Braj bhoomi encompasses the region of Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Phalen, Nandgaon and Barsana, all of those having played an important role in Hindu mythology, where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. Amorous songs, devotional and religious fervor and sprinkled colors present a delightful scene. There are slight differences in the ways these places celebrate Holi. The most notable spots that attract the tourists for their unique ways of celebrating Holi are Phalen, Nandagao and Barsana. In Phalen, a huge bonfire is lit on the full moon night to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the Prahlad-Holika episode is re-enacted. However, the most interesting fact is that the local priests walk through the lighted fire and come out unscathed!
At Barsana, the 'latthmaar holi' is famous. The men of Nandgao known as
'gops' raid Barsana and try to mark their victory over the temple of
Radhika by furling flag over it while the women of Barsana try to fend
them off with long bamboo sticks. The men are well padded because they
cannot retaliate to the women and can only try to keep them off by
sprinkling colored water on them. In case they get trapped, they are
dressed as a lady in a sari and cosmetics are applied and they are made
to dance like a lady. It is said that even Lord Krishna was made to
dance like this by the 'gops' of Barsana. Next day, the same scene is
repeated in Nandgao as men of Barsana raid the village to win over
temple of Shriji and women of Nandgao beat them with sticks to keep them
off. Holi songs known as 'Hori' are sung by the men and women and are
mostly based on the dialogues exchanged between Krishna and Radhika.