The Braj festival in Rajasthan is held every year for two days in the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month, a few days prior to Holi. This festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna who is believed to have spent a considerable amount of time
The Braj festival in Rajasthan is held every year for two days in the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month, a few days prior to Holi. This festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna who is believed to have spent a considerable amount of time in a region called Braj in Rajasthan. This festival not only replicates the spirit of Holi but also impersonates the timeless love of Radha and Krishna. The highlight of this festival is the Raslila dance performed with great zest and unity. The entire town is painted and no one is spared from being splashed with colours. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and ceremony in Deeg, Kaman and Bharatpur in the Bharatpur District.
Every year, the people of Braj in Uttar Pradesh, India celebrate the festival of colors Holi in an exotic and totally unique manner. It is true that the entire country celebrates Holi, but unlike the other parts, Braj ki Holi is considered special and unique because the people believe that historically, Holi started in Braj. Braj is the homeland of Lord Krishna and Radha. According to Hindu mythology, Braj comprises regions that hold high significance in the life story of Lord Krishna. Places like Mathura (believed to be the birthplace of the God), Vrindavan (the place where Lord Krishna grew up), Nandgaon (native village of the lord), and Barsana (the village of Radha) are of special note. Also, Braj bhoomi consist of the regions like Gokul and Phalen, which also hold significance in Hindu belief. They are considered to be holy lands where Lord Krishna spent his life.
Holi at Braj starts from the first day of Amasavi in Phalgun month and then the festivities gain a thrust from the day of Ekadashi, which is the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon in Phalguna month. The official holidays in India for the Holi festival is declared for a day or two, but Braj gets a full eight days off to run the celebration. The Holi festival is celebrated in the land of Braj bhoomi altogether for 50 days. In places like Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Barsana, Goverdhan, Dauji and Baldev, the festival starts from the beginning of Basant Panchami. This season is known as Holika-ashtak. During this time, all other activities like weddings and family functions or sale and purchase of new properties etc. are put on hold.
The history of Braj ki Holi goes back to the time of Krishnavatara of Lord Mahavishnu. Braj is believed to be the exact place where Lord Krishna used to play with his friends, Gopis and Gopikas and grazed their cattle. It is assumed as per the myth that it is in this land Krishna first played Holi with Radha and that is how this custom of celebrating Holi started as a festivity of colors. It is the root of Holi festival. The people of Braj believe that the real festival of Holi has originated and is being practiced in the right way only in their region.
Legend Behind Braj Ki Holi
Lord Krishna lived in Vrindavan where he was brought up. The Lord used to graze the cows with his friends. Barsana was the village where Radha lived and Krishna used to visit there. The legend about this custom of Braj ki Holi goes as follows; once Lord Krishna became jealous about the fair complexion of his beautiful ladylove, Radha. So, he came to her village along with a few of his friends and started smearing the colored power named “gulaal” onto Radha and her friends. Thereafter, when the Lord and his friends refused to leave the place, they were playfully beaten up by the Gopis with bamboo sticks and made to run back home.
The people of these villages still believe that they are the progeny of Lord Krishna’s reign and hence, recognize themselves as his people. So they keep this legacy close to their lives and celebrate it to its fullest extent in order to embellish their beliefs.