Best places to celebrate the festival of colors, Holi in North India
Holi is one of the important festivals celebrated in India. It is celebrated annually in the month of March (month of Phalgun according to the Hindu calendar). As the celebration of this festival includes smearing colors and throwing water on each other, it is also known as the “Festival of Colors”. The festival is observed in different styles in different parts of the country. While age-old traditions are followed at some places, modern parties with music and dance are hosted in big cities. If you also wish to join the festivities of the colorful festival, check out the following list of a few best places to celebrate Holi in India. You can opt for the destination depending on the type of experience that you wish to have or your preferences.
7 best places to celebrate Holi in North India
Though the festival of Holi is observed in several parts all across the country, the most exciting celebrations take place in North India. Some of the most popular places to celebrate the festival of colors in the north Indian region include:
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Mathura is the birth town of Lord Krishna. Therefore, everything in this temple town seems to be inspired from the life of Lord Krishna. Holi is no different as according to Krishna legend, it is believed that Lord Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fairness and used to complain regarding his dusky complexion to his mother. He used to throw colors on her face to establish a balance between their skin tones. That’s how the concept of playing colors on Holi started and is continued till date. The excitement of Holi is to such an extent in Mathura that people engage in the preparations 40 days prior to the festival. A colorful and musical procession is carried out from Vishram Ghat and culminates near Holi Gate. The best place to enjoy throwing colors in Dwarka is Dwarkadheesh Temple.
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Vrindavan is another place in Uttar Pradesh, which is flocked by tourists at the time of Holi. It is believed that Lord Krishna spent his childhood here. People like to visit this town as Holi is celebrated quite differently here. Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan observes week-long celebrations on the occasion of Holi. Before Holi, the town celebrates Holi with flowers (Phoolon Wali Holi) on Ekadashi. It is celebrated with flowers in order to harmonize the relations within society. Moreover, the ambiance of the entire city is full of happiness on and around Holi.
Barsana, Uttar Pradesh
Holi is celebrated in Barsana (a small village in Mathura) in the most peculiar style. It is believed that Lord Krishna used to visit Radha to play Holi in Barsana and used to tease her and her friends. When the ladies got offended, they decided to chase Krishna and his friends away by beating them up with sticks. That tradition is continued up till the date as men from Krishna’s village Nandgaon visit Radha’s village Barsana and tease women and get beaten by women in a humorous way. Men protect themselves with shields and rest of the people feel excited, sing folk songs and shout “Shri Krishna” or “Shri Radhe”. This is famous all across the country by the name of “Lathmar Holi”. This unique type of Holi is played in Ladliji Temple dedicated to Sri Radha Rani. It is imperative to visit Barsana a couple of days before as the celebrations start a week before the main day of Holi. Holi in Barsana is a vision to behold as giggling women are all around along with a lot of music banters.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
If you wish to get colored in the city of Taj, make sure that you make all the reservations beforehand. This is because tourists from all over the world throng the city to celebrate Holi. Kalakriti Culture and Convention Centre in Agra organizes a special Holi event for foreigners so that they can enjoy playing Holi with locals. They also make arrangements for music and dance program based on traditional Holi songs. The most important thing is herbal colors are used by all for playing Holi. Thus, it is one of the best places to celebrate Holi in India. Not only it will give you an unforgettable experience but will also let you know more about the festival of Holi.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi is one of the most visited cities of India and is also the spiritual capital of the country. It has several peculiar things. One of them is the celebration of Holi. Holi is celebrated in a different way in Varanasi as compared to that celebrated in other parts of the country. On the evening of Holika Dahan, people light a bonfire, throw cow dung cakes and wood into the fire and also offer grain to the fire God. People in Varanasi rub ubtan over their bodies and throw the leftovers in the bonfire. It is believed that this practice cures people from all diseases. People then use ashes to put a tilak on the forehead. People also use ashes obtained from cremation pyres to play Holi. Though it may sound weird to an outsider, it is an integral part of the local culture. In their culture, it is perceived that death is not something to be afraid of, in fact, is the path to liberation (moksha). Some people like to celebrate Holi on the ghats while eating gujia. Altogether it is an exceptional experience to play Holi and interact with locals in Varanasi.
As it is a well-known fact that Jaipur is the capital of the royal state, i.e. Rajasthan. Therefore, it hosts all fairs and festivals with a royal touch. Holi is no different as in Jaipur; you can enjoy Eleholi, which is a one-of-its-kind experience. Either you can enjoy the special event organized by Rajasthan Tourism on the lawns of Khasa Kothi Hotel or you can experience Eleholi at Eleday Elephant Park near Amer Fort in Jaipur. While the event at the hotel is a cultural one including folk performances while Eleday offers two different programs. The program named Holi festival allows you to enjoy Indian music, local food, games, photography, etc. On the other hand, Holi with elephants facilitates you to indulge in painting, washing, and feeding with elephants. All the activities are organized taking into consideration the well-being of giant creatures. Therefore, if you desire to enjoy Holi the different way, you must head towards Jaipur.
The capital city gets really reckless. People in Delhi play Holi with water balloons. In fact, kids start hitting passersby with water balloons days before the festival. In Delhi, Holi is an event filled with a lot of banter, music, dance, and colors. That’s why several parties are organized all across the capital in which people enjoy and play Holi with each other within a controlled environment. Another thing that sets Delhi apart from all other places is that Holi Cow Festival is organized every year in March. This is an exciting outdoor event comprising of various art forms, culture, food, music and dance across 4 stages. Held at the outskirts of the city, this festival features numerous Indian and International artists and continues for more than 8 hours. Therefore, Delhi is one of the few best places to celebrate Holi in a fun-filled way.
Whichever region of India you may visit, Holi is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. Although the way of celebrating the festival varies from one part to another, the essence of Holi remains the same throughout the country. So, don’t procrastinate and pack your bags now to celebrate Holi in India with locals. Welcome the spring season in style with colors and fill your life with happiness.