Millions of Indians are celebrating the Holi festival, dancing to the beat of drums, smearing each other with green, yellow and red colours and exchanging sweets in homes, parks and streets.
Free from wearing masks and other COVID-19 restrictions after two years, they drenched each other with coloured water on Wednesday.
“Wishing you all a happy and colourful Holi!” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bollywood and other celebrities organised bashes for friends and posted photos on social media.
“People who work hard, play hard,” said Ravi Sharma, a pharmacy owner.
One of the most popular Hindu festivals, Holi, which also marks the beginning of spring, celebrates the divine love of Hindu god Krishna with his consort Radha.
On Tuesday night, people made bonfires with logs of wood in open spaces to commemorate the triumph of good over evil – Hindu god Vishnu killing a demon, Hiranyakashipu.
Holi traditions vary across India. In two northern towns, hundreds of women celebrated last week by playfully hitting men with wooden sticks in response to their teasing as part of a ritual.
Drinking is part of the celebrations. New Delhi reported record liquor sales on Monday, a whopping 2.6 million bottles sold on a single day, compared with an average of 1.1 million bottles, according to The Times of India newspaper.