Celebrating The Holi festival in India; EVERYTHING You Need To Know Before You Visit

Traveling to India often involves people checking out the Taj Mahal in Agra, taking a few pics from some awesome viewpoints of the Taj Mahal, and then moving on. But it can be so much more than that. The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to visit India is to time your visit to ensure you’re here during Holi festival. It’s the experience of a lifetime. Of course, the festival happens all over the country but the best places to celebrate Holi should be your target. Check them out;

The Holi festival in India
The Holi festival in India

What Is Holi

Holi Festival in India is the celebration of good triumphing over evil. It is most often associated with the God of preservation, Lord Vishnu. As the story goes Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Vishnu, used to play pranks a lot, and celebrated the ‘Festival of colours’. Otherwise known as the Holi Festival. He celebrated by throwing water and coloured chalk over the girls of the villages. It is one of the world’s most well-known festivals because of the colour. If you don’t mind getting dirty for a day it’s a beautiful way to mark the end of Indian winter.

The Holi festival in India
The Holi festival in India

When Is Holi

The dates of Holi are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, so they’re different every year. It’s always at the end of winter, around the full moon in March (Holia Dahan).

Holi Dates 2021: Sun, 28 Mar 2021 – Mon, 29 Mar 2021

When Is Holi Festival?
When Is Holi Festival?

Is It Safe to Travel To Holi (for a woman?)

Hmmm. A tricky question. In my opinion, as a guy who has visited every country in the world, I wouldn’t want my mum, sister, or partner traveling to Holi as a solo-female traveler. And even less during Holi. Is Holi safe in terms of getting kidnapped? Sure. Is Holi safe in terms of not getting groped and grabbed? Nope. I know Indians may give me backlash but there is an issue with how Indian men treat women, particularly foreign women. And Holi can often be used as an excuse to grab inappropriately. Be warned. 

Is Holi Festival safe for women?
Is Holi Festival safe for women?

The Best Places to Celebrate Holi In India

Holi in Goa

If like many you’ve come to India to escape the maddening crowds and lie sprawled on a desert island-style beach for your trip then fear not, you can still be a part of the Holi celebrations from your sun lounger. The festival is known as Shigmo here and is celebrated with bands, parades and night time musical fare.

Holi in Delhi

Being the capital city Delhi spares no expense when it comes to its national festival. On the eve of Holi Holika are lit in important parts of the city, huge bonfires that can be seen from miles away. The parties don’t stop here, with festivals and parades and of course the obligatory water and coloured chalk throwing taking place throughout the day of Holi.

Holi in Utter Pradesh

The northern states take Holi very seriously, especially Mathura in Utter Pradesh because this is said to be where Lord Krishna grew up. The celebrations of paint splattering can last up to 16 days here, so make sure you take plenty of spare clothes! If you’re looking for origins then Gujarat is the place to see where it all began, expect games and shows all day and night here.

 Holi in Rajasthan

The Bhil tribes of Rajasthan in North West India tend to take a traditional style of celebration of the Holi festival. The night before a large bonfire is lit and prayers said to the goddess of Holi. Youngsters in these tribes are allowed to form companionships which may lead to marriage, so it’s a popular time for all.

visiting holi in india

Final Tips and Thoughts on the Holi Festival in India

Holi is a great time to visit India, the country is at its most vibrant and exciting, people are amorous and your clothes get a new lease of life with the abundance of colour thrown about. There are many places to experience different ways of celebrating the festival, and many traditions, so choose wisely depending on your tastes. 

Just remember some Holi Festival Tips:

  • For women, organise your hotel no less than 15-minute walk from where you plan to celebrate Holi. That means you can ‘escape’ the madness should you need to.
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers festivals! Many don’t. My guys do! $10 a week, turn it on and off as you want.
  • Try to celebrate as a group of friends, and stick together.
  • Even if your phone is waterproof, cover it!
  • Leave your wallet in the hotel, just bring some chunks of cash
  • Wear clothes that you can throw out after. They’re ruined.
  • Solo women or a small group of female travelers may experience a lot of unwanted attention. Being with male friends should reduce that.
  • If you’re bored, check out these 5 interesting facts about India!
Holi Festival India
Holi Festival India

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