Young Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous. The story goes
that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha's fair complexion
since he himself was very dark.
One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of
nature which made Radha so fair and he so dark. To pacify the crying young
Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and colour Radha's face in
whichever colour he wanted.
In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda
and applied colour on her beloved Radha's face; Making her one like himself.
Well, there is also a legend to explain Krishna's dark complexion. It so
happened that once a demon attempted to kill infant Krishna by giving him
poisoned milk. Because of which Krishna turned blue. But Krishna did not die
and the demon shriveled up into ashes.
The beautiful scene of Krishna's prank in which he played colour with Radha
and other gopis has been made alive in myriad forms in a number of paintings
Somehow, the lovable prank of Krishna where he applied colour on Radha and
other gopis using water jets called pichkaris
gained acceptance and
popularity. So much so that it evolved as a tradition and later, a
Till date, use of colours and pichkaris is rampant in Holi. Lovers long to
apply colour on their beloveds face and express their affection for each
This legend is wonderfully brought alive each year all over India,
particularly in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon-the places
associated with Krishna and Radha.
In fact, the entire country gets drenched in the colour waters when it is
time for Holi and celebrate the immortal love of Krishna and Radha.
In some states of India, there is also a tradition to place the idols of
Radha and Krishna in a decorated palanquin, which is then carried along the
main streets of the city. All this while, devotees chant Krishna's name,
sing devotional hymns and dance in the name of the lord.