A country immersed in ethnicity, India never fails to fascinate her guests with amazing experiences. Although each festival celebrated in this country has prodigious significance in the hearts of people, the one that has several fables and beliefs associated with it is Holi, the ‘Indian Festival of Colours’. While each city in India has its own way to celebrate Holi, the zeal and the idea to revel this day remains the same.
A typical sight in India during Holi will be the buzzing marketplace filled with vibrant gulaal and abeer, kids throwing water balloons and spraying coloured water on passers-by, and elderly people forming tolis to greet friends and family members on this auspicious day. But there are a few elements that might add up to this typical sight when you move from one city to another. This blog will tell you ‘the how’ of it.
1. ‘LathMar’ Holi in Mathura and Brindavan
On the Ghats of Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, Holi is celebrated in one of its wildest forms and is still quite folkloric. Ladies beating up men with lathis while they protect themselves with shields is a common sight in Mathura and neighbouring cities on Holi. It is truly a unique experience to witness the cheerful women taking great pleasure beating up the men of the city.
Don’t worry, it is metaphorical and in the spirit of festivity!
If you are up for an epic Holi experience this year, head out to Mathura. While you are at it, do not forget to take your spouse along with you to enjoy the famous LathMar Holi in India.
2. Basanta Utsav in Shantiniketan
Although Holi is ardently celebrated in Northern India, the eastern part of India also celebrates this day as Basanta Utsav. Shantiniketan observes this day as the arrival of spring that involves folk dance, cultural programs, playing with colours, and wearing yellow-coloured attires along with jewellery pieces made of yellow flowers. What merely started as an annual event to recreate the magic of Holi by the ever-famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore is now one of the most fervently celebrated festivals here. Explore and know more about the Bengali heritage and traditions here; Shantiniketan certainly has a case for being one of the best Holi celebrations in India!
3. Holi with the Royals in Jaipur and Udaipur
Rajasthan, also known as the Land of Kings, encompasses some of the most majestic forts and palaces, magnificent havelis, and splendid traditions that make it an ethereal tourist spot. But other than this, Rajasthan is also one of the best places to witness the celebrations of Holi. From burning the Holika Dahan with the royals at the City Palace in Udaipur to witnessing the elaborately decorated camels, elephants, and horses; from playing colours with the locals on the streets of Jaipur to observing the folk dances of Rajasthan like bhopa, chang, tejali, ghoomer, and kathipuli followed by drinks, a lavish dinner, and amazing fireworks – Holi in Jaipur is truly an eccentric experience!
4. South Indian Style Holi in Hampi
Image Credits – vijaykarnataka.com
Being a North Indian festival, tourists mostly opt for cities like Mathura, Brindavan, Barsana, and Varanasi, for celebrating Holi. But Hampi is one city in the southern part of India that celebrates this auspicious festival as enthusiastically as the North of India does. Hampi, known as one of the most prominent tourist spots for top heritage sites in Karnataka, can be seen steeped in colours on this day. The festival marks the onset of the summer season and is observed with splashing colours all across the streets, dancing to the tunes and folk music followed by a dip in the river to wash the colour off.
5. Goan Holi
Known as Shigmostav, witnessing Holi in Goa is truly a delight. Goans commence the merriments with prayers to the village gods and deities. The major attractions here involve the parades that are held before the festival in Panjim, Vasco, and Margao. You can observe a few highlights of the performing troupes in the parades and cultural dramas. These parades go on for five days until the actual festival of Shigmostav. While these carnivals will help you get an essence of the traditions that surround the Gaon Holi, you must not miss out the beach parties held in Goa. This is one of the days when both locals and tourists are doused in vibrant colours making it one of the best places for Holi celebration in India.
6. Hola Mohalla in Punjab
The Sikhs celebrate Holi (Hola Mohalla) in their own way at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. This is an annual fair celebration that is observed a day after the actual Hindu festival of Holi. First organized by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Hola Mohalla is now one of the most prominent festivals for the Sikh community. While they celebrate Holi in a typical North Indian way, Hola Mohalla is all about showcasing the skills that every Sikh must possess. Since Sikhs are known for their gallantry and bravery, they flaunt their martial art skills, the ability to use swords in simulated battles and even perform tent pegging and bareback horse-riding. This is followed by kirtan, folk music and poetry competition, after which all the visitors sit together to have langar making it a wholesome experience for the tourists. So, if you are in India this Holi, be sure to include Anandpur Sahib in your festival tours.
Holi is a gala of colours that’s best enjoyed carefree. Where are you going to celebrate it this time?! Well, wherever you do, stay safe and celebrate it responsibly.
The team at Veena World wishes you a very Happy Holi!