Revellers, with their clothes dyed in myriad hues, thronged lanes and bylanes dancing to the accompaniment of drums as gusto and bonhomie marked the Holi festival which passed off peacefully across the country on Sunday.

Forgetting all rancour and old grievances, people from all walks of life exchanged hugs and embraces wishing “Happy Holi” as unseen hands squirted them with a well-timed coloured water spray.

The spirit of jollity reigned supreme as politicians and commoners mingled with each other on the occasion.

Water-filled balloons were hurtled down from rooftops and balconies as cries of “Holi hai” reverberated the streets which presented a riot of colours.

Musical soirees were held at many places to mark the festival which bids adieu to winter and heralds the spring season.

Colourful Rangoli patterns were drawn at the entrance of houses as the scent of sweet delicacies, cooked up on the occasion, wafted through the air.

With police keeping a watchful eye, the festival of fun and frolic passed off peacefully across the country.

In Rajasthan, however, SHO (Sadar) Manoj Gupta received injuries in a clash during Holi celebrations at Hasanpura near Jaipur, police said.

Holy city Mathura was soaked in colours as tens of thousands of pilgrims descended on the land of Lord Krishna to celebrate the exuberant festival of colours.

The young and the old splashed colours on each other with religious songs in the background adding to the perfect ambience.

In Punjab, holy city Anandpur Sahib, some 85-km from Chandigarh, was tastefully decorated as devotees flocked to the famous Sikh shrine to pay obeisance.

Top BJP leader L K Advani celebrated Holi with family and friends at his residence in the national capital. Senior party leaders Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar visited him.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda did not participate in the Holi festivities in view of the enormous devastation wrought in by the monster earthquake-and-tsunami in Japan.

In some towns, foreigners enthusiastically participated in the celebrations which began last evening with lighting up of the bonfire known as “Holika Dahan“.

Effigies of Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashyap, the demon king, were set ablaze at several places symbolising the destruction of evil.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a host of leaders greeted the nation on the occasion hoping the festival would help in fostering the spirit of unity and harmony among the people.