Holi the festival of colours is one of the most popular Indian festival .Holi celebrated in India since thousands of years. While Holi is celebrated in almost every part of India, Although Holi at Barsana is most popular one too Nandgao holi celebrations are equally colorful.
Barsana is a tiny village with a population of less than 10 thousand people. It is located at about 45 kilometers from the city of Mathura.
We reached Barsana at around 11 o’clock on the 6th of March. The vehicular traffic gets cordoned off at about 08:00am, but if you are lucky, the police might permit you to take the alternate route to the village. If they do not, then you park vehicle 4 km from the village and walk the distance or go through Auto tempo.
Barsana, the village, has a temple dedicated to Radha, called the Radha-Rani temple. The men-folk from Nandgaon (representing lord ‘krishna’)
HOLI OF BARASANA
Day 1— BARSANA
We reached Barsana at around 12 o’clock on the 6th of March. The vehicular traffic gets cordoned off at about 09:00 am, but if you are lucky, the police might permit you to take the alternate route to the village.
If they do not, then you park vehicle 4 km from the village and walk the distance or go through Auto tempo.
Barsana, the village, has a temple dedicated to Radha, called the Radha-Rani temple.
After visiting Radha Rani temple from top we came back from downstairs to cover Barsana at around 4:00 pm and with that begins the celebrations of ‘lathth-maar’ holi in the streets of Barsana.
During Lathth Maar, Women from Barsana wears Indian traditional village hit villagers from Nandgaon with a wooden stick during the Lathmar Holi. The women of Barsana are dressed in Colourful Indian traditional Sari & Lehenga’s with veils hanging over their faces with wooden sticks in their hands. The people of Barsana in full swing of the festivity & No one is identifiable in the pool of colors. The colors of love make them look alike creating a single canvas of love and harmony.
We move forward towards Rangeeli gali of Barsana around 3-4 pm lathth mar starts in these streets , where women of barsana in fully swing, Singing Local song, dancing in front of there house, they enjoy themselves a lot over fun games.
DAY 2 RadhaRani Mandir
We Move forward towards RadhaRani Mandir at the top , where the actual celebration was suppose to happen. The narrow lanes of Nandgao takes you the main temple, located somewhere in the middle of small- medium constructed houses.
where mood of travellers and local people is in fully swing, Singing Local song, dancing in front of there house.
Before going to top of the temple do remember to buy water bottle from local shop
People from different part of the country visit Nandgao for holi celebrations, but we found most of them were the locals coming to visit the temple and play holi with their family. I found many local men coming to temple to play holi and dance on the drums played by the local drum players.
The Shame Of Nangaov
For a female photographer or female tourist its very hard to be safe & if you are traveling alone then it’s very hard to stay safe for a while, The other side of Nandgaov holi is very unfortunate & shameful, While entering in Nandgaov females are being targeted. We were group of 18-20 people but i saw small boy hardly age of 12-13 year started targeting pichkari on the hips and backs of my fellow traveller.
While walking towards RadhaRani Mandir at the top i noticed local boys and men have different mentality towards females fellow they don’t want to play holi with male traveller they only wants to molest the female traveler. Even the small kids try to target females to make them wet on particular parts of the body.
The RadhaRani mandir has become place for Mass Molestation. In RadhaRani temple local boys start searching womens and start targeting them and if you opposed they will push you back or will slap you. The upper part of temple is only safe place for womens. But still 4-5 group of men will come & apply colour on women travelers, While i was sitting with my female friend local guys keep targeting her through there pichkari and while opposing they said “BuRa nA mAno HolI hAi”
A group of boys molested the girl and while she opposed they slapped her and push her back, and she started crying & left the place.
Review By Fellow Photographer Aditi Verma ( https://www.facebook.com/addzzee )
It takes a lot to make a great image. But, how can one focus on getting all these done, when a major part of your mind is occupied in protecting yourself from intoxicated men? Bura na mano, holi hai! Is this phrase enough to justify misbehaviour in the name of celebration?
The temple is a place open to all. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. But I am glad the upper part of the temple was not open for all. It didn’t make me feel entirely safe, but better than the situation in the bottom section where all the “action” happened. Random men would come and apply colours to my face and wish Happy Holi. I don’t have problem with colours. After all, I am here for the festival of colours.
But, there is a decent way of doing it. What is it with 4-5 men in groups surrounding and blinding you with colours, singing lewd songs and asking you “Madam, ek selfie. Please.” Not all men are like these. But, there are so many of these, you cant expect even your decent friends to protect you. Nobody would get in a fight to protect a lady. Least of all photographers, since we have our expensive cameras with us, which may break in case of a fight.
(This is a scene from Nandgaon where a female is getting harassed and tortured by men in the main temple. Yes believe it or not the temple itself. Also a shocking fact is around the police.
What were they doing? A lot of such cases happend in Braj Bhoomi. All this is happening in the name of Holi ) Source By – Nikhil Kumar Photography
The police does not intervene until the situation has escalated to the level of utmost disgrace. Yes, they intervened when drunk men had already slapped the woman and tore her clothes off. And she belonged to a foreign land. Atithi devo bhava. Bura na mano, Holi hai.
Legend has it that Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha’s village on Holi and playfully teased her and her friends. Taking offence at this, the women of Barsana chased him away. The tradition is still followed. Males sing provocative songs in a bid to invite the attention of women, who then beat them with their lathis. This is tradition. The women are equipped with a lath and the men are ready to be hit. What about those females who dont have a weapon with them? Take advantage of the situation, they cant do anything. Blame it on the chaos of the crowd. Call it tradition. Our gods did it, its acceptable to do it. Bura na mano, Holi hai.
I would have loved to go close to the crowd and capture happy people dancing and throwing colours in air. After some initial trial, and being groped a few times, I made peace with the fact that I should stay in the upper region and get the best images I could from that area. I saw interesting people down, whose portraits I would have loved to capture. Or some action happening, which would have looked better in a close up. But, I couldnt from this area. I got some good shots, that made me happy. The “Gops of Nandgaon” would pick out females and target only them. I was drenched multiple times. Potecting my camera was my priority. Upon resisting, I was met with the threaten-“Abhi to tu das baar rang lagwaegi humse.” Bura na mano, Holi hai.
Will I come back next year? Maybe. Maybe not. It all comes to the point of how willing you are to get that shot.
Do’s and Dont’s:
1. It is better to wear loose cotton clothes which dry quickly. 5-6 hours of wearing wet clothes may lead to cold and rashes.
2. Protective gear for the camera is the most essential thing. There are various kinds of rain guards available in market. A simple Do-it-Yourself may also work.
3. Its best to cover oneself as much as possible. A lot of people with the mentality of “Look at her clothes. She is asking for it.” visit the temple as well.
4. Do not get in a fight. Try to avoid as much as possible. Most people are intoxicated during the celebration and things can get out of hands in a matter of seconds.
5. Be observant of the happenings around you. Carry a pepper spray just to be cautious.
Photography Tour For Barsana
There are lots of group who organise photo tour to barsana, But the best one is (DSLR )with best price
indipix — TOUR PRICE 27,900 (3 days/2 nights)
LIGHTCHASERS — TOUR PRICE Rs. 27,900/participant. For ( 2 nights)
DSLR — TOUR PRICE Rs 7999 ( 4 Days & 3 Nights )