My enthusiasm around Holi knows no bounds. I start acting childlike, though my family call it as childish, and form a gang of children much younger to me. I become main sponsor for water guns, colours of different sorts and balloons and my home becomes the invincible fort for my entire army. I had heard a great deal about Braj ki Holi and when one of my cousins staying in Mathura invited me around the festival, I grabbed the opportunity readily. I thought it will be a great Mathura and Vrindavan trip as well as I planned to visit temples during my stay.
I became a part of this eight days celebration, though my cousin and his family warned me and asked me to observe it from a distance but I did not budge. You will be surprised to know that Holi is celebrated in Braj bhoomi for fifty days. The fervor, rigor and vigor in each soul are simply astounding. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna who stayed at Nandgaon during his childhood days felt jealous of fair complexion of Radha and reached her village, Barsana alongwith a few friends. They started smearing gopis with gulal and refused to return to which the gopis playfully beat them with bamboo sticks and made them run back home. Braj ki Holi which is also known as Barsana ki Holi has become a tradition for centuries in the region and continues year after year.
The men assume themselves as Lord Krishna and female community as Gopika Radha and that is how Lathmar Holi starts where men attempt to immerse women with colours of different shades and the women in turn chase them with long bamboo sticks and attempt to tear men’s clothes into smithereens. The air gets filled with an unusual sense of excitement and love and the entire place seems to be a vibrant rainbow. What you are able to witness is young children in guise of Lord Krishna and his ladylove Radha with water guns shower water and colour everywhere. Different forms of dance including Raas-Leela that exhibit immortal love between Radhey Krishna are featured.
What is equally delighting are delicacies served including Thandai, Lauki Burfi and Sweet Rice. Well, when in the sacred land of Mathura and Vrindavan, how is it possible not to visit popular shrines and pay your homage. You cannot miss visiting Krishna Janam Bhoomi Mandir, Sri Krishna Janamsthan, Dwarkadhish Temple, Radha Kund, Sri Radha Vallabh Vrindavan Temple, Krishna Balaram Mandir, Rangji Temple, Radha Raman Temple, Gopishvar Mahadev Temple, Shani Temple, Gokulnanda Temple, Shyam Sundar Temple, Mirabai Mandir, Gita Mandir and Keshavdeo Temple to name a few. It can be truly termed as pilgrimage trip to Mathura and Vrindavan and when clubbed with Holi festivities, the visit turns most memorable and I am sharing my firsthand experience.
I will be visiting Braj next year but this time with my Young Gang. Do you care to be a part of it!