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Nation awash with colours on day of Holi
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Clothes were dyed with myriad colours as hugs and embraces were exchanged in lanes and bylanes to mark Holi, the festival of fun and frolic, which was celebrated with gusto and bonhomie in many parts of the country on Wednesday.

Water-filled balloons were hurtled down from rooftops and balconies as revellers thronged thoroughfares singing and dancing to the accompaniment of drums to celebrate the festival of colours.

Forgetting all rancour and old grievances, friends and foes embraced each other wishing "Happy Holi" as unseen hands squirted them with a well-timed coloured water spray.

Colourful Rangoli patterns were drawn at the entrance of houses as the scent of sweet delicacies, cooked up on the occasion, wafted through the air.

Musical soirees were held at many places to mark the festival which bids adieu to winter and heralds the spring season.

Barring a few drunken brawls and bullet wounds sustained by an eight-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh, the festivities passed off peacefully.

The girl was shot at and injured by a person who was allegedly infuriated over her sprinking colours on him in a village in Shahdol district.

In the national capital, politicians and commoners, awash in colours, mingled with each other to celebrate the festival as the cries of "Holi hai" reverberated the streets.

It was a quiet Holi for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recovering from a coronary bypass surgery, as some of his ministerial colleagues called on him to greet him on the joyous occasion.

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani did not celebrate Holi in view of the Mumbai terror mayhem in November last year while party chief Rajnath Singh took part in the festivities.

In Ahmedabad in Gujarat, children and the young and the old alike splashed colours on each other with song and music in the background adding to the perfect ambience.

Foreigners participated in the festivities at famous Calangute beach in coastal Goa and danced to traditional folk numbers in the City Palace in Pink City Jaipur.

The President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister greeted the nation on the occasion saying the festival was the harbinger of joy, happiness and fulfilness.

They said the spontaneity and liveliness associated with its celebrations symbolise the spirit of togetherness and harmony.

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