The grand festival of colours, Holi, is a much-awaited festival in India. For all the fun, frolic and excitement it brings, the festival also marks the beginning of spring in India. People look forward to the festival of Holi as a day to gather together, have fun, laugh, play, forgive and forget.
Celebrated in the month of Phalgun (of the Hindu calendar), Holi is celebrated on a full moon day somewhere between February and March. While Holi is celebrated with pomp and show in North India, a few other regions of the country, too, celebrate Holi with great fervour. Given the diverse culture of India, Holi is celebrated in many unique ways throughout the country.
With several legends, myths and lore tagged to it, the Holi festival is also gaining popularity amongst the western countries and places like the US, UK, Indonesia & Mauritius, too, are celebrating Holi with a bash. Several world travellers, especially plan a visit to India to be a part of the Holi festival and Indian culture.
The Holi festival dates for this year are 1 and 2 March 2018. Read on to know about the 5 best places to celebrate Holi in India in 2018. These places are known for their unique Holi celebrations.
Barsana in Uttar Pradesh is the most popular choice of destination for Holi because of the unique Lathmar Holi that takes place here. Played with traditional laths or sticks, the Lathmar Holi is associated with the legends of Radha and Krishna. It is said that when Lord Krishna used to travel from Nandgaon to visit his beloved Radha in Barsana, he playfully teased Radha and other gopis or the milkmaids. To chase him away, the gopis used laths.
The Lathmar Holi takes place in Nandgaon and Barsana a week before the actual Holi. This year, the Lathmar Holi will happen on 24 February 2018. Be careful of the laths that might come hurling at you.
Mathura & Vrindavan
PC: J.S. Jaimohan
Visit the twin towns of Mathura and Vrindavan to celebrate a traditional Holi. Mathura and Vrindavan, predominantly being temple towns, are places where Lord Krishna was born and raised. Holi is celebrated very fondly in his honour in these towns as well as in the regions around for more than a fortnight, as opposed to the 2 days in general.
If you happen to travel to Mathura and Vrindavan around Holi, you can be a part of a special puja, and the numerous traditional customs and rituals that are carried out here in the honour of the Makhanchor or the butter thief, as the lord is fondly referred as.
The Basanta Utsab or Vasant Utsav (spring festival) of Santiniketan, near Bolpur in West Bengal, was introduced by the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. This festival is now an integral part of the Bengali culture and therefore, Basanta Utsab is a perfect time to visit the tranquil town of Santiniketan, to immerse not just in the joyousness of the Holi festival but also in the Bengali tradition and culture.
Clad in bright summer-coloured cloths, the students of the Vishwabharti University of Santiniketan, that was founded by Rabindranath Tagore, put up spectacular cultural performances including singing and dancing, even to the works of Tagore.
PC: Steven Gerner
When it comes to celebrations, how can Mumbai fall behind? The livewire city of Mumbai in Maharashtra is known for its liveliness and fervour to celebrate all festivals. Mumbai Holi, too, is something that adds to the charm of the city. Partake in the colourful and musical Holi parties at multiple venues across the city, depending on personal choices and preferences. Most venues will have a DJ, food stalls, rain dance, flea markets, fun games and a lot of activities for kids as well as adults.
So where will you travel for the Holi 2018 bash?