Vrindavan, 2020-02-02 (VT): With the beginning of the 40-day Holi festival on Basant Panchami, festive fervor has started gripping the deities, temples and people of Braj.
Some temples in Braj follow the tradition of erecting the ‘dandha’ on Basant Panchami (January 30), while others do it on Maagh Poornima (February 9), and still others on Rangbharani Ekadashi (March 6). It is done as part of an elaborate ceremony, replete with Holi songs, musical instruments and colors.
The ‘dandha’ is a wooden flagpole around which ‘Holika’ is organised. It is said to represent Bhakt Prahlad, and is therefore symbolically removed just before ‘Holika Dahan’. The erecting of ‘dandha’ also signals the month-long proscription of auspicious activities.
‘Rasiya Gayan’, ‘Phaag Choupais’ and ‘Dhamaar’ are sung for the pleasure of Thakurji in Braj temples all through these 40 days. Festivities begin with worshiping of the ‘Daph’ –an Indian percussion instrument similar to the Tambourine.
In Mathura’s Dwarkadheesh Temple ‘rasiya gayan’ begins on the first day of Phalgun Maas (the twelfth/last month of the year as per Hindu calendar in February/March) itself. Everyday local musicians and ‘Sangeet Mandalis’ perform during ‘rajbhog darshan’ from 10 -11 am.