Braj Ki Holi

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