Braj, 2019.01.09 (VT): Officials met to discuss the arrangements for Braj Holi celebrations on Sunday. Last year, CM Yogi Adityanath helped to bring awareness about the special character of Braj Holi by attending several events, including Lathmar Holi at Barsana. The CM is expected to return this year, along with several other dignitaries.
Traditionally, Holi celebrations happen in different areas across Braj at different times, which leads to a 40 day celebration. Last year, a two day ‘Rangotsav’ program, organized by Hema Malini, included performances by the country’s top artists and was attended by several state officials.
In addition to the two day cultural program in Mathura; in 2018, government organized programs were held at Barsana, Nandagaon and Vrindavan. This year, programs will be organized at more locations and the schedule will run for an entire week so that more visitors and locals are encouraged to enjoy Holi at different locations across Braj.
Vasant Panchmi falls on 10th February this year. On this day, a coloured tika is placed on the deities of many temples, then, the Prasadi colour is used for anointing the foreheads of visitors.
On Vasant Panchami, visitors to Banke Bihari temple get covered with colour, which is thrown liberally from the altar. The weather is usually still cold on this day, so, visitors are often surprised to find that their winter clothes have become covered in spring colours. This year, more temples are expected to start throwing colours early – starting from Vasant Panchami or soon after.
The Holi atmosphere will be enhanced by ‘Samaj Gayan’ (traditional songs) and ‘Rasiya Gayan’ (festival songs). Temples expect a huge increase in visitors, and preparations are already underway.
The plans for expanding the Holi celebrations this year were made jointly by the Braj Tirtha Vikas Parishad (BTVP) and the Tourism Department. Nagendra Pratap Singh, CEO of BTVP, confirmed that plans are underway to expand the Holi celebrations across Braj. Officials discussed plans to attract more visitors to the Holi celebrations at Mathura’s temples and ghats and said that the locations that missed out on the limelight last year will be promoted this year.
The Tourism Department will be responsible for signboards informing about the festival. There will be signboards in all major cities, especially in the states bordering Uttar Pradesh. Booklets with information about Braj Holi will be distributed.