Holi is just around the corner (March 19-20), and if you want to experience something new this time, head to the holy cities of Uttar Pradesh such as Barsana, Vrindavan, and Braj in Mathura. It is on the ghats of Mathura; the birthplace of Krishna, where Holi is celebrated in the wildest yet most colourful manner.
Legend goes that, Krishna used to be jealous of Radha’s fair skin, and in jest would smear her face with various colours. He would travel from his village Nandgaon with his friends and come to Radha’s village Barsana to partake in the revelry. In return, the girls would playfully bully the guys with sticks. This tradition came to be known as the Lathmar Holi in Mathura; and starts a week in advance continuing till the final day of the celebrations.
In Vrindavan and Braj, holi in celebrated in the temple premises where the priests shower blessed, coloured holy water on the revellers. It’s an experience to see the whole of Vrindavan turn into a riot of colours during the time. Other activities you can partake in are colourful celebrations in Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan; see Lathmar Holi at Pagal Baba Widow Ashram in Vrindavan which is a strong step against the traditional belief that widows in India are not allowed to wear colourful clothes or play with colours; Holika Dahan – where priests cross holi fire in Phalen Village in Kosi; Dhulandi Holi – again a coloured water holi in Brijmandal; famous Huranga holi celebration in Dauji Temple in Baldeo, Mathura and Rang Panchami – end of holi celebrations in Brajmandal temples.
Keep some time aside to stroll through the rustic urban villages and sip a glass or two of thandai and dance to the tunes of soulful bhajans – once you have enjoyed the holi celebrations completely.