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Trance of Lathmaar Holi in Mathura

With every street at Barsana singing and dancing on songs of Lord Krishna,

| Nand gaon ka chora hai, Barsane ki chori hai! Holi hai! Holi hai! |

The words above echoed loud and clear through the waves of people. Alexandre from MSX and I felt equally energised while photographing the festival that is not just of colours but one of rapture that signifies the victory of good over evil.

Back in the good olden days of childhood it was my mother, a follower of Krishna, who told me about Vrindavan and Raasleela.

Holi being a part of my culture, experiencing it in Mathura was another level of excitement. Holi celebration in Vrindavan and nearby villages is a week long affair. We’d found about Lath mar holi. Legend has it - the story of two villages Barsana and Nand gaon where men from Nand gaon and the Barsana women would gather in the compound of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, which is said to be the only temple in the country that is dedicated to Radha. Thousands gather to witness the women beating up men with sticks as the name suggests Lath Mar (beat up with sticks). I myself interacted with a few people among the many from around the world who came down just for this surreal experience.

I’m sure the sound of it wouldn’t please you just as me but to be true, the act is actually hysterical on the sidelines.

Somewhere down the line I feel in a country where women are still fighting for their rights and freedom they would equally not want to miss out on such an opportunity in the name of festivities.

In Barsana, the celebration starts around 12pm, the only way to reach the temple atop a hill is to walk through the streets of the village that’s where the Lathmaar Holi is played.

We reached Barsana early morning, which turned out to be a good decision because 10pm seemed to be the peak hour which led to road blocks by the traffic police from 2KMS before village entrance.

Walking on the streets with everyone singing and playing Holi with colours was really amazing. Alex got his love of life *Lassi* here.

As a photographer documenting this colourful festival had been on my list for a long time. So 2018 had me finally preparing. Keeping photography gears safe was the most crucial aspect of covering the notorious event in the best and safest way since there were people splattering water, colour and all sorts of danger towards our tools and us.

Alexendre ( Adventure photographer) and I decided to opt for Outex protection gear for camera and MSX waterproof bag to keep our essentials safe from every spill and dip.

Stay tuned to for the next exclusive blog that shares the 5 most recommended routes to start bikepacking in India!

Click here to head straight to know about Bikepacking in India.

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