Barsana (Uttar Pradesh), Mar 15 : Festival of colours 'Holi' got off to a sweets-filled start in Barsana in Uttar Pradesh on March 14.
Barsana is about 50 kilometres from Mathura and it has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Lord Krishna's consort Radha.
Laddoo holi is celebrated because it is believed Lord Krishna came here from his native place (Nandgoan). Laddoos are distributed to mark coming of Lord Krishna to his in-laws home.
Legend has it that on this day Lord Krishna came to Barsana and playfully teased Radha and her friends but was chased away by the girls.
The focus of the celebrations in Barsana is Lord Krishna. The 'Laddoo Holi' is celebrated a day-before the town celebrates "Lathmar" or Holi with staves during which women chase away men with sticks.
The residents, dressed in their colourful best and smeared in coloured powder danced and flung laddoos, a traditional round shaped Indian sweetmeat and other candies at one another. They also tried to pocket the goodies, which they consider as blessed offerings during the festival known as 'laddoo holi'.
In Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated for 16 days until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Lord Krishna or 'Dhulandi', when people go around throwing coloured powder and spray water.
Devotees from across the country celebrate the festival with much fun and gaiety and spraying of colours symbolising the start of spring.
"We are filled with happiness. Playing with so many different colours has its own importance but this is the first time we are playing the 'Laddoo Holi' and it is one of the sweetest experiences of my life. It is believed here that when Lord Krishna is invited by the people of Nandgoan they offer him laddoos," said Rajen Gupta from Patiala.
"We enjoyed it very much. Usually we celebrate Holi for a day but here it is celebrated for an entire week. It is a lot of fun," said Taruna, from Karnal (Haryana).
Celebrated in the month of Fagun (February-March) according to the Hindu calendar, Holi, which signifies the triup of good over evil, is also associated with the uninhibited expression of love and affection.
Though Holi is celebrated on one particular day across the country, for people of Mathura, which is also the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days, it's a long time affair.
The festival is celebrated a week later in other parts of the country.