The Hindu spring celebration of Holi does not begin until 27 March, but the world famous festival of colours has already begun in a big way in parts of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Barsana village in the north Indian state is bathed in colours as part of the annual celebrations of Lathmar Holi. During the festival, which welcomes the spring, hundreds of villagers and tourists assemble in the village to start the celebrations with coloured powder.

Hindu mythology says that Lord Krishna would go to Barsana village, where his lover Radha resided, and would tease her and her friends, known as Gopis, with colours. However, Radha and the Gopis would chase Krishna and his friends out with sticks.

The legend also says that the dark-skinned Krishna was so jealous of the fair-skinned Radha that he would try to change her skin colour by sprinkling colours on her.

Another important part of the festival is a mildly intoxicating drink called thandai, mixed with Bhang paste, made from cannabis. Men consume the drink as a part of the festival celebrations.

The Lathmar Holi celebration, which is unique to Uttar Pradesh, starts about a week before the actual Holi celebration.

The festival is also celebrated with some verve in India's neighbouring country of Nepal.

See the 2013 Lathmar Holi celebrations below:

A student of Rabindra Bharati University reacts as her fellow students apply coloured powder to her face during celebrations for Holi, also known as the festival of colours in Kolkata March 22, 2013. The traditional event heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
People throw coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
A group of women beat a man holding a shield over his head during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana and Nandgaon villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
Villagers gather to watch as a group of women beat a man with sticks during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana and Nandgaon villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
A group of women wait to beat a man with sticks during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana and Nandgaon villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
A Hindu devotee looks up while sitting with others drenched in coloured water during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Barsana and Nandgaon villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
A boy sprays coloured water from a water gun during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Men drag a boy on the ground to cover him in red coloured water during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man, covered with coloured powder, stands inside a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Men covered with coloured powder and water stand inside a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
People covered with coloured powder sit inside a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
People covered with coloured powder dance at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
People covered with coloured powder sit inside a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
A man with his face covered with red coloured water celebrates the "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
A man covered with coloured water dances at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Men with their faces covered with coloured powder clean their eyes at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
A man sits with his face covered with colours during celebrations to mark the "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
People dance as others spray coloured water on them at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood