Holi 2014: Spectacular Images of ‘Lathmar Holi’ Celebrated in Mathura, Vrindavan [PHOTOS]

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By Ankita Mehta | March 11, 2014 10:28 PM EST

Hindu devotees daubed in colours gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate
Hindu devotees daubed in colours gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]

Holi, the festival of colours, began in India on 9 March with Lathmar Holi celebrations in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh.

Hundreds of people from across India and world came together in UP and Bihar where the festival of colour is celebrated with great fervour. Holi marks the end of winter and beginning of spring.

The festival begins with Lathmar holi played in Barsana, a small village in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh.

Lathmar Holi usually takes place around a week before the main Holi day. During the Lathmar Holi celebrations, women from Barsana village wait with wooden sticks to beat the men who come from the adjacent village of Nandgoan, the hometown of Lord Krishna.

Hindu Mythology says that Lord Krishna along with his friends visited Barsana, Radha's village, to tease her and other gopis by throwing coloured water on them. In retaliation, Radha and gopis chased him and his friends to beat them up with sticks.

It is believed that Krishna was jealous of Radha because she was fairer than him. He pestered his mother Yashoda about Radha's fair complexion so much that she asked him to put colour on Radha's face and change her complexion.

Even today, people from Nandgoan and Barsana follow the ritual. Men soaked in coloured water arrive in Barsana and tease women by singing provocative songs. The women then beat them with sticks (lathis) and men use shields to protect themselves.

Holi is celebrated for more than two weeks in Vrindavan and Mathura, where lord Krishna was born and grew up.

Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, Barsana and other places in the country attract tourist during this festival.

This year, the main Holi day falls on 17 March (Monday).

Have a look at the Lathmar Holi celebrations in photos here: 

A group of women beat men holding a shield over their heads during
A group of women beat men holding a shield over their heads during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
Hindu devotees daubed in colours sing religious songs as they celebrate
Hindu devotees daubed in colours sing religious songs as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
Hindu devotees gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate
Hindu devotees gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
A Hindu devotee with his face daubed in colours looks on while taking part during
A Hindu devotee with his face daubed in colours looks on while taking part during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
Hindu devotees sing religious songs as they celebrate
Hindu devotees sing religious songs as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
People throw coloured powder as they celebrate
People throw coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]
A veiled Hindu woman holds a bamboo stick as she celebrates
A veiled Hindu woman holds a bamboo stick as she celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]
A man covered in coloured powder sings a hymn at a temple during
A man covered in coloured powder sings a hymn at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at village Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]

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(Photo: / )
Hindu devotees daubed in colours gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
A group of women beat men holding a shield over their heads during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
Hindu devotees daubed in colours sing religious songs as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
Hindu devotees gather at the Radhe-Krishna temple to celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
A Hindu devotee with his face daubed in colours looks on while taking part during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
Hindu devotees sing religious songs as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 9, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
People throw coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
A veiled Hindu woman holds a bamboo stick as she celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]
(Photo: / )
A man covered in coloured powder sings a hymn at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at village Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 10, 2014. [Reuters]
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