Tuesday 3 March 2015

The Holi of Brajbhoomi
Those who have not seen the Holi of Brajbhoomi have not seen India.
 It starts with lathmaar Holi in Barsana ( about 40 kms. from Mathura city ), when the young men of Nandgaon walk 9 kms to Barsana, where there is a temple of Radha, and are beaten on their heads by the womenfolk of Barsana with sticks ( lathis ). The young men have to wear headgear, otherwise they could get really injured.
In Barsana people greet each other by saying ' Radhey, Radhey ', and not ' Krishna Krishna , because Lord Krishna had abandoned them and had gone to Dwarka ( in Gujarat ), whereas Radha had remained behind to be with them. At the Radha temple in Barsana, which is on a hillock, women, young and old, can often be seen dancing.
The Holi of Brajbhoomi  lasts a full one week, ending with Dauji ka Huranga in the temple of Dauji ( Balram, elder brother of Lord Krishna ), 30 kms from Mathura city, across the Jamuna river. In between there is a deluge of colour at Mathura city, and places near Mathura associated with the life of Lord Krishna, e.g. Vrindavan, Gokul, Gobardhan, Nandgaon, etc  Near Gokul there is a mazhar of the poet Raskhan, who though a Muslim, was a devout bhakta of Lord Krishna. On his mazhar is inscribed his famous Hindi poem ' Manush hon to waheen Raskhaan '.
 During this week dramatic performances of Lord Krishna's life can be seen at several places, including his 'raas leela'.
 Once during this week I performed on barefeet the entire parikrama of Gobardhan, which is said to be the mountain Lord Krishna lifted on his little finger to protect under it his friends, when the enraged god Indra tried to drown them with rain. The parikrama is 22 kms long, in the form of a figure 8, the larger loop being 13 kms long, and the smaller being of 9 kms.
 The Holi week culminates with Dauji ka Huranga, at the temple of Balram, Lord Krishna's elder brother. This is performed in a square surrounded by walls of buildings. On this occasion womenfolk tear the upper garments of the menfolk, dip them in coloured water, and beat the menfolk with those torn, coloured, wet, clothes, while colours, blue, green, red, yellow, etc are thrown high into the air


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