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Holi in the sacred land of Radhakrishna

Holi in the sacred land of Radhakrishna

€1200 per person

Holi is one of India’s best-known festivals, providing great material for photographers from all over the world. Its marks the beginning of spring and takes place at full moon in the lunar month of Phalgun (February-March).

 

In some parts of India, this festival of colors is intimately linked to the Hindu god Krishna. This is the case of Vrindavan, Mathura, Barsana and the surrounding villages. There not only Holi lasts up to a month but different Holi are played:

 

Barsana is famous for ‘Laddou’ and ‘Lathmaar’ Holi. Laddoo Holi celebrates Krishna’s visit to Barsana during Holi. It takes place on the day before Lathmaar Holi. Laddoos are ball-shaped sweets that are very popular in India. At this festival they are thrown from the top of the Radha temple onto the crowd below, who try to catch them. They are regarded as prasad – holy food – and are treated with great respect.

 

The literal meaning of Lathmaar Holi is “Holi with stick-beating”. Legend has it that when Lord Krishna was living in the neighbouring village of Nandgaon, he used to visit Barsana where his beloved Radha was born. The dark-faced god enjoyed teasing Radha and her gopi friends (gopis are cowherd girls). The girls took offense and chased him out of town with sticks.

 

To relive the legend, the men of Nandgaon come to Barsana during Holi and are greeted by the women of the village armed with long sticks called lathi. The Nandgaon men chant verses to provoke the women, who set about them with their sticks. The men use shields to protect themselves. The next day the women of Barsana go to Nandgaon and are drenched with coloured water by the men there.

 

The celebrations start with a Holika bonfire the night before Holi proper. Holi is named after Holika, the sister of the king and demon-deity Hiranyakashipu. To celebrate this legend, great bonfires are built and an effigy representing Holika is placed on top. On the night before Holi the fires are lit and people sing and dance around them. Some take embers home with them, for this fire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil.

 

This 12-day photography tour takes you to the sacred land of RadhaKrishna in Uttar Pradesh (Vrindavan, Mathura, Barsana, Gokul, Dauji, Nandgaon) to attend to the craziest and most photogenic Holi of India.

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Day 1

01 March 2020 - Arrival in Delhi

Radhe Radhe! We warmly welcome you at Delhi Airport and drive you to your hotel. Rest well before the colorful week ahead. Overnight in Delhi
Day 2

02 March 2020 - Delhi - Vrindavan

After breakfast, we leave for Vrindavan (4 hours from Delhi) where you will be staying during the whole photo-tour. Our guide will come and meet you and make a briefing on the program. Overnight in Vrindavan
Day 3

03 March 2020 - Laddoo Holi in Barsana

In the morning and early afternoon, we will visit some famous temples in Vrindavan then, late afternoon, we will drive to Barsana (20km) where the 'Laddoo Holi' takes place. Laddoos are ball-shaped sweets that are very popular in India. At this festival they are thrown from the top of the Radha temple onto the crowd below, who try to catch them. They are regarded as holy food and are treated with great respect. Back to Vrindavan in the evening.
Day 4

04 March 2020 - Lathmar Holi in Barsana

In the morning, we leave for Barsana again to attend this time the 'Lathmar Holi', literally, the “Holi with stick-beating”. Men of Nandgaon come to Barsana and are greeted by the women of the village armed with long sticks called lathi. The Nandgaon men chant verses to provoke the women, who set about them with their sticks. The men use shields to protect themselves. Back to Vrindavan in the evening.
Day 5

05 March 2020 - Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon

The next day the women of Barsana go to Nandgaon and are drenched with coloured water by the men there. Nandgaon is a small village a few kilometers from Barsana. It is named after Krishna's adoptive father, Nanda, who had his permanent residence built there after leaving Gokul. Lord Krishna would have lived in this village from the age of 7 to 10 years with his adoptive parents, Nanda and Yashoda.
Day 6

06 March 2020 - Holi in Mathura & Vrindavan

After breakfast, we drive to Mathura which, according to the Hindu sacred texts, is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. We will attend the pre-holi there where colourful powders and flower petals are spread. Back to Vrindavan late afternoon.
Day 7

07 March 2020 - Holi in Gokul

We continue our photography tour in Gokul, a village located 16 km from Mathura. According to the legend, Krishna was secretly taken away by Nanda, his adoptive father, from the jail where Krishna's parents were kept. Krishna would have spent his childhood there. Back to Vrindavan late afternoon.
Day 8

08 March 2020 - Vrindavan

On that day, we will stay in Vrindavan and continue the visit of the famous temples of this sacred town. around 5 pm, we will attend the flame ceremony (arti) on Kesi Ghat. Then, we will go to ISKCON temple and Prem Mandir to attend to the devotional songs and dances. Overnight in Vrindavan.
Day 9

09 March 2020 - Holika in Mathura

The day before Holi proper, 'Holika' takes place from which the festival of colours takes its name. ‘Holi is named after Holika, the sister of the king and demon-deity Hiranyakashipu. To celebrate this legend, great bonfires are built and an effigy representing Holika is placed on top. On the night before Holi the fires are lit and people sing and dance around them. Some take embers home with them, for this fire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil. We will go to Mathura in the afternoon to attend to the Holi parades and, at night, we will be able to photograph the bonfires in the city. Overnight in Vrindavan.
Day 10

10 March 2020 - Holi in Bankey Bihari temple, Vrindavan

March 10 is the official day of Holi, it's a riot of colours in the streets. However, if there is one place not to be missed during that day, it is the Temple of Bankey Bihari, dedicated to Krishna. The priests launch buckets of coloured powders from the altar on an ecstatic crowd... An intense and incredibly photogenic moment! In the afternoon, we will rest at the hotel. Overnight in Vrindavan
Day 11

11 march 2020 - Holi in Dauji

During this last day in the land of RadhaKrishna, we will be at the temple of Dauji, in small village 6 km from Vrindavan. The color festival is very famous there, colors, colors and colors! Overnight in Vrindavan.
Day 12

12 march 2020 - Back to Delhi

All good things come to an end, we will return to the capital of India ... Unless you decide to continue the journey with us! Radhe Radhe!
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