Colours. They are the vibrant shades of life. They are the musical notes to the eyes. They bring joy to life and with Holi around the corner, it’s time to gear up to celebrate this beautiful festival of fun. It is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Who does not mind getting down and outright crazy for a day to mark the end of winter and the beginning of a beautiful spring? Get those water balloons and ‘gulaal‘ ready folks, for the festival of colours is here! With our list of the best places to celebrate Holi in India, you need not go anywhere else! Oh wait, you may want to book your stays ASAP and plan an impromptu trip to the exciting places to experience the joy of celebrating Holi!
One of the most sacred cities of India, Varanasi is your go-to destination to celebrate this Festival of Colours and Joy! Indicating the advent of Spring, people flood out into the streets to rejoice this beautiful occasion. It is amazing to witness people burn wood and dung cakes in heaps at night and roast the Jau grain in the same fire to make a tilak on their foreheads with its ash. Bhang, delicious pakoras and Thandai might sound tempting with Varanasi being one of the greatest places to celebrate Holi, what say?
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An exciting celebration of Holi in the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura plays host to one of the most exuberant and loudest Holi ever! An absolute uproar of a festival, a whole month of celebrations kick off here with excited travellers coming in from across the globe to witness, experience and capture the unmatched gaiety and fun. Enjoy the colourful procession that begins from the Vishram Ghat and finishes at the Holi Gate. Head over to the Dwarkadheesh Temple to play with colours, the best in the city.
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There might be no other place other than Vrindavan to experience the true spirit of Holi. Why so you ask? People from across the world flock to Vrindavan during this joyous time accompanied by music, songs and a riot of colours. A 4-day Holi fest begins here with over 1000 kgs of gulaal and over 1500 kgs of marigold and rose petals being arranged for a massive celebration. A good enough reason to head out here, for it is one of the best places to celebrate Holi!
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Lath Mar Holi is one of the most amusing and popular styles of celebrating Holi in the quaint town of Barsana in Uttar Pradesh. This unique way of celebrating this popular festival is amusing to witness; women use sticks to beat up men who wish to play Holi with them whereas the menfolk shield themselves! Traditionally, the myth goes that Lord Krishna visited Radha at her village and teased her friends and the enraged women chased him away with sticks. There goes tradition and fun, don’t you think?
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If you are looking for cultural places to celebrate Holi, this little district in West Bengal goes big during the occasion. A 3-day Basant Utsav Festival takes place here that leads up to the exciting day of Holi. Travellers can sing and dance with the locals and witness amazing folk art performed by the villagers. One can experience the mesmerising songs of the famous Baul musicians and the pride of the locals, the Chau Dance, Natua dance and Darbari Jhumur. A cultural Holi awaits you here and it’s time to experience something new!
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A city with a huge heart and an even bigger soul, Delhi is a Holi Heaven, considering the spirit of the people of the Capital. It is one of those cities where you will not fail to witness the roads covered with colours from head to toe. The undying spirit of this city invites even strangers and makes them feel at home to be a part of their joyous celebrations. It is rather a rowdy affair if one must truly say, so maybe head out to Paharganj to witness a crazy Holi? Check out the Holi Cow Festival to experience a true festival of music and madness! Street food, Bhang Lassi and sprinklers will absolutely get you in the Holi mood!
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Tradition meets the modern here in the sleepless city of Mumbai during the blasting celebrations of Holi. With private Holi parties arranged across the city, if you get an invite to these, consider yourself truly lucky. It is undoubtedly one of the coolest cities to play in. If you are not the lucky few to go to a celebrity Holi party, join the residential communities of Mumbai to engage with the locals. If you seek to witness the true beauty of India, head out to the slums of Dharavi and be prepared to be surprised. Join the children here and experience childhood all over again, for Mumbai is one of those great places to celebrate Holi in India.
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The tradition of celebrating Holi as Basant Utsav, marking the arrival of spring was started in Shantiniketan by Rabindranath Tagore. Observed as an annual event at Tagore’s University here, one can witness exquisite folk dance and other cultural performances followed by a riot of colours. Dressed in the colours of spring, the people come alive to showcase their rich Bengali heritage and this can be seen in their pride! With graceful celebrations, Shantiniketan offers an elegant way to celebrate Holi.
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A stunning city with turquoise lakes and white palaces, all surrounded by arid hills will make for a picture-perfect destination to celebrate the joyous festival of Holi. With the burning of Holika outside Jagdish Temple at the Central Square at night, engage in a fascinating celebration with dance, music and firecrackers! Wake up the next morning to the city bursting with colours on the thrilling narrow streets where you cannot miss buckets of coloured water thrown on people. Cannon attacks on unsuspecting travellers are common, so watch out!
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The celebrations of an exuberant Holi is best witnessed in North India, probably why the South is ignored during this festive time. Hampi will show up as a surprise to you as a notable exception for Holi. The whole town turns up to play Holi with a loud riot of music and dance. A truly unique experience to bestow on the western travellers who flock this destination, you might want to try this exciting place for a change! Witness the colourful celebrations and walk up to the river to wash up after.
A boisterous affair with unmatched fervour, Holi is the phenomenon of celebrating life, love, joy and prosperity. Head out to these exciting destinations this Holi and add a new twist to your celebrations this year. For Holi goes way beyond smearing colours and spraying coloured water, don’t you think? It’s a cultural experience, so go experience it today with these exciting places to celebrate Holi.
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