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The Complete story of Holi with Pictures

Updated on August 21, 2012

This is the story of holi that I learnt from my father in childhood . Recently When I wanted to check the story , I googled and found that most of the sites were giving a vague account of the story . So I decided to make this article which would well illustrate the whole story .

Holi is not the story of lord Narayan or the demon Hiranyakaship. It indeed is the story of bakt Prahalad and his devotion to Narayan. It is yet another legend of victory of good over evil.

The tale goes this way .....

Story of Holi

There lived a brutal king Hiranyakaship. He Had a brother named Hiranyaksh. Both of them ware ruling their territories in a despotic manner .

Hiranyaksh was killed by Lord Vishnu in the avatar of a pig ( Varaha ) .This developed enimity between Hiranyakaship and Narayan. Hiranyakaship wanted to take revenge. He set off to kill Narayan. But he was stoped by a confidant as Narayana was way too powerful than Hiranyakaship.


Hiranyakaship would not give in. He started an intense penance to impress Lord Brahma. Many deities tried to curb the penance. Neither the wind, nor fire, nor women, nor storms could stop his undertaking. He thus profoundly won the heart of Lord Brahma.


Meanwhile, the deities ( Indra and others ), attacked Hiranyakaship's kingdom and destroyed it. Lilavati, Hiranyakaship's wife flees away and finds shelter at Narad muni's ashram. There she attends the daily prayers, indulges herself in Bajans of Lord Vishnu (Narayan , Hari) and listen to his stories from Narad. All this divinity was being experienced by the child in her stomach. Thus Hiranyakaship's son , who was named as Prahalad (One who does not hurt others) by Narad muni was a devotee to Narayan by birth.


Brahma descended to Earth. Overwhelmed, Hiranyakaship pleads Brahma to turn him into the most powerful person of the three worlds i.e., Heaven , Earth and Hell ( Trilok ). He asks him the boon of being immortal. He must not be killed

- By any man or animal

- In the day or in the night

- Indoors or outdoors

- With any kind of armor

- In heaven or in Hell

- In air , water or land

Pleased by his penance, Brahma immediately grants his wish.


On attaining this boon, Hiranyakaship turns highly desirous and starts to capture the whole world through his power . He grows so arrogant and self-centered that he puts to death whoever worships Hari (Narayan). He enforced a law that none, but he should be worshiped as God . Out of fear , all succumbed to him ; except his son Prahalad.


Hiranyakaship discovers that while the whole world surrendered to him , his son is still immersed in devotion of Hari . He tried to convince his son . But the little boy talked of Hari and none. Hiranyakaship could not take it. He decided to kill his son . He employed numerous ways to kill him. But each time Prahalad's fervent prayers saved him.

Vexed, Hiranyakaship asks his sister Holika to help . Holika was given a boon that she cannot be destroyed by fire. The vicious aunt gets into fire with Prahalad in her arms. In doing so she forgets that she can escape fire only when she is alone. Thus she burns into ash. This time too , true to Prahalad's faith , Lord Vishnu saves him. Prahalad returns alive from fire to everyone's awe.

Thus in many parts of India a bonfire is set-up to commemorate Holika's death ( after whome the festival is named) on the day of Holi.


Enraged , Hiranyakaship decides to kill his son himself . When his father was reaching Prahalad to kill him, he did not show a sign of fear .

Surprised , Hiranyakaship asks, "What is your confidence in Hari ? He can not save you this time. He is not even here."

Prahalad replies , " Hari is everywhere. All around us."

Hiranyakaship laughs devilishly and points to a pillar next to him saying, " If what you say is right, your Hari must be within this pillar. "

Saying so he breaks the pillar with his armor.

Lord Narayan looms out of the pillar in the avatar / form of dreadful Narasimha (Half Nar - human and half Simha - lion).


Narasimha instantly carries Hiranyakaship to the entrance of the house . Sits there . Places Hiranyakaship on his laps and rips his stomach to pull out his intestine.

While doing so he say , " I'm neither a human or nor an animal ; we are not inside or outside your palace, we are at the entrance; we are not in Hell or Heaven, we are on Earth; I'm not using any armor , but my nails; you are neither in air nor on land, you are on my lap; Its neither day nor night, its evening (sandhya)."

Thus ends the reign of evil in the world once again.

Do you already know this complete story behind Holi ?

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    • profile image

      rameshwer yadav 3 years ago

      I like

    • Preethi Anusha profile image

      Preethi Anusha 5 years ago from Hyderabad , India

      Thank you ...

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Good hub and a tale told the way it happened. Voted up and interesting.