Dhuleti (or Holi as it is commonly called) brings to mind the images of colours, water, water guns, water balloons, and buckets filled with water. It is considered the most colourful festival of India. However, looking deep into the culture of India, Holi is not only the festival of colours for people throughout the country. The festival is full of a multitude activities taking place in different states of India. These range from age-old traditions to unique customs to modern dance and music. Depending on the kind of experience you would like to have this Holi, you can decide on where you would like to travel this year.
Lathmaar Holi in Barsaana
Barsaana, a town near Mathura, celebrates Holi in a very interesting way. It is believed in Hindu mythology that Radha lived in Barsaana and Krishna in Nandgaon. This is why there is an age old tradition being followed in the town of Barsaana, where men from Nandgaon come to the town to play Holi. But, instead of playing with gulaal
, the women of Barsaana are armed with sticks to playfully beat the men. This is the reason the festival is more popularly known as ‘Lathmaar Holi’ here. This tradition has been followed for centuries and is best witnessed at the Ladliji temple, where play of colour, sweets, thandai
and spiritual songs of Radha-Krishna add to the fun.
Traditional Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan
If you want to really play with colours and water, and want to relive the mischievous times of Lord Krishna and the gopis, Mathura and Vrindavan are the places you should be. The cities of Mathura (the birthplace of Lord Krishna) and Vrindavan (where he spent his childhood) are the best during the festival of Holi. A colourful and musical procession takes place from the temples to the rivers and then to the Holi Gate. Banke Bihari and Dwarkadhish temples are those that you must not miss out visiting.
If you are looking for a flavor of tribal and folk this Holi, then the Purulia district in West Bengal is the place for you. Known as the ‘Basanta Utsav’ the festival is organized by the villagers and is celebrated for three days. This has been the culture of the state since the times of Rabindranath Tagore. This Utsav is an occasion presenting the wide variety of unique folk dance and music. What you must not miss are the Chau dance, Darbari Jhurmur, Natua dance, and the songs of West Bengal’s Baul musicians. Experience Holi in complete carnival style!
Celebrate Holi in warrior style at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab! Instead of colours, you will get to see a demonstration of Sikh military expertise by the blue clothed Nihangs here. The occasion known as Hola Mohalla demonstrates the Sikh men involving in martial arts, mock sword fights, acrobatic military exercises, turban tying, and ‘gathka
’ – the traditional form of martial art. This kind of celebration dates back to 1701 when it was started by Guru Gobind Singh Ji as a protest to the rising intolerance of the Mughals.
Holi is generally said to be a North India festival, so you would not consider the southern states to be involved in these festivities. However, Hampi in Karnataka is an exception. If you are looking to play Holi somewhere in the South, you must definitely go to Hampi to experience a simple yet fun-filled two-day Holi festival. You will see the entire town playing Holi in the morning accompanied by drumming and dancing against the backdrop of the ruins of the grand Vijayanagar Empire. And then, in the evening, you can see them enjoying in the waters of the River Tungabhadra.
So, what is your pick on Holi this year? Looking forward to a traditional, folk, energetic or simple Holi? If you are willing to travel somewhere to enjoy this exciting festival, choose your place and plan up soon because you don’t have much time left. And for those, who are willing to stay home and celebrate a festival with complete rituals and prayers, don’t forget to involve yourself in the Holika Dahan observed a night before the festival of colours begins. You can get in touch with MakeMyPuja Pandits to help you with any kind of assistance needed for conducting any Puja in the most rightful manner.