Holi Knowledge Guide

Holi is celebrated is different ways all over India. North India is quite well known for it exuberant and traditional way of celebrating Holi.

Laddoo Holi - Holi of Laddoos (Round Confectionaries)

Ever heard of Food fights? A remotely similar but much more colorful and vivacious version of it can be found during the Laddoo Holi festival. It is celebrated in the town of Barsana in Mathura district which is known to be the birthplace of the goddess Radha Rani, consort of Lord Krishna. 

This is also considered as the first day of the week-long Rang Panchami festival. Played in the premises of the ‘Radha Rani Temple’ in Barsana, no other colors apart from the red-powdered Gulal are used. One more factor that makes this festival exceptional is the usage of Laddoos. Bright yellow-colored round sweets known as Bundi, are hurled at each other signifying the sweet-natured community as well as the merriment of the occasion. Interestingly, it is also believed that yellow was the favorite color of Lord Krishna; hence depicting his presence and love in the village of Radha Rani.

Phoolon Ki Holi - Holi of Flowers Vrindavan

The spectacular saga of Holi would never end if one fails to mention the Holi celebrations of Vrindavan city. Traditionally known as the site of Prem-Leela, where the love of Lord Krishna and Radha blossomed, Vrindavan celebrates Holi with high spirits and liveliness. Banke-Bihari Temple is the ultimate place to be since the festival here is played only with flower petals. The idol of Lord Krishna locally known as Biharji is dressed in white clothes and put on display for the pilgrims. Along the way, in the alleys of Vrindavan, people drench each other with water and gulal, magnifying this incredibly jovial affair.

Lathmaar Holi - Jolly traditional games in Barsana and Nandgaon

A one-of-a-kind depiction of ceremonial games, Lathmaar Holi is a sport where the inhabitants of both Barsana and Nandgaon, play Holi using sticks, shields, colors, and water. The long-established tradition follows the tale of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. According to the legend, Lord Krishna, who lived in the village of Nandgaon, used to visit the nearby town of Barsana, the village of Radha. He, along with his friends, drenched Radha and her friends with colors to tease them on the occasion of Holi. Angered by his acts, Radha and her friends chased them all using sticks, locally known as laths (Bamboo sticks).

This classic tale is staged every year, as the men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana in a quest to smear the women there with colors. The women of Barsana await for them while arming themselves with sticks. As men from Nandgaon arrive, women delightfully hit the men over the head. In turn, the men use shields to protect themselves and smear their friendly adversaries with colors. Men who are caught by the female lot, are forced to adorn traditional female clothing and perform a dance. People celebrate this day with sweets and chilled Bhaang also known as Thandai; a traditional drink made of cannabis.

The next day, Lathmaar Holi continues as men from Barsana donning the avatars of Gops, invade Nandgoan to color the women, with the same thrilling intensity and action.