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Written by Ardra M B
19 Feb, 2024
It’s Holi time again…
Selecting the best place to celebrate Holi in India may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is, the ideal location depends on what you seek to experience. Holi, being one of the most beloved Indian festivals, encompasses both solitary reflection and exuberant celebration, accentuated by the vibrant explosion of colors it entails. Here is a list of Best places to celebrate Holi in India in 2024
With gulaal in your hair and the aroma of gujiya in the air, the exuberance of Holi celebrations is hard to miss. Since our country is diverse, it provides us with some of the best places to celebrate Holi and other important festivals. It goes without saying that every state celebrates Holi in its own way and with so many opportunities to celebrate Holi in 2024, as people wait for the festival of colors with unparalleled enthusiasm, waiting all year to gorge on delicious pakora and refreshing thandai, it can be hard to choose from all the best destinations to celebrate Holi in India. And since this year, Holi is falling just in time for a long weekend, it is the perfect opportunity to explore different customs and traditions associated with Holi in different states, all over India and take a closer glimpse at the rich culture of our country.
To make things easier for all travel enthusiasts who are looking for the best places to celebrate Holi in 2024, we have curated the perfect list to sort your Holi weekend where you will find all the awesome destinations where you can go to.
The Pushkar Holi festival is as grand as the forts of Rajasthan itself. Holi celebrations are almost synonymous with Pushkar due to the zeal and excitement with which the people celebrate this festival here. The celebration of Holi in Pushkar is filled with immense enthusiasm and liveliness. The festivities commence with the traditional Holika Dahan, where wooden logs and garlands are tossed into the fire. The following day, a joyous celebration takes place, accompanied by a lavish feast where one can indulge in delectable Rajasthani dishes such as dal baati, gatte ki sabzi, and delightful sweets. Revel in the enchanting live music, participate in colorful games involving water balloons and splashes of vibrant hues, and reminisce with glasses of bhang, thandai, or lassi.
Situated in the captivating state of Rajasthan, Pushkar is renowned for its exquisite temples and sacred lake, making it an especially auspicious destination to commemorate Holi. The festivities commence with the lighting of a bonfire known as Holika Dahan, where people gather to perform rituals and offer prayers for the victory of good over evil. On the day of Holi itself, the entire town bursts into a riot of colors as individuals joyfully smear each other with vivid powders and water.
Tourists from all over the world come to Pushkar to celebrate Holi and you’d be able to find people from different corners of the world throwing colors at each other. On the main chowk, you would see people bathed in color dancing to cheerful music. Pushkar is easily one of the best places to celebrate Holi in 2024 and if it wasn’t on your bucket list before, you should definitely add it now.
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Many people are unaware that Holi in Sangla, Kinnaur valley is celebrated with just as much vigor as anywhere else. However, the festivities of Holi in Kinnaur commence as a part of the Faguli festival in Sangla Valley. Fagli or Faguli is a four-day festival and Holi is celebrated on the third day with snow and dry colors. On the first day, a dish made of roasted barley flour and buttermilk called Totu is prepared and distributed as prasad.
Sangla stands out as a premier destination for celebrating Holi in India, offering a unique chance to partake in the festivities amidst the majestic Himalayas. The picturesque snow-capped mountains, verdant forests, and serene rivers create a stunning backdrop for a vibrant and jubilant celebration. The town is adorned with numerous temples and shrines, where worshippers come together to perform rituals and offer prayers to the deities. The Holi festivities in Sangla typically span two days, commencing with the ceremonial Holika Dahan, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil through the lighting of a bonfire. The following day marks the pinnacle of Holi celebrations, as revelers joyfully douse each other in colorful hues and exchange delectable treats. Traditional dances and music, including the enchanting Kinnauri Nati, crafted from indigenous flowers and herbs sourced from the nearby hills, further enhance the festival’s allure. This commitment to utilizing natural colors not only enhances the festival’s aesthetic appeal but also safeguards the environment from the harmful effects of synthetic dyes. Local residents actively promote the use of natural pigments, encouraging visitors to embrace this eco-friendly approach during the festivities.
The Holi festivities in Sangla valley of Kinnaur consist of music, wine distribution, and a reenactment of a few scenes from the epic Ramayana. The most fascinating part is that the Faguli festival is celebrated by lighting oil lamps as is done during Diwali. In a way, the Faguli festival is a blend of two of the most popular festivals that is Diwali and Holi making Sangla valley a must-visit during Holi in 2024.
It’s time for you to celebrate Holi in sangla…
For all adventure enthusiasts who want to celebrate Holi in 2024 in a completely different way, Rishikesh is perfect. Festivities of Holi here come with the added bonus of rafting, bonfires, and camping by the banks of the Ganga while the scent of Gulaal lingers in the air. A blend of traditional customs with the excitement of adventure activities is the best kind of way to celebrate Holi for travelers who love riding the adrenaline high. The Holi celebrations in Rishikesh will begin one day before with the Holika Dahan continuing the next day with the music festival where people gather to play with colors.
READ MORE: LONG WEEKENDS IN 2024
The city of lakes known for its regal nature celebrates Holi in a royal way as well. The Holi celebrations in Udaipur consist of participation by the royal family itself making it all the more of an important affair. The celebrations commence with the traditional Holika Dahan, where the local Maharaj ignites the Ritualistic fire in the palace’s courtyard. The act is symbolic and is known as Mewar Holika Dahan. The locals then dance around the bonfire and perform the folk dance ‘Gair’ to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
A royal procession also takes off afterward where the royals are seated on elephants, horses, and camels that are adorned with jewels. The royal yatra starts from Shambhu Niwas Palace and concludes at Manek Chowk royal residence. The celebration is concluded with a display of fireworks. The next day people play with colors as is the usual custom for Holi. There are many places to visit during Holi in 2022 and the choice is ultimately yours. You can never go wrong with Holi celebrations in India because the festival itself is a promise of fun and joy. But celebrating it in a destination away from home as you go on a Holi weekend getaway will surely make the festival all the more memorable. Wherever you wish to celebrate Holi, do let us know in the comments.
If you are someone who wants to celebrate Holi in a raw sense absorbing all its desi vibe then your perfect Holi destinations are Vrindavan and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. The festivities encompass a range of events such as Lathmar Holi, Phoolon wali Holi, and the Holi procession. It is certain that the birthplace of Krishna will have some extraordinary celebrations. In Vrindavan, the Holi festival commences on Vasant Panchami, marking the end of winter, with a customary puja dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Now, here comes the intriguing part – Matki Phod, a historical tradition where an earthen pot filled with butter is suspended high by a rope. Groups of men form human pyramids by climbing on each other’s shoulders, striving to shatter the pot while women divert their attention by showering them with vibrant hues. These jubilations span over a period of 16 days, accompanied by live performances of Krishna’s Raas-leelas in various temples. The town resonates with enchanting tales of Radha-Krishna and reverently observes the festival with time-honored customs, unwavering devotion, and a tranquil ambiance. The immensely popular Banke Bihari temple in the town hosts a week-long Holi celebration that attracts visitors from across the globe.
Nestled in close proximity to Mathura lies the quaint town of Barsana, renowned as one of the prime locations to partake in the festivities of Holi in India. It is in Barsana where one can behold the renowned Lathmar Holi, a unique celebration where men are jovially teased and playfully struck with sticks by women. This vibrant event typically occurs a week prior to the main festival and is a joyous occasion filled with merriment and revelry.
In addition to the spirited Lathmar Holi, visitors can also engage in the delightful Ladoo Holi at the esteemed Shriji Temple in Barsana. During this celebration, devotees are bestowed with traditional laddoos symbolizing the arrival of Lord Krishna from Nandgaon to Barsana to reunite with Radha. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the melodious tunes of folk songs in Braj Bhasha and devotional bhajans dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. Barsana, a charming town near Mathura, is renowned for its distinctive Holi festivities, particularly the Lathmar Holi, which originated from the legend of Lord Krishna’s playful visit to Barsana with Radha. The women of Barsana playfully drove him away with sticks, giving rise to the tradition of Lathmar Holi.
Explore the revered temples where the traditional Holi celebrations take place:
Emerging from the quaint village of Barsana near Mathura, the Lathmar Holi is undoubtedly one of the most unconventional yet captivating ways to celebrate the festival. Witnessing the cheerful women gleefully wielding sticks is a sight to behold. Barsana undoubtedly hosts one of the most vibrant and renowned Holi celebrations in India, offering an experience that encapsulates the essence of the festival in Mathura.
In West Bengal, the city of Kolkata and the town of Shantiniketan celebrate the Basanta Utsav festival in a culturally rich manner, drawing inspiration from the vibrant hues of Holi. This festival was originally introduced by the renowned Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at his Rabindra Bharati University in Shantiniketan.
During the festivities of Holi, individuals, along with the students of the university, adorn themselves in saffron attire, harmonize to the melodious tunes of Tagore, and engage in lively dance performances, all culminating in the joyful splashing of colors. Participants also exchange gulaal and relish delectable sweet delicacies. The Holi celebrations at Shantiniketan captivate numerous tourists, not only from within India but also from various corners of the globe, who flock to this quaint town to partake in the festivities.
Inspired by the vibrant essence of Holi in India, Tagore envisioned this event as a cultural spectacle where the students of Shantiniketan don saffron garments to revel in the music and dance of Tagore. This is followed by the exuberant play of colors. In certain regions of West Bengal, the Dol Jatra is observed, wherein idols of Radha and Krishna are paraded through the streets. The Basanta Utsav holds significant importance in upholding the rich traditions and cultural heritage of the Bengali community.
Although Holi may not hold the same level of significance in the southern regions, it is still embraced in cities and towns as a symbol of joy and festivity. One exceptional destination where this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm is the historic town of Hampi. From the traditional Holika Dahan ceremony to the vibrant exchange of colors, Hampi truly encapsulates the spirit of Holi.
While Holi may not be a prominent festival in the south, it is cherished as a time for merry-making. The legend of Kamadeva and Rati is often recounted through melancholic songs during this festival. Known by different names such as Ukulli, Manjal Kuli, Kamudha, Kamadhana, and Kaman Padigai in various states of south India, Holi is a time for celebration and unity. The celebration of Holi in Hampi, Karnataka, is a unique and noteworthy event that takes place every other year. The temple of Gosripuram in Konkani celebrates Holi as Manjal kuli, adding a touch of tradition to the festivities. The vibrant celebrations in Hampi, amidst the ancient ruins, involve music, drumming, and colorful revelry that culminates in a refreshing dip in the river.
A distinctive tradition during Holi in Hampi is the “Kamana Habba” festival held in Kamalapur, where locals don traditional attire, engage in colorful play, and partake in cultural performances. The essence of Holi in Hampi lies in the joyous singing, dancing, and spreading of colors, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
While children become color enthusiasts and elders revel in fun and frolic, it is a well-known fact that Delhi becomes a bit rowdy during Holi. However, if you manage to secure tickets to the ‘mad moozik’ festival, Holy Cow, one of Delhi’s most happening festivals, you are in for an incredible time. Featuring the country’s top independent music acts, Holi Cow is where every music lover gathers during this spring festival. This year, immerse yourself in the best Holi celebration in India, right in the heart of the country itself. For a unique way to enjoy the festival of colors, Delhi is one of the most authentic places to celebrate Holi in India.
Jaipur stands out as a premier destination for celebrating Holi in India. This vibrant festival sees the entire Pink City transformed into a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a truly mesmerizing spectacle. Holi in Jaipur offers a rich tapestry of activities and experiences, highlighted by grand celebrations hosted by the royal family at the palace. Various events throughout the city showcase Rajasthani folk music, dance, and the traditional exchange of colorful gulaal. Unique elements like ‘Gulaal Gotas’ and ‘Water Cannon Bowls’ add an unforgettable touch to the festivities. Don’t miss the opportunity to seek blessings at the Govind Dev Ji Temple, where Holi is celebrated in a truly enchanting manner.
Renowned for its royal heritage and cultural richness, Jaipur’s Holi celebrations are nothing short of grandiose. The Pink City comes alive with joy and merriment during Holi, as people joyfully douse each other in colored powder and water. Among the most cherished traditions is the Holika Dahan, a ritual held the night before Holi that adds a spiritual dimension to the festivities.
It’s time for you celebrate the 2024 Holi in the grandest way possible…
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