Get immersed in the colours of India
Eulogized by world famous photographers and more recently, a video for Cold Play (the International band), the Hindu festival of Holi marks the beginning of spring. It is a time to bid adieu to the misty winters and make way for the cheery spring. Celebrated mostly in parts of North India, it emulates the mischievous love between Lord Krishna and his consort, Radha, corroborating the good-natured raucousness about the festival. Other legends surround the beginnings of the festival too.
The most popular of these is the story of Prince Prahlad, son of King Hiranyakashyap, who was attacked by demoness Holika. The King’s ploy worked as such that she went up in flames herself instead of her plan to kill Prahlad. While the story depicts the win of good over evil, traditions live strongly till date and effigies of Holika are still burnt in the town square a night before Holi. Expect to get doused in different colours, both dry and wet, and feast on good food, sweets and camaraderie between complete strangers. Holi can be one of the most thrilling festivals for the uninitiated. And here is a handy list of what are the best places to get a glimpse of authentic Holi celebrations.
Braj (Vrindavan-Mathura-Nandgaon- Barsana) - The history of Holi is hinged on this region, just a few hours from Delhi. This is where Lord Krishna was born and pursued his love for Radha. Of the 40-day celebrations, specific days are assigned to playing with colour, flowers, ladoos and laths, where women take on men beating them playfully with wooden sticks. This festival has become a popular photo opportunity for budding and famous lens men.
Famous Place for Holi Festival Tour
Varanasi – Another North Indian city that celebrates the festival with zeal, Varanasi is known for its special bhaang (milk drink cannabis residue) preparation on this day. Colonize a rooftop of a local home to watch the madness unfurl on the slim streets of the old town. Colours, music and dance reach an exciting crescendo by noon – one is better off watching from a distance and play Holi with familiar locals.
Delhi- The old and new converge in Delhi on many occasions, even Holi. You can choose to spend the day with a local family or sign up for common Holi parties held in farmhouses with music, drinks and colours as part of the fee. This is a great way to meet new people and enjoy the fun with locals that are likely to be of your wavelength.
Shantiniketan - Also known as the Basanta Utsav or Festival of Spring, it was started here by the famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. The Holi celebrated here is more low-key and inspired by spring. On this day, the students of his Vishwa Bharati University dress up in spring colors. A cultural program ensues with soothing songs penned by Tagore and graceful dance recitals.
Udaipur – The Holi in Udaipur has a royal leaning as an ornate procession leaves the palace to Manek Chowk, with horses and the royal band. This ends a large bonfire with an effigy of Holika being engulfed in flames. The celebrations here are more sombre.
For more details about: Festival Tours of India