Playing Holi with Butter and Milk in Uttaranchal

Aug 26, 2005

Dayara (Uttarkashi), August 26, 2005

People of Dayara, living at a height of 3,048 metres near Uttarkashi, celebrate Andudi festival, which is quite similar to the festival of colours – Holi, but has a distinctive style of its own. Butter and milk are thrown on each other in place of colours.During the festival, episodes from Lord Krishna’s life are enacted and villagers commemorate the occasion using curd, milk and butter with abandon and enthusiasm.

Celebrated between Rakshabandhan ( the festival of siblings) and Janmashtmi (the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna) in the month of August, the central attraction of Andudi festival is a couple dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha who go around the village playing Holi with the villagers.”This festival is being celebrated for past many years to mark the well-being of our cattle that are the only source of livelihood for us,” says Chandan Singh Rana, the former village chief, Bhatwadi village. The festival is now a major tourist attraction.

Rajender Singh Panwar, the President of the Uttarkashi Hotel Association, believes that such local festivals will benefit the region’s tourism industry, helping people to earn more.

“When I visited this area three years back, I saw the distinctive way Holi is celebrated here and thought that we (Hotel Association members) can promote it. Thus, we introduced package tours during the month of August. We brought tourists to enjoy this distinct festival. Local people were asked to make arrangements for accommodation and food. Our basic aim for involving the locals was to provide them with an alternative source of income and improve their economic condition,” says Rajender Singh Panwar.

In the absence of basic facilities and promotion by the Government, this beautiful place remains unexplored by the tourists.

According to the residents of Uttarkashi, if the Government helps villagers of Dayara, the place can be developed into an major tourist spot.

“If Government provides loans to the villagers at low interest rates, they can improve their huts and set up tents for the tourists. By doing this the place can be developed as tourist spot,” says Major S.M.Jamnal, a local resident of Uttarkashi.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy and has contributed much to the five per cent annual growth of the gross domestic product of the State since its creation in 2000. (ANI)
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