Laddoo Holi Barsana

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I reached Barsana (40 kms from Mathura) on the morning of Laddu Holi (ie 1 day before Lathmar Holi). After a nap walked towards the Radha Rani Temple that you see. It is on top of a hill where the dancing and celebration takes place. There are no hotels in Barsana. Was lucky to stay in the village at a friends place. To know about Radha Rani Click here

U can go to the temple by steps or road as you see. Structure on right of pic is Radha Rani Mandir made by the Maharaja of Jaipur sometime early 20th century. "Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lordi Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune."

Enroute to temple met this Sadhu. Great way to start. "Radhe Radhe Kahat hee, sab Biyadha mitjay koti janm kee aapada, shri Radhe kahe se kat jay". Radhe Radhe is the way people greet each other in Barsana.

I walked up the hill to reach back side of temple, u then walk down these steps to enter the temple. Centre of pic you can see dome like structure. It is respected Kripalu Maharaj Ashram. They have rooms to let out but very difficult to get during this time.

Door is entrance to temple. Huge crowds sitting on steps. So colourful. This album has pics of Laddoo Holi and the Parikrama on the next day ie Lathmar Holi. Visited in March 2016.

Radhe Radhe on devotees face. Checking your phone has become so important even when they come to a festival.

Close up of a person waiting on temples steps. Temple opens at 4 for darshan.

There is a huge hall next to steps where I saw people dancing to dholaks and lots of color being thrown around. We present pics so you get to see first hand.

Girls, women young and old nothing could stop them from dancing. "Laddoo holi is celebrated because it is believed Lord Krishna came here from his native place (Nandgoan). Laddoos are distributed to mark coming of Lord Krishna to his in-laws home."

These guys were having a great time. I was absolutely unprepared for people throwing dry color onto the camera. Had covered the camera but this was on the lens.

Two colourful and great dancers. "According to tradition it is on this day Lord Krishna came to Barsana and playfully teased Radha and her friends but was chased away by the girls."

Colors changed the look but the dancing spirit very much alive. There are guys playing dholak all around. First thought paid for by temple, then realized they play and devotees give them what they like.

Anand - happiness - joy. Great start to festival. "The focus of the celebrations in Barsana is Lord Krishna. The ‘Laddoo Holi’ is celebrated a day-before the town celebrates “Lathmar” or Holi with staves during which women chase away men with sticks."

The entire hall is filled with devotees dancing.

Happy memories need to be captured on your smart phone.

I walked out of the hall to see more dancing. Behind is village Barsana.

Sheer happiness, in sort of a trance, smiles all around.

Would you recognise this group after the colors came off.

Newly married couple, indicated by the red chudhas worn by lady.

In cities we say woman live in purdah, assume must be backward etc. Here the women who had their faces covered were amongst the best and energised dancers. There was no untoward incident, pinching of women or misbehaving.

Devotees sitting silently and enjoying the fun.

It was time for darshan. There was so much crowd, barely managed to climb the steps actually just got pushed up. Men standing on your right throw laddoos to mark Laddoo Holi.

Man with turban throwing laddoos. "n Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated for 16 days until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Lord Krishna or ‘Dhulandi’, when people go around throwing coloured powder and spray water."

I managed to get where that man was standing to click this pic. Right of pic is steps from where devotee comes in.

This is the first floor of the temple. I reached early so looks so clean. About 30 minutes later it was a riot of colours.

Right is where the images are kept for darshan. Centre is where devotees singing and dancing as you will see.

The atmosphere was electric. There as many photographers as devotees.

The turban and leaves on men head is to protect them from the color. No one was complaining, all in bliss.

Colour and colour in the air, on you and everywhere.

Men were singing verses from a book, sometimes on Radha and other times on Krishna. If know name of book please tell.

Men immersed in colours, look at child on right with sun glasses.

View of Barsana village, centre is Haveli in ruins. It is a biggish village with paved internal roads, tap water, electricity for most parts of the day, pucca houses and a LPG delivery store.

A happy group.

This is the Raja Rani Temple made by the Maharaja on Jaipur ie about 5 minutes walk from the Radha Rani mandir.

Stained Glass with Surya in the centre since they are Suryavanshis.

This pic is to give you a sense of inside the Radha Rani temple, too much of color in the air.

On Lathmar Holi day devotees go for a 3 kms parikrama in Barsana visiting temples and ashrams enroute. Last temple is Radha Rani Mandir.

Even foreigners not spared. There were many of them who were enjoying themselves.

Men were standing at their doorstep when color was thrown, quite the norm during the festival.

This is interesting. Man with monkey who selectively catches the feet of a devotee and will not leave till person gives dakshina (money) in the name of Hanuman. Fun to see how people reacted.

Color and smiles galore. Have lassi in Barsana, super.

Boys sitting on a stack of hay and throw colour randomly. All accepted, none can complain.

There is an ashram enroute in front of which music was played. Devotees dancing in front of pic of Krishna and Radha.

Prasad was being given to devotees just near the ashram. U needed something sweet given the walking and the heat.

Ladies having a gala time dancing. Basically everyone lets their inhibitions down to enjoy. Did not see anyone misbehave with woman, a girl from Delhi said she felt secure although that was not the case at Nandgaon. More later.

Kids wants to have fun too. They spray water on devotees.

Met this senior couple enroute. RADHE is written on her forehead.

Locals apply chandan on devotees face. By then most were so tired of color and water that they want to avoid. I loved it. Chandan cools your head.

Devotees walk up a small hill to a temple (white structure), then walk to the Radha Rane Mandir made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, you saw that earlier.

These are ice creams with BHANG. Guy offered for free but I had a long day of photography ahead so did not want to take chances.

Enroute are ladies who have Krishna Radha imprinted on their hands.

English speaking ladies too were having a great time. Loved Barsana. Just like what I had imagined, actually better.

Took the steps down from the Radha Rani Mandir, at a crossing dancing to dholaks. Album on Lathmar Holi presented separately.

Age did not prevent this lady from dancing her heart out. She was brisk enough to give a youngster a run for their money.

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