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9 Highlights of the Dolyatra Festival

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Introduction

It is a variant form of Holi festival celebrated in different parts of India. Dolyatra is primarily seen in the state of West Bengal. Bengalis celebrate this festival with pomp and dignity in the March every year. Just like Holi, it is also a colorful festival where people spray colors on each other. However, the two celebrations are different in the way people organize. Wherever they are, Bengalis celebrate this festival with other members of the society. This is one of the reasons why Indians are known for the hospitality and festivals. In this article, we would be listing 9 salient features of this colorful festival for the benefit of readers from across the globe.

Dolyatra Festival

People celebrate this festival towards the end of Bengali Year. One can find the reference to it in ancient texts as well. The religious festival takes its cue from the legends of Radha and Krishna. As per this legend, Lord Krishna had expressed his love to his beloved Radha on this day. Hence, the devotees throng the Radha-Krishna temple seeking their blessings.

1. This festival marks the love between Lord Krishna and his better-half Radha. Hence, the people visit the nearest holy bode of Lord Krishna and Radha.

2. The devotees spend the day in special pujas and bhajans. After the worship is over, people start playing with colors.

3. Color used for mixing with water is popularly known as phag in Bengali language. Though there is a move to use the oil-based colors, people still stick to the water-based ones as they are environment-friendly.

4. During the course of the day, the shops remain closed so that people get enough time to play with colors. This custom is a via-media for the people to connect with each other.

5. Young people start the festival by applying the color tilak on the pictures of the dead members of their families as a mark of respect to the departed souls.

6. Later, other members of the family fall on the feet of elders to seek their blessings. In turn, the elders bless the younger ones by applying colors on their faces.

7. During the course of the day, people take part in the Dolyatra of Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. The devotees place the idols these Gods in colorfully decorated palanquin and take it round the main streets of the city.

8. Men take turn to swing the palanquin and women dance around it singing the devotional songs. Every year, new devotional songs praising Lord Krishna and Radha hit the street to entertain the audience.

9. When people take out the palanquin, the men spray colors on the procession to express their happiness at seeing the yatra.

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Source by Balakrishnan Lekshminarayanan

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