Holi Festivities Envelop Agra, Braj Mandal

Holi Festivities Envelop Agra, Braj Mandal

Agra, March 26 (TNA) Holi festivities in the Agra region this year have received a big boost from the ongoing IPL cricket matches and the Lok Sabha poll campaign. “The Josh is high as the spring has spread its colours all over. It's an intoxicating cocktail of politics, sports and religion, all adding to the mirth and merrymaking in Braj Mandal.” The party has just begun and will continue till early June, say the Holi revellers in Agra.

Holi colours enveloped the whole of Braj Mandal after midnight lighting of the Holika, (Holi bonfire) as pilgrims converged on the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan, Dwarkadheesh temple in Mathura, Radha Rani temple in Barsana. Big crowds thronged Goverdhan and Gokul too.,

Halwai shops late Sunday night reported a heavy rush of buyers for the traditional sweets, gujiya and burfies. Yash Bhagat of the three centuries-old Bhagat Halwai said, “Several new items were introduced to add colour to the festivities. The sale was brisk.” Sale of ready-made Thandai in Bottles, saw a big jump this year, according to Kirana merchants in Rawat Pada in Agra.

Police said in Agra “Holika Dahan” was conducted at 3079 places, around midnight. The Agra Nagar Nigam ‘karamcharis’ made colourful Rangolis at most road crossings. The Agra Water Works announced its supplies continued till 2 pm on Sunday, while the Agra Metro started services after 2 pm.

Meanwhile, the fervour of Holi and the festival of colours reached a feverish pitch as politicians of different political parties joined the celebrations at various functions. Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini has been actively involved in many cultural events, giving dance performances and participating in Keertans in Mathura from where she is again in the field for the Lok Sabha polls. The temples in Vrindavan reported full attendance, as a sea of humanity surged towards the parikrama marg, enveloped by multi-coloured “gulaal” hitting the skyline of the holy city.

In Agra both the sitting MPs of the BJP, SP Singh Baghael, and Raj Kumar Chahar have been attending all the major Holi events in the city. The festivities in the Braj mandal start from Rang Bharni Ekadashi, six days ago. In some temples, the celebrations start from Basant Panchmi.

“It’s a 40-day event here. In Mathura and Vrindavan the customary Bhang ki Thandai at the Yamuna ghats is a big draw, while community singing, “Samaj Gayan” in the temples is also a big attraction. Clearly, the mood this year is upbeat due to the coming elections, and everywhere you only hear one point of discussion whether the BJP would be able to cross the 400 mark,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan.

In recent years, the trend of celebrations has changed. From streets, the focus has shifted to closed community halls or clubhouses where people eat, drink and dance. Now people prefer to play Holi only with friends and relatives. Earlier everyone on the streets used to be a target, recalled an old timer, Rajiv Gupta.

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