Happy Holi!

IISc celebrates Holi.

Today is the main day of Holi, a Hindu festival of spring.  Immensely popular in the north, but little known here in the south, it involves throwing a lot of colored powder and colored water at other people, and generally having a great time.  Here at IISc, there are grad students from all over India, and they put on a series of Holi events… a sandpainting competition, a wild color/water/music bash, and a bonfire. Read on!

Holi at IISc: a floral display.

everyone is welcomed enthusiastically.

At 7am this morning, per the schedule, I went to see the Matka-Phod competition – in which teams of nine wet students form a slippery, colorful human pyramid to try to reach a hanging clay pot full of colored water, and tip it all over themselves. After about an hour, a few students had turned up and were setting up music, colors, and ropes to suspend the pots. Colored powder started being thrown.  Someone turned on the water hose.  Water started being sprayed.  The tunes started cranking.  More students showed up, and were enthusiastically welcomed and energetically covered with powder and buckets full of colored water. The ground turned muddy, and the booming Bollywood tunes encouraged a sloshy dance. 

Students celebrate Holi at IISc: a puff of more colored powder.

I stayed on the sidelines, trying to keep my camera dry and paint-free, but as you can see, not even the photographer can escape the “Happy Holi!” welcome from the students. 😉  The album contains a few more select photos, though I took nearly 200!

even the photographer cannot escape Holi color!

It was getting late, so I didn’t stay for the Matka-Phod.  Someone caught it on video last year, on YouTube; it’s only 1 minute, and well worth a watch.


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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