Above: March 22, 2013. Indian villagers from Nandgaon wait for the arrival of villagers from Barsana to play Lathmar Holi at the Nandagram temple in Nandgaon, India. (Manish Swarup—AP)
“It’s a lull before a storm,” AP photographer Manish Swarup tells TIME. “These villagers from Nandgaon have taken a little break after putting colors onto each other while waiting for the arrival of villagers from Barsana, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna.”
This week, Hindus in India celebrated the festival of colors known as Holi, a religious tradition welcoming the coming of spring through singing, dancing and the splattering of vibrant body paint. The event has offered unparalleled creative inspiration for wire photographers working in color like Swarup, whose image from March 22, 2013 made it in this week’s issue of TIME.
The villagers seen above, Swarup explains, “were a little exhausted of playing Holi since morning but their spirits and enthusiasm to color villagers from Barsana was very high. I too was waiting for them. One of the arches on extreme left was empty and I was hoping that someone would come and sit there. Suddenly one of their friends came and rested for a while. I quickly made few frames.”
How does a photographer prepare to enter a scene of flailing water and pigment? Swarup had wrapped his camera in “a cling film and then a protective rain cover.”
See more of this week’s best photos at LightBox.