A Vibrant Holi – Relishing Colors

Holi for some reason, stands out among the myriad of festivals Nepalis celebrate. It has particularly retained its appeal among the youth down generations. The genorously splashed colors, the free flow of water, the sedative bhaang and the many days of excitement that builds on to the charm of Holi is something people of all age group look forward to. It is by far one of the most awaited and most celebrated religious rituals. Probably the pranks that are excused and the not so subtle fun that engulfs the occasion, collectively hold the attention and interest of many of these mischievous and fun loving young hearts.

Numerous legends are woven around this festival of colors. Even more interesting, they range from stories of love to those of demons and most popularly of the good that ultimately prevails over the evil.  How many of these absorbing legends are you familiar with?


Story One:
Young Lord Krishna, known to have a dark complexion, was jealous of Radha’s fairness. His mother Yashoda in an effort to pacify the saddened young Krishna, suggested that he could go and color Radha’s face too. Thus began Holi, with Krishna’s mischief.
Story Two:
An Ogress Pootana was deployed to kill infant Krishna by his evil uncle Kansa. Pootana disguised herself as a simple woman and treacherously breast fed baby Krishna with her poisoned milk. Lord Krishna, however, sucked the life out of her and put her to death.
Story Three:
Disappointed by the disgrace her father Daksha Prajapati, showed to Lord Shiva, his consort Sati burnt herself to death. The grief stricken Lord Shiva then, renounced his worldly duties and went into deep meditation. Gods were forced to seek help from the lord of love & passion, Kaamadeva to bring Shiva back to his original self. Kaamadeva shot a love arrow at Shiva. He knew there would be consequences to face, but did it for the sake of the world.
Shiva turned extremely angry and on the very day of Holi, burnt down Kaamadeva flashing fire through his third eye. The arrow though, did bring about the desired effect and he married Parvati, the daughter of the mountains, who had been meditating for quite sometime, with a strong intention of acquiring Shiva as her husband.
Lord Shiva later revived Kaamadeva giving in to Rati’s (Kamadeva’s wife) pleas. Down south in India, Kaamadeva is still worshipped on the day of Holi for his selfless sacrifice for the good of the world.
Story Four:
There was once an Ogress called Dhundhi who used to specially trouble little children. Dhundhi, had a boon from Lord Shiva and she could not be killed by gods or men, or through arms, heat, cold or rain.
However, this powerful Ogress suffered a curse of being in danger around boys who acted in a fanatical manner. The legend has it that on the day of Holi, village boys came together to chase Dhundhi away shouting abuses and playing pranks.
It is for this reason people believe one cannot take offence if somebody plays a prank, puts colors or hits you with water balloons on Holi.
Story Five:
The most popular legend is of Hiranyakashyapu, a demon king, who had commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship him. He succeeded in pressurizing everyone except for his own son Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. In his many attempts to kill his son, Hiranyakashyapu once asked his sister Holika, to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika was blessed with a boon that made her immune to the effects of fire, but her sinister intentions resulted in her turning to ashes while Prahlad came out unharmed.


According to the Hindu calendar, it is strongly believed that every day is different from the other. There are certain special days where energies are vibrant and those who practice Tantra and Sanatan Kriya benefit from the strategic use of these dates.
Generally many stories are created around these special days and Holi is one of them. It is a day when the positive forces triumph over negative ones. For a spiritual aspirant, the night of Holi is a night of meditation, a time to burn the ‘Holika’ within. It is inspiring.
In legends, it is a saga of confidence. What stands out is ofcourse the faith of millions over the morals of these colorful tales, affirming every year, that the good shines through and the evil, in the end, is always reduced to ashes.
STORY: Aparajita Acharya
Photography: Mithila Jariwala, Aparajita Acharya
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