Best places to celebrate Holi in India
If you thought Holi was just about playing with colors & enjoying Bhaang, think again. From the Basanta Utsav in West Bengal to the Lathmar festival in Barsana, Holi is celebrated in diverse & interesting ways across India. It really depends on what sort of an experience you’re looking at. Here, we bring you the best places to be at to witness the splash of colors & enjoy the festival in India.
1. Barsana, UP – Lathmar Holi festival
Women of Barsana village have the upper hand here. If you really want to witness an action packed Holi, head to Barsana where the women of Barsana village beat up men from the neighbouring Nangaon village.
Legend has it that Lord Krishna used to visit Radha who hailed from Barsana & as other women took offence to this act, they chased him away. The locals still follow the ritual as an enactment & no offence is taken even if someone is hurt in case the women miss the shield that men carry to protect themselves. Lathmar Holi takes place around a week before Holi & in 2015 it will be held on February 27.
2. Udaipur- Royal Holi
People light bonfires on the even of Holi to mark the occasion & ward off evil. This ritual is called Holika Dahan. For an unforgettable experience in Udaipur, join in the celebrations of the Mewar royal family. An extravagant procession is held from the palace to Manek Chowk at the City Palace which includes ornamented horses & a royal band.
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3. Anandpur Sahib, Punjab – Warrior Holi
Hola Mohalla is an annual fair during Holi which dates back to the 17th century. It was first organised by Guru Gobind Singh to celebrate Holi and instead of the regular splash of colors, you would witness a demonstration of physical agility, acrobatics, turban tying & mock sword fights.
You can check Punjab tourism which organises a four day Hola Mohala tour
4. Shantiniketan, West Bengal – Spring Festival
Started by famous Bengali poet, Sir Rabindranath Tagore as Basanta Utsav (Spring Festival), inspired by spring & colors of Holi. It was introduced as an annual event in his Vishwa Bharati University. Every year students & faculty of the University dress up in colors of Spring & put together a cultural program for visitors. Basanta Utsav is a cherished part of the Bengali culture & it is definitely worth travelling for.
5. Mathura & Vrindavan – Traditional Holi
In Mathura & Vrindawan, Holi gets underway 40 days prior to the actual Holi day, on Vasant Panchami. In Mathura, Holi celebrations start near the Holi Gate. A long procession with colors and music takes place on Holi (March 6, 2015) from the temples along the river to the gate. There are also week long shows held in both Mathura (in Sri Krishna Janmastham) & Vrindavan (Banke Bihari temple)
6. Goa – Carnival Holi
Shigmotsav, Goa’s answer to Holi is a fusion between Holi & Carnival. It is the biggest festival of Hindus in Goa and celebrated over a fortnight. There are beautifully lit floats taken out in Panaji & other places like Ponda, Vasco & Madgaon. On full moon day in the month of Phalguna, the last month of the Hindu calendar is when the Shigmotsav is held. While the festivities begin with prayers, the last five days are when the parades are held. The parades go through the streets and end at the temples where all the dances are held & it culminates with the use of Gulal to color everyone.
7. Delhi – Modern Holi
In Delhi, the event takes a more chilled out tone where you will be splashed with colors by children & adults alike if you step out on Holi. If you’re in Delhi, do not miss the Holi Cow Festival which is held just a few kms away from main city. It is a festival of colors, music & madness and is a safe & non-toxic celebration which is attended by all. Non- toxic colors, bhaang lassis & sprinklers will be provided for everyone to get into the festival mood.
Get more information on Holi Cow Festival
So, which one interests you? Drop in your comments below.