Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Elephant Festival – Vrajabhumi in Jaipur

From Jaipur: I really enjoyed the Elephant Festival yesterday which made good for my regret for not being able to be in the Holi heartland of India – Vrindavan. The festival troupe from Bharatpur, that performed at the Elephant Festival here, recreated and revoked the famous traditional spirit of Holi festivities that runs through the whole of Vrajabhumi, especially Vrindavan.
The Bharatput region bordering Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan is famous for its Vraja (Brij) culture. The performing artists really played the traditional .... fulon ki Holi (Holi with flowers) with Radha-Krishna dance in traditional costumes.
On returning to my room I received a letter from the Hotel Rajputana saying that there would be Holi celebrations at the Hawa Mahal area of the Hotel from 11 am to 1 pm.
I have not played Holi for almost a decade now and neither was I in Rajasthan during the festival in the past two decades though I have many fond memories of my childhood Holi days when we used to go for Gindhar dance (form of dandiya where the batons are more like lathis) and indulge in breaking bulbs and carry out many other impish acts till the late hours.
I also remember how we used to go out late at night in groups wearing different bahurupiya dresses as a run up to the Holi festivities. We used to climb up the water tanks and put colours, lock up couples in rooms from outside and what not. 
Those were the days when no one seemed to mind much about the teenage excesses during the Holi days. Those wonderful days will remain etched in my memory forever.
The Holi invite letter from the Hotel also mentioned that only safe and healthy colours would be used at the Hawa Mahal celebrations. I don't remember five star hotels in any other city doing this. I decided to go and join in the celebrations.
Yesterday, I had excused myself from many groups who had invited me for the Holi celebrations as I hadn't touched colours for the past so many years.
When I reached Hawa Mahal, I could not recognize Sunil Gupta, the General Manager of Hotel Rajputana, and his wife Anamika. They were smeared in gulals and by time I recognized them I too was in the same boat - smeared with organic gulals different colours and hues (picture above).
A village ambience was created at the Hawa Mahal. The foreigners went ga ga over gujia pyaj kachori and thandai as Rang barse played on in the background (picture).
Thank you Rajputana for getting me to back to play Holi after many many years.
ess bee

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