Holi is among one of the main festival and celebrated across both urban and rural Indian World. Holi draws its inspiration from Indian mythology stories and the playful flirtations of Lord Krishna and Radha. It is said that Lord Krishna being jealous of Radha’s fair complexion threw colours on her. Krishna’s anger is captured in the famous Bollywood song “Yashomati maiya se bole nandlala, Radha kyun gori main kyun kala?” This celebrations of life, love, goodness and the onset of spring has many variations across India.
The best places to play Holi are those that add a twist to the usual celebration of throwing coloured water and smearing paint on each other. These are the places which we think are the best to celebrate Holi.
Vrindavan was where Radha and Krishna met for their secret rendezvous at the garden of Krishna Leela. This is where all this begins. Vrindavan celebrates Holi with great candour. The festival is observed here over a week’s time. Thousands of devotees cover this occasion. Tourists from all over the world are also drawn to Vrindavan to catch a glimpse of India in all its colourful vibrancy. Priests throw colours on all devotees from the threshold of the temples. The celebrations also include parades and performances of “Raas-Leela” and cultural shows.
Krishna is celebrated for having accepted all down-trodden, rejected as well as widowed women as his queens. Vrindavan, being the home of Lord Krishna, attracts many widows and estranged women from all over the whole country. Widows have been treated with great apathy through the ages in India. In a heartening development, Vrindavan recently broke the shackles of this stifling tradition by including widows in Holi festive activities. Hundreds of these widows now participate in the grand Holi festivities of Vrindavan, throwing colours and flowers on each other.
Steeped in history, Vrindavan is one of the best places to play Holi in India.
Holi celebrations in the birthplace of Krishna are the loudest and most exuberant as the young and the old come together to lose themselves with a gaiety and abandon un-matched. Mathura is really an absolute uproar during the Holi month. Yes, you heard it right, a whole month of Holi! The place is totally hijacked by over-excited revelers and that is what makes Holi in Mathura so much fun to witness.
Holi in Mathura is not just a time for disorder. Age old traditions are observed with utmost respect and reverence. Lathmar Holi is also celebrated in the nearby villages of Nandgaon and Barsana. Men from Nandgaon travel to Barsana to tease all women there. The women retaliate them by hitting with sticks, hence the name Lathmar Holi. Men are allowed to protect themselves with shields but they are not allowed to hit back. According to the story, Barsana was the home of Radha where Krishna went to tease and torment her. An angry Radha, with the help of her friends, chased him away with sticks. The celebrations of Lathmar Holi are a unique experience.
Poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore established the tradition of celebrating Holi as Basant Utsav or Spring Festival in Santiniketan. Basant Utsav can be observed as an annual event at Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati University. Students present some wonderful folk dances and cultural programmes for visitors followed by the throwing of colors on each other. Basant Utsav has come to be a cherished tradition at Shantiniketan. Everybody is seen dressed up in different colours. Basant Utsav takes place a day earlier than Holi and is now considered an important part of the Bengali heritage. A large number of tourists arrive every year at Shantiniketan to witness and participate in the Holi celebrations, unlike the rest of the country are graceful and dignified. Young boys and girls welcome Basant, the season of hope, with an elation expressed by not just throwing colours but also with some beautiful melody songs, dance and soulful chanting of hymns in the serene environment Shantiniketan. Bengal has a unique and elegant way of celebrating Holi.
Udaipur is a city of stunning beauty. Numerous turquoise lakes surrounded by arid hills and white palaces make a pretty picture, especially during festival seasons. Holi festivities commence with the Holika dahan at the central square outside Jagdish Temple in Udaipur. There is music as well as dancing and joyous celebrations following by ‘Holika Dahan‘ and bursting of firecrackers. Next morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets and lanes of Udaipur. Buckets which are full of coloured water and water cannons attack unsuspecting revellers from every nook and cranny. Locals as well as tourists alike participate with great enthusiasm.
The Songkran festival in Thailand is not celebrated for the same reasons as Holi though it falls around the same time period. Songkran word is in fact derived from the Sanskrit word “Sankranthi” and is the New Year Day for Thais. It is very big festival in thailand and is celebrated with great energy and exuberance. Water splashing has recently become a common practice marking this festival but there are no colours or paints like Holi. So, those who dread the side effects of pace painting or colour throwing in India during Holi can head to Thailand to witness the simple pleasure of being drenched by a bucket of water. It is celebrated over a period of three days with popular processions and performances accompanied by images of Lord Buddha. A wide varieties of local Thai delicacies can also be enjoyed during this time.
The festival of Holi is a time for celebration, for worship, for youthful flirtations and for letting oneself go. It’s a game of splashing, and spraying coloured powder and water on everyone you see. It is a joyful time! Holi has gained fame all over the world with several Holi parties being organised in other countries where there is a strong influence of the Indian tradition. The nature of Holi is such that it is difficult to not join in the fun and frolic. Top Ideas to make your Holi more fun this year Checkout- Here