2013 Holi @ Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago

Click for the GalleryIt was lot of fun at the Holi Celebrations. I did not expect such a crowd, it took more than an hour just to get the parking and get to the premises.

Apart from the music, dance, Holika Dahan (burning of Holika), food & fun – the colors and the celebration definitely make this a photographer heaven. This was one of my first try, shooting an event. The experience was very different from shooting landscapes. Interacting with people, getting to know about them was not as intimidating as I had thought :)

Lot of folks were so open to being photographed and even asked where they can get the shots. If you were one of them feel free to get yours here.


These shots are from 2013 Holi Celebrations at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. These were taken at a public gathering with a good will and understanding. All Photos are copyrighted. NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE. Drop me an email if you would like the original shots for personal use.

Significance of the Celebrations

There are lot of different reasons behind this festival of colors. Though this started off in India, am seeing this cultural celebrations catching up in the major western cities too.

Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the ‘Holika dahan’ comes mainly from this legend.

Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying color on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.

As with any of the religious traditions, there is always a deep meaning behind these. Holi comes when the season moves from cold (winter) to warm (Spring) . The entire event involves movements that are brisk and music as loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the human body and makes the transition smooth. People also clean-up their houses on Holi, burning up the old, which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house. This is kind of equivalent to the spring cleaning that is prevalent in western culture. A cleaner environment generate more positive energy.

Few Moments from the Celebration

Below are some of my favorite shots from the event. For more check out the gallery.

Link to the complete Gallery


25 Responses to “2013 Holi @ Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago”

  1. I’ve been following your wonderful work for quite some time now…have really enjoyed your landscapes. I’m from Chicago (now living in India) and I very much look forward to your Chicago shots to come…it’s a marvelous city full of treasures and I’m sure you’ll have no trouble exploring and discovering it. These are great Holi shots…just lived through it in India…looks pretty much the same in Chicago!


    • Hi Keegan – Thanks for such kind words and appreciate following my work. Glad u enjoy it. Just getting a hang of Chicago (am currently living at Hoffman Estates). It seems to be a mix of ultra urban and definitely lot more countryside feel as you drive out (which was surprise to me). Thanks so much for ur compliments on the Holi shots and Hope ur had as much holi fun in India :)


  2. Stunning pictures, you were obviously right in the middle of the action, the pictures are full of movement and life. Did your camera survive?


    • Hi Ian – Just saw ur comment at my portfolio site and am really glad you found ur way to the blog :) Feel free to connect up over the social n/w as you prefer [https://liketheocean.com/connect/].
      Thanks for the compliments ! As for the camera , a transparent grocery bag and duct tape came to the rescue. No camera was harmed in making these shots :)


  3. Amazing and beautiful!


  4. Sathya, Your photos are wonderful, you certainly captured the mood, colors and spirit. I think your comments are revealing as to making a
    change in your photography and interacting with people in your work. You are so good at what you do, we all look forward to what is coming next on the horizon to enjoy. I can hardly wait!!!


    • Hi Ginny – you are so kind. Thanks for such encouraging words.
      Photography for me is a kind of search both within and outside and am thankful that I am in this path, exploring new avenue within. I am as much eager to see what coming next :)
      Really glad (thanks to technology) in being able to share my passion and shots with people like you !!!


  5. WOw wht an amazing post . If you are ok then may I reblog it ?


  6. Reblogged this on Jaajaabor and commented:
    Last year, I created this post about colours in my neighbourhood because I was missing the fun of Holi Festival in India. For immigrants festive celebrations are a great way to reconnect with their roots and if you happen to find a community celebration it adds to the joy of celebration. This year I stumbled upon the following blog post of Holi celebration and I am reblogging it with permission. I hope you would love the images as much as I did !


  7. Beautiful photos! Love them! Thank you for sharing these with us.


  8. These pictures literally scream out Happiness in the most colourful way! Love it!


  9. That is fun. Cool pictures and I guess a happy funny day


  10. Hi Sathya.. we’re very eager to see the Holi 2014 pics as well !



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