Walking up to the temple we were greeted by a friendly llama who walked right up to the fence to take freshly picked grass from our hands. Behind our new friend were the outlines of the ornately lavish temple and plumes of heavily scented, brightly colored plumes of chalk. We eagerly walked the half mile (the closest parking we could find) and said hello to the passerbys dressed head to foot in purple, pink, yellow, and blue chalk.
The scene surrounding the temple was awe inspiring. Crowds chanting along with the live band, Hare Krishna, Hare, Hare! they sang. Explosions of color burst like fireworks above the chanters. It's like a happy war, I said. The whole scene felt dreamy and unreal. A giggle escaped at the craziness of it all.
The Hare Krishnas were celebrating Holi, the arrival of Spring, a tradition that has been celebrated in India since ancient times. The merriment was greeted gladly by throngs of people that included a bonfire, chanting and singing, and the throwing of brightly colored chalk. There could be no better way to celebrate Spring.
Sadly the chalk had run out by the time we made it, but Xavier was lucky enough to get sprayed by a handful of pink to the back of the head. He enjoyed this until the chalk made its way into his mouth and then he was spitting pink for the rest of our time there. Just like the llamas.
Walking back to the car felt like we were leaving an exotic, mystical land where the scenery is breathtaking, the language is sung in chants, and all the people are technicolor.