A riot of colours took over the 400-year-old Gopinath temple in Mathura, as hundreds of widows clad in white sarees, smeared hues of reds, yellows and greens on each other.
Braving the morning chill, elderly women from Vrindavan and Varanasi gathered at one of the oldest Krishna temples in the crowded Gopinath Bazaar earlier this week, to shun taboos and celebrate Holi.
“Their participation in Holi symbolises a break from tradition which forbids a widow from wearing coloured saree, among many other things,” Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of NGO Sulabh International, that organises the event in Mathura said.
The ritual of widows celebrating the festival of colours among themselves began only in 2013, before which they were allowed to play Holi only with Thakurji (Lord Krishna).
Meanwhile in Barsana, local traditions of Lath Mar Holi were celebrated as veiled women beat men of the neighbouring town Nandgaon with ‘lathis’.
According to the ritual, as the women hurl canes at the men, the latter try to shield themselves from being hit, lest they are made to cross dress and dance.
The vermillion-hued celebrations also saw people from both the towns singing folk songs and hymns at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana.