Bengal celebrates Holi with colours, songs, dances

Kolkata, March 27 (IANS) Holi, or Dol Yatra, as the festival of colours is called in West Bengal, was celebrated with traditional fervour with songs, dances and prayers on Wednesday.

On this festival of fun and frolic, people threw colours at one another. As the day progressed, youngsters moved around in groups, hurling water balloons and smearing one another with ‘abir’.
Thousands of people from both India and overseas assembled at Santiniketan, about 165 km from here, where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore had re-introduced “Dol” as Vasanta Utsav (Spring festival) in his Visva-Bharati University in Bolepur.
Boys and girls of the varsity, accompanied by their teachers, danced the morning away around the campus and covered each other in beautiful colours which symbolised the spirit of the season.
The girls, resplendent in golden sarees and garlands of fragrant flowers, and boys in the traditional kurta-Punjabi, took part in a dance programme to the strains of Tagore songs that exhorted everyone to mingle in joy.
In Kolkata as the morning progressed, youngsters moved around their neighbourhoods in groups, throwing water missiles and smearing coloured powder on one another. People in the metropolis exchanged sweets and pleasantries.
Security was beefed up in the city and additional police personnel were deployed for safety and security of residents. Besides, disaster management teams were posted at all ghats on Bhagirathi-Hooghly river.
“There are no reports of any untoward incident till now. Situation is absolutely peaceful,” city Police Joint Commissioner (headquarters) Jawed Shamim told IANS.
At Nadia district’s Mayapur, about 130 km from here, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated the day as the birth anniversary of 16th century Vaishnav saint and social reformer Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Devotes placed idols of Radha-Krishna on decorated palanquins. They also offered prayers to Radha-Krishna on this occasion of Dol Purnima (Dol is celebrated on a full moon day).
Thousands of people from within the country and abroad assembled at Mayapur on the occasion.