Festival of Colors: A place to let your inner child out

By Mike Gorrell | The Salt Lake Tribune

From the hilltop where the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple overlooks southern Utah County, incoming pilgrims to the Holi Festival of Colors stood out in their clean white shirts.


That look didn’t last long.

The Holi Festival of Colors will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

“I didn’t walk five feet past the gate before I got clobbered with dust,” laughed David Klco, 54, of Park City, as he stood on the temple hill, watching as pulsating masses of multicolored people danced below, throwing “colors” on anyone and everyone, and passing body surfers uphill from the mosh pit in front of the main stage.

“I came to celebrate my daughter’s 34th birthday,” Klco added. “She loves this stuff. She’s a rocker.”

She was in the right place Saturday. The 25th annual Festival of Colors was a rock concert in technicolor, tens of thousands of people streaming into Spanish Fork for some exposure to Hindu chants and thoughts while plastering their pals and strangers with dust of many vibrant colors — $3 a bag, five for $12.

“It’s a place for your inner child to come out,” said Robynn Kirkham, a Pleasant Grove accountant who runs a construction company when she doesn’t have fluorescent yellow splatters on her temporarily purple and orange face.

The crowd was heavily weighted toward college, high school and junior high school students. But people of all ages made sometimes long walks to reach the temple, with its accompanying farm with llamas and peacocks.

Ranjan Khurana came from Boise with his wife, Anu, because friends in the Spanish Fork Hindu congregation had gushed about how electrifying the event had become.

“It’s vibrant and everybody is just so cheerful,” said Anu. “It’s a blessing that so many people are here celebrating the colors.”

Temple priest Caru Das appeared frequently onstage, exhorting crowd members to give hugs — “not just to the people you came with. Hug a stranger” — and not to think of themselves as ordinary.

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