Holi is one of the major festivals in India, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil and also marks the arrival of spring, a season of new beginnings. Visiting India to celebrate Holi is a great idea – you will have a fun-filled experience with enthusiastic people; but make sure you aren’t scared of getting drenched in colors and water!
Mathura and Vrindavan
Mathura and Vrindavan are two temple towns renowned from the name of Lord Krishna. While Lord Krishna was born in Mathura, he spent his childhood in Vrindavan, making both the places highly valuable for all his followers. Holi celebrations start a week before the actual day of playing with colours that is called Dhulendi (March 23, 2016). The week long celebrations at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, the colourful procession from Vishram Ghat to the Holi Gate in Mathura and the throwing of colours at Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura are three major not-to-miss attractions on Holi.
When it comes to traditions, the Rajput land of Rajasthan can never be left behind. Jaipurites are known for their enthusiasm and friendly nature. You will find the entire city celebrating Holi with great enthusiasm. What’s special about Holi in Jaipur is that they decorate elephants on this day and play Holi with them at the Amer Fort. You can enjoy parades of beautifully decorated elephants and folk dance performances here.
Hampi in South India
People who are looking for some exuberant Holi celebrations generally don’t visit South India as they mainly focus on the festival’s religious aspects and temple rituals. But the small town of Hampi in Karnataka is an exception to that. You will find the entire town out for playing Holi in the morning. You are likely to meet several Western travelers as well who enjoy all the drumming, dancing and drenching in colours, amidst the reminiscent ruins of the grand Vijayanagar empire. Once they are done playing with colours, the crowd moves to the river to wash their colours off.
Lath Mar Holi of Barsana
In the Barsana village near Mathura, people play Holi with sticks and call it as Lath Mar Holi celebrations. The women of the village beat up men from neighbouring village Nandgaon with sticks. The Lath Mar celebrations take place a week before the main Dhulendi day a great Holi for students. It is better to get to Barsana village a couple of days in advance so that you can also experience the Laddoo Holi festivities there in which people throw sweets and sing beautiful spiritual songs related to Radha-Krishna.
Holi is a pretty exciting festival to participate in for all those who love drenching in water and playing with a variety of colours. However, before you step out to play Holi ensure to wear old clothes and rub oil onto your skin and hair so as to prevent colours from getting absorbed. Holi is a time to let loose and be carefree, but it is advisable to move in groups, especially for women. If you’re planning to play Holi on streets, do so early in the morning and be back to your place by midday. You can also enjoy the festival participating in the special Holi parties that are organized in a safe environment.
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