The Spring Festival 2012 
Presented by Red Earth
March-April 2011

Holi Tour of Braj
A burst of spring colours in the land of Krishna

Friday 2 March (7 am) – Sunday 4 March (9 pm), 2012
Starting Point: Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi: Friday 2 March, 7 am sharp
Ending Point: Dilli Haat on Sunday 4 March, 9 pm
Mode of commuting: A/c Coach

Registration Details
* Contribute: Rs. 11,000/- per person on twin sharing.
Rs. 12,500/- per person on single occupancy.
* Includes: Accommodation, travel and all meals.
Does not include other personal expenses
Accommodation at Anand Krishna Van Guest House – A/c rooms
See http://anandakrishnavan.com/ for details
* Please register and pay in advance.
* To register contact Himanshu Verma / himanshu@redearthindia.com / 011-41671100

Description
In the magical playground of Krishna – the land of Braj, Holi is celebrated with a gusto that is unmatched anywhere else in India. Our special tour is designed to give you a flavour of some of the varied events of Holi in this dev-bhumi (land of the gods). Learn about the traditional ethos of the festival, and the philosophy centred around traditional celebrations. Revel in the ever-increasing accelerating madness of colour that begins in Braj much before the rest of India starts playing Holi…

Holi in Braj carries on for more than 10 days. The Holi celebrations are centred around the opposition, and change in power equations between the male as embodied in Krishna and the female, as embodied in Radha. Pushti-Margi temples, spread throughout North and Western States of India, celebrate the festival. The Deity, and the laity, are liberally sprinkled with perfumes, saffron water, kesudo, and covered in sandalwood as well as the white and pink powder, abir and gulal. Joyous celebration is accompanied by classical music, poetry and folk songs appropriate for the occasion.

Itinerary and Places Visited

Day One: Friday 2 March – Barsana / Lathmar Holi
7 am: Leave Delhi for Vrindavan
10 am: Reach Vrindavan / Check-in to guest house / Breakfast
12 noon: Leave for Barsana
1 pm – 6 pm: Lathmar Holi Celebrations in Barsana
7 pm: Return to Vrindavan
The Holi celebrations in Braj begin at Barsana, Radha’s (Krishna’s consort) village, six days before Holi. Krishna arrives, with the men from Nandgaon. The people of Nandgaon and Barsana play Holi together. The men wear huge turbans decorated with leaves to protect themselves from the colour and beatings of the women of Barsana. Lathmar Holi (literally Stick Beatings Holi) is played at sunset, when women dressed in beautiful sarees hit the men with sticks. They unleash a shower of sticks on the naughty boys of Nandgaon to teach them a lesson for all the broken pots and for teasing the girls of Barsana.

Day Two: Saturday 3 March – Nandgaon Holi
8 am: Visit some main temples in Vrindavan / other sites of interest
12 noon: Leave for Nandgaon
1 am – 6 pm: Holi Celebrations in Nandgaon
7 pm: Return to Vrindavan
The following day, the play of Holi manifests itself in Nandgaon, Krishna’s village, where the women on Nandgaon reign supreme over the men of Barsana, in yet another day of Lathmar Holi, but the beatings are much gentler, since Radha’s side remains the more powerful one during Holi.

Day Three: Sunday 3 March – Vrindavan Darshan and Holi
8 am – 1 pm: Darshan, Aarti and Holi Sewas at main temples in Vrindavan
1 pm: Check out from hotel
1 pm – 5.30 pm: Lunch, Free personal time in Vrindavan
6 pm: Return to Delhi
9 pm: Tour ends at Dilli Haat
Third day into the magical madness of Holi, Vrindavan, the playground of Krishna erupts with celebratory colours. We will visit some of the main temples and ghats of Vrindavan, and take part in Holi celebrations, which includes special Holi samaj gayan (community singing) and often also Ras-Leelas (processional theatre).

Notes
* Dress Code: Holi Colours – White / yellow / orange / red / multi-colour. No black allowed.
* References for Descriptions: Goswami, Shrivatsa. Celebrating Krishna. Vrindavan: Shri Chaitanya Prem Sansthan, 2001.

Photographs by Priscila Patel (Click on images to enlarge)