Holi Celebration in Barsana are Riotous and Fun Filled

Holi celebration in Barsana is one of the most unique and exuberant ways Holi is observed in India. Barsana is a small town located in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India, and it is famous for its "Lathmar Holi" festivities. This traditional form of Holi celebration is centered around the Radha Rani Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Radha, the beloved of Lord Krishna.

Posted On : 23-1-2018
Holi Celebration in Barsana are Riotous and Fun Filled

The Krishna story is never complete without a visit to Barsana, roughly 40 km from Vrindavan. The 17-km stretch, which takes off from the Delhi-Agra main road. On the way, you can see peacocks, herons, and cranes roaming freely in the green fields and the sun setting behind the Keekar trees.

Barsana is known for the Radha Rani temple which is set atop a hill, and you have to walk 200 steps to pay obeisance to the deity. If you want to avoid the discomfort, take palki (palanquin). The original Radha Rani temple is said to be 5,000 years old, but it is in a shambles, and the deity has been shifted to the new red sandstone temple. From the ramparts of the temple, one can also see the silhouette of the Radha-Madhav temple, built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur.

If one were to put it this way. Barsana’s main attraction is, perhaps, Holi, often held a week before the rest of India celebrates the festival. Men in traditional white dhoti and angarakha, from the neighbouring Nandagram, play Holi with the gopis of Barsana, looking splendid in bright-coloured Ghagra and blouse. They beat the men at least pretend to with sticks and that is why Barsana’s Holi is also known as lathmar Holi. All this is set to the accompaniment of music by bhajan mandlis that come to Barsana during the festive occasion.

The Lathmar Holi celebration in Barsana usually takes place a few days before the main Holi festival. It involves men from the neighboring town of Nandgaon visiting Barsana and being playfully "attacked" by women of Barsana with sticks or "lathis" made of bamboo.

Here are some key aspects of the Lathmar Holi celebration in Barsana:

Lathmar Ritual: On the day of the celebration, men from Nandgaon, the legendary hometown of Lord Krishna, travel to Barsana. As they enter the temple premises, they are greeted by local women who playfully beat them with the lathis. The men try to protect themselves with shields and try to escape, but the women are quick and energetic in their playful "assault."

Songs and Chants: During the Lathmar Holi celebration, the women sing traditional Holi songs and chant the name of Lord Krishna and Radha. The atmosphere is filled with joy, laughter, and playful banter.

Colors and Gulal: Like the regular Holi celebrations, colors and gulal (colored powder) are also used during the Lathmar Holi. After the "Lathmar" ritual, everyone participates in playing with colors, smearing each other's faces with gulal, and enjoying the festive spirit.

Spiritual Significance: The Lathmar Holi celebration is symbolic of the playful and loving interactions between Radha and Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna used to visit Barsana, and Radha and her friends would lovingly "hit" him with sticks. Hence, the tradition continues as a playful reenactment of their divine love story.

The Lathmar Holi celebration in Barsana attracts a large number of visitors and tourists from around the world. It offers a unique cultural experience and an opportunity to witness the traditional customs and rituals associated with Holi in a setting deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and folklore.

If you plan to attend the Lathmar Holi celebration in Barsana, it's advisable to check the exact dates and schedule in advance, as the timing of the festival varies each year based on the Hindu lunar calendar. Additionally, be prepared for large crowds and a lively, colorful, and sometimes boisterous atmosphere during this unique Holi celebration.