Hints of Holi: after India’s festival of colours, the powdered dyes linger on

Days after Holi, India’s festival of colours, the powdered dyes linger on in tiny cracks, on walls, on doors, paving stones and alcoves – even on cows and dogs. They are reminders of a happy day filled with colours and joy.

In the desert town of Jaisalmer, the pavements and brickwork made from locally quarried sandstone, are stained pink with Holi colours.

Lines of pink powder line horizontal ridges in buildings.


Cows and calves carry the temporary dye given in love. These we spotted just outside the fort walls.


Young children add water to the pink powder and squirt them through water sprayers called fiskaris. Here is evidence of an aerial ambush from a high window.


In a wall behind the Jain temple in the fort of Jaisalmer is a small alcove in the sandstone wall stained pink with Holi colours. Inside is a small temple with a clay butter lamp dedicated to the elephant-headed god, Ganesha.


In the mornings, the shopkeepers wash the paving stones in front of their shops. Here the water has mixed with the pink powder and collected in small dimples in the sandstone paving. It looks menacing like the blood from an abbatoir, but it’s the red of Holi, of joy of fun and of love.


This stone wall shows evidence of a water spurt – the small wooden shutter has traces of green and pink dry powder.


A poster for a film released during Holi. Its drips of colour, a proper drenching it seems, adding a fitting after-touch.


A ground shot of a stone at the front door of a house. Holi colours still line the paving, the water pipe and the horizontal spaces in the old blue front door.


The alleys after midnight are populated with friendly stray dogs and hungry white cows. Some still have the pink powder dye of Holi on their backs.


One of the impressive old doors of the fort backstreets. The left door and step have traces of the pink Holi powder. I wonder if the owners deliberately refrain from wiping them as reminders of positive reinforcement.


In the courtyard of a traditional hotel, a haveli, the pink powder dye hides in paving stones and matches the fallen petals of a bougainvillea.

The bougainvillea, one of the subcontinent’s most dashing and colourful plants, seems to propagate the vibrancy of the soon to disappear Holi colours.


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