History of Holi At Dauji / Huranga at Dauji Temple
Hindu mythology tells us that Lord Krishna’s elder brother Balram, or Baldeo, or Dauji Maharaj as he was called affectionately, used to rule this province around 12 km from Mathura. In his memory the place is known as Baldeo or often, Dauji. The tradition of playing is unique here. While the Lathmaar Holi of Barsana and the romance of Radha and Krishna are well known, the Holi celebrated at the temple of Dauji at Baldeo is relatively less famous and is called Huranga, which stands for a much more aggressive form of Holi. The tradition of playing Huranga dates back to almost 5000 years.
A day after the actual Holi, revelers look to Dauji Maharaj to continue the festivities as “Lord Krishna has already left Mathura and returned to Dwarka”. He, in turn, obliges by becoming the center of the “Maharaas Leela” in place of his brother Lord Krishna. This is perhaps the only place in the world where the “raas” features someone other than Krishna.
Huranga or Holi at Dauji Temple is one the last prominent Holi celebrations in Braj and it starts with people gathering in the Dauji temple premises around 11 AM. Holi Sangeet is sung to the idol, believed to have been found at the Khir Sagar or BalaBhadraKund around 200 years ago, as way of taking permission to continue the revelry and play Holi in Baldeo town.When the formalities are over, the celebrations turn raucous by 12 Noon. Raas songs can be heard all around and people get high on Bhaang. Till now the women had the upper hand in the Holi celebrations, even beating up their menfolk during the Lathmaar Holi at Barsana. Now the men get their revenge and drench the women in colored water. The women try to save themselves by tearing off the men’s clothes, dipping them in the same colored water and then trying to beat them with the same rags.
Dauji Ka Huranga is significant as marking the end of the Holi celebrations in Braj Bhoomi. When finally done, the women raise a flag and the priest of the Dauji temple declares the festivities over. Braj has celebrated Holi for the last 40 days. Now the sakhas of Krishna and Balram need to get back to work and the sakhis of Radha rani need to attend to their chores. Till next Phalgun, till next Holi….till the next raas.