Sujanpur (Himachal Pradesh), March 26 : The four-day Holi celebrations of Sujanpur, which trace their origin to the erstwhile Katoch princely ruler Sansar Chand, began with a riot of colours Tuesday, organisers said.
The celebrations, which include folk festivals, will end Thursday, a day after Holi celebrations end in other northern states.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while opening the festival at the historic Chaugan here Monday evening, said the Sujanpur Holi festival was famous not only in the state but in entire northern India.
"It's a matter of pride that its rich traditions are being followed even today," he said.
Organisers said the state-level Holi festival has been celebrated since Sansar Chand (1765-1823) turned it into a popular folk festival on the lines of Holi of 'Brij' in Uttar Pradesh.
Besides its historic and religious significance, the festival is linked to the well-being and prosperity of locals. It also promotes tourism and trade.
It is believed that on this day, the Katoch ruler would put aside his royalty and mingle with the masses.
A tank in the royal palace was filled with coloured water and Sansar Chand would kick off the celebrations by splashing it on his queens and relatives.
Legend has it that Sansar Chand would take the form of Lord Krishna and his wife Rani Suketki would transform into Radha when they played Holi.
The entire royal family set out of the palace on elephants and passed through streets of the town. The people standing along the way would throw colours on them.
The Radha-Krishna temple here is believed to have been built by Sansar Chand in 1790 on the advice of his mother.
Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, handicrafts, carpets and dry fruits are a major attraction for the customers during the celebrations. (IANS)