Gokul, 2020-03-08 (BT): As part of the 10-day Rangotsav 2020, Gokul – the land of Shri Krishna’s childhood pastimes – celebrated the effervescent ‘Chadimaar Holi’ at Murlidhar Ghat yesterday.
‘Chadimaar Holi’ which is played with tender green sticks in contrast to the sturdy cane used during ‘lathmaar Holi’ is unique to Gokul. After His birth in Mathura, Shri Krishna’s father Vasudev transferred Him to safety in the hands of Nand Baba in Gokul. Here, He spent the next five years of His life, during which many lilas such as ‘makhan chori’ and ‘matki phod’ were performed. ‘Chadimaar Holi’ was also one of them.
On the ‘dwadashi’ day when ‘gopis’ and ‘gwaals’ of Gokul requested Yashoda Maiyaa to let them play Holi with Kanha, she granted permission on the condition that they will only use tender ‘chadis’ and take care to not hurt her little ‘lalla’.
While Holi celebrations in Gokul begin from Basant Panchami, the festivities intensify with the beginning of Holashtak (March 3), particularly from ‘dwadashi’ (March 7) (day of ‘chadimaar holi’) to ‘dhulandi’ (March 10). It is only on ‘dwadashi’ that Kanhaiya comes out of Nand Baba Mandir/Nand Kila to play Holi. On all other days, celebration takes place inside the temple.
Yesterday, post a sumptuous ‘rajbhog’ in at Nand Kila, the forms of Kanha and Balram are brought out in palanquins (‘Thakurji ka dola’) decorated with intricate flower patterns. Sevayats carried the ‘dola’ out of the temple on their shoulders to Nand Chowk. From there, the grand ‘shobhayatra’ proceeded to Murlidhar Ghat amidst shower of flowers, ‘abeer-gulaal’ (colors) and the singing of Holi ‘rasiyas’.
At Murlidhar Ghat, gopis and gwaals, dressed in traditional attire, were already waiting for Kanhaiya with ‘chadis’ and ‘gulaal’. After offering the colors of Holi at the feet of Krishna, as soon as the curtains of the temple opened at 2 pm, the play started with ‘chadi huranga’, followed by ‘tesu’ and ‘abeer-gulaal’ holi.
Murlidhar Ghat is where Shri Krishna touched the flute to His lotus lips for the first time.
This year’s ‘chadimaar holi’ was organised at the ‘naya chabutra’ (stage/platform) recently built at Murlidhar Ghat by the BTVP. It was dedicated to the public along with a connecting road. The vegetable market at Nand Chowk was also shifted to Nagar Panchayat area for the event.