Being in Vrindavan during Holi is a divine experience in itself. People from all over the world visit the place to celebrate the festival of colours the way the Brajwasis do it. However, have you ever wondered what went behind making the festival what it is today?
Legend has it that Krishna, frustrated by his own dark complexion, complained to his mother that it is only unfair that he was so dark and Radha was so fair. Hearing this, Mother Yashoda came up with a unique solution. She playfully asked Krishna to smear colours on Radha. Krishna loved this idea and went from his village Nandgaon to Barsana (where Radha lived) and smeared colours not only on Radha but also on the other gopis. It is also said that the women of Barsana took offence at this and beat up the men visiting from Nandgaon.
Brajwasis have kept this tradition alive in the unique way they play Holi.
Barsana, for instance, indulges in Lathmar Holi where, following the legend, men from Nandgaon visit the women of Barsana with gulal. They also carry padded shields to counter the sticks or lathths that the women of Barsana playfully hurl at them. Lathmar Holi is celebrated roughly a week before the actual Holi.
According to another story, Radha and Krishna first played Holi with flowers. Even today, the Banke Bihari temple celebrates Phoolon-wali Holi, that is, a Holi played with flowers. Priests of the temple throw flowers at the devotees after the gates are opened. Phoolon-wali Holi is also played at Gulal Kund near Govardhan Mountain after the enactment of Raasleela by the locals.
Holi in Vrindavan is beautiful, but it is also something that you need to experience in order to understand the essence of the festival. If you have never been to Vrindavan during Holi, you have not seen Vrindavan at its beautiful best. Come, get drenched in the colours of love. Feel the presence of Krishna in His own land. Take a trip back in time and re-live a festival the way the Lord Himself played it.