India soaks in colour as people celebrate Holi
New Delhi: It was a riot of colours as revellers on Wednesday thronged streets and by-lanes to celebrate Holi with security force personnel along the borders and in Kashmir no less enthusiastic in applying 'gulal' and exchanging sweets.
Gusto and bonhomie marked the festival of fun and frolic which passed off peacefully as police kept a hawk-eye vigil on revellers dancing to the accompaniment of drums.
With clothes drenched in myriad hues, merrymakers thronged lanes and narrow alleys to celebrate the festival of colours, giving a go-by to old squabbles and distributed traditional sweets.
People embraced each other wishing "Happy Holi" as unseen hands squirted them with a well-timed coloured water spray. Water-filled balloons were lobbed from rooftops and balconies as cries of "Holi hai" reverberated the streets as the festival bid adieu to winter to herald spring.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde celebrated Holi with BSF jawans at an outpost near the Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district. The minister arrived in the morning and went to Tanot Mata temple, about 150 kms from Jaisalmer, and visited the BSF post.
The festival was celebrated by the Hindu community and security forces with traditional fervour and gaiety in Kashmir. Army and paramilitary troopers gathered in camps in the Kashmir Valley and danced to the beats of popular Holi songs from Bollywood and sprinkled colour on each other, far away from their homes.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the hope that the festival will strengthen faith in national values and promote oneness and harmony.
"On the joyous occasion of Holi, I convey my greetings and good wishes to all my fellow countrymen. This festival which marks the advent of spring, is a harbinger of joy, hope and fulfilment for all," the President said.
The Prime Minister said the festival of colours is the celebration of "life and goodness and gives opportunity to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood."
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah hoped that the festival of colours would be a harbinger of peace, progress and prosperity in the state.
BJP veteran LK Advani met visitors and party leaders at his residence in the national capital on the occasion.
In Punjab's Amritsar district, BSF jawans celebrated Holi at the Attari international border. The Durgiana temple in Amritsar was tastefully decorated and people thronged it to celebrate the festival, so was the holy city of Anandpur Sahib.
In the national capital, police personnel were deployed across the city. Police had issued warning against hooliganism in the guise of revelry. Commuters faced inconvenience in the morning as a handful of buses plied and Metro service resumed only after 2 PM.