New Delhi, Mar 6: Colours ruled the streets today as people of all ages celebrated Holi across the country and joined the revelry applying 'gulal' on each other, gorging on sweets and singing and dancing to songs and drum beats.
While the celebrations were mostly incident-free, two persons lost their lives in Bihar and two others were killed in Uttar Pradesh during or after Holi celebrations. People embraced each other wishing 'Happy Holi' as unseen hands squirted them with a well-timed coloured water spray.
Water-filled balloons were lobbed from rooftops and balconies as cries of 'Holi hai' reverberated the streets. The festival, the harvest festival which heralds the advent of spring, is celebrated to commemorate the Hindu mythological tale of Prahlada emerging unscathed from the flames despite being drawn into the fire by demoness Holika.
The Hindu month of 'Phagun' ended yesterday with 'Holika Dahan' and 'Chaita' starting today. However, tragedy struck when two boys - Satyam Kumar (10) and Ayodhya Singh (12) - drowned while taking bath in a pond after 'Holika dahan' at a village in Chenari in Bihar's Rohtas district last night.
The bodies were recovered during the wee hours today and sent for post mortem, Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Sasaram Alakh Niranjan Chaudhary said.
Celebrations in Bihar was mostly peaceful, except sporadic incidents of clashes between revellers in which a few persons suffered minor injuries.
In Uttar Pradesh, the festival was celebrated amid tight security. Two persons were killed during Holi revelry in Varanasi and Etah districts. Ramsurat (60) was beaten to death in Sarnath area of Varanasi district after he smeared colour on a woman.
In Etah, one Pooran Lodhi (55) was shot dead in Mahavirganj area during the revelry. In Delhi, the festival of colours was celebrated with traditional zeal and zest as people smeared 'gulal', splashed colour baloons on each other and exchanged sweets as a mark of bonhomie.
As arterial roads wore a deserted look, public places, housing colonies and special venues witnessed a riot of colours with both young and old taking part in the revelry. Groups of young men and women took to the streets to celebrate Holi with neighbours and friends.
People also visited friends and relatives, gifted 'gujia' (a traditional sweet), besides smearing 'gulal' on each other's faces. Several five-star hotels, clubs and restaurants in the city also lured patrons as they organised rain dance parties and with Holi snacks and buffets, attracting big crowds.