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Holi Festival in Rajasthan
Home >> Rajasthan Fairs and Festivals >> Holi Festival in Rajasthan

INTRODUCTION
Holi Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Rajasthan and is celebrated with gusto and excitement by the people from the different parts of Rajasthan and the whole of India. This festival is one of the most popular ones amongst the other Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan. It is celebrated at the onset of spring and is supposed to be the harbinger of the season. Holi Festival in Rajasthan has a lot of significance on the lives of the local people who believe that this festival will bring them a lot of good luck in the time to come. Since Lord Krishna was born in Mathura, Holi Festival takes place for a period of 16 days. The colors used in the festival are supposed to make the lives of the people even more colorful.

THE LEGEND BEHIND THE CELEBRATIONS
Holy is associated with a legendry encounter between Hiranyakashyapu, a powerful demon king and his son Prahlad. Hiranyakashyapu who had gained victory over gods in a war had forbidden his subjects from worshipping gods. But his son Prahlad who was a ardent devotee of Vishnu, refused to obey his orders. Hiranyakashyapu had a sister, Holika, who was blessed with special powers-fire could not burn her. Hiranyakashyapu ordered Holika to take Prahlad in her lap and mount a burning pyre. She did so, but Prahlad came out unscathed while Holika was reduced to ashes. It is said that Holi is celebrated and Holi fires lit in remembrance of this miracle. 

DESCRIPTION
The colourful state of Rajasthan plays Holi much the same way as Mathura. In Rajasthan Holi is celebrated by beginning with the lighting of the bonfire on the first day. The second day involves hurling colored powder on each other and the second day is called Dhulandi. The people during this festival also savor a special drink which is referred to as Bhaang or Thandai. Many people visit their relatives and hence exchange the good wishes and sweets as well. Holi Festival in Rajasthan also features a lot of cultural programs that are performed by the people where singing and dancing continue till the wee hors of morning.

On this day even the royals of Rajasthan get into a festive spirit and mingle with the commoners. Infact, royal courts all over North India have refined the festival into an art. Rajput warriors of the Rajasthani courts used to show off their equestrian skills during the festival. Even today, Rajput men would ride their steeds through the white and pink clouds of colour, throwing colour powders on each other. Even the members of the royal families are not immune from being drenched by colour.

The Braj Festival is held in honour of Lord Krishna a few days before Holi, in the month of March. The festival is marked by verve and zest. Villagers, in gay, multi hued attire, can be seen singing and performing the raslila depicting the immortal love-story of Radha and Krishna.

Rajasthan is known by its colorful outlook to the rest of India. May it be the clothes or the different facets of its life style. During Holi you see the best of Rajasthani women clad in colorful Ghagra cholis dancing away to glory. Their folk dances are worth noticing. Holi festival attracts a lot of people from the different parts of the country who take delight in being a part of the program and thus take back the cherished memories.

Folk Traditions in Rajasthan

Mali Holi: - The colourful festival of Holi is played in many different ways. The 'mali' or gardener community of Rajasthan has a unique style where the men colour the women with water and women retaliate by hitting them with sticks or long pieces of cloth.

Gair at Godaji: - Men from 12 villages collect at Godaji village near Ajmer in Rajasthan to play gair a few days after holi. Each village brings his own drummer and gair troupes. The picturesque location for it is a valley surrounded by hills on all sides. Thousands of onlookers and close to hundred players make a wonderful sight and a fond memory.

Dolchi Holi at Bikaner:- In Bikaner district, members of 'Harsh' and 'Vyas' communities have been celebrating Holi by throwing water at one another with force for the past more than 300 years. A specially designed vessel called 'dolchi' made from camel skin is used for the purpose. But the water is thrown only at the back of an individual.

TIME TO CELEBRATE   
Holi is celebrated sometimes in the month of February and sometimes in the month of March as per the almanac. It is Phalgun Purnima or full moon according to the Hindu calendar.

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