An ancient Hindu religious festival, Holi is not only a famous but one of the most important festivals of India as well. It is a spring festival and is famously known as “the festival of colors”. This colorful festival is celebrated grandly on Phalgun Purnima which comes around the month of March, that marks the end of winter season and the beginning of summer season. On this festival which is known for sharing love, the people in India have an enthusiastic and fun color fight and get drenched in colored water. Wish to witness this colorful festival? Fly to India during the festival and also experience many other wonderful India Tours. It is best to land at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and plan your onward journey from here.
The festival of Holi celebrates the victory of good over bad. There are a number of mythological stories that narrate the origin of the festival. According to one such belief, the festival of Holi celebrates the killing of Holika, who was the sister of Hrinyakashyapu. This festival is also widely linked to the immortal love of Lord Krishna and his beloved, Radha.
Here are the top 5 places to celebrate Holi in India:
Mathura and Vrindavan
Distance From Delhi: 162 km by Road, 141 km by Rails and 136 km aerial distance
The Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan is remarkably famous throughout the country. It draws tourists and pilgrims from all over the globe. Mathura is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh which is considered the birth-place of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan is the nearby place where he spent his entire childhood. These are the famous places of pilgrimage in the country and are also popular places to visit near Delhi.
According to many legends, the origin of this tradition of playing colors on Holi emerges from the Leela of Krishna and Radha. In the week before Holi, Mathura holds a famous show. A musical and colorful procession takes place from the temples to the river and followed to the Holi Gate, where the festival is commenced. The best place in Mathura to catch the throwing of colors on Holi is Dwarkadheesh Temple.
The famous Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan hosts a week-long Holi celebration. Here, the event takes place just one day before the main Holi festival. The doors of the temple open to all visitors to come and play the festival.
Distance From Delhi: 177.2 km via Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expressway
The Lathmar Holi of Barsana is one of the most off-beat ways to celebrate Holi in India, made famous by Bollywood. The village is near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and its highlight of Holi celebrations is women beating up men with wooden sticks (lathis) while playing Holi! Men though can protect themselves using shields.
The Lathmar Holi in Barsana can actually be said to be the most bizarre way of celebrating the festival. However, to catch the giggling women taking utter pleasure in putting the sticks to use is quite a sight in itself. The Barsana Holi is definitely the most popular places to celebrate Holi in India and will provide you with all the amazing vibes of Mathura Holi for sure!
Distance From Delhi: 663.0 km via NH 48 and NH58
The word which is synonymous with Udaipur is ‘royalty’. Just like everything else in the ‘City of Lakes’, the Holi celebrations are magnificent too. Just a day before the main festival of Holi, the locals light holy bonfires across the city, which is led by the royalties at the City Palace. Witness the splendor of Udaipur’s Holi celebrations by just being a part of the dynamic and high-spirited procession (imagine jeweled elephants and horses!) and pleasant music from the Shambhu Niwas Palace to Manek Chowk. A must is to witness and maybe even participate in Gair, which is a traditional dance performed by the locals. Do not get surprised to see the entire city covered in bright colors the following day.
Distance From Delhi: 1,380.1 km via NH19
The festival of Holi is celebrated as a Spring Festival (Basanta Utsav) in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. The festival was started as an annual event in Vishva Bharati University by world-famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan.
The students of the university celebrate the Spring Festival in a very special way. They dress up in yellow color and present some amazing folk dances as well as cultural programs which are followed by the throwing of colors. The celebrations begin a day before the Holi and are now considered a significant part of the Bengali heritage. A large number of tourists arrive each year at Shantiniketan to witness and participate in these vibrant celebrations.
Distance From Delhi: 268 km by Road, 288 km by Rails and 241 km Aerial distance
Rajasthan, which is one of the major tourist destinations of India, celebrates Holi enthusiastically and differently. The celebrations continue for several days with the faith of eliminating negativity and darkness from the homes by illuminating a bonfire.
In the morning, enjoy the celebration organized by Rajasthan Tourism at the lawns of Khasa Kothi hotel. Witness and experience the cheerful color throwing on each other, while also enjoying the folk music of Rajasthan. Also get an opportunity to enjoy Eleholi at Eleday elephant sanctuary situated near Amber Fort, in Jaipur. Enjoy the participation of the huge and cute elephants in various Holi programs.
So which of these did you find to be the best place to witness and celebrate the festival of Holi? Whatever you choose, just make sure to get the most out of this colorful and happy festival, for it’s here to welcome the spring season!