New Delhi, Mar 22 (UNI) Holi, the festival of colours symbolising victory of good over evil and marking the culmination of winter and the onset of spring, was celebrated across the country with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm today.
The holy revelry was witnessed in full bloom in the national capital where people applied gulal on each other's faces, poured coloured water and were seen dancing to the tunes of Holi songs.
Security had been stepped up in the city in view of the festival.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the nation on the fesival.
''On the joyous occasion of Holi, the festival of colours, I convey my greetings to the world. The festival of Holi brings joy and happiness, which imbibes the spirit of friendship among people of all faiths,'' Ms Patil said in her message.
In Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, the Holi spirit was high among children who threw water balloons on passers-by and sprinkled coloured water on family members, friends and strangers as well with 'pichkaris' and buckets.
'Holi Hai, Holi Hai' chants reverberated the air in Maharashtra.
Long queues before temples were witnessed in the metropolis to evoke the blessings of the deities. Foreigners also enjoyed every bit of the festival of colours.
People took a spiritual dip in Allahabad's Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati rivers, in Uttar Pradesh to mark the festival. Holi revellers in the state were seen throwing coloured water and powders at one another and exchanging the traditional sweets like 'gujhias'.
In Lucknow, both Hindus and Muslims participated in a Holi Procession in Chowk area, which was also attended by BJP leader Lalji Tondon, sending across the message of brotherhood.
Cutting across caste, creed, race and religion, the people of Goa celebrated the festival with fervour. Several foreigners, including women, danced to the drum beats and music at Azad Maidan in the heart of the city which was a scene of revelry and merriment.
Indian youth painted the colours on the foreigner's faces and sprinkled flower petals on them amid an atmosphere of bonhomie.
Besides its citizens, Andhra Pradesh saw full participation of political parties during the festival. The Congress, BJP, TDP members distributed sweets at their respective party offices on the occasion.
Holi was celebrated in traditional style in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
North Indians, residing in Union Territory of Puducherry, exchanged greetings with their South Indian brethren.
UNI Team KD RN1928