Well, of course, Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated with pomp throughout the nation. However, not all that is about this major festival has to do with painting each other in various hues. Holi is a lot more and the celebrations in these 10 places in India certainly are proof of the variance in tradition and way of celebrating this enjoyable festival.
10. Hampi- Holi in South India
If an exuberant or a rambunctious colorful party were what you are looking forward, then certainly, you wouldn’t vouch for one in South India. Hampi, a town on Karnataka could pleasantly surprise you, though! The festival is usually celebrated in its pious and traditional form down south. While North India celebrates Holi with great pomp, it’s quite a solemn affair in the Deccan region. However, the notable exception, Hampi, is a riot of colors. The merry people of this little town dance to the drumming, and literally paint the town red. Following this, the inhabitants move to the river to wash themselves clean of the color.
9. Anandpur Sahib, Punjab- The martial show
Hola Mohalla is a yearly-celebrated fair in Punjab that originated in 1701. The revered Sikh Guru Gobind Singh organized this first in order to celebrate Holi. When here, expect to see some muscle and some show of physical agility. Men here participate in wrestling, sword fighting, martial arts, acrobatic exercises, and turban tying. In short, this fest is nothing like Holi!
8. West Bengal- Shantiniketan
Basanta Utsav or Spring festival is special for every Bengali because Rabindranath Tagore,the renowned Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate, started the celebration of Holi in Shantiniketan Vishva Bharati University, where he made the occasion an annual event. Students put up a huge cultural show for visitors, also dancing to Tagore’s songs. The characteristic color play follows this. Vasanta Utsav is a treasured part of Bengali cultural history, and it attracts many foreign tourists.
7. Barsana- The lathmar festival
Near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh exists the village of Barsana. Here Holi is celebrated with sticks. The women of this village beat up the men from the neighboring Nandgaon village, as a part of tradition This is what is known as Lathmar Holi celebrations which happen around a week before the main festival Holi is celebrated. The next day, the celebrations move to Nandgaon village. Holi celebrations at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan are a major attraction. Getting to the village of Barsana a few days ahead of the Lathmar is a good idea and you could also be a part of the Laddoo Holi festivities. Sweets are distributed and devotional songs, related to Radha-Krishna, are sung.
6. Mathura and Vrindavan- Krishna devotion
Comes Vasant Panchami, the people of Mathura and Vrindavan start getting ready for Holi, 40 days prior to the main Holi day. Mathura and Vrindavan are about four hours from Delhi and are well-connected cities. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna while he spent his childhood in Vrindavan, where the stories originated. The main Holi celebrations take place in Mathura. A colorful and loud procession takes place on Holi from the temples along the river to the Holi gate. The Sri Krishna Janmasthami in Mathura stages a show quite famous, in the week before Holi. The week long revelry that takes place in the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan is also worth an attendance.
5. Purulia, West Bengal- Baul Folk
Come Basanta Utsav and the Purulia district in West Bengal is ready in all its vigor. A three-day folk festival takes place and precedes the actual festival day. Bengal has always been a charmer for its folk music and its art. The famous Chau dance, Natua dance, and Darbari Jhumur dance are showcased by dancers while the songs of the wandering Baul musicians of Bengal transport us to a different time. To arrive at the location of the festival, you would have to travel 5-6 hours by rail from Kolkata, or a private vehicle.
4. Udaipur- Royal Holi
As has been the tradition, on the eve of Holi, bonfires are lit in preparation for the Holika Dahan, the traditional ritual followed here since ages. The Udaipur’s Mewar royal family participates in a procession from their palatial residence to Manek Chowk at the City Palace with decked up horses and a royal band. The latter part of the evening witnesses the sacred ritual of lighting up the idol of Holika, a negative character in Hindu Mytholog.
3. Delhi- Modern Holi
Well, when it comes to partying when has Delhi taken a backseat? Holi in the capital is seen at its most vibrant form. Music blaring, colored faces all over the city, and everyone lost in the revelry is witnessed here. Tall glasses of Lassi with bhang, a spread-out of street food all over the place, bands and DJs performing are the sights seen during this time. Also, the Holi cow festival is a major attraction in the city.
2. Mumbai- Matka Tod
Mumbai during Holi can be described as a lot of colors and a lot of vibes. The famous Matka breaking ritual, where a high-hanging pot filled with buttermilk is to be broken by young fellows. It is done to relive Lord Krishna’s childhood feats. The Bollywood stars throng the Mumbai Holi, making public appearances while celebrating Holi with their near ones. The streets are buzzing with Bollywood tracks and Abeer and Gulal with the pichkaris (water guns) are a possession for most of the people.
1. Jaipur- Holi and Elephants
Jaipur is known for its elephant festival conducted annually during Holi. Tusker parades, tug of war competitions, and even pageants are a general affair during this time, amidst the folk songs and dances. However, the event was banned due to animal rights controversies and is now replaced by cultural programs.
Hence, Holi is not only the festival of colors but also of stories, folk lores, traditions, music, bhang, and celebrations. It is the time for revelry and joy and India nationwide does know how to celebrate this wonderful festival of Holi in togetherness.So, if you were ever thoughtful that where to celebrate your Holi in 2016, give these top 10 a look, you will land on the best experience definitely. 🙂