Excited to celebrate the Holi festival? The time has come to get dissolve in the festive colors. The colors on which the whole universe is laid upon. This festival of colors, Holi has various faces and they can be seen across the country. So, here are some best places to celebrate Holi in India. The places which can give you the thrill of this festival.
Holi is a widely famous ancient Hindu festival with its unique cultural rituals. It is one of the major festivals in India, which is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety as it brings closeness among the people. Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It is considered the second biggest festival on the Hindu calendar after Diwali.
Holi is celebrated in the spring season because it is welcomed spring so it is popularly known as “the festival of spring”. On this day, people try to play with different splashes of colors like Gulal, wet and dry solid colors with each other so also known as “the festival of colors”. Also, people celebrate it with their neighbors, relatives, friends, and well-wishers also called “the festival of love”.
Like all the festivals that are Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Lohri, etc the preparation and celebration are done with great love and fun. It is the Festival of togetherness, harmony, and peace and spreads love and unity among people. It is considered as the mark of hope and joy.
Holi is the most significant festival of India mostly celebrated in the month of March or “Falgun” every year. The month of “Falgun” indicates the transition of winter to the summer season. This festival signifies the victory of good over evil and is celebrated as a day of spreading happiness and love. The festival is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.
The Legend Behind The Holi Festival
Holi is based on a legend about King “Hiranyakashyap”. King Hiranyakashyap had a great son named “Prahlad” and a sister named “Holika”. Holika was once blessed by Brahma that she will not be harmed by fore ever in her life. She had a shawl, which would protect her. And Prahlad was an advent devotee of Lord Vishnu. With the passage of time, Prahlad’s devotion becomes a thorn in his father’s (Hiranyakashyap) eyes.
King become very angry and decided to kill his son. After lots of attempts failed, he took helps from his sister, Holika. She was asked by her brother to be seated in the flames with Prahlad to kill him. However, as soon as the fire soared, the blessed shawl of Holika fluttered away to cover Prahlad. In this way, Prahlad lived and Holika burnt and died.
As it is believed, no one can harm the person who has God as his savior. Thus Prahlad came out of the burning fire safely and Holika was burnt to death. That is why it signifies the victory of good over evils. Before a day of Holi, people light bonfire during this festival indicating the death of Holika.
Marks the Begining
As the Hindi saying goes, “Buran a mano Doston Holi Hai” that translates into “Don’t mind my friend, it’s the time of Holi, so forgive my funny impish pranks on you”. So keeping it in mind on the morning of Holi, people celebrate by playing it with vibrant colors, flowers, spraying water, water balloons, and water guns, etc. People and kids throw water balloons at each other. People enjoyed participating in singing, folk dances along with playing instruments like dhol, drowning in thandai-gorging on Gujiya, exhibiting Kusthi and kirtan with them.
After a day full of excitement, people spend evenings with friends and relatives by exchanging sweets and greetings. It is believed that Holi induces the feeling of loyalty and love in the mind of everyone and even enemies become intact on this day.
Holi is a festival that is considered a day where people forget, forgive, make up broken relationships and got back to the happy world again.
Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.
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Many have a sting to see the charismatic colors of this festival of colors and for this, they choose different parts of the country. Below are some best places to celebrate the Holi festival in India. Let’s see which place suits you well for this festival.
Best Places to Celebrate Holi Festival in India
Barsana: (Lath Mar Holi of Brijbhoomi)
In Barsana town in Mathura district, a district of Uttar Pradesh. It is also known as the birthplace of Radha Rani. In Barsana, people celebrate Holi called “Lath Mar Holi”. It takes place well before the actual Holi in the town of Barsana.
The name “Lath Mar Holi” means that Holi in which women hit men with sticks. In the large compound of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, thousands of people gather to witness the Lath Mar Holi, where women have the option to playfully hit men who save themselves with shields.
For the day, men are culturally expected to accept whatever women dish out to them. This tradition sounds very dangerous but this ritual happens in Barsana called Lath Mar Holi. This becomes even more fun and interesting when people together indulge in singing and dancing. It is best to design a visit to Barsana when Holi is praised.
With this crazy celebration, people sing the Holi celebration and shout Sri Radhey Rani or Shri Krishna Name. People organize water tanks filled with colored water and chemical-free natural colors to enjoy this moment. You can witness the brightness and magnificence that imprints Barsana Holi effortlessly.
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Mathura & Vrindavana: (Religious Holi celebration)
The Banke Bihari temple of Lord Krishna, in the city of Vrindavana in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, is one such holy place to enjoy the Holi festival. It is situated near Shri Radha Vallabha Temple.
Mythological stories say that the legend of Radha and Krishna is closely linked with this tradition of colors on Holi. Young Krishna, who had a dark complexion was jealous of his beloved Radha’s extremely fair skin. In a mischievous mood, he applied color on Radha’s face.
Following this ancient legend, lovers to date long to color their beloved as an expression of love. Celebrants daub themselves in beautiful colored powder (Gulal), to celebrate the victory of good over evil, fertility, and love. It is also associated with the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Radha.
In addition to the use of colored Gulal, flowers & wet colors, the celebration s of Holi in Mathura & Vrindavana also include loud music and dance of Lord Krishna. The Spray of colors adds to the excitement, and the folks remember Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha Rani by chanting ‘Shri Krishna’ and ‘Shri Radhey’.
Armed with smiles and laughter, people hit each other with special Holi missiles to get drenched from head to toe. I am sure, this will definitely give you a glimpse of the glorious festivals in March.
Varanasi: (Holi celebration with the ashes of the dead)
After the cities of Matura, Vrindavana, and Barsana, its Varanasi’s Holi that is the most talked about in the world. The main objective is to cover others with colors amidst a sense of brotherhood, but there’s something unique that makes the Holi very special in Varanasi.
The holy Ganga is the star of the Holi, which is worshipped as a divine goddess in Hindu mythology and is the one that helps traverse the way between the world and heaven. But have you ever heard about Holi being played with ashes? Yes, In Varanasi, Holi is being celebrated with ashes of the Dead called “Bhasm Holi” which makes unique to others. Music, Gulal, Pichkari, Water Ballons, Bhang and some sweets are the things which make us all excited about the fabulous celebration of Holi.
It is believed that Lord Shiv celebrates Holi with his devotees at Kashi Vishwanath temple after coming here with goddess Parvati on the occasion of Rangbhari Ekadashi.
Since Lord Shiva’s ethereal ‘ganas’ (followers) like ghosts do not get a chance to play colors on Rangbhari Ekadashi, the Lord himself comes to the cremation ground to play Holi of ash with them on the next day. The saints and common people of Kashi started playing Holi, keeping this legend in mind.
Delhi: (Endless Holi celebration with Diliwala twist)
In India, Holi is a special time of the year to remember those who are close to our hearts with splashing colors. And when we talked about the heart we cannot forget Delhi people. They celebrate the Holi festival with a Dilliwala twist.
Holi is a joyous festival that signals the ends of winters and welcomes to spring. Holi events in Delhi are some of the most awaited celebrations for the city. Delhi is the capital and the heart of India celebrates Holi with extreme enthusiasm.
Colors on the Street
Holi celebration in Delhi often begins with a “Tilak”. A Tilak is a traditional mark of colors drawn on a person’s forehead. For some it is a symbol of honor, for some, it represents confidence, somewhere it is a custom, some belief it to be a good omen. Delhites( people who live in Delhi) celebrate Holi with endless dance and music.
Delhi is perceived to have a musical Holi this makes it a best place to celebrate Holi. Being a beautiful metro city, an amalgamation of traditions and cultures can be witnessed here. Virtually all aspects of Holi as seen in various states are noticeable in the numerous pockets of Delhi.
Many cultural events and lots of fun mark the day. Delhi being the political hub of the country sees huge enthusiasm even among the politicians. It is celebrated at the Presidents and Prime Minister Residences where people gather to play Holi.
The exceptional thing about Delhi’s Holi is its loud music and ebullient ambiance. Even if you aren’t in a mood of colors and celebrations, Delhi ties will surely sweep you off your feet.
Goa (Shigmo: The spring festival of colors)
Holi the festival of colors in Goa is called Shigmo. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Indian State of Goa. Celebrated by colors, traditional folk dance and music, and well colorful float parades. It is a very traditional and colorful festival in Goa. So, Shigmo has a history behind its celebration.
In earlier days, the Shigmo festival was celebrated to honor the homecoming warriors who left their families back home at the end of Dusshera to fight the invaders. In order to welcome them, people performed various traditional folk dances and enacted various scenes from mythological stories making it a huge celebration.
Many extraordinary Holi parties are held in Goa like small Vagator, Goa: Goa’s Iconic party destination, Calangute Goa: Known as the tandav Holi celebrations, Ponda Goa: popularly known as rangoli, etc with loud music and dance.
Goans also enjoy snacks like Thandai, Gujiya, Laddo, Bhang, etc. It is because Goa is a concoction of the different cultures and customs, it has a host of foods belonging to different parts of India.
The life of Goan is portrayed in exquisite folk performances by the local men and women who dance tirelessly in huge processions along with the float parade. Goa is a city full of life fervor and zeal that has its roots in tradition and culture.
This is why Goa is one of the best places to celebrate Holi in India
In Goa, nights are always loud and vibrant and so it is with Shigmo. The Shigmo float parade goes on till late night amidst loud cheering, even as the participants show no sign of waning. Travel to the land of Goa to be a part of one of their local festivals and their rich culture.
Manipur (Yaoshang: The Holi of Manipur)
Manipur is one of the states that celebrate the culture at its fullest. It is interesting to note how Holi is celebrated in Manipur. The Festival celebrated in Manipur like Holi is Yaoshang and this is why it is considered as one of the best places to celebrate Holi in India. It is one of the festivals celebrated in Manipur. This festival is the indigenous traditions of the Meitei people (people of Manipur).
Due to its similarity to the Indian Festival Holi, it is often referred to as the “ Holi of Manipur”. One of the most highlights of the festival is the Thabal Chongba dance, which is a traditional folk dance of the northeast region. Thabal Chongba dance can also be referred to as “Moonlight dance” which is performed during the beautiful moon nights. To make this night beautiful males with children from various places will come to the site of the festival and dance in circles with the females, holding their hands.
Males wore pheijom (Dhoti) and women wore phanek (Loincloth worn by female Meitei) in the Thabal Chongba. The only musical instrument used was a dholakar drum.
On the first day, children ask at every house for monetary donations for the festival called Nakathengba. And on the Second day, songs, dance, drinks, food everything goes in excess when it is time for Yaoshang. Colors are applied to a big bunch of friends in their locality. This joyous festival is also called the sports festival in Manipur. Many contests and races like spoon racing, mathematical racing, tug of war and soccer are held there. This festival is not just for children but the young and old alike take delight in this joyous festival.
Mumbai: (Holi Celebration with Mumbaikars)
Holi brings with it new freshness happiness, prosperity, and abundance. Being famous for Bollywood personalities or popular socialites, people in Mumbai always become party-crazy during the day of Holi.
Mumbaikars love to celebrate Holi according to the traditions. The celebration of Holi, playing with colors and bursting fireworks all happens in Mumbai with extreme fervor. People hit each other with special Holi water missiles to get drenched from head to toe. Holi and Mumbai are inseparable.
As are several other states the tradition of breaking Matka(Pot) is celebrated with gusto in Mumbai. A human pyramid is formed to break the matka which is filled with makkan(Buttermilk) hung up in the street much as Lord Krishna did as a child. It is a pleasure to see the ritual as womenfolk pour buckets of color water at men trying to break the Matka. Endless people in Mumbai get engrossed in the Holi celebrations, forgetting all the sorrows of life.
Rajasthan: Holi Celebration in The Pink City or Royal City
Rajasthan –“The Pink City” or “The Royal City” is famed for most amazing and royal Holi celebrations all over the country. Not only in Rajasthan but also in the country people forget their differences and draw each other in the colourfull Holi waters. People come out of their houses dresses in old clothes. They have colors in their hand, ready to be spread over the face of each person they meet on the way.
Rajasthan is known as the place of royals, so it is no surprise that the festivals celebrated in the city are also grand and royal. People of Rajasthan, irrespective of their age and even religion, step outdoors and mingle with others to celebrate the festival.
Bangalore: Silicon Valley of India
The joys of Holi know no bars and no bound too. People celebrate the festival of Holi in the most exciting way in Bangalore. The festival of colors not only brings celebration, but a wave of joy, positivity, and enthusiasm all across the world. As Holi is not just a celebration it is about gathering and fellowship celebrating this way out in the yards and amidst a campfire is definitely loads of fun and a must thing to do celebrate this Holi.
People in Bangalore always fun when played out amidst nature, with live dhool, pool parties and with some drinks like bhang. And also with other Holi delicacies include gujiya, mathri, malpua, Puran Poli, Dahi badas, etc. After a frenzied play of colours people love to gorge them up. Travel to the land of Bangalore to be a part of one of their local festivals and their rich culture.
Punjab: Warrior Holi
Holi in Punjab is absolutely unique and spectacular. Anandpur Sahib is the venue of the largest annual Sikh gathering and festivities during “Hola Mohalla” in the spring season. This city is a pilgrimage site in Sikhism. This city is situated in the Rupnagar district of Punjab which is 91.3 KM away from Chandigarh. Guru of Sikhs gave this festival of Holi the Sikh name of “Hola Mohalla”.
This festival lasts for three days. The Gurudwaras are specially decorated for the occasion. During Hola Mohalla, the city wears a festive appearance and activities. Many community conferences and religious functions are also organized. Also, many mock fights organized in this festival. The fights meant no harm but depicted the quality of fearlessness ad the ability to fight the wrong in Sikhs.
Traditional bhangra added to the color of the event with loud music of drums. Also, traditional music and dance followed by cocktails, delicious traditional food, and wonderful fireworks. Exhibition of weapons organized. Collection of many ancient weapons displayed which were used by the former Sikh warriors. The display also contains weapons of the Ghatkas.
In Hola Mohalla, you will definitely find individuals absorbed in colors which they perceive as the colors of heroism. Each festival is an Indian calendar that brings people of the country together. Well, there are many more ways in which Holi is celebrated different states, different cities, and different villages have come out with their unique and innovative styles of playing Hoil.
As a festival that involves children, sensitive adults and the elderly, utilizing harmless ingredients to spread colourfull well-wishes is what really throws out a message of care and trust, joy and the advent of a new spring.
Surprisingly, no matter to which caste or religion it pertains, the joy of celebrating is equal in everyone’s heart. Also, this festival of colors signifies unity and love irrespective of caste, class or gender. Visit the place whichever suits you the most these are the best places to celebrate Holi in India. So play safe and enjoy Holi.