In Pictures: Lathmar Holi Hindu Festival

The Independent picture desk selects the best images from the festival

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The Independent Online

The “Lathmar Holi” Hindu festival takes place in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh today. Six days before India’s main Holi festival, famous for devotees throwing coloured powder at each other, the festival is a unique celebration to Barsana and Nandgaon villages. Here men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then “beat” them with bamboo sticks called “lathis”.

Click here or 'view gallery' to see images selected by Associate Picture Editor Ivy Lahon

Legend proclaims that Hindu God Lord Krishna visited his partner Radha’s village on this day to tease her. Radha’s friends, the women of Barsana taking offence then chased Krishna out of the village using sticks. Since then the men of Nandgaon village annually visit the women of Barsana to pay homage to this sacred story. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.