinds of Holi played in Vrindavan which are popular throughout the country and even abroad. Different parts of entire brij including Mathura, barsana, nand gaon and gokul celebrates Holi in seven unique styles which are:
1) Lathmar Holi in Barsana and NandGaon: It is a famous Holi played with sticks between the men of Nand Gaon and the women of Barsana. It is one of its kind which triggers the festive season when invitation is send from both sides. Women of Barsana invites men of Nand Gaon to play Holi and men come in colorful attires. Women welcome them by beating with sticks and men carry sticks and shields to protect themselves. Men usually represent the role of gops (friends of Krishna) and women play the role of gopis(friends of Radha). The story behind this Holi is that Krishna was envious of Radha’s fair color and kept asking questions to mother Yashoda about his dark color. Yashoda told him that he can change the skin color by applying colors, gulaal or abeer so Krishna thought of playing a prank on Radha. All the gops and Krishna started teasing gopis and Radha, as a reaction to which Radha and gopis chased gops and Krishna with sticks. This is how the festival began.
2) Phoolon ki Holi in Vrindavan: This is another popular kind of Holi played on Ekadashi before main Holi with flowers at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan. People assemble in the sanctum area of the temple where only flowers are allowed. Tourists from different corners of the world travel to Vrindavan to play Holi with Banke Bihari. People enjoy the festival by throwing flowers at each and also maintain the decorum of the temple. Tesu ke phoolon ki Holi is very popular and played as a symbol of eco-friendly Holi. The petals of tesu flowers are boiled in water and cooled down. Then the liquid is filtered into the container in which kesar, chandan and gulab jal are mixed. People play Holi in temples with this water which is free from chemicals and gives a nice aroma.
3) Widow’s Holi in Vrindavan: This is another special Holi in Vrindavan which is mainly played to add some colors in the life of widows. All the widows gather in the temple area in Pagal Baba Mandir and play Holi with each other with gulaal, abeer and other colors. On this day, widows are allowed to put on colorful sarees and enjoy themselves.
4) Dhulandi Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan: It is an exceptional way of Holi celebration in the form of a procession which is carried out on the streets of Mathura. Number of vehicles are decorated with flowers, balloons, colorful clothes on which kids dressed up as Radha-Krishna play holi with the crowd. It’s a momentous event when the air is filled with colors and the efforts to escape from getting colored are all in vain. One can take away a precious memory of Holi from Mathurra.
5) Huranga Holi in Baldev: Baldev temple is also known as Dauji Mandir in Mathura where huranga holi is popular throughout the place. A unique tradition of playing holi is followed here where women as gopis beat men as gops with sticks made of clothes and dipped in colorful water. A huge crowd of devotees, tourists and holi participants can be seen in the temple who are found to occupy the place since early morning, just to witness the remarkable tradition of holi here. As part of the celebration there is a shower of colorful water, holi songs are sung and the entire temple resonates with the sound of jaykaras of Maa Revati and Baldev (the elder sibling of Krishna).