Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holi Festival in India

These pictures from the BBC capture the Hindu celebration of Holi, or the festival of colors, which marks the begining of Spring.

The Holi celebration, which is celebrated throughout India and in Nepal, began yesterday and will end at sunset tonight.

On the second day, known as Dhulhendi, people take to the streets and throwing coloured powder on each other. The powder symbolizes vibrance, health, and medication against getting sick as the seasons change from cold to warm.

In Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna which is now in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the day is celebrated with special prayers (puja).

I remember Mathura by mistake only. Let me explain.

In mid-2006 I boarded a train in Delhi for a day trip to Agra where the Taj Mahal is located. Being the 'savvy' traveller that I am, I bought a general ticket and boarded a coach with what seemed to be too many people already.

I soon found out that too many people in a train, or bus, in India means more will be boarding. I soon found myself crushed. The feeling was like nothing I had ever experienced. Like a sardine would be an exaggerated description of my situation!

About three hours into the trip, crushed against the compartment wall, I could not take it anymore. I felt like my being had been purged through my ears so I pushed forcefully and grunted myself off the train at a station somewhere.

I did not care where the hell I was. I needed to escape.

My escape came at Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, though I would only realize this days after I found a cab to drive me the rest of the way to the Taj Mahal.

Anyway, the Holi festival has nothing to do with my memory of Mathura or that train ride that made me buy a 1st class train ticket when I travelled from Bikaner (Rajastan) to Delhi a few months later.

Still, I know a little more now :0)

Happy Holi!


Dione said...

Beautiful pictures.
I'm glad you were able to experience that.


Ridwan said...

Hello Dione:

Thanks for your comment. Now what are you doing up so late on the left coast?



nunya said...

This is completely unrelated to your post, but I wondered if you might be interested in it?
from Columbia Journalism Review
(No videos, graphics or photos that take forever to load)
Divided Soul
Rian Malan stared down the demons of apartheid
By Gal Beckerman

This is the paragraph which caught my eye:

"Is there a stranger place for Western eyes than Africa? Even those writers and journalists who don’t have the tortured connection to the continent that Malan has—or especially those who don’t—tend to describe it in simple terms..."

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

Hey Ridwan.. helloo hellooo

These are really colorful pictures!! I never knew of the Holi Festival (I'm gonna ask my colleague if she celebrates them).

Thanks for sharing =:O)

Ridwan said...

Hey there Gigi. Thanks for looking in here.

Let me know what your colleague says :0)


Shus li said...

What a great story! I felt the terror of claustrophobia and death by crushing as I read this. Even worse than yak-cheese pizza, huh? Providence let you off at Krishna's birthplace.

I love the concept of coloring everyone up for good health.

Thanks for the information. I, too, know a little more now.

Ridwan said...

Yeah it was much worse than yak-cheese pizza :0)

I remember being so angry I could spit. In the middle of nowhere and touts all around me.

I walked into the parking lot and just stared into nothingness.

Then I remembered the Taj Mahal and focused on getting there.

Be well my sista.


Dade said...

Excellent travel story, Ridwan. Those kinds of experiences are part of what makes travel so rewarding.

Here's a quote I found recently that, I think, is a pretty good summary:

Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage. ~Regina Nadelson

Ridwan said...

Hey there Nunya. I know Riaan Malan and do not have too much nice to say about his racist ass.

He came to fame with a book called "my traitor heart" ...

Since then he has become a front for the Afro-pessimist racists who can see nothing good in South Africa or Africa.

He is mostly known outside of South Africa.

Thanks for your heads-up.

Peace to you,

Ridwan said...

That quote is so true Dade. At times I worry that I have forgotten so much about my year in southeast Asia but then I look at pictures and thoughts come rushing back.

I like to remember what I was thinking about when I was looking at stuff.

Thanks for looking in brother.