Sunday, 31 March 2013

Mathura Holi l 2013

" Holi is celebrated widely across India, but it is more popular in the north of the country. The epicenter of all the action is in a triangle of villages around the city of Mathura – the fun begins at Barsana and finally finishing a week of rolling celebrations in the region where the Hindu god Krishna and his consort Radha are thought to have been born and lived. It’s a festival that celebrates the arrival of spring, but in this region it also has special significance as it celebrates the story of Radha and Krishna and their love for each other.

The birth place of Lord Krishna's beloved Radha, Barsana celebrates Holi with extreme enthusiasm as Krishna was famous for playing pranks on Radha and gopis. In fact, it was Krishna who started the tradition of colours by first applying colour on Radha's face.Following the tradition, men of Nandgaon, the birthplace of Krishna, come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana.
The enthusiasm of the people is unmatched – the energy combined with sheer numbers make for fantastic scenes drenched in water and color. It makes for delicious pictures. But I have to admit, after having covered it for the first time, it’s harder than it looks to get a great picture. Keeping your equipment dry and operational is a big challenge. "
1. On my first day of Coverage, I arrived at the Village of Barsana, in the afternoon. While I was going to attend that place, my driver said that, I may late to reach there, as the main Temple gate would be closed for 3hours. And it is said that, Lord Krishna and Radha take rest at that time. So I was in hurry, and headed straight for the main Temple where celebration would take place. But I was lucky as I saw the Gate of the temple was still open, and thousand of devotees were running to see their very own, lovable Lord for once. And the other side of the Temple, many were enjoying Holi, by throwing " Gulal ( Coloured Powder ) ", Dancing themselves with their folk music etc. Mainly, this song is called " Hori" where, they sing as  conversation between Lord Krishna and Radha.
2. As I said, few of them were enjoying to sing "Hori" make the Environment much exciting .... !

3. The main Temple will Re-open at 4 p.m. for the devotees from every corners , and it was a different story.  These thousand of mass believes in this auspicious Holi, that reflects in their patience joy and excitement and they waiting to storm the entry door, amid projectiles of colored powder and buckets of color water being flung everywhere. Sometimes I felt that, I would be stamped by the countless wave of people who are pushing each other for entering the Temple. And I was shocked when I saw a little child sat on Father's shoulder, trying to get entry into the Temple......

4. At about 4-45p.m. heard a joyful scream all around, and wave of excitement rolled over the Radha Rani Temple, a Big group of people, traditionally  dressed in Dhoti, Kurta and Pagri, enters the temple, cheering, dancing with Hori song, capturing places for the mega event I was looking for.

5. Riot of colors soon began from every corner of the Temple......

6. It was hard to hold your position steady enough to shoot pictures, let alone compose something nice. At one point, there was so much powder that photographers were completely caked in it – nostrils and lungs were full of red dust. I wished I had brought a surgical mask instead of a scarf to shield myself.

7. After few moments I was completely sink into the Red Gulal ( Colored powder ), my camera was with full of color, I was completely wet......but it is amaze to see those people from Nandgaon still singing songs, enjoying Holi like anything.......till the end.

8. Just one day later, these similar events is repeated at Nandgaon Template, where people from Barsana used to come to play Holi..........

9. In an odd tradition, as soon as the fun at the temple is over, people head out into the street for “Lathmar Holi”, in which men from the neighboring village of Nandgaon sing provocative (and sometimes really lewd) songs at women, who then use huge wooden sticks to “beat” the men as they crouch on the ground while holding a shield. I thought it would be just a little bit of fun, but the women really do go for it and I would not want to be caught under one of those sticks! This scene repeats itself the next day in the village of Nandgaon, where there is another huge temple rush – albeit a bit easier to manage as there’s space to move around at that temple. Then it’s the men from Barsana’s turn to be beaten by the women of Nandgaon.

10.  At the late afternoon...when every people was trying to return from Temple, I saw this old lady.....sat on the empty corridor ..., She could not believe that the event comes to end...and she needs to go ! While I was seeing her...she asked me how to go to Vrindavan or will I go to Vrindavan or not now? that moment, her eyes were full of colors, full of bliss, full of dreams........