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Nandgaon, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh - Celebration

Lathmar Holi celebrations in Nandgaon
March Trekking, Travelling and Photography Andy Rawat

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India's Lathmar Holi Hindu festival: Women covered in coloured powder beat men with sticks. The Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, begins. Participate in Holi festival is a great experience for some one specially for foreigners visit in India. It is one of the great way to increase the bonding with each other. Thus, despite of the use of lathis and shields this event of Lathmar holi is filled with love and humor which not only enjoyed by the participants but also by the devotees who come from different parts of world just to witness this beautiful moment blessed by the love and divinity of Lord Radha and Krishna. Holi celebrations start with the Lathamar Holi in the Village of Barsana and last for a week across various Krishna temples. Krishna visited Barsana, Radha’s village and teased her and her friends whereupon the girls took revenge and chased Krishna away to his village, Nandgaon. Everything is red: the air, the floor, the people. And of course, it is a jackpot for every photographer.

The inflow of tourists see a drastic increase at the time oh holi as it is one of a kind experience which attracts foreigners from all parts of the world. People enjoy seeing men beaten by women with sticks and people surrounding them sing bhajans and holi songs in local language. Here, women, adorning the role of gopis, beat up men, who dress as gops, with sticks (lath); therefore the name: Lathmar Holi. Lath mar Holi is a local celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi. India's famous Lathmaar Holi in Nandgaon. Countdown begins for Lathmaar Holi in Nandgaon. Lath mar Holi is a local celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon and drench the womenfolk of Nandgaon in colours of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye and palash. This day, women of Nadagow beat the invaders from Barsana. It is a colourful site.

“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.” – Anthony R.
Detailed Itinerary


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The following day, it is the turn of the men from Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon and drench the women of Nandgaon in colours. The very next day, the same scene is repeated in Nandgao as men of Barsana raid the village to win over temple of Shri Ji and women of Nandgao beat them with sticks to keep them off. Even men have not left their mischief and are still eager to apply colour on the women of Barsana. Since then, this ritual has been candidly followed by the people of Lord Krishna’s village Nandgaon. Men from Nandgaon visit Barsana to play holi with the women of that village and the women are supposed to chase them away with sticks. This Holi tour is especially recommended for culture lovers, photographers, adventurer and everybody who loves to celebrate the Holi festival. Tradition also says that if a man get caught by women, he is forced to dress and dance like woman. In Barsana, women adorn the role of gopis (friends of Radha) and play Holi just like in the old times of Lord Krishna and Radha.


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The nail-biting fact is that the local priests of Phalen walk through the lighted fire during this occasion and come out unharmed! To recreate this event, men from Krishna’s village, Nandgaon visit Radha’s hometown Barsana and are greeted with abuses and sticks (lath) that gave rise to this tradition. We could go on explaining to you what you will experience but will fall short of words, so we will just leave it upto you experience this colourful trance. The vibrant picture of thousands of people daubed in vivid colours, blissfully dancing and singing in joy, is something worth experiencing yourself! Many people gather to witness this event and this happens a few days before the actual day of Holi. Here women try to beat men singing some folk songs and remembering Radha and Krishna.


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Hence, Holi is one of the major festivals in Uttar Pradesh. People just love to smear colours, eat sweets, drink bhang and dance around during this time. The jubilation experienced in these places during the festival is incomparable. The grand celebration attracts people from all over the country, making it one of the most important festivals of India. There will be thousands of people all covered in colour including you, the chanting of devotional music filling your ears from all around, traditional food being served as we visit the main temples, ghats and the streets. Want to witness some unique Holi celebrations? Visit Phalen, Nandagao and Barsana where you will find a slight difference in the ways people at these places celebrate Holi. Krishna and friends used this opportunity to create pranks on Radha and friends. In Lathamar Holi, men in traditional dress from Nandgaon adorn the role of gops (shepherd friends of Krishna). And females of the town beat these men with sticks for singing provocative songs and throwing colored powder on them.


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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. On the other hand the women of Barsana try to stop these men in achieving their goal by beating them up with long bamboo sticks. These men are not allowed to hit back women but can only try to keep them off by sprinkling colours on them or hitting them. But, instead of colours the ladies greet them with bamboo sticks. The following day, it is the turn of the men from Barsana. Men are not supposed to retaliate on the day. The unlucky ones are forcefully led away and get a good thrashing from the women. It takes place at Barsana near Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Women from Nandgaon village beat the shields of men from Barsana during Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon, near Mathura. People gather here in thousands to see the famous Lathmar Holi. These spectators come from near by places, other parts of India and world also. It is said that Krishna felt jealous of Radha’s fair complexion and asked his mother thousands of questions about it.


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Lathamar Holi takes place well before the actual Holi celebration and is observed in Barsana Village in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Holi is one of the most ancient festivals in India. This Rangeeli holi mahotsava was started first time in 16th century after the manifestation of the vigraha (deity) of Shriji (Radharani) by Gaudiya Vaishnava Narayan Bhatt, when first time gopis (cowherd maiden) played holi with gopas using the sticks made up of flowers. It was originally named as 'Holika’. It is celebrated in most of the parts of the country. This holi celebration starts much before actual Holi day. Here the famous Lathmar Holi is played in the sprawling compound of the Radha Rani temple. These gopas come well dressed and prepared with their shields to enjoy and cherish the every moment of this colorful and humorous event. After the ceremony gops then march out of the temple on the Rangeeli Gali where they stop to play holi with the gopis, who stand in groups along both side of street. In the second day gops from Barsana play holi with gopis at Nandgaon.


BY AIR : The nearest airport is Agra (55 km.) that has regular flights to and from other cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai and Khajuraho. Delhi is the nearest international airport, connected to almost all major cities across the world.

BY TRAIN : Vrindavan has a railway station but Mathura is a major rail head that connects it to Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai main line.

BY ROAD : Vrindavan can be reached via the direct road that links Delhi to Agra. Buses and car rentals are available to reach the city from Delhi and Agra.

About the author
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Andy Rawat Very passionate about visual design. I'm enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. The point is when I see a sunset, waterfall or something, for a split second it's so great, bcoj a little bit I'm out of my brain. And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness.