The Festival of Colors. The Festival of Love. The celebration of Spring, new beginnings, and new relationships. Clouds of color and faces covered with pink, yellow, green, and every color in between. It is easily the most iconic and photogenic holiday in India, and here at Zoom we have full intentions of celebrating with every ounce of energy we have!
Part of the reason why I love to travel is because of the difference between my perceptions of what a place is like, compared to the reality of what that place is actually like. These are fantastic destinations where your mind will be filled with mystery and wonder. But even if you have less ambitious plans this festival like staying in Bangalore or going to visit some temples in Mysore, or having a relaxing time in Kerala, we hope your Holi is filled with family, friends, and most importantly COLOR!
Top 5 Places to Celebrate Holi Festival:
1)Braj Barsana, Uttarpradesh
Barsana is a truly unique place to visit for Holi Festival due to its unique way of celebrating the holiday. Rather than celebrating in the typical colorful fashion, this small town does Holi with a twist. Legend has it that Krishna once visited his lover Radha at her village on Holi. While here he made fun of, laughed at, and teased her friends. As punishment for this behavior, the women chased him away with sticks.
Today, this tradition is now referred to as Lath Mar Holi. Every year during Holi Festival the women beat men with sticks in remembrance of this day. Although its a seemingly bizarre way to celebrate this holiday, it is something that you must see to believe!
2)Holi Cow- Delhi
Looking to celebrate Holi with a modern twist? Look no further. Holi Cow is a music festival celebrated every year in Delhi during Holi Festival. It is truly a cultural fusion, mixing the traditional elements of Holi such as colored powder, Bhang, and dancing with the more modern elements of a large scale music festival.
The festival has been going on now for 6 straight years and has attracted thousands of attendees every time. The event typically consists of over 40 performers across 3 stages of all different genres and skill levels. If you are interested in buying tickets more information can be found here.
The oldest continuously inhabited city on the planet, located on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is easily one of the most iconic places to celebrate Holi Festival. On the night prior to Holi Festival, a giant bonfire is lit on the banks of the Ganges to signify new beginnings and freedom from ailments and disease. Many people will rub the ashes all over their bodies in order to rid themselves of these same ailments and diseases for the coming year.
The following day consists of colors, colors, and more colors! Women and children, adults and grandparents, all flock to the streets in a chaotically colorful celebration where powders of all colors are lavishly thrown without consideration for who or what might be in their vicinity. Many people will also run around with pales of water or water guns filled with colored water to add to the festivities!
4)Jaipur Elephant Festival
If you want to experience another truly unique way of celebrating Holi Festival, make sure to check out the Elephant Festival in Jaipur. Every year the festival begins with a massive parade including elaborately decorated elephants, camels, horses, and folk dancers dancing through the streets. The owners of these animals take significant pride in how they dress up the elephants or camels, and it is often a friendly competition amongst neighbors to see who can create the most lavishly decorated animal. There are also elephant polo and elephant races. My personal favorite is the tug of war between one elephant and 19-20 men!
Last but not least, we have the origins of Holi Festival, Mathura. The birthplace of Lord Krishna, in this region of the country Holi Festival lasts for a whopping 16 straight days! Different themed celebrations take place every day, including the bizarre holiday celebrated in Barsana as well. If you want a traditional and authentic way to celebrate Holi Festival, there simply is no substitute for visiting this region.
Regardless of where you end up going this year, there is no wrong way to celebrate Holi Festival. Make sure to have fun, surround yourself with good friends and family, and most importantly…stay safe!
Happy Holi Festival!