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Uttarkashi’s ‘Butter Holi’
Report by Raju Gusain

Butter Holi Butter Holi of Uttarkashi
Report by Raju Gusain

By Raju Gusain
With a picture postcard like setting, the Dayara Bugyal in district Uttarkashi has something special in store for tourists this month. The opportunity to play Holi with butter, milk and ‘Chacch’ (butter milk) on the lush green high altitude meadow is a once in a lifetime experience.
The ‘Dayara Paryatan Utsav Samiti’, based in village Raithal, is hosting the unique butter festival, locally known as ‘Anduri’, from 16 to 18 August. Besides the traditional Holi, cultural programmes will be organised to make it a memorable outing for visitors.
The festival is associated with the practice of villagers moving to higher altitudes during summer. For four long months, highlanders move with their cattle to high altitudes for pasture. When winter approachs and its time for them to leave the grasslands, the villagers celebrate ‘Anduri’ to express their gratitude to Mother Earth. It is their time to celebrate having had a safe and comfortable stay on the Bugyal. And, also, in the hope of getting more fodder next time.
Commenting on this, Chandan Singh Rana of village Raithal told Garhwal Post, “Lord Krishna worshipped the Goverdhan Parvat. In similar fashion, Anduri is celebrated at the Dayara Bugyal. The fair is a symbol of nature’s close association with man. It is celebrated to express gratitude to Mother Nature.” This year, a group of young tourism professionals from Uttarkashi is promoting the Butter festival. This has brought a new zeal among Raithal villagers. Deependra Panwar, a local hotelier, says, “We are making an attempt to host the festival in an organised way. We will carry out internet publicity and also field a campaign in Dehradun, Mussoorie and Rishikesh to attract tourists.”
These tourism professionals will market the festival. The Raithal village and the group of tourism professionals will share whatever profits there are. The Butter festival package tour is of three days. During it, the visitors will dwell in tented accommodations.
Ajay Puri says, “This time we will market the fair to make it commercially viable. By this we will promote tourism as well as introduce our rich culture to the rest of the world.”
To create awareness about this unique festival, the publicity is all set to start soon. Make your vacation a memorable one this time, participate in the Butter Festival.

The splendours of the Dayara Bugyal and the uniqueness of the Anduri Utsav (Butter Holi) came together here to create magic on Thursday. It turned out to be a truly memorable event for the visitors.
Around 500 villagers and 50 tourists participated in playing Holi with butter, milk and butter-milk at an altitude of 3048 mts. The butter smeared faces of the people present were a sight to behold and the singing of the villagers echoed through the lush green surroundings! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the tourists. Anduri is celebrated to thank Krishna for protecting the cattle from evil forces while they are grazing in the open meadows of Dayara. It is also celebrated to mark the occasion of Krishna's lifting of Govardhan Parbat to crush the ego of Indra.

After the Butter Holi was over, school students presented a small cultural programme to further charge up the atmosphere. The villagers impatiently wait for this Holi of a different kind. Stating this, Chandan Singh Rana told Garhwal Post over the phone line from Dayara Bugyal, "Village women are among the advance party to reach Dayara Bugyal. They prepare 'Chacch' for the festival."
On Thursday, a boy and girl portraying Krishna and Radha visited the Channies (temporary dwelling places). The villagers applied butter on the faces of Krishna and Radha, seeking their blessings.
The festival is also associated with the practice of the villagers to move to higher altitude with cattle for pasture. When they leave the grasslands at the approach of winter, they celebrate Anduri as gratitude to Mother Nature.

The traditional 'Raso' group dance by villagers was another highlight of the day. The vibrant mood of the people singing in local dialects accompanied with folk music was a treat to watch.

The Raithal villagers proceeded to Dayara in the wee hours of the day. The tourists began their 6 km long trek at around 10 a.m. When they reached Goai, 4 kms from village Raithal, they got the first chance to play Butter Holi with the villagers. After Goai, the main Holi took place at the Dayara Bugyal.

As the boy portraying Krishna broke the pot filled with butter-milk, the entire Dayara Bugyal echoed to the sound of clapping and chants in praise of Krishna. Truly electrifying was the Anduri Utsav-2006!