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Holika Dahan


Bihari biharini ki re mo pe yeh chhavi baranii na jaye |
Rang mahal mein holi khelein , ang ang rang chuchaye ||
Tan man mile jule mridu ras mein, anand ur na samaye |
Shri Haridas lalit chhavi nirakhien, sevat nav nav bhaye ||

Swami Shri Haridas is witnessing the enchanting Holi Leela of the celestial couple Bihari-Biharini. They are playing Holi in the rang Mahal i.e. palace of colors. They are drenched with colors so much so that colors are dripping off their limbs. They are one like the body and mind or soul. They are full of bliss bliss is not contained in the hearts it is flowing out. The entire environs are full of bliss. It is so beautiful, so charming and mesmerizing that it is beyond description. It is ever changing newer and newer moods, higher and higher levels of ras are evolving continuously. The all-pervading Madhurya ras is spreading everywhere.

A sweet, hypnotising composition by Swami Haridas reads as above. It is interesting to note that he himself admits that the charm of this Leela can not be expressed in words. Still we have tried to give a transliteration to present a word picture of the Leela to our visitors. Swamiji is referring to the celebration of divinity, the Holi at Nitya (eternal ) Vrindavan, which is an ocean of bliss. A drop from this ocean appeared in the form of Radha Krishna in Vrindavan. The dances of little Krishna at the Yamuna beach and the kunj (gardens and forests) along with his friends and gopis on various occasions is an open invitation come to me, touch me, feel me, dance with me you are my beloved, you are mine! So on this Holi, the festival of colors, shed away all inhibitions, get drenched in His colors, dance with Him, drown yourself in the ocean of bliss and pray:
Rangoon Shyam ke rang - O Lord, bless me so that I get dyed in your colors!

Holi Celebrations at the Mandir:

Holi is celebrated for over five days in the temple with full fervor. Symbolic Holi celebrations start from the Basant Panchami day (Magh Shukla Panchami, Saraswati Pooja). From this day onwards gulal, dry red colour, becomes integral part of the shringar. The cheeks and the chin of Bihariji are decorated with gulal. This appearance of Thakurji tastefully designed dresses in bright colors like red, yellow, green, purple, golden, with intricate zari, strings of pearls in banki pag (zigzag turban ) on head, crowns of various design with peacock feathers, that big bindi on the forehead, those big shining eyes with familiar notorious twinkle, earrings hanging on cheeks, besar (nose ornament) precariously balancing on that beautiful sharp nose, that bewitching smile on lips, red color generously smeared on the cheeks and chin competing with rubies, necklace, garlands, bracelets, armlets, waistband every ornament in its place is simply fascinating, specially charming and inviting- come, let us play Holi. Full scale holi celebrations start from evening of Aanwla Ekadashi (Falgun Shukla Ekadashi) and continue till Holika Dahan day (Falgun Shukla Poornima). During this period a silver hut is erected in the jagmohan and Thakurji occupies that. Thus He is much closer to devotees or easily accessible to communicate and develop relationship. These five days thakurji is adorned in spotless white dress which turns into all colors by the end of Darshan period.Color is extracted by boiling the flowers of tesu in water and this naturally colored warm water with a pleasant fragrance is sprinled on the devotees by the priests. A number of other scented materials like sandal paste, itr (sandal wood oil based natural perfumes), and rosewater are also distributed. Dry colored natural powders (chemical free) in silver, gold, red, green, yellow, purple etc are used in plenty so that the interiors of temple remain colorful throughout.
Goswamis and devotees in groups sing the songs composed by saints and exalted devotees of yesteryears, describing the varying moods and scenes of Holi (as the one given in the beginning, composed by Swami Shri Haridas) in temple courtyard as well as in city streets. These groups are generally equipped with musical instruments like dhap, khartal, mridang, manjeera, chimta and others. Devotees completely overwhelmed by the spirit of Holi throw colored water and colored powder on each other, visitors and passersby. They sing, dance and cry HOLI HAI! HOLI HAI!

Festival Significance : Colourful Holi celebrations end
Festival Date (Hindu Calender) : Phalgun Shukla Poornima
Festival Date (English Calender) : Thu, Mar 13, 2025

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