Lath mar Holi is a local celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi. It takes place days before the actual Holi in the neighbouring towns of Barsana and Nandgaon near Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where thousands of Hindus and tourists congregate, each year.The name means “that Holi in which hit with sticks” (lath is a thick traditional staff). Legend has it that Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha’s village on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. Taking offence at this, the women of Barsana chased him away. Since then, men from Krishna’s village, Nandgaon, visit Barsana to play Holi in the town which has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Radha in India.
This is a intense shoot which required oneself to be in the right place at the right time at the same time protecting your gear and equipment. The people during the festival are immersed in the faith and the environment is electric with people thronging the streets with a riot of colors. There are groups of people playing the drums and chanting Bhajans of Krishna and Radha and then the ladies end the day with the hitting . In the sprawling compound of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, thousands gather to witness the Lath Mar holi when women beat up men with sticks as those on the sidelines become hysterical, sing Holi Songs and shout Sri Radhey or Sri Krishna. The Holi songs of Braj mandal are sung in pure Braj Bhasha.Holi played at Barsana is unique in the sense that here women chase men away with sticks. Males also sing provocative songs in a bid to invite the attention of women.