Streets across India turned into a playground as people threw coloured powder and water at each other to celebrate Holi, also known as the festival of colour.

The festivities were particularly spirited in the town of Mathura in the Braj region of northern India. Women playfully beat men with sticks and tried to rip their shirts off. In turn, men used their torn clothes to retaliate. All this was combined with such large amounts of coloured powders and dyed water that the streets ran orange.

Mathura is where Lord Krishna was born, and Holi festivities can go on for more than a week.

Being covered in colour brings relative anonymity, and in largely conservative India, this means Holi is a time when men and women and boys and girls can mingle with relative freedom.

Some studies have suggested the industrial powders used can be toxic and cause asthma, temporary blindness and even skin cancer.