Every year around this time, Barsana, a small town in the Mathura district of the state of Uttar Pradesh comes alive; tourists from around the world flock the city; everyone who sees the sight is mesmerised at this event which has no such parallel in the world.
I am talking about the Lath Maar Holi which takes place every year around Holi.
According to mythological legends and stories, Lord Krishna who was dark in colour, was jealous of the fair-coloured Radha. He used to bring this up in front of his mother Yashoda all the time. (The sentiments are beautifully brought out in this super hit song from the 1978 movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram starring Shashi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman and sung by Lata Mangeshkar )
One fine day Yashoda maiyya lost patience and ‘advised’ Krishna that he could change Radha’s skin by sprinkling her with colours.
Encouraged by the ‘idea’, Krishna along with his shepherd friends visited Radha and her cowherd girls in Barsana and teased her by throwing colours at her. Radha and the girls got back at the boys and chased them away with lathis (sticks).
This practice has continued in the town of Barsana ever since. In the Lathmar Holi festival, the men from Nandgaon first come to the neighbouring village of Barsana to play Holi with the women there. But instead of colours, they are greeted with sticks. On the second day, men from Barsana travel to Nandgaon to play the game with their women.
Even after thousands of years, the women of Barsana are making the men of Nandgaon pay for the natkhat pranks of Krishna 🙂