As the chilling winters receive a farewell from the approaching spring, people in India come to a full mode celebrating with festivals such as Holi. Sadly, for most of us this festival is now only a matter of enjoying getting a holiday from work. But if you’re eager to see a real show of colors, there are numerous places in India we recommend you visit and explore the true spirit of Holi. Here’s a list of such places:
5. Barsana (Uttar Pradesh)
Although, the festival of Holi is celebrated with great joy and excitement in all corners of India, but the Holi of Barsana is exceptionally famous. Located near Mathura, the native village of Lord Krishna, Barsana celebrates Holi with a tradition where women gather in groups and beat men from the neighboring village with sticks.
Sounds a bit crazy, but it is seriously more fun that one can ever expect. The tradition has a famous legend associated with the love of Lord Krishna and his adored Radha, where the playful Lord Krishna teased Radha and her friends on the festive day of Holi and as result was chased back to his native village (Nandgaon) with sticks.
In the present times too men from Nandgaon come to Barsana to play Holi with Gopis, but are chased back by the Gopis with sticks. The festival lasts for more than two days and the atmosphere looks vibrant with colors, songs, thandai and rose petals.
4. Rajasthani Holi (Rajasthan)
The state of Rajasthan has been admired for its traditional and colorful art and paintings, so how can the land of Maharajas be separated from the festival of colors. The festival begins in the same traditional manner as Banaras, where people from villages gather around a huge bonfire and perform folk dance with traditional songs.
On the festive day, the air and streets get painted with bright Holi colors.
The most spectacular aspect of the Rajasthani Holi is the Royal Rajput warriors riding their steeds through the streets and greeting the populace. Other famous traditional Holi events in Rajasthan include functions of Mali Holi, Gair at Godji, Braj Mahotsav and Dolchi Holi at Bikaner.
3. Hola Mohalla (Punjab)
Punjabis have their own style of doing everything. They celebrate the festival of Holi as Hola or Hola Mohalla. Like most traditional Punjabi festivals, Holi gets a new meaning and importance in the land of five rivers. The real Hola Mohalla celebrations begin the day after the actual Holi ends at Anandpur Sahib, where people gather in large numbers.
On Holi, the regional Sikh Community organizes a big fair, where different Sikh societies perform military exercises and mock battles as they did under the leadership of their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
The festive celebrations continuous for three days and during this time devotees organize processions that are carried out within the localities of Anandpur Sahib. While demonstrating their martial skills the procession leads the gathering with people sprinkling colored powders on each other and sing and dance to folk tunes.
Also Read: 30 Fun Signs For A Punjabi
2. Kumaoni Holi (Uttarakhand)
The festival of Holi has its own carouses in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Popularly known as the Kumaoni Holi, the festival holds a major significance for Kumaoni people as they celebrate Holi to make the triumph of good over evil. Considered to have originated from the Baithaki Holi of the Chand Kings, the festival is still celebrated with huge fanfare.
The celebrations are widely famous for the musical touch and conventional stories, customs and spirituality associated with Holi. Among the different communal Holi gatherings, Baithaki Holi, Khari Holi and the Mahila Holi are the most interesting ones.
The famous Baithki Holi begins from the customary Hindu temples as the local professional singers set the atmosphere of the gathering. The Khari Holi on the other side is generally celebrated in the rural areas of Kumaon region and has its own colors with traditional dresses, music and impressive dance groups adorning the occasion.
1. Dol Purnima (Bengal)
In some parts of the country like mainstream Bengal and Odissa, Holi takes the form of Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima. Apart from sprinkling colors and water fights, the festival in Bengal is celebrated as a dedication to the love of Lord Krishna and Radha. On this day, devotees decorate the idols of Radha and Krishna and place them on the decked swings for a walk to the streets around the temples.
The celebratory atmosphere becomes more mesmerizing as devotes wait for their chance to swing the decked swing of Radha- Krishna. As the procession mounts with colors being sprinkled on the devotees, women gather in groups around the swing and perform cultural dances on traditional Bengali bhajans. The festival holds great importance for the Bengali communities as the occasion also commemorates the birthday of Nimai, Gauranga and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Bengal.