As the months of February and March arrive, the diverse and distinct Indian demographic prepares to bring in the festival of colours, ‘Holi’. Drenched with traditions, this festival is revealed in different forms across the country and each place has its own charm and craze. These plethoras of celebrations across Indian range from simply sitting back, chilling and partying, to majestic age-old beliefs, to the unique customs attributed to a single place.
As you delve deeper into the different forms of celebrations, you are intrigued further, wishing you could witness each of these celebrations first hand. To ease you into making the right choice for your destination of Holi celebrations, we have prepared a list for you
The Best Places to Experience Holi Celebration in India
1. Mathura/ Vrindavan
Mathura is definitely one of the top places to celebrate Holi in India as it combines both age-old traditions and fun-filled celebration in a perfect setting. Since the festival of Holi originated from the legend of Radha and Lord Krishna’s tale, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is bound to have one of the most spectacular celebrations across the country.
It is one week before the festival that the preparations of the festival start with colourful processions and musical performances. One the final day of Holi, people play with bright coloured powders, apply it to each other faces and wish each other.
The festival of Holi is celebrated in quite a different way in Barsana. Among the celebrations here, the women of Nangaon and Barsana beat up men with sticks and therefore Holi here is also famous by the name of Lathmar Holi.
As a reaction to this beating, the men carry shields to protect themselves. This celebration symbolises the friendly banter between Lord Krishna and the ladies he teased.
When talking of places to celebrate Holi, how can the capital city be given a miss? Though extremely diverse in cultures and backgrounds the people of Delhi celebrate this festival in quite a common fashion across the city.
On the eve of the festival, people lit bonfires, also call Holika celebrating the victory of good over evil and the next day they celebrate with colours and parties. These parties include amazing music, dance, savoured sweets and Bhang.
4. Shantiniketan, West Bengal
Shantinekatan was started by the famous Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and is a part of the Vishwa Bharti University.
The Holi celebrations here also go by the name of Basant Utsav (spring festival) in which, the people of the place reveal the festival by dressing up in saffron coloured clothes and venturing into folk performances including dance and music followed by throwing of colours.
5. Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib witnesses the Sikh version of the celebration of Holi. It celebrates Hola Mohalla a day after Holi. While Holi displays the different colours, this festival exhibits the martial art skills in simulated battles.
This three-day long festival is a witness to a display of weapons, mock battles and is followed by Kirtan and musical poetry competitions. Gatka the famous art of mock encounters with real weapons is also performed here.
6. Jaipur/ Udaipur
One of the major festivals of the state of Rajasthan, Holi celebrations last for two days in the vivid cities of the state. The play with colours is the main highlight of the celebration here which is preceded by the burning of the Holika on its eve.
On the main day, a complete elephant festival is celebrated, wherein elephant parades, beauty contests and tug of wars happen.
In Goa, this festival is celebrated by the name of Shigmotsav, wherein the festival is initiated by prayers to village gods and goddesses.
Spread over a fortnight, the festival enjoys playing with Gulal (the coloured powder) on the fifth day and ends in parades and cultural performances. The beauty of the festival is enhanced by the beaches drenched in colours of the festival.
Though the festival of Holi is a main of north India, yet it is celebrated in Karnataka with great fervour and enthusiasm.
Held for 2 days, the festival here is revelled with the play of colours, drumming, dancing and dips in the Tungabhadra River. This festival is celebrated here mainly to welcome the summer season.
How can the vibrant city of Mumbai be left out when mentioning the spectacular celebrations of Holi across the country? Here the event is revelled in another form altogether wherein, a pot of buttermilk is hanged from a rope high above the ground. This pot of milk is then reached by men by clambering over each other.
The one who breaks the pot receives the prize money within and is named the Holi king for the year. Playing with colour, of course, is the part of the deal. This Holi celebration is symbolic of the naughty gimmicks of Lord Krishna stealing butter in his childhood.
10. Purulia, West Bengal
Purulia again witnesses a celebration that involves much of the folk performances as it celebrates the Basant Utsav. In addition to the same, a play of colours also forms quite an integral part of the festival.
This three-day celebration includes the remarkable Chau Dance, Darbari Jhurmur, Natua Dance and the songs of the local wandering musicians.
The celebrations of the festival of Holi across India are as vibrant and as distinguished as the colours it portrays. To understand the beauty of this festival, to witness the traditions and to share the joy of the people, be a part of this festival. Feel free to share your experiences and beliefs about the same in the comments sections below.