Holi is generally considered to be the festival of colours and it is actually so, but there are some parts of India where they celebrate Holi with a difference. The way the Holi of Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, a village, some distance away from Mathura, is celebrated is particularly interesting. Holi is also celebrated as love of these two great lovers Radha and Lord Krishna.

Lath mar Holi at Barsana Mathura:

During holi, men from Nandgaon, the land of Lord Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana; their task is to raise their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. But then it is not as simple as it sounds as they are faced with stiff resistance and this isn’t resistance of colours but with sticks by the gopies. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi. But the men are smart and come well covered and padded to protect from the sticks, because they can’t retaliate as per the customs.

The men try hard not to get caught because if they get caught they get good beating from the women. And to add to that they are made to wear a female attire and dance in public, all said and done in the spirit of Holi. This tradition has been going on for a long time and renowned poets like Surdas, Nand-das, Kumbhan-das and others have picturesquely described how Lord Krishna received similar treatment and was forced to don a sari and wear make-up and perform dance before being released by the gopies.

After the men hoist their flag, the next day the men from barsana go to the village of Nandgaon and drench women there in colours of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye and palash. Today, the women of Nandgaon beat the invaders from Barsana. It is a kaleidoscope of different colours and is sight to watch. The celebrations are full of colours and people taking part in the celebrations enjoy to the care.

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