Rang Bhari Ekadashi: Kashi Welcomes Shiva With Colours
Shiva celebrates Holi in Kashi with Rang Bhari Ekadashi. Gulal, Abeer, flower petals, sounds of conch and Damru fill the street of Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Har Har Mahadev! There is this cheering everywhere in Kashi on the day of Rang Bhari Ekadashi. Devotees fill the streets of this holy city with ‘gulal’ and mark the beginning of Holi in Varanasi. This day is very special for people of Varanasi as it is on this day only Lord Shiva came to Varanasi for the first time after His marriage.
Rang Bhari Ekadashi Saga
Kashi is the city of Mahadev. This city is unique in its own way and there no other parallel city to its uniqueness. People from all around the world love the simple yet distinctive activities of this city. One such activity is the celebration of Rang Bhari Ekadashi -the occasion that marks the welcome of Shiva in his in-laws city.
Yes, it is correct and true that Kashi is the hometown of Devi Sati incarnated as Devi Parwati. Lord Shiva and Devi Parwati were married on the day of Mahashivratri and when Lord came to take back Mata to Kailash then the people of Kashi welcomed Him with colours. Rang Bhari Ekadashi is the welcoming of Shiva who came for ‘Gauna’ rituals. As per Hindu scriptures, many centuries have passed but still people follow this tradition of welcoming Shiva in their home town. It is from this day Holi in Varanasi starts.
The city of Varanasi is plunged into devotion and colours to bring Mata Gauna to the abode of Lord Shiva. The colours of this special Holi mark the beginning of happiness, prosperity and containment into our lives. People, especially married couples, believe that their lives will also be filled with love and harmony with the blessings from the Lord and Mata.
Rang Bhari Ekadashi: The Celebrations
On the day of Rang Bhari Holi, the devotees of Lord Shiva pay homage to Kashi Vishwanath temple and offer Lord Gulal, flower petals, sweets and His favourite Bhang.
The celebrations start from the house of Mahant of Kashi Vishwanath temple. The silver idol of Kashi Vishwanath is taken to the house of Mahant in the evening before the day of Rang Bhari Ekadashi to bring Mata idol to the abode of Mahadev, that is Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The idol of Shiva resides in the resident of Mahant for the whole night and it is in the morning that the rituals start during the wee hours. Eleven priests offer milk, Panchamrit to the idol of Shiva and Mata and thereafter start the Rudrabhishek. After which they do the ‘Shringar’ of the idols with flowers and jewellery. The women sing traditional songs to pay obeisance.
Thereafter, again in afternoon religious prayer and songs are sung to honour Mahadev and Devi Parwati. After this devotees offer gulal, abeer and colour to the deities. Then idols are placed inside a palanquin which starts from Mahant’s residence and ends at the temple. The devotees carry palanquin on their shoulder and on the way people play conch, Damru and other musical instruments. They sprinkle Gulal and flower petals on the palanquin. The atmosphere is filled with festivity and the sound of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ echoes everywhere.
When this palanquin reaches the Vishwanath temple then priests perform special puja for the Lord and Mata Gaura.
The Start of the Auspicious Occasion
The celebrations of the ‘Guana’ rituals are performed in a grand style. The Ekadashi on which Bholenath takes Mata to His abode is observed on the 11th day of waxing moon phase of Phalgun month. This Lord plays Holi with Mata in His abode, Vishwanath temple of Kashi but the rituals start on 10th day when the idol of Mahadev is taken to the house of Mahant for Gauna of Mata.
Q- What’s the best place to witness this amazing event and procession?
A- Be in and around Kashi Vishwanath temple on the day of Rang Bhari Ekadashi.
Q- How to reach Varanasi?
A- Varanasi has an international air port and 3 railway stations.
Q- How safe is the Holi in Varanasi?
A- It’s pretty safe in and around the city, but if you are first time visitor, it is suggested to celebrate it with known people.