‘ रंग दे तू मोहे गेरुआ ’
It was a perfect start for as one of our vehicles had a break down as we were about to cross Jaipur’s municipal limits. The start was perfect in the sense that it was kind of acclimatization to the challenges that the JPC Brigade would be facing during the Photo Tour.
Why the word Crazy Enough?
One needs to be Crazy Enough when one knows that one is going to be drenched in colors on all 3 days but still one wants to be there.
One needs to be Crazy Enough when one knows that it is too dangerous to use the photo gears in the areas that are going to be flooded with colors and water but still one doesn’t give a damn to it.
One needs to be Crazy Enough when one knows it is going to hell lot of a difficult job to get a proper place or a vintage point to capture the shots but still one wants to give it a try.
The JPC Brigade was all crazily set to cover the 3 days of Holi festivities in the cities of Barsana, Nandgaon and Vrindavan in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The JPC Brigade comprised of 2 Army Colonels, 1 Professional, 1 Entrepreneur & 2 Engineers in white collared jobs. The age group ranged from 28 to 62 years. A few things that were common in all were: 1.Sporting Spirit 2.Passion 3. Flexibility and last but not the least was the ‘camaraderie’
The Photo tour was titled ‘ रंग दे तू मोहे गेरुआ ’
A few of us had the privilege of witnessing the series of the events in past few years and a few of us were the first timers. Half of the lot was God worshippers and half of the lot wasn’t.
The first day festivities were to be celebrated in the city of Barsana at the Radha Rani Temple. In most easy terms Barsana was the bride’s city and samaj (people) from Nandgaon come to Radha Rani Temple to color the girls and their families.
After this ceremony gops then march out of the temple on the Rang Rangeeli Gali where they stop to play holi with the gopis, who stand in groups along the street. Women of Barsana beat the invaders from Nandgaon.
The second day it is the turn of the samaj from Barsana to invade Nandgaon boys from the groom’s side.
Our photo equipment were properly wrapped up by polythene and cello tapes so as to safeguard them from the dry and wet colors and from water splashes that are very common during these festivities.
The streets approaching to the Radha Rani temple were full of devotees, tourists, and passionate photographers from all across the globe. Claustrophobic persons will kind of have some difficulties in reaching the Radha Rani temple. Also there are chances of stampede when one is approaching the temple.
As the clock approaches to hit 4:30 pm (on both the days at Barsana as wells as Nandgaon) people become more and more eager to witness what is known as the ‘Samaj Gayan’. ‘Samaj Gayan’ is ballad singing session where in senior citizens sit together and sing horis (ballads) about the love of Radha and Krishna during the celebrations.
Men of all ages join the ‘Samaj Gayan’ too with lathis and kavachs (shields) in their hands.
At Barsana Gulaal is thrown on all and the amount of gulaal thrown would be hundreds of tons and we were smeared in gulal along with our lungs and throats.
The gops at both the places ensure that no lady or a girl goes without being drenched with colors. They would somehow find them and throw colors as well as splash gallons of water on them. The gopis also take the same sportingly.
The boys/men are titled as ‘हुरियारे’ and the girls/women are titled as ‘हुरियारिन’
The saying “Paint the town Pink” comes true when one witnesses the grand holi festivities here.
JPC Brigade enjoyed every bit of the 3 days of festivities and the company of one another. Three Cheers for JPC ….
The writer is Anil Khubani ‘Flyaway’
Professional Photographer &
Founder: Jaipur Photographers’ Club
Feedback and suggestion welcome