New Delhi: It’s that time of the year again when everybody gets drenched in a myriad of colours on Holi. From Raas-Leela in Gokul to ‘lath-maar’ Holi in Uttar Pradesh’s Barsana to the Bollywood-style Holi bashes, there are strange ways of celebrating the festival across North India.

The spirit of celebration includes the splash of colours coupled with guffaws and giggles with a tinch of ‘chherkhani’. Jagran Post takes you on a virtual but colourful journey to the culture-rich celebration

Mathura and Vrindavan

Holi at Mathura and Vrindavana is celebrated with great gusto for many days. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, while the latter is where he spent his childhood. The celebration in these two villages span over a period of 40 days where in temples are decorated.

While dance troupes from around the country gather here and put up performances displaying flirtations of Lord Krishna with the village belles, singing troupes perform Holi folk songs. The celebrations that take place at Vrindavan’s Shri Banke Bihari Mandir are also renowned. People throng the temples to get drenched with colored water and consider it a blessing from the god.

Showering abuses, Gujarat

Gujarat has strange ways of celebrating Holi. In Rajkot, soon after the Holika is burnt, people from across the town rush to the Aji dam to watch a strange custom where people shower abuses. It's called faag'. One of the villages in Junagadh has a novel way of celebrating Holi where black is preferred to any other colour.
In Borvav, anyone who has his face painted black and goes around the village mounted on a donkey gets his wish fulfilled.

Hola Mohalla, Punjab

In Punjab, the Anandpur Sahib’s Holi Muhalla is really famous. This Holla Mohalla or Hola Mohalla, is the carnival of Punjab, renowned over three days, the fair retains the character of joy and enjoyment that Holi has embodied.

It was started more than three hundred years ago by the famous Guru Govind Singh, the tenth guru of the Sikhs. It is a three day span of festivities filled with display of martial activities such as swordsmanship, horse riding, mock fights.

The venue is Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, that is set against a backdrop of dusty plains and gently rolling hills near the flood plains of Charan Ganga River. Here, Guru Gobind Singh had raised an army of monks to fight against the tyrannic Mughals. And this festival actually commemorates that – formation of a battalion of warrior monks. The Mohalla celebrations conclude with displays of traditional Sikh martial prowess on a grassy plain by the Charan Ganga River.

Dewar-bhabhi tradition, Haryana

In Haryana, there is a tradition that the brother's wife beats her brother-in-law with her sari rolled up into a rope in a mock rage. All this is done in good humor and in the evening the brother in law brings sweetmeats for her.

Elephant festival, Rajasthan

In Jaipur, an elephant festival that kicks off Holi celebrations and visitors throng the city to see the elephant parades, beauty contests, and tug-of-war games between the beasts on one side, and locals and foreigners gathered on the other. The Jaipur Elephant Festival is a great opportunity to see elephant, the sturdy symbol of Rajput royalty.

The festival gets underway with a traditional procession of decorated elephants though the streets of Jaipur towards the Stadium.  On the other hand, Rang Panchami is celebrated with gusto by the tribals of the Banswara district.

Lath Mar Holi, Barsana

Lathmar holi takes place well before the actual Holi in the town of Barsana near Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  The novelty of this tradition has earned its own fame. During this unique tradition, men sing songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis".  On Holi, men from Nandagaon come to Barsana to celebrate Holi with the women here, who are ready to beat them with sticks instead of playing with gulal. Legend has it that the ritual has been on since the time of Radha and Krishna. Apparently, Krishna from Nandgaon visited Radha in her hometown (Barsana) and playfully teased her. Women in the village then got together and chased him away. Since then, men from Krishna's village, Nandgaon, visit Barsana to play Holi and the beatings continue till date.

In Assam, Holi is popularly called ‘Deol’.  Holi, along with Basanta Panchami, is also celebrated with a lot of pomp and show in Andhra Pradesh for two days. In rural Karnataka, children visit houses to collect money and wood for a few weeks before the festival of Holi.  Orissa has also the traditions similar to those of Bengal. They only place the idols of Jagannath in place of Krishna and Radha.