Holi, The Festival of Colours in Ancient Texts and Inscriptions

shahista-khan-playing-holi-ancient-paintingHoli is considered as an ancient Hindu festival. Several Vedas and Puranas mentioned Holi celebrations and references of the festival. Holi 2012 date is March 8, 2012.

Holikotsav in Puranas and other ancient texts:

The Narada Purana and the Bhavishya Purana are the important puranas in which we can see the reference of Holi celebrations in ancient times. Festival of colours, Holi is also mentioned Jaimini Mimansa.

Reference of Holikotsav in Ramgarh Inscriptions:

A stone inscription dated back 300 BC, excavated at Ramgarh in Vindhya province, finds Holikotsavs reference on it. Ratnavali, written by King Harsha in 7th century, has some representations about the celebrations of Holikotsav in Harshas kingdom.

Holi – A Bridge between Hindu and Muslim Communities:

Ulbaruni, the popular Muslim tourist, discussed about Holikotsav in his works. Some other Muslim historians of that time have scripted that Holikotsav was not only a celebration for Hindus but also for Muslims. They also stated that Holikotsav served as a bridge to cut down the barriers between the Hindu and Muslim cultural communities.

Depiction of Holikotsav in Ancient Paintings and Murals:

Apart from the above mentioned ancient texts, Holi festival also finds its place in the sculptures on old shrines walls. A mural sculpted in a shrine at Hampi (now in Karnataka), capital city of Vijayanagar, a South Indian province, depicts a scene of Holikotsav.

A painting in Ahmednagar which sculpted before 16th century also depicts the Holi celebrations, people spraying colours on each other. Some other paintings and murals such as a painting in Mewar depict the King with his courtiers celebrating Holi.

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