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People at a local gaushala make bhang and thandai for welcoming visitors to the grand ceremony.

(Photo: Abhishek Ranjan/The Quint)

Lathmaar Holi: Where Men Shield Themselves from Women With Colours

The men tie a turban and carry shields while the women dress up in lehenga and carry a big stick called lathi.

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3 min read

Lord Krishna is said to have been brought up in Nandgram or Nandgaon, Uttar Pradesh. In his younger days, Krishna would go to Barsana, a nearby city to meet Radha, it’s said.

Marking this tradition, people in these two cities start playing with colors a month prior to the festival of Holi.

Stemming from folklore, an age-old tradition is that the men from Nandgaon go to Barsana to play lathmaar Holi – in which the women beat men with lathis and the men guard themselves with a shield. The next day, men from Barsana come to Nandgaon to play lathmaar Holi with the women of Nandgaon.

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For lathmaar Holi, both men and women dress in a very unique way. The men tie a turban and carry shields while the women dress up in lehenga and carry a big stick called lathi.

Lathmaar Holi is organised as a grand ceremony. In the morning, the participants play with colors in the Nand temple while the lathmaar ceremony takes place around 5-6 pm in evening.

The colours used in the ceremony are organically made from flowers, and bhang is served in copious amounts throughout the ceremony.

People from around the world come to witness and take part in this spectacle, resulting in the entire town being massively crowded around this time of the year.

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