Holi is the one time when all of India bursts out in colour. Undoubtedly the most fun of all Hindu festivals, the occasion is marked by fun, frolic, food and festivities. Though Holi is celebrated across the country with equal mirth and vigour, there are some places that take celebrations to a whole new level, while others where the tradition is so strong that you can't help but give in to the flow.
Here are a few places where Holi takes on a whole different dimension. If you love Holi, you would definitely want to visit them all and enjoy this experience.
Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna, the Hindu god and is the unsurprisingly the main destination for Holi celebrations. The Holi Gate, within the city, is the epicentre of all festivities. On the actual day there is a long procession of colours and music from the temples, along the river to the gate, wherein people from across the country and even around the world gather.
Photo Courtesy: J.S. Jaimohan
Just half an hour away from Mathura, is Vrindavan, the place where Krishna grew up and is yet another hot spot when it comes to Holi. From the more sophisticated play at the ISKCON temple with dry colours and flowers to the more boisterous kind on the streets, there somethinge for everyone. The week-long celebrations at the Banke Bihari temple are absolutely legendary.
Photo Courtesy: Sreeram Nambiar
The Lath-Mar Holi of Barsana is probably the most amazing way to celebrate the festival. Here, the men would sing provocative songs to catch the attention of women, who would, in turn, beat them with sticks. According to the legends, Krishna visited his beloved Radha on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. Taking offence, the women of Barsana chased him away. Ever since, men from Krishna's village would come to Barsana to play Holi, and the same treatment would be meted to them. Barsana is also said to be the only town with a temple dedicated to Radha.
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Known as Basanta Utsav, festivities at Santiniketan are more musical and lyrical. The day is marked by playing with 'aabeer' (dry vegetable colours), music and dance. Women dress up in the spring colours of yellow and orange, and usually fragrant flower petals are mixed with the colours while playing with each other.
Photo Courtesy: Eliza Raschke
The festivities of Udaipur start with the ritual of Holika Dahan, which takes roots in the mythological story of Prahlad. Come here for a regal experience as you join in with the Mewar royal family and the huge bonfire that is symbolic of the burning of Holika. Usually, a magnificent procession which includes decorated horses, dancers, musicians and a royal band starts from the royal residence to Manek Chowk at the City Palace.
Photo Courtesy: Carles Sànchez