A riot of colours

Hindu men from the villages of Nandgaon and Barsana covered themselves with coloured powder as they celebrated the Lathmar Holi festival at the Radha Rani temple in Barsana village, in Mathura, India, last Friday.

Holi is the Hindu spring festival of colours. In Barsana and Nandgaon, people celebrate a unique variation of Holi called Lathmar Holi.

During the festival, which takes place a few days before Holi, men smeared in coloured powder try to get the colour onto women, who in turn drive them off by beating them with sticks, or lathis. The men carry shields to protect themselves.

According to legend, the Hindu God Krishna, who grew up in Nandgaon, visited Barsana, birthplace of the goddess Radha, to tease her and her friends, and the women chased him away.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2019, with the headline 'A riot of colours'. Print Edition | Subscribe