One of the most sacre cremation grounds, the Harishchandra Ghat in Varanasi was drench in festivities after saints, seers and other devotees of Lord Shiva thronge the ghat to take part is one of the most peculiar traditions of playing Holi with the ashes and remains of the pyre.
This tradition call as ‘Masan Holi’, is organise to mark Rangbhari Ekadashi.
The tradition, said to be as old as Kashi itself, is organise five days ahead of Holi and marks the onset of festivities in Uttar Pradesh’s spiritual capital.
Masan Holi celebrations got off to a grand start this year when devotees carry out a Shobha Yatra, starting from Aghor Peeth Baba Keenaram Ashram.
This procession saw the participation of more than 50,000 people, most of who were dress as followers of Lord Shiva.
The almost 5-km-long procession, that also cover Sonarpura and Bhelupura, conclude at Raja Harishchandra Ghat at 3pm.
Not only saints, seers and sadhvis, but people from all walks of life assemble at the cremation ground amidst the burning pyres to take part in an age-old tradition of celebrating death with the hope of attaining salvation (moksha).
It is ensure that Holi is celebrate purely in a traditional manner.
As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri and stay back at Parvati’s maternal home for a few days.
It was believe that two weeks later, on Rangbhari Ekadashi, Lord Shiva brought her to Kashi for the first time after marriage.
It is believe that the coming of Goddess Parvati was celebrate by Lord Shiva’s devotees at Kashi Vishwanath temple, but Shiva’s ethereal followers didn’t get the chance to play with colours so the Lord himself came to the cremation ground to play Holi with them using ashes.
Masan Holi is also observe at Manikarnika Ghat, the world’s biggest cremation ground.
Masan Holi was restrict to saints and seers.
But almost three decades ago, the tradition gain popularity when some groups came forward to arrange organise celebrations.
Officials in the state’s tourism department said Masan Holi also attracts tourists from abroad.
Preeti Srivastava, deputy director of Varanasi tourism, UP tourism department Said :