‘Holi’, the festival of colours celebrated in early spring commemorates victory of good over evil. Although the essence is the same, the manner of celebration differs in some parts of India. Temple rituals, modern-day parties, consumption of ‘Bhang’ and smearing of wet and dry colours mark this festival.
In order to identify best places to celebrate Holi festival in India, one has to specify the type of experience desired. Tourists can choose to celebrate Holi in any of the following places:
Women in this village near Mathura, UP use sticks to beat men from a neighbouring village, Nandgaon in ‘Lathmar Holi’. Arrival in Barsana few days before Holi enthrals tourists with ‘Laddoo Holi’, wherein people throw sweets and sing in praise of Lord Krishna and Radha.
Vrindavan And Mathura
Forty days before Holi, traditional celebrations get underway in these places. Krishna Janmashtam commences a week before Holi in Mathura while celebrations last for five days at Shri banke Bihari Mandir , Vrindavan.
Usually regarded as a rowdy affair, Holi in Delhi includes street foods, non-toxic colours, sprinklers, and music. Young and old participate enthusiastically and also witness ‘Holi cow festival’ in the city outskirts.
In West Bengal, cultural Holi is celebrated as ‘Vasant Utsav’. Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore popularized this occasion by making it an event celebrated annually at Vishva Bharati University. Students dressed in spring colours entertain audiences by showcasing songs and dances.
In this part of West Bengal, villagers organize festivities for their sustenance. Folk Holi celebrations commence two days before actual Holi. People showcase wide variety of folk art, perform dances and sing songs composed by Baul musicians.
On the eve of Holi, celebrations begin with parade and beauty contest for elephants; tug-of-war between elephants and humans and folk dances. All this makes Holi celebrations fun filled!
What attracts foreign tourists during Holi?
Many experts from tourism industry attribute the splash of herbal colours, chill ‘Thandais’, tasty ‘Gujias’, and ghazals which form a heady cocktail as reasons why foreign tourists make a bee-line to visit India during Holi.