My Holi!

I am a festival lover (though I wasn’t earlier) and my favorite festival is Holi.Holi is the Indian festival of colors and joy which marks the beginning of spring.Here I am writing my experience of Holi in Jaisalmer which is unique in its own way.The festival marked its beginning on 8th day of the Sukla Paksha,Phalgun month according to Hindu Calendar. Pushkarna Brahmins start with singing songs related to Holi in Laxminath Temple of Jaisalmer and in some of their songs, they even tease lord Laxminath for his playful deeds. These songs were usually sung between 1 pm to 3pm. On 9th and 10th day too similar thing took place. On 11th day or Gyaras as we say there were lot of people and many of them were clad in pink turban and white Kurta Pajamas in those bhajans or faags as we say.From centuries, the (former now)king of Jaisalmer comes to the Laxminath Temple on Jaisalmer Fort and showers lot of gulal on all the people there. On that evening,Pushkarna Brahmins gathered in Gopa Chowk which happens to be near Fort’s gate along with a Tabla and soon our gathering turned into a procession which is called ‘Gair‘.Gair was singing abuses. The procession reached Mandir Palace which is home of royal family of Jaisalmer. This was our pre-Holi celebration and after the gair collected money from all the brahmin families, a feast was arranged near Gadisar Lake. A day before playing Holi, Holika was burnt which symbolizes the burning of Holika who schemed to burn Prahlad,a great devotee. Next morning,I got ready with my khandani-type pink pagdi and white kurta pajama. I reached fort with my cousin and we had some fun there. On Fort, we went to Badshah Darbaar where one person from Vyas community is made a king for a day.The stories say that once there was a Vyas from Jaisalmer who used to live far away.He was chased by army of ruler of that place because they wanted him to convert to Islam.Vyas came and told this to King of Jaisalmer who said that you can become Badshah on the day of Holi and army of that ruler would be fooled that you have converted and people will take it as a swaang(affectation). From the Badshah Darbaar we went to Mandir Palace as a Gair. We hurled abuses at ex-king and took Jhanda-Jhandi(another affectation) with us from Chainpura Street near Mandir Palace. After that,Gair returned back to Fort with Jhanda-Jhandi and after singing a song called ‘Ambo Chi Chi’ which means to say that ‘Holi is gone now and we must now wait for Diwali’ we went back to our homes after some dance.

 

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