Thousands of people gathered and huddled together, mostly without face masks, at the Shri Radha Rani temple in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura celebrating 'Laddu maar Holi' on Monday violating several coronavirus guidelines.
In a video, shared by news agency ANI, a sea of devotees thronged the temple in Mathura's Barsana catching laddus thrown possibly by the temple's workers from what seemed to an elevated part in the temple complex.
Men, women and even children jump and try to catch the laddus that are being thrown in the video. They even threw laddus at each other. The temple's premises were overflowing with people; very few had masks on and there was no social distancing.
The minute-and-a-half long video from the temple comes as India battles a recent Covid spike, prompting authorities to implement stricter measures across many states.
The 'laddu maar' holi is celebrated in Barsana a day before the famous and iconic 'lath maar' holi in the same area. 'Lath maar holi' is celebrated with sticks and colour, where women hit men with sticks while they try to shield themselves.
Both variants of the festival are connected to a legend about Lord Krishna visiting Radha, who was from Barsana, a town 50 km from Mathura. The Radha Rani temple in Barsana is dedicated to her and is a famous landmark in Uttar Pradesh.
"About corona, I can tell you that there is no corona here," a devotee said in an interview to news agency ANI.
People on Twitter were not happy with the crowd violating Covid norms at the temple.
"Is this a joke? COVID still there!" commented one Twitter user.
"How Covid doesn't spread in UP after such celebrations? What local administration is doing?" tweeted another.
How Covid doesn't spread in UP after such celebrations? What local administration is doing?— Niytiin BBindal 24 (@nitinbindal) March 23, 2021
In a Covid review meeting last evening, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered increased surveillance across the state to prevent a surge in cases in view of Holi, other upcoming festivals and the coming panchayat elections, a press release by the government said.
The chief minister has ordered that no processions or gatherings will be allowed without the permission of the local administration, the press note said.
Uttar Pradesh reported over 500 fresh cases of coronavirus in the 24-hour period ending Monday evening, with state capital Lucknow alone accounting for one fifth of these cases.
The state has lodged over 6.07 lakh coronavirus cases so far.