06 Mar 2015

INDIA by janosilva

9/12

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We read and were warned that the streets could be dangerous for foreigners during Holi as intoxicated mobs of men could get excessively frisky with women. We experienced this to an extent yesterday but nothing we didn't think we could handle, and besides, we'd come to Mathura specifically for the Holi festival so we weren't about to just stay in our hotel. We figured if we went out early we could still experience it before the crowd got too rowdy so today we headed out to Brindavan at 8:30 AM. Man were we wrong. Within 5 minutes the girls had taken all the harassment they could manage for one day, so we found them a tuk-tuk and sent them back to the hotel.

I continued making my way toward Banke Bihari Temple following the sea of people. The closer we got to the temple the crazier it got. Eventually I made it inside where everyone was throwing powder up in the air and praying toward the altar in the front. Every now and then one of the priests would say something over the loudspeaker that would send the crowd into (an even bigger) frenzy. It was a really awesome experience and I was sad the girls had to miss it because of fear for their safety.

By the time I came out of the temple someone had taken my shoes so I was left with no choice but to take someone else's. I did try to be a stand up guy and took the cheapest flip flops I could find though.

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What a shocking contrast between how Holi is celebrated in Mathura vs here in Delhi. While everyone is out on the streets and there isn't an inch that isn't covered in color powder in Mathura, Delhi is eerily empty and totally clean (as far as color powder is concerned). We learned from Raj that Holi is a more subdued and intimate affair here with people simply celebrating it at home.

With the streets deserted we were lucky to find a place to eat. It was another samosa joint and surprise, surprise, it was awesome. Had some chole bhature, a samosa, and imreta for dessert.