Lathmar Holi: It’s Playtime for Men and Women in an Indian Village [PHOTOS]

   on March 04 2012 7:42 AM

Hundreds of people from across India gathered at Barsana, a small village near Mathura in India, to play Lathmar Holi.

Men from the neighboring village of Nandgaon come to this village and play Lathmar Holi with the women in Barsana village. They play on the compound of the Radha Rani temple in the village.

The men from the neighboring village sing provocative songs to attract the attention of the native women. The women try to beat these men with sticks while the men use shields to protect themselves.

The story behind Lathmar Holi is that Lord Krishna visited Barsana to playfully tease his beloved Radha and her friends, known as gopis, by throwing colored water on them. Taking it as an offense, Radha and her friends chased Krishna to beat him up.

Holi is celebrated for 16 days in Vrindavan and Mathura, where lord Krishna grew up.

Holi, also known as festival of colors, is a religious spring festival. The festival is most celebrated in the Braj region - Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana - which are related to Lord Krishna. During the festival, these places become major tourist attractions.

The main day of Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, is celebrated in many parts of India with revelers sprinkling colored water and smearing colored powder on one another.

This year, the main Holi day falls on March 8.

Lathmar Holi in India

Veiled Hindu women hold bamboo sticks as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

A man shields himself from women playfully beating him with bamboo sticks during "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

A man shields himself from a woman playfully beating him with a bamboo stick during "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

Boys dressed as females dance as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

A man daubed in coloured powder celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

A man shields himself from women playfully beating him with bamboo sticks during "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. Reuters

Lathmar Holi in India

Men throw red colour powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 2, 2012. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. Reuters

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