The Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, begins on 12 March this year, but celebrations have already begun in many Indian states. In Uttar Pradesh state, people are celebrating what is known as Lathmar Holi, a vibrant spring festival celebrated ahead of the Holi festival. Lathmar Holi sees women from the village of Barsana use bamboo sticks to beat men from the neighbouring village of Nandgaon. The men, in turn, tease the women and daub them with coloured powders. Legend has it that Lord Krishna, who lived in Nandgaon, visited his beloved Radha's village, Barsana, on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. He was chased away by the village women with sticks. IBTimesUK takes a look at some of the best pictures from the festival: