Holi – the Hindu festival of colours which is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of ‘Phalgun’ (February/March), falls on March 20 and 21 this year.
In Braj, Holi is almost a month-long affair beginning with ‘Basant Panchami’. It attracts millions of devotees and tourists from India and across the world. While there are many different kinds of Holi celebrations in Braj, Barsana-Nandgaon’s ‘Lathmaar Holi’ and Baldeo’s ‘Dauji ka Huranga’ are most popular.
According to Tourism official DK Sharma, 2 million devotees are expected to take part in the festivities this year. Last year, the figure stood at 1.5 million.
For the first time ever, this year, Barsana’s Lathmaar Holi will be a six-day celebration. Beginning on March 14, festivities will be held in two phases, in Barsana (March 14, 15) and Mathura (March 16-19).
Devotees and tourists coming to take part in the ‘Laddu’ and ‘Lathmaar’ Holi in Barsana (March 14, 15) will not be able to get accommodation in any ‘dharamshala’ or guest house without proper identity proofs.
The decision was taken keeping in mind the ever-increasing influx of tourists and security concerns in the wake of the recent India-Pakistan conflict.
The administration is also gearing up for the two-day event. Provisions for 9 medical camps, repair of utility poles, and solar power in ‘Mela’ (fair) ground have been made. Sale of harmful artificial colours is prohibited in the fair.
SDM Nagendra Kumar directed officials to catch hold of stray animals and send them to shelters. He said that action will be taken against people for leaving domestic animals on the streets.
Here are the important festival dates:
- Raman Reti Ashram Holi – March 10
- Nandgaon Phaag Amantran Mahotsav – March 14
- Laddu Holi, Barsana – March 14
- Lathmaar Holi, Barsana – March 15
- Lathmaar Holi, Nandgaon – March 16
- Lathmaar Holi, Sri Krishna Janmasthaan – March 17
- Banke Bihari Holi, Rangbharani Ekadashi – March 17
- Chadimaar Holi, Gokul – March 18
- Holika Dehan, Falen/Jatwaari – March 20
- Chaturvedi Samaj Dola – March 20
- Dhool Holi – March 21
- Charkula Dance, Mukhrai – March 22
- Dauji’s Huranga, Baldeo – March 22
- Huranga, Jaab/Nandgaon – March 22
- Huranga, Baathen/Gidoh – March 23