VRINDAVAN, UTTAR PARDESH, INDIA, February 4, 2006: Many of us know that Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated only on a specific day across India. But for people of Vrindavan, the holy city where Lord Krishna spent his childhood, it is a long time affair. Marking the advent of spring, which will eventually culminate into nation-wide festivities in March, Vrindavan began a 40-day celebration of the Holi festival. Originally, Holi is a festival of celebrating good harvests and fertility of land. Celebrated in the month of Fagun (February-March) according to the Hindu calendar, Holi is also associated with the uninhibited expression of love and affection. On the occasion of Basant Panchami, thousands of people thronged temples of Lord Krishna and His beloved Radha to offer prayers.
Many of the devotees, coming from as far as Gujarat, said they had congregated on this day to be able to see a beautifully decorated room "Basanti Kamra" (or, the spring room) where 56 varieties of sweets are offered to the main deity at the Bankey Bihari temple as part of the celebrations. The celebrations began with the offering of rose powder at the feet of Lord Krishna, which is eventually flung in the air as a blessing of Lord Krishna for His devotees. Gopi Goswami, a priest, said Basant Panchami, the fifth day of spring, marks the beginning of Holi. "People from all over the world come here to visit the temple especially on this day," said Goswami. Songs and dances were also performed as devotees paid obeisance.
The main festival would be celebrated all over the nation on March 14. The festival brings together people from all classes and age-groups who smear colors on each other, distribute sweets and take out processions, dancing to drums in a melange of colors.