Braj ki Holi beckoned a band
of thirsty travelers from across the land
to rejoice in a colorful feast this spring
immersed in the magic of Krishna’s playground.
In Mathura lay history writ in stone
tales of grandeur and glory framed
Of Kanishka and his burgeoning metropolis
and Buddha worshipped in many a form.
Then crowds in Barsana bore them along
through lilting chants and drum-beats
of ‘Radhe-Radhe’ spilling onto streets
the dance throwing up clouds of color.
Women decked in crimson and gold
wielded sticks upon errant souls
even the metal shields men bore
could not help escape the blows.
Revelers rode out into the night
As streets lit up in the colors of spring
Scents of fresh fare brewed to bring
flavors bursting to the brim.
Bedecked boats floated on the Yamuna
Guided by lights from temple walls
Sitar strings sang on the river banks
Notes burst through the night still young.
In Vrindavan the devotees bowed
before the smiling flute-playing God
he watched over them swaying forth
glorious in his garlanded abode.
By evening the story of Krishna’s mischief
played out on a glittering stage
Besotted by the charm of his beloved
He sought her love and found his way.
Flowers rained down from the skies
Over the divine and all enshrined
Smiles that lined the streets of this town
Filled the air with memories unbound.
Happiness reigned through the hours
on a journey they now together found
amidst the burst of colors and melodies
adventure tied in a bustling bunch.
– Text and Images by Manika Dhama
The author recently traveled on the Braj ki Holi Tour hosted by Jaypore and Breakaway
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