INCREDIBLE

In pictures: The many different shades of Holi from across India

Quartz india
Quartz india

Holi is more than just a nationwide jamboree of multicoloured men, women and children, swinging wildly to music, often with a dose of bhaang, that potent cannabis-based drink. The Hindu festival of colours is actually a collection of disparate celebrations, from quaint folk dances to altogether more violent variants.

Let Quartz take you on a photographic journey throughout the country, exploring the many different shades of Holi.

Lathmar Holi

In the neighbouring towns of Barsana and Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh, Holi involves men dousing colour over women, who then retaliate by chasing them with long bamboo sticks. Lathmar (basically “to hit with a stick” in Hindi) Holi, as it is known here, draws from the legend of Hindu god Krishna teasing his beloved Radha and her friends.

Hindu men from Barsana village tease women of Nandgaon during Lathmar holi festival celebrations, in Nandgaon, India, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. During Lathmar Holi the women of Nandgaon, the hometown of Krishna, beat the men from Barsana, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their teasing as they depart the town. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Hindu men from Barsana village tease women of Nandgaon during Lathmar holi festival celebrations in Nandgaon. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
A man shields himself from a woman playfully beating him with a stick during "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, February 27, 2015. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY)
A man shields himself from a woman playfully beating him with a stick during Lathmar Holi at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Feb. 27, 2015. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)
Men are seen covered with coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh February 27, 2015. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY)
Men are seen covered with coloured powder as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Feb. 27, 2015. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)
A man throws coloured water as he celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, February 28, 2015. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY)
A man throws coloured water as he celebrates Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Feb. 28, 2015. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)
Men daubed in colours sing religious songs as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, February 28, 2015. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY)
Men daubed in colours sing religious songs as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Feb. 28, 2015. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

Dauji ka huranga

In Dauji, another town in Uttar Pradesh, crowds assemble at the Baldev temple a day after Holi. Here tradition dictates that copious amounts of coloured water are poured over women, who then proceed to rip the clothes off the back of the men gathered.

Women tear shirts off men during "Huranga" at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura March 28, 2013. "Huranga" is a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colours, during which men drench women with liquid colours and women tear the clothes off men. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
Women tear shirts off men during “Huranga” at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)
Women tear a shirt off a man during "Huranga" at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura March 28, 2013. "Huranga" is a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colours, during which men drench women with liquid colours and women tear the clothes off men. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
Women tear a shirt off a man during “Huranga” at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura. (Reuters//Ahmad Masood)
Women tear a shirt off a man during "Huranga" at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura March 28, 2013. "Huranga" is a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colours, during which men drench women with liquid colours and women tear off clothes of the men. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Women tear a shirt off a man during “Huranga” at Dauji temple, near the northern Indian city of Mathura. (Reuters//Ahmad Masood)
An Indian boy plays in a pool of colored water, at the end of Holi celebrations, the Hindu festival of colors at the Baldev Temple in Dauji, 180 kilometers (113 miles) south of New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The Baldev Temple is known for a ritual where the women playfully hit men with whips made of cloth as men throw buckets of water mixed with orange dye. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian boy plays in a pool of coloured water, at the end of Holi celebrations, the Hindu festival of colours at the Baldev Temple in Dauji. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Dol jatra

In eastern India, the celebrations are far more sedate. In parts of West Bengal and Orissa, for instance, Dol Jatra is traditionally celebrated with dry coloured powder, amidst song and dance.

Students of Rabindra Bharati University play with colored powder during spring festival celebrations in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The university is named after Rabindra Nath Tagore, the first Nobel Laureate of India. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Students of Rabindra Bharati University play with coloured powder during spring festival celebrations in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People put coloured powder on the face of a girl as they celebrate Holi in Kolkata, India , Thursday, March 5, 2015. Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, will be celebrated on March 6. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)
People put coloured powder on the face of a girl as they celebrate Holi in Kolkata on March 6, 2015. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)
Students at the Rabindra Bharati University, named after India’s first Noble laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, play with colors ahead of spring festival Holi in Kolkata, India, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)
Students at the Rabindra Bharati University, named after India’s first Noble laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, play with colours ahead of spring festival Holi in Kolkata, on March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)
Indian students from Rabindra Bharati University dance as they celebrate Basanta Utsab, or Spring Festival, in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata March 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw (INDIA)
Indian students from Rabindra Bharati University dance as they celebrate Basanta Utsab, or Spring Festival, in Kolkata. (Reuters/Jayanta Shaw)

Holla Mohalla

In Anandpur Sahib, a holy shrine of the Sikhs in Punjab, the festival of colours coincides with Holla Mohalla. For over a week, Sikhs converge in large numbers to offer prayers and celebrate the birth of Khalsa, or the warrior tradition, started by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh leader.

A group of Nihangs (Sikh warriors) throw colours on each other during the Holla Mohalla festival in the northern Indian city of Anandpur Sahib March 26, 2005. Holla Mohalla, a Sikh religious festival, dates back to the times of the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and is an annual affair on the occasion of Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. REUTERS/Ajay Verma FK/PN
A group of Nihangs (Sikh warriors) throw colours on each other during the Holla Mohalla festival in the northern Indian city of Anandpur Sahib, on March 26, 2005. (Reuters/Ajay Verma)
"Nihangs", or Sikh warriors, apply coloured powders to each other's faces during the Holla Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib, in Punjab March 20, 2011. "Hola Mohalla", or the festival of Nihangs, is celebrated during the Hindu religious festival of Holi, marking the congregation of Sikh devotees from all over the country. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION)
“Nihangs”, or Sikh warriors, apply coloured powders to each other’s faces during the Holla Mohalla festival in Anandpur Sahib, in Punjab on March 26, 2005. (Reuters/Ajay Verma)

Yaoshang

In the northeastern state of Manipur, the Holi is replaced by Yaoshang, a quaint spring celebration with much music and dance.

And at night, under the full moon, young Manipuris gather for the Thabal Chongba, the moonlight dance.

Festival of flowers

In the north Indian town of Vrindavan, Hindu widows, who typically are kept away from celebrations in this temple town, now partake in Holi festivities awash with flowers and colour.

Widows daubed in colours chant religious hymns as they take part in the Holi celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International at a widows' ashram at Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 5, 2015. Traditionally in Hindu culture, widows are expected to renounce earthly pleasure so they do not celebrate Holi. But women at the shelter for widows, who have been abandoned by their families, celebrated the festival by throwing flowers and coloured powder. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Widows daubed in colours chant religious hymns as they take part in the Holi celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International at a widows’ ashram at Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh on March 5, 2015. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)
A widow daubed in colours chant religious hymns as she takes part in the Holi celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International at a widows' ashram at Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 5, 2015. Traditionally in Hindu culture, widows are expected to renounce earthly pleasure so they do not celebrate Holi. But women at the shelter for widows, who have been abandoned by their families, celebrated the festival by throwing flowers and coloured powder. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)
A widow daubed in colours chant religious hymns as she takes part in the Holi celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International at a widows’ ashram at Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh on March 5, 2015. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)
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