In pictures: India's festival of colours

Millions in India and Nepal take part in Holi, marking the beginning of spring.


Holi, the festival of colours celebrated in South Asia, marks the beginning of spring.

One of the biggest festivals celebrated by Hindus in India and Nepal, the celebrations witness people smearing and splashing different colours and water on their friends and loved ones. The festivities continue for two days in most places, but in the cities of Mathura and Vrindavan in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, they last for a week.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was born in Mathura, and the festival shows the pure love between him and Radha. It is said that Krishna often complained about Radha's fair complexion, and would playfully colour her face, hence the tradition of playing with colours during Holi.

Every year, thousands of people from around the world come to the cities of Mathura and Vrindavan to see the grand celebrations that take place in various temples. In other areas, people also go to the houses of their loved ones to celebrate the holiday, while children enjoy a day off from school.