Rajasthan Through Eyes of Sid
Sid | April 17th, 2018
Revisiting the spectacle of Braj Holi 2018
Colors flying all around, a raging roster of folk performances, and so many different forms of Holi; the colorful and culturally rich extravaganza of Braj Holi has no equal. It’s time to bow down to the deity, splash your people with colors, dance to the intriguing tunes, participate in fun activities, and above all witness a euphoric celebration. Braj Holi is an engrossing two-day festival held every year in the month of February or March, just a few days before Holi is celebrated across India. This year, the festival was celebrated on 25th and 26th of February with great pomp and show at Bharatpur, Deeg and Kaman. The experience was so culturally colorful and fun that if you had been there, then you would never wanted the fun to end!
A Celebration of Colors and Faith
Before we begin with the festivities that played the center stage at the festival this year, let’s breeze through the mythos of the festival. Festivals in India have religion deeply ingrained into their soul. The same applies to the Braj Holi Festival. This two day festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna, and celebrated in the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month of the Indian Calendar. According to mythology, Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had spent his childhood days in a region called Braj in Rajasthan. The Braj Holi is celebrated not only to simulate the real festival of colors, but also as a remembrance of the timeless love of Radha and Krishna. The locals believe that it is here in Braj that Krishna first played Holi with Radha (his consort), and owing to this belief, the practice of celebrating Holi started here. And so began this saga celebration of Braj Holi in Rajasthan.
Religion, Customs and Festivities
The festival is an excellent testament of unity, love and warmth that flows in the hearts of people of India. The festival is celebrated with great passion and enthusiasm, by everyone.The celebrations begin in the early hours with the rising sun, when people take a holy dip in the waters of Banganga River. It is believed that people who take a dip in this river garner wondrous benefits of pureness of both the body and soul. After the holy dip, people offer their prayers to the praised Lord at the Radha Krishna Temple. Once the religious customaries are over, people get dressed in brightly colored clothes and start with the celebrations. The festivities are endless, from numerous intriguing forms of Holi to dance and music extravaganza, cultural performances and competitions of photography, sports and more; you’d wish you had more time at hand to witness everything that is happening around you.
Looking back at how it unfolded
The two-day celebration was a gala of activities, competitions and shows. The start of the festival was marked with a ‘Nature Walk’ for children at the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, and this was succeeded by a talk and a seminar. Photography exhibitions were also organized to make the event more interactive and fun. To keep the flavor of popular rural sports alive, rural sports like kusti, tug-of-war and rumal jhapatta were organized at Deeg Palace. The Deeg Palace is a remnant of the old royal times and is truly built to impress. Spanning a large area, the palace came back to life during this year’s Braj holi festival. Folk music and dance performances like Kalbelia dance, folk songs, and other extravagant folk performance showcased the true essence of Rajasthan, adding life to the stage at Deeg Palace. Folk pieces were followed by a colorful fountain show at the water fountains in Deeg Palace, and it was truly like watching a rainbow dancing to mesmerizing tunes. Following this eclectic mix of rural sports, and Rajasthani folk music and dance performances, a showstopper event- Meera a dance drama by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (New Delhi) was organized. Meera- A Dance Drama : Meera, a dance drama, was organized at the Deeg Palace. The dance drama takes you through the life of Meera, also known as Meera Bai or Mirabai, who was a Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. The performance was like a spiritual journey filled with the intense emotions displayed by the dancers through their expressions and movements. Such was the intensity of the performance, that no one in the audience batted an eyelid from start to finish.
On the following day, a cultural concert event by Sonu Nigam, a living legend of our times, was organized at Lohagarh Stadium in Bharatpur. Sonu Nigam played some really foot-tapping and soothing numbers, and the performance was one that would linger long in the memory. At Kaman, the various fascinating forms of the festival of Holi took center stage. Gulal Holi, Kunj Gulal Holi, Doodh-Dahi Holi, Laddu Holi, and Latthmar Holi were the various forms of Holi that were played. Also, an evening cultural programme ‘Maharas’ was organized at Kot Upar Stadium, which was the final performance at this two-day gala. This exuberant fete of colors, folk music and dance, fun activities and events, and competitions added to the overwhelming elation, and at the same time underlined why people from all over the world flow in every year to witness and celebrate Braj Holi!