Milk Holi – yes as the name indicates Holi is not the festival of colours but a festival of milk in Chikka Vankala Kunta village in Koppal district of Karnataka. In 2015, Holi festival was celebrated on 11th February in this village with a lot of pomp and joy while other parts of India will celebrate Holi on March 5th and 6th. The villagers celebrate Holi with milk and curd.
If the rest of the country will go berserk with coloured water later this month during Holi, the residents of Chikka Vankala Kunta in Koppal district, about 400 km from Bangalore, celebrated their own version on Wednesday— with milk and curds.
Every year, during the car fair of the Hanuman temple, thousands of cattle rearers throw milk at each other. The Haalu Okuli (milk Holi) is organized on the seventh day after Bharat Poornima. This year, the fair was held with traditional fanfare on Friday. People wore old clothes and threw them away after the milk fest. While most men wore only shorts or lungis, women preferred new sarees.
Early in the morning, they carried milk and curd from home and converged in front of the temple. They applied bhasma (sacred ash) by mixing it with milk and performed a small puja. Then, they threw milk at each other and praised Lord Hanuman with lusty slogans. This went on till noon, after which all the celebrants plunged into the village lake for a bath. They came back, performed another puja and started the rath utsav (car festival). The rath was pulled along the main roads and brought back to the temple. The deity was worshipped again, followed by a mass lunch.
Preparations for the Okuli began a week ago. “The whole village collects milk. Devotees from surrounding villages too collected milk. They joined in the celebrations,” says village elder Dasappa Gollar.