You must have heard about the Lathmar holi of Mathura. You must have also heard about Holi played with cow dung and mud. But have you heard about Holi playing with ashes with ghosts? Do not be surprised, you heard exactly that. Such a wonderful Holi is played in the cultural city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
When special Holi Celebrated?
Every year, on the second day of Rang Bhari Ekadashi, i.e. three days before Holi, Holi is played with ashes amidst burning corpses, flying smoke and in between life & death at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi. Manikarnika Ghat, which is the major cremation ghat, is the only cremation place in the world that never gets quiet. Here, pyres keeps burning all the time.
Why is Holi celebrated with Corpse Ashes?
According to the beliefs of Varanasi, Lord Shiva is married on the day of Mahashivaratri and the Ekadashi that falls after that is his Gauna (A Ceremonial where groom brings his wife from her father’s house to his home after she reaches puberty). On this day, they go to their in-laws and bid farewell to Goddess Parvati and bring them to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is known as Rangabhari Ekadashi. On that day they play Holi with Gods and Goddesses. The next day i.e. on Dwadashi, at 12 noon, everyone comes at Manikarnika Ghat to take a bath. After that Lord Shiva plays Holi with his beloved Gana, ghosts, vampires, snakes and all the creatures of the world. Devotees also celebrate Holi with God.
During this festival of Holi, cremations continue to burn in the crematorium, the atmosphere is echoed by the slogans of Har Har Mahadev. People throw corpse ashes to each other in place of color. People come here only in the afternoon. After bathing, worshiping and about 25 minutes of aarti (Worship ceremony), Chita Bhasma (corpse ashes) and Gulal (organic colors) celebrate each other by celebrating Holi till late evening. In the form of Prasad (Gods offerings), devotees offer Thandai and cannabis to lord Shiva.
It is also believed that after this day, Bholenath (Lord Shiva’s other name) also allows the people of Banaras to perform a Holi festival. Just after this, the entire city is immersed in the colors of Holi for 4 days. Somewhere there is an echo of Damru (small two-headed drum, used in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism), and somewhere people are seen chanting and singing on the beat of the drum.
Want to film Holi Celebration with Corpse Ashes?
Have the story made you thrilled and you dreamt to set your movie scenes here at the bank of river Ganges when ghost holi is being played? Or do you think you can use dramatic visuals of Ghost Holi for your next documentary film?
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