The festival of Dolyatra is celebrated with pomp and dignity in the state of West Bengal. It is essentially a festival of colours, just as Holi is but the way it is celebrated makes it different from Holi as witnessed in rest of India.
What makes, Dolyatra so special in West Bengal is the fact that it is the last festival of Bengali Year. The festival is being celebrated since ancient times. It celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which says that Lord Krishna expressed his love to her beloved Radha on the day of Dolyatra.
Celebrations Before starting with celebrations, people worship Radha and Krishna on this day. In some places special pujas and bhajans are also organsied. Once the ceremony gets over people indulge in play with colours.
Colour powder is popularly known as ‘phag’ in Bengal. Shops remain closed on the day and people get all the time to drown themselves in the spirit of the festival. Following the tradition young people start the festival by applying phag on the pictures of the deceased in the family and then on the feet of the elders as a mark of respect. The elders bless them by applying colour on the faces. After this, phag is applied on anybody and everybody.
‘Dol Jatra’, ‘Dol Purnima’ or the ‘Swing Festival’ as Dol Yatra is then celebrated in a dignified manner by placing the idols of Krishna and Radha on a picturesquely decorated palanquin which is then taken round the main streets of the city. The devotees take turns to swing them while women dance around the swing and sing devotional songs. All this while men keep spraying coloured water and colour powder, ‘abeer’ at them.