With splashes of yellow, red, pink and green gulal and sweets and revelry, Delhiites celebrated Holi with enthusiasm Friday, even as the slight chill in the weather saw people preferring to play a dry holi rather than douse coloured water on each other.
Revellers started coming out in groups to play Holi around after 11 a.m., with a slight nip in the air keeping people indoors in the morning.
Devotees also thronged Krishna temples across the city to mark the festival.
In crowded urban pockets, the celebrations were more robust with large bands of revellers armed with balloons filled with coloured water – deep purple, blue and red – pelting unsuspecting passers-by with the drenching liquid.
Many revelers were unrecognizable as they smeared each other with dark purple, silver and black colour and screamed with gusto as they successfully smeared the colour on hiding friends.
The enthusiasm to celebrate the festival was equal across all age groups as men, women and youngsters were seen drenching one another with colour.
The revellery continued till late in the afternoon, especially in crowded colonies.
With growing awareness of the harm that artificial colours can cause to the skin and to the health, more and more people are going in naturally-made colours, though they are a little expensive.
Medical experts have urged people to buy only organic colours in order to prevent any skin related disease.
Sweets, especially the traditional “gujiyas”, were popular. The more adventurous downed the refreshing “thandai” (a cold drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar), laced with “bhaang” (a preparation from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant), to add zest to their celebrations.
“This is my third Holi in Delhi and it’s a completely different experience in comparison with my hometown (Patna) Holi celebration. People get along so well that I really enjoy the festival here,” Sikha Rai, a student at Delhi University’ law faculty, told IANS.
She also said to avoid any kind of trouble during the celebration, Delhi Police constables were deployed in many areas of the university.
Pradeep Gujjar, an IT consultant from Mayur Vihar said: “I don’t play Holi but I do go to the temple. I don’t, however, forget to wish everybody in my neighbourhood and distribute sweets to everyone, especially children.”
Police were on the streets of the national capital to check drunken driving and unruly conduct by Holi revellers.
Political leaders were also seen enjoying the festival of colours.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders gathered at Kumar Vishwas’ residence in Ghaziabad.
In Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the students from various hostels got along to celebrate the festival.
“We started playing with colours early in the morning itself. This is the only occasion when it becomes possible for the students of every department to come together to celebrate. We don’t leave any chance to enjoy the festival,” Lenin Kumar, a research scholar studying in the university, told IANS.