Lathmar Holi Nandgaon

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Day 1 is Laddoo Holi at Barsana, day 2 is Lathmar Holi at Barsana, day 3 is Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon that you see. The two villages are only 7 kms away but celebrations have a different feel to it. Women of Barsana beat men of Nandgaon on day 2. Next day it is the reverse, women of Nandgaon beat men of Barsana with sticks.

Nandgaon is Shri Krishna''s birthplace and Barsana is Radhe''s. I left Barsana about 10.30 am, took share a auto to Nandgaon. Walked throw narrow paths to the temple ie on a small hill. Unlike in Barsana where dry color is used, here locals use jet sprays or just empty buckets of water on you. Told everyone was down with fever, so most left me alone. U see couples from Maharashtra at the temple courtyard.

Overview of the Nanda Bhawan Temple courtyard. Most people who want to dance are below. The first floor is mostly occupied by photographers. I was surprised with the high levels of energy and number of people in temple. Wanted to dance but was worried for my camera. Pics 1 to 23 are celebrations at Nandgaon temple. Pic 24 onwards are about Lathmar Holi.

View of courtyard from other side. There was color and color and color. To read a very good travelogue on Lathmar Holi and tips for photographers Click here

Images of Radha and Krishna. Everyone had come to the temple to dance, play with color and enjoy. ""The tradition of playing colours on Holi draws its roots from Radha and Krishna. It is said that young Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was dark."

Women let themselves lose to dance amongst themselves. The ground looks pretty clean as the festivities were yet to begin with full gusto. Happiness all around. "He narrated his woe to mother Yashoda, who teasingly asked him to colour Radha’s face in which ever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, Krishna applied colour on Radha’s face."

Lots of foreigners, these girls too do not know which country they were from but surely having a great time. It is quite pleasant in March but gets sunny during the day. ""Thus the tradition of applying colour on one’s beloved is being religiously followed till date."

The dancing had begun. There are enough people playing the dholak throughout the temple. In Barsana devotees gave a tip to those playing dholak, not that they were arranged by the temple.

Locals come in large numbers, as people from all over India. "Holi-celebrations at these two villages underline the core essence of ‘ras ka bhav’ – which means, it celebrates the element of spiritual rapture."

So colored that one cannot figure out how they originally looked. "The men folk play Holi with women in a way which is extremely vocal about their nature of interest in them. It is not sexual in its approach but it has the rustic element of wooing and teasing, which might not go down well you with if are an upright babe from a metro-city."

Foreigners dancing as if there was no tomorrow. In Barsana people kept a distance. In Nandgaon things are different. People are more friendly with visitors esp girls so you need to be a bit careful.

This man dressed up as Sri Krishna, Sudarshan chakra in hand, attracted a large number of photographers.

Loved these 3 guys from Delhi. They bought kurta, dhoti, topi for about Rs 500/ from Barsana, a local Sadhu in Nandgaon colored them up after which they were every photographer''s delight. I had left my email id with them so cousend them this pic, they have not mailed. In case you know them please ask them to mail me at [email protected]

These girls truly reflect the spirit and energy in temple at Nandgaon. Think they had come from Ghaziabad. Just to ensure that no one misbehaved the girl''s well built brother and Bhabhi hovered around.

Lady in white was truly exceptional. She danced and danced with high levels of energy.

The foreigners were from the U.S. And loving it. During a brief chat said they had never experienced something like this ever before, all smiles as you can see.

Just above temple entrance stood these enterprising boys to welcome you with water-jets. If you are carrying a camera have it covered well say plastic to avoid getting damaged.

U saw person on right in earlier pic. He dances so gracefully and carried himself so well, was a toast of many photographers. This too is a lovely pic. Note design of pagdi (headgear).

Narrow lanes that you walk up to reach the temple. Whilst walking you never know where water would come from. Protect your camera and enjoy.

In the same lane, on my way back, met these colourful ladies. When I told one of the boys not to throw water at me since had come to click pics and promote tourism to Nandgaon, he said we know you townies, u have come here not out of love for us but to click pics and then sell them - in short to make money.

Young boy. This is the land of Sri Krishna and Radhe. "It is a beautiful experience with clouds of colour in the air. The complete visual experience takes a new meaning at Barsana and Nandgaon temples, where the colour is thrown at the devotees by the ‘pandits’(known as the Goswamis) as ‘prashad’."

Sadhu in one of the homes as I down from temple. "The greetings of ‘Radhey-radhey’ melts away any mental-barricade that you might have in your head, up against the not-so-holy gang of both the villages."

Back to the temple. The ghoonghat is not a barrier for women to dance. "At both these villages, girls are believed to be Radha’s incarnate, and men represent Krishna. All the events are centred around the core-essence of the Radha-Krishna love story."

Lathmar Holi is celebrated at base of temple hill. There is a squarish open area where the celebrations are held. It has small buildings on all sides. I was there by 2 pm (u can come by 3.30) so that could get good place to sit. I walked into one of the homes and took permission to sit on their terrace so got direct view. Pic is before festival started.

This Damru Wale Sadhu was all over the place.

Kids in dhoti playing. There were policemen all around - security was tight.

Women of Barsana walking to main stage sticks in hand.

This pic gives u an overview of the area where Lathmar Holi takes place. Left of pic on first floor were a number of Japanese tourists. Other tourists were mostly European. Met Indians from Amdavad, Assam, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Boys of Nandgaon teasing some pretty girls who were sitting in row one. It is done in a spirit of fun.

Ladies of Barsana coming with Lathis (sticks) from one end of the ground. "Festival is an exposure to the core Indian value-system of ‘Atithi devo bhava’, coupled with the small-town simplicity. It is something that you will understand only when you are fully aware the entire ecology of the physical space."

A bit of dancing precedes the hitting of men with sticks. Like in Barsana the dancing is very joyful with smiles on all sides.

Lathmar Holi starts, 4 women hit one man with sticks.

Festival starts in full swing now. It is a riot of colors.

Some more, these electricity wires made it difficult at times.

This happened in a bye lane next to main area. The cops had a very difficult job to keep devotees and tourists away from the brave ladies of Barsana. Thank Ishwar was sitting on the first floor. With time the terrace got packed and we had to jostle for space.

The shield consists of thick piece of leather or raxin, the man holds on to it with two pieces of wood. Smile of the face inspite of the sticks from above.

Another close up view of Lathmar Holi celebrations at Nandgaon.

Note the ladies all have ghunghats to cover their face.

Another overview. Admire the policemen, some job to keep tourists away from main area.

Some more hitting. Smart phones were used in large numbers. Centre of pic, see ladies face covered, stick firmly in hand.

As you can see women wear lovely saris and jewellery.

Some more of lathmar holi. Electricity wires proved a dampener but these are the best seats we could get. Some friends went down but I wanted a top down view.

Child with father. Note the pearl ka pendent round the child ka neck.

Another overview, some threw gulal (red color) hence the haze.

Women at work.

Lady in purple, this pic is for you to see her face ka expression.

Solo hit. Boy is very much at peace. In Barsana saw boys touching feet of ladies after the hitting with sticks was over. Festival enjoyed in a pure and fun loving spirit.

This pic is for you to see the eyes ka expression of the women on extreme right of pic.

Happy and colourful family.

A man from Barsana.

Left of pic - turban and leaves are meant to protect the men from color and sticks. Notice the smile - playful.

Women at work.

Women on left of pic appear to be in their late 40''s early 50''s. Age does not deter them from taking part in this festival.

In protection mode - note the cool look. To see pics of Dev Deepavali Kashi Click here

Met this Sadhu on the way down. The tez (light) on his face motivated me to click. Something very likeable about him. To see pics of Vrindavan during Janmashtami Click here

Back to the temple - memories of people dancing so happy so full of positive energy shall remain with me forever. To see pics of Laddo Holi and parikrama Click here

At temple Ghoonghat did not prevent them from dancing - all over Barsana and Nandgaon saw many women with faces covered and dancing will gusto. Lens got covered by plastic cover. To see pics of Lathmar Holi Barsana Click here

4 women of barsana. Note lady on extreme right of pic does not appear to be very young.