RAWALPINDI, March 26: The small old building at the corner of Saddar Bazaar is barely noticed in routine days, but on Tuesday it sprang to life to become the centre of colours, fragrance and lights.

Hindus of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad gathered at Krishna Mandir (temple) to celebrate Holi, which is celebrated in spring. Old and young turned to the temple to celebrate the festival of lights and colours.

The festival started with the Durga Puja after which participants splashed each other with colours. Hindus prayed before the idols of Krishna, Ram, Durga and Hanuman, which were decorated with garlands. They prayed for the prosperity of the country. The celebrations were followed by the distribution of sweets and milk.

Jag Mohan Arora, a Hindu resident, told Dawn that Holi was one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar. It symbolised the victory of good over evil, and colours were thrown as a sign of celebration and victory of God.

For the poor Hindus of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the festival provided an opportunity to take a break from their hectic routines. “We gathered at the Mandir to celebrate our festival. We were preparing for this for the past two months,” Ram Lal, a Hindu resident, told Dawn.

He said that his children brought red, orange and green colours to splash on each other and their family members, adding that special dresses, mostly white, had been made for the festival.

Meanwhile, a small function at Balmiki Temple at Lal Kurti was also arranged.

“We didn’t celebrate Holi to express our solidarity with the Christians of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh in Lahore,” said Pandit Chana Lal, while talking to Dawn.

He said that some Hindu families celebrated Holi at Balmiki Temple and offered prayers and distributed sweets. He added that people splashed colours at each other but not in the traditional manner. —Aamir Yasin

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