Saturday, 6 February 2016

11 #Best #Places to #Celebrate #HOLI #Festival in #India

Holi is a boisterous affair celebrated with equal fervour and gaiety in both urban and rural India. The legend of Holi draws its inspiration from Indian mythology and the playful flirtations of Radha and Krishna. It is said that Krishna being jealous of Radha’s fair complexion threw colours on her to even the score. Krishna’s angst is captured in the famous Bollywood song Yashomati maiya se bole nandlala, Radha kyun gori main kyun kala? This phenomenon of celebrating life, love, goodness and the onset of spring has many variations across India. The best places to play Holi are those that add a twist to the usual celebration of throwing coloured water and smearing paint on each other. See which of these places, with totally different Holi festival celebrations, appeal to you the most.
1. Barsana: Holi with Sticks
The world famous is a rather peculiar style of Holi celebrations Lathmar Holi at Mathura is played in Barsana. .Since that time, men from Krishna's village, visit Barsana to play Color full Holi in the town which has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Radha in India. During Lathmar Holi women folks try to protect themselves and symbolically beat men with wooden sticks to resist any attempt to smear them with wet and dried colors. It is believed to be the most ancient way to play Holi started in the time of Lord Krishna. 
The Goddess Radha, consort of Lord Krishna, was from Barsana and Lord Krishna was brought up in Nandgaon. As per Hindu mythology Lord Krishna and His troop used to visit Barsana to play Holi with Radha and other female cowherds known as Gopis. This is how the story behind the festival goes.It is said that Krishna, who is dark in color, was jealous of the fair-colored Radha. Krishna used to pester Mother Yasodha with questions on Radha’s skin color. Once fed up, she said to Krishna that he can change her skin tone by sprinkling color.In Lathmar Holi, men in traditional dress from Nandgaon adorn the role of gops (friends of Krishna). In Barsana, women adorn the role of gopis (friends of Radha). Krishna and friends used this opportunity to create pranks on Radha and friends Lord Krishna visited Barsana to meet Radha for Holi and teased her and her friends a lot. The ladies got a little offended and decided to teach Krishna a lesson and chased him away by beating him with sticks. So now men from Krishna’s village Nandgaon visit Barsana on this day and get beaten up and chased by the women here. This tradition of playing Holi between both towns is still kept alive by these village folks. 
2. Mathura and Vrindavan: Traditional Holi
Holi celebrations get underway on Vasant Panchami (end of winter), 40 days before the main Holi day, in the temple towns of Mathura and Vrindavan, four hours from Delhi. Mathura is where Lord Krishna was born, while Vrindavan was where he spent his childhood. The main venue for Holi celebrations in Mathura is in the vicinity of Holi Gate.Vrindavan was where Radha and Krishna met for their secret rendezvous at the garden of Krishna Leela. This is where it all began.Vrindavan celebrates Holi with great candour. The festival is observed here over a week’s time. Thousands of devotees converge on this occasion. Tourists from all over the world are also drawn to Vrindavan to catch a glimpse of India in all its colourful vibrancy. Priests throw colours on devotees from the threshold of the temples. The celebrations also include parades, performances of “Raas-Leela” and cultural shows.
Krishna is celebrated for having accepted all downtrodden, rejected and widowed women as his queens. Vrindavan, being the home of Lord Krishna, attracts many widows and estranged women from all over the country. Widows in India have been treated with great apathy through the ages. In a heartening development, Vrindavan recently broke the shackles of this stifling tradition by including widows in Holi festivities. Hundreds of widows now participate in the grand Holi festivities of Vrindavan, throwing colours and flowers on each other.
Steeped in history, Vrindavan is one of the best places to play Holi in India.
3. Shantiniketan, West Bengal: Cultural Holi
The celebration of Holi as Basanta Utsav (Spring Festival) in Shantiniketan was started by famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Inspired by spring and the colors of Holi, he introduced the occasion as an annual event in his Vishva Bharati Universitythere. Students present some wonderful folk dances and cultural programmes for visitors followed by the throwing of colours. Basant Utsav has come to be a cherished tradition at Shantiniketan. Everybody is seen dressed up in spring colours. There is a song in every heart and a skip in every step. Basant Utsav takes place a day earlier than Holi and is now considered an important part of the Bengali heritage. A huge number of tourists arrive every year at Shantiniketan to witness and participate in the celebrations, which unlike the rest of the country are graceful and dignified. Young boys and girls welcome Basant, the season of hope, with an elation expressed by not just throwing colours but with beautiful songs, dance and soulful chanting of hymns in the serene environment Shantiniketan. Bengal has a unique and elegant way of celebrating Holi.
4. Purulia, West Bengal: Folk Holi
A three day Basanta Utsav folk festival takes place in the Purulia district of West Bengal. It runs in the lead up to Holi and on the actual day. You'll get to sing and play Holi with the locals, as well as enjoy a wide variety of unique folk art. This includes the remarkable Chau dance, Darbari Jhumur, Natua dance, and songs of West Bengal's wandering Baul musicians. What makes the festival special is that it's organized by villagers as a way of helping sustain themselves. The location is around 5-6 hours by train from Kolkata, or transport in private vehicles can be arranged. Accommodation is provided in tents and there are portable toilets as well. 
5. Anandpur Sahib, Punjab: Warrior Holi
Experience Holi the Sikh way at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab! Hola Mohalla is an annual fair that dates all the way back to 1701. It was first organized by Sikh Guru Gobind Singh to celebrate Holi. Well, get ready to witness horses running down corridors, men with scimitars, spears and hatchets. Also known as Warrior Holi, the Sikhs celebrate this time as a demonstration of physical agility, stamina and endurance.
In an exhibition known as Hola Mohalla (a three-day festival), men go up against each other in a mock battle of wrestling, martial arts, sword fights and turban tying. The showcase is particularly inspired by the gallant fighting culture of Punjab . The three days of worship and festivity, conclude with displays of traditional Sikh martial prowess on a grassy plain by the Charan Ganga River.
6. Udaipur: Royal Holi
Udaipur is a city of stunning beauty. Numerous turquoise lakes surrounded by arid hills and white palaces make for a pretty picture, especially so during festival seasons. Holi festivities commence with the burning of Holika at the central square outside Jagdish Temple in Udaipur. There is music and dancing and joyous celebrations following by 'Holika Dahan' and bursting of firecrackers. The following morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets and narrow lanes of Udaipur. Buckets full of coloured water and water cannons attack unsuspecting revellers from every nook and cranny. Locals and tourists alike participate with great enthusiasm. For an unforgettable regal experience, join in the celebration of Udaipur's Mewar royal family. There will be a magnificent palace procession from the royal residence to Manek Chowk at the City Palace, including bedecked horses and royal band. Later the traditional sacred fire will be lit and an effigy of Holika burnt.
7. Mumbai: Community Holi with Slum Children
Dharavi, Mumbai's largest slum, is not the depressing place that you may expect it to be -- and especially so on Holi. Reality Tours and Travel will take you on a fascinating (and uplifting) tour of the slum, and then onwards to a Holi party that they will be throwing for the community at Dharavi. Join in and celebrate Holi with the locals in a safe and friendly environment, complete with colors and music. 80% of proceeds are devoted to helping the people of Dharavi. More »
8. Jaipur: Holi and Elephants
From the Elephant Festival in Jaipur to the Emperor’s Parade at Beawar, Rajasthan boasts of some unique ways to celebrate the festival of colours.The Elephant Festival should not to be missed if you are in Jaipur during Holi. Brightly decorated elephants adorned with scarves, embroidered head-plates, velvet parasols, ear danglers, gold embroidered rugs and large anklets parade through the streets.
An elephant festival kicks off Holi celebrations in Jaipur every year on Holi eve.It makes Holi extra fun! Note: this event was canceled the last few years due to pressure from animal rights groups. A cultural program was held in its place, without the elephants. Alternatively, if you do want to attend a local Holi festival celebration in Jaipur with elephants.
Koda Maar Holi: It’s Rajasthan’s answer to the Lathmar Holi of Barsana. Men who throw colour or water are whipped by their victims. While men enjoy the punishment, the women too seem to love inflicting it.
9. Delhi: Modern Holi
Holi (aka “The Festival of Colors”) is a celebration of spring with origins in Hindu mythology. It’s an exciting — and, for many, an overwhelming — time to visit Delhi. On the morning of the festival, which falls on March 24 this year, Delhi transforms into something of a carnival — children and adults alike take to the streets, soaking each other in powdered colors and colored water, singing, feasting on Holi delicacies and chanting, “Holi hai (It is Holi)!”Holi tends to be a rowdy affair in Delhi. If you're staying anywhere near Paharganj, be prepared to be covered in color by shopkeepers and children alike if you step outside. If you can, try and get tickets to the Holi Cow festival. 
Modern Holi at the Holy Cow Festival A carnival with music and colors, the Holy Cow Festival has acquired almost a legendary status for modern-day Holi celebrations. Held just outside Delhi, the Holi-complementing festival is complete with thandai (a yogurt drink with spices), street food, non-toxic colors to play Holi, and concerts ranging from typical folk music to Indian rock.The environment is safe, and non-toxic colors are provided, along with bhang lassis, street food, and sprinklers to get everyone in the mood. Both DJs and bands perform. Plenty of expats, as well as locals, attend.
10. Hampi: Holi in South India
If you're looking for an exuberant Holi, south India is generally best avoided. As Holi is primarily a north Indian festival, it's quite subdued at most places in the south. The focus is mainly on religious aspects and temple rites. However, Hampi in Karnataka is a notable exception! 
The whole town turns out to play Holi in the morning (perhaps for the benefit of the many western travelers there), amid drumming, dancing, and the evocative ruins of the grand Vijayanagar empire. Afterwards, the crowd slowly moves to the river. to wash all the color off. Theferry across the river to the westerners' guest house area was closed and so we swam both ways across the current, simultaneously sort of cleaning off the colors.
11.Goa Holi and Carnival
Goa’s answer to the festival of colours, Shigmotsav can be termed a fusion between Holi and Carnival. It is the biggest festival for Hindus and is spread over a fornight.
The grand finale of the festival is the artistically-designed and beautifully-lit floats taken out in the state capital Panaji and other places like Ponda, Vasco, Madgaon and Mapusa.
Shigmotsav is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of phalguna, the last month of the Hindu calendar. Festivities start with prayers to the village gods and goddesses. The last five days of the fortnight is when the parades are held.
Shigmotsav is a fusion of Holi and the Carnival of Goa
Men in colorful dresses carrying flags and banners parade through the streets beating drums. Later the parade assembles at the village temples where the dances are held. Festivities reach their apogee on the fifth day when gulal is used to colour everyone. 
Dates change, so everyone is wondering: when is Holi this year?! India's exciting Holi or "Festival of Colors" is based on the Hindu calendar and falls on a different date each year.
The Holi festival in India is a favorite with travelers, as colorful powder and water are thrown on everyone within range. Bhang -- made from cannabis -- is consumed while people dance, party, and drench each other with water and colored powders.
Holi is not the time or place to wear your best clothes; leave your expensive camera in the hotel!
Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil, and commemorates the burning of the demoness Holika. The festival also signifies the end of Winter and hopes for the upcoming spring harvest. Large bonfires are set on the eve of Holi to burn away evil spirits.
Holi 2016 – Festival of Colours – Holi Festival Date in 2016
Holi-Why Holika is worshipped?
Safety During the Holi Festival
Holi - Holashtak Timings
Lathmar Holi at Barsana-Vrindavan and Mathura
Holi with Tesu ke Phool-flower of Palash(पलास) tree.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for proving the information about various types of Holi celebrations in India. The celebration in Mumbai is the most inspiring. There are many colourful holi events in Mumbai organised by various teams.