Gantholi, the origin of Holi in Braj
The village of Gantholi lies 3 km. west of the town of Govardhan. Here Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the deity of Gopala
sei grāme giyā kaila gopāla-daraśana
premāveśe prabhu kare kīrtana-nartana (Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 18.36)
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went to the village of Gāṅṭhuli-grāma and saw the Lord Gopāla Deity.Overwhelmed by ecstatic love, He began to chant and dance.
aiche parikramd kori govardhana diya; gelena ganthuli grdme ullasita hoiya
raghava pandita srinivasa prati koy; kohiye gathuli grama nama yaiche hoy
etha holi kheli dohhe boise simhdsane; sakhi duhun vastre ganthi dila sahgopane
simhdsana hoite dohhe uthila yokhon; dekhaye bosoye ganthi hdse sakhi-gana
hoilo kautuka ati dohhe lajja paila; phaguya loiya keho ganthi khuli dila
e hetu gathuli – e gulal kundajale; ebe phagu dekhe loka vasantera kale (Bhakti Ratanakar)
“They blissfully proceeded on the parikrama of Govardhan Hill until they reached the village of Ganthuli. Here Raghava Pandita explained to Srinivasa why the village was named Gantholi. He said: “During the Holi pastimes, Radha and Krishna sat down on Their throne here and the sakhis secretly went up to Them from behind to tie up Their clothes. Then they sat down and laughed when the Divine Couple wanted to get up and dance,
but were unable to separate because of the knot. Radha and Krishna became very shy then and one of the sakhis loosened the knot and threw some colored powder at Them. That is why this village is named Ganthuli (the word is derived from the Sanskrit word grantha, which means knot). Even now
every spring season people can see that the lake near this village, named Gulal kund ( gulal is a colored substance used for celebrating Holi) is filled with color.”
This village, Gantholi, is one mile from Gulal-kund. In the month of Falgun, February-March, at the time of Holi, all the gopis were present here, playing Holi with Sri Krishna and the gopas. This is where Holi took place. Sri Krishna and His friends were in one party and Srimati Radha Rani and Her
sakhis were in the opposite party, and there were more gopis than there were gopas. Both the gopas and gopis held syringes (Pichkari) which shot out many colors, and these colors were not easily removable. All places and creatures became reddish because of the throwing of the great quantities of red powder – the sky, trees, cows, and all beings, and especially this kunda, named Gulala Kund after this pastime,
became reddish. Everything in Braj became reddish at that time.
In the meantime Srimati Radha Rani and Krishna sat down together. Seeing this, Lalitaji took Krishna’s pitambara (yellow cloth) and Srimati Radharani’s veil and tied them together in the back, so that no one would be able to see the knot. Krishna and Radha Rani were also not aware of this fact.
Visakha then began to sing a marriage song and all the gopis sang with her. Srimati Radharani and Krsna became ashamed and wanted to run away from there, but They couldn’t do so because Their clothes were tied together. All the gopis then began to clap. The word ganthuli means “knot” or “to tie
together,” and this place is thus known as Gantholi.
After playing Holi Krishna and the gopis took bath in Gulala-kund, and a stream of the kund became reddish . Even now, at the time of Purnima, the birth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a stream within the kund becomes reddish and it can be seen by all.Even the Braj Raj (Holy Dust) at the banks of the kund
is rediish. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami visited this place.
According to Sri Krishna Murari Cheif Priest of Mahaprabhu Baithak in Gulal Kunda , Srimati Radha Rani never played Holi of Colours in Barsana because Barsana is Parental Home of Srimati Radha Rani and daughters never plays Holi in their Parental Home.So both Krishna and Srimati Radha Rani came
to this place and played Holi of colors Gulal.
This is lesser known place but still many piligrims from Gujrat ,maharashtra etc visit this place ,Local
people act in Krishna-Lila drama and re-enact the scenes of Holi for the pilgrims.