Why celebrate Holi in Vrindavan and Mathura and origin of Holi
In 2016, the world famous Lathmar Holi at Barsana would be played on 17th March. Lathmar Holi at Barsana and NandgaonHoli doesn’t really need an introduction anymore. The festival of colors, celebrated to mark the transition of seasons from Winter to Spring, is now played around the world.
Holi celebrations are none other than those of Mathura and Vrindavan, the birth place of Lord Krishna. In most temples, the Holi festivities start on Vasant Panchami and culminate after 40 days on Phalguna Purnima. The last 8 days out of total 40 days are known as Holashtak. The most visible Holi is played during these eight days. The last day of Holi falls on Phalguna Purnima and it is the most important day when people burn Demoness Holika symbolically in huge bonfire. The most prominent Holi with wet colors and water is played next day after bonfire and it culminates the Holi festivity.
The world famous is a rather peculiar style of Holi celebrations Lathmar Holi at Mathura is played in Barsana. .Since that time, men from Krishna's village, visit Barsana to play Color full Holi in the town which has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Radha in India. During Lathmar Holi women folks try to protect themselves and symbolically beat men with wooden sticks to resist any attempt to smear them with wet and dried colors. It is believed to be the most ancient way to play Holi started in the time of Lord Krishna.
The Goddess Radha, consort of Lord Krishna, was from Barsana and Lord Krishna was brought up in Nandgaon. As per Hindu mythology Lord Krishna and His troop used to visit Barsana to play Holi with Radha and other female cowherds known as Gopis. This is how the story behind the festival goes.It is said that Krishna, who is dark in color, was jealous of the fair-colored Radha. Krishna used to pester Mother Yasodha with questions on Radha’s skin color. Once fed up, she said to Krishna that he can change her skin tone by sprinkling color.In Lathmar Holi, men in traditional dress from Nandgaon adorn the role of gops (friends of Krishna). In Barsana, women adorn the role of gopis (friends of Radha). Krishna and friends used this opportunity to create pranks on Radha and friends Lord Krishna visited Barsana to meet Radha for Holi and teased her and her friends a lot. The ladies got a little offended and decided to teach Krishna a lesson and chased him away by beating him with sticks. So now men from Krishna’s village Nandgaon visit Barsana on this day and get beaten up and chased by the women here. This tradition of playing Holi between both towns is still kept alive by these village folks.
As per tradition Gulal, the dried colored power, is sent to Nandgaon by people of Barsana as an invitation to visit and play Holi with the female folks of Barsana. The invitation is send on the first day of Holashtak and on the next day men folks of Nandgaon visit Barsana to play Lathmar Holi.
In 2016, the invitation to play Lathmar Holi would be sent on 16th March. After receiving the invitation men folks of Nandgaon would visit Barsana on 17th March. On the same day there would be community singing at Shri Jee temple and after that historic and mythological Holi of Lathmar would be played at Rangili Gali in Barsana.
Their is so much energy around, perhaps even catalyzed by the bhang-laced ‘thandai’. Meanwhile, the senior citizens of both the villages sit inside the temple facing each other, singing ballads, in what is called the ‘Samaj’ ceremony. The atmosphere is enthralling; a visual treat. Everything is red: the air, the floor, the people. And of course, it is a jackpot for every photographer.
The new Keshava Dev temple at Janmabhoomi celebrates Holi on Rang Bharani Ekadashi which falls about 4 days before Purnima.
On March 20, the start of Holi celebrations at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan will be the main attraction. It's worth getting to Barsana a couple of days in advance of Lathmar Holi so that you can also experience Laddoo Holi festivities there. Sweets are thrown around and spiritual songs related to Radha and Krishna are sung. This will take place on March 16, 2016.
Its a huge event and attracts thousands of participants as well as tourists who come to enjoy the fun filled beatings.
Next day, the women return to play Holi with men in Nandgaon.
The event takes place about seven days before the actual Holi. Confirm the dates before planning a trip, it’s a different date every year like most Hindu festivals.Lathmar Holi 2016 date is March 17 and March 18. In 2016, Holi festival is on March 23 and 24.
Barsana and Nandgaon
How to go?
If you are in Delhi, you can simply hire a cab, go to the event and come back home in the evening. Brasana is about 115 kilometres from Delhi. Similarly, if you are in Mathura you can hire a cab and go there. The distance is between Mathura and Barsana is about 50 km. Reach as early as possible in the morning as the temple gets very crowded and it might get difficult to climb to the top balcony which is the only place from where photography is possible here.
2016: 17th-18th March
During this colorful festival participants sip thandai(special cold drink), which is laced with a special paste called as Bhang(made of Cannabis). After drinking Thandai people react in different ways, some people laugh, some crave for sweets, some people cry. Participate in Holi festival is a great experience for some one specially for foreigners visit in India. It is one of the great way to increase the bonding with each other.
To make your trip planning easy, we have given below chronological order of festivities. You can choose to attend a few or simply plonk yourself in the town and experience the most colorful week of your life.
Holi Calendar 2016: Schedule of Celebrations
Important Occasions Date Day
Lathmaar Holi at Barsana 17th March 2016 Thursday
Lathmaar Holi at Nandgaon 18th March 2016 Friday
Holi in Mathura 19th March 2016 Saturday
Holi at Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan 20th March 2016 Sunday
Holi celebration in Gokul 21th March 2016 Monday
Dwarkadish Temple in Mathura 22th March 2016 Tuesday
Holi celebration at Temples & streets of Vrindavan 23th March 2016 Wednesday
Actual Holi celebration 24th March 2016 Thursday