Of all the Indian festivals Holi is the one that gets most foreign attention. The festival of colors mixed with lovely Indian traditions and history is really loved by the foreigners as well. Generally the festival of Holi falls in the first week of March this year this festival is falling with the Easter weekend making it the perfect time to travel.
Happy smiling pictures of friends and family playing holi and painting each other’s faces with pigments of colors symbolises the victory of good over evil and the start of the harvest season. Things might go a little out of hand while celebrating holi but all festivals in India have unconfined joy and enthusiasm and this is they letting their Hair down and just having fun.
Holi is a beautiful combination of a water throwing party and a beach rave
Within India also different parts of India celebrate holi differently. So plan you trip to India in advance as if not planned better you might risk venturing out in the streets with over enthusiastic group of youth who might be high on bhang (a potent cannabis preparation) and they might throw some colors at you which might never come of your clothes.
So here is our list of raging authentic and heavily managed places to visit in India in 2021 and beyond.
In the spiritual town obsessed with Lord Krishna, Holi celebrations have to be grand. The Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan is known for its holi celebrations. You can see a courtyard full of people dancing close by covered in Pink, purple, red, blue and yellow colored powders. This event and the one in Matheran which happens in Mathura is conducted at the same time and both are not worth missing out on, so take your pick.
You can also head to Gopinath temple in the same city, where thousands of widow who always wear white as a symbol of respecting the death of their husband gather and cover themselves with gulal and shower marigold flower petals on each other while the temple plays uplifting Krishna songs. This is the only day these widow get to wear color and have fun so go here and see them make the most of it.
This region named Braj which is located between Delhi and Agra is also synonymous to this festival. Matheran is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna and the locals host one of the most lavish and the largest holi celebrations of this country. A lot of local people travelling from one village to another are attracted to these celebrations in the country.
You can see this crowd at the Dwarkadheesh Temple on the holi morning singing, chanting and dancing with everyone around under a cloud of colors. It is also said that the color thrown at each other forms such a thick cloud that you cannot see anything after one hands distance. All you can see is a colorful air. It is surely a must visit place
This place is situated near Mathura and it is definitely worth a visit here. An extra ordinary ritual takes place here in the afternoon on the day of Holi. Men from the neighboring village named Nandgaon march down the narrow street which leads to the main Krishna temple of Banaras. Their progress is blocked by a equally huge crowd of women holding heavy wooden sticks. These women with great gusto hit men wearing weather shields with ritual blows. This visuals are enjoyed by a huge crowd of on lookers standing on both the sides of these street covered in bright colors like gulal.
Jaipur is called the Pink city of India, and believe me it is worth attending the holi celebrations in this city. Holi festivities sin this city use to be dominated by a procession of glittering elephants led by Maharaja swaying on top in a giant tusker in a costume that resemble Mughal times.
But this event has been banned lately due to concerns over animal welfare issues, but in spite of this Jaipur remains a hotspot for Holi.
A major focal point of the holi celebrations is the big holi party hosted by the royal family of Jaipur in the palace to help the local charities... Ticket for this particular party is extremely rare and hard to get last minute. But book the ticket’s well in advance and you will definitely not regret it. Cultural folk dance performance and traditional folk music is performed in the old KhasaKothi hotel along with a civilised air play of gulal powder. This party is held by local tourisms to attract more tourist during the holi festival.
If you want to experience the cultural and religious atmosphere you can head to the Govind Dev-ji temple which is at the heart of the city Palace. Radha and Krishna deities are covered with marigold flowers and its petals and one can hear chanting of joyous and soothing holy bhajans of Radha Krishna and Krishna Leela.
The sacred town of Pushkar is located on the shores of Lake Pichola. This town is one of the hot spot for foreigners and local backpackers looking to celebrate the festival of colors. There is a big holi party held here in the main square. And of course because of the massive presence of foreigners there is techno music instead of Krishna bhajans accompanied with heaps of gulal smothered across the faces of the people attending the fusion party.
This particular party is an unrestrained affair which is rather fuelled by bhang lassis which is a traditional holi morning drink made of yoghurt sugar and potent cannabis.
This techno party is no less than a Ibiza night club but the only difference is here you will see the participants throwing colored balloons or paint bombs at each other as well.
A lot of people do know about the Holi celebrations in Amritsar. If you are someone who wants to enjoy the festival of color but do not want be a part of the mad crowded and prefer have a restricted environment, then this is one of the best places to celebrate Holi.
Amritsar holds a second Golden temple of Goddess Durga. This temple is also located in the middle of the lake. There is a small bridge built to access the temple. This place is family friendly and women friendly as well. You can see equal amounts of grandma and teenager enjoying the Holi celebrations here.
On the eve of Holi the best place to be at in Udaipur is the royal palace. So on the eve of Holi we light a born fire which symbolises the victory of good or evil which is known as the HolikaDhan. The Maharaja of the Palace lights a ceremonial bon fire in the courtyard to mark the start of the festivities.
After the bon fire is lite guest are served with cocktails and a lavish Rajasthani dinner. This dinner is followed by an outstanding firework show. The next morning is followed by guest venturing in the chowk near the Jagdish temple to play with gulal powder.
Because of a lot of foreigners being present and the tourism it attracts the local police maintains proper order so the crowd does not go out of hand and you don’t see the kind of madness that happens amongst the locals at the street bazaar.
This small town is a half an hour drive from Mathura. The small temple named Daoji is definitely the place to be on the day after the holi celebration. You can see a huge crowd gathered around the temple to see the residing priest of this temple play ritualistic holi amongst themselves. After these rituals are over the by standing crowd explodes into the temple and starts playing holi amongst themselves. In this temple holi is generally played with turmeric or only yellow synthetic colors are used.
If you wish to celebrate Holi on the Ganges of the Ganga River then Varanasi is the place to be. The Ghats and the sacred riverside steps have a wonderful and chilly atmosphere in the evening where the devotes and worshipers dress their festive best to give offerings for the Holi fire at the shrines and temples.
The morning celebrations are something that you can definitely give a miss as this place is not as idyllic as it sounds. The streets that looks like maize of alleyways emerging from the Ghats and local boys high on bhang trying to paint foreigners faces with colored powder and these encounters are not always welcomed.
So if you visit this city our advice to you is on the morning of Holi please stay in your hotels only, because even they will be hosting their own private Holi party and do not forget to walk the street night before Holi as you will be able to see statues of evil demons and goddesses being burned.
Anandapur Sahib is a gurdrwara located on the edge of Shivalik hills, which is four hours east of Amritsar. This place attracts Sikh pilgrims from Northern India during the Holi celebrations. The two type of Sikh who attend the celebrations here are Akalis and Nihangs. Akails Sikhs are know to be old warriors and have a lot of weaponry draped on them. They stage amazing performances of equestrian skill and martial arts.
There is also a colorful Fun fare happening for you the be entertained, where of course gulal plays a integral part.
Apart from these cities every city and every street in India celebrates this festival of color with utmost enthusiasm and joy. In metro cities you can see commercial parties happening, ticket to these parties are available on popular booking websites. All of these parties have loud banging music with heaps of colors and ran dances.
Hope this list of cities tempted you enough to visit India, where you can go and play 2021’s holi and enjoy with your friends and family.