India celebrates festival of colours Holi

Holi, the festival of colours, is being celebrated across the country with fervour and gaiety today.

New Delhi: The streets presented a riot of
colours with revellers, dancing to the accompaniment of drums,
thronging lanes and bylanes to celebrate Holi which passed off
peacefully across the country today.

However, the festivities were marred in Mumbai, the
country`s financial capital, with over 140 people, mostly
children aged between nine and ten years, developing allergic
reaction to colours in Shastrinagar area in Dharvi.

Fifty of them were admitted to a municipal hospital at
Sion, officials and doctors said.

Elsewhere in the country, gusto and bonhomie marked
the festival of fun and frolic which passed off peacefully as
police kept a hawk-eye vigil.

Revellers, with their clothes dyed in myriad hues,
thronged lanes and narrow alleys to celebrate the festival of

Forgetting all rancour and old grievances, people from
all walks of life exchanged embraces wishing "Happy Holi" as
unseen hands squirted them with a well-timed coloured water

The spirit of jollity reigned supreme as politicians
and commoners mingled with each other on the occasion.

Water-filled balloons were hurtled down from rooftops
and balconies as cries of "Holi hai" reverberated the streets.
Musical soirees were held at many places to mark the
festival which bids adieu to winter and heralds the spring

The scent of sweet delicacies, cooked up on the
occasion, also wafted through the air.

BJP veteran L K Advani celebrated Holi with family
and friends at his residence in the national capital. Several
party leaders and workers attended the `Holi Milan` programme
at his house.

In Pink City, the capital of Rajasthan, no untoward
incident was reported from anywhere, Jaipur Police
Commissioner B L Soni said.

Holy city Mathura was soaked in colours as pilgrims
descended on the land of Lord Krishna to celebrate the
exuberant festival of colours.

The young and the old splashed colours on each other
with religious songs in the background adding to the perfect

In some towns, foreigners enthusiastically participated
in the celebrations which began last evening with lighting up
of the bonfire known as "Holika Dahan".
Effigies of Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashyap, the
demon king, were set ablaze at several places symbolising the
destruction of evil.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari
and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the people on the

"Holi is a festival of colours that heralds joy, hope
and fulfilment in our lives," the President said.

"May this colourful festival bring peace and happiness
and promote national integration," the Vice-President said.

The Prime Minister said "let the spontaneity and
liveliness of this spring festival yet again affirm
togetherness of our multi-cultural nation."