What is Holi?

Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, symbolises the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and, for many, a day to forgive and make new beginnings. It is unlike any other festival you’ve ever seen.

Holi is celebrated all over India, but no other place has more spirit than Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna to celebrate the festival.

This festival is also known as the “festival of love” or the “festival of colours” and it symbolizes the end of winter and arrival of spring, the victory of good over evil.

It is an impeccable time for people to rejoice, play and laugh, and meet others. There are many types of Holi parties like old-age traditions, unique customs, to modern parties with music, dance and food. 

Where is Holi celebrated?

The celebration is observed throughout India, but it is more vibrant and jubilant in North India than South, particularly in Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit, which includes Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The celebration varies with region and different customs. It embraces the different strokes for different folks approach. Outside India, Holi is also celebrated across Nepal, Sri Lanka and localized regions of countries where Hindu people reside like Australia, USA, and the UK among others.

Holi will be celebrated on 9 – 10 March in 2020.


1. Mathura and Vrindavan

Mathura is one of the best place to celebrate Holi in India. This place is drenched with tradition and customs.
Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and it is believed that the custom of playing colours on Holi originated from the play of Lord Krishna and Radha.
The Holi celebrations of Mathura and Vrindavan are extremely famous all over India. The festival attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. A musical and colourful procession takes place from the temples to the river then to the Holi Gate, where the festival is marked.
On Holi, the best place to catch the throwing of colours in Mathura is Dwarkadheesh Temple and The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan. The temple opens up its doors to all visitors to come, play and to be a part of this festivity. Flower petals are being thrown on each other with the motive to strengthen brotherhood.

2. Barsana, Uttar Pradesh

Barsana in Uttar Pradesh celebrates Holi in a very interesting way. Barsana is popular for its Lath mar Holi celebration. They still play Holi like they used to play during the time of God Krishna and Goddess Radha.

The women of Barsana beat up men with sticks from Nandgaon, this is known as Lath mar Holi. Barsana was the hometown of Radha where Lord Krishna used to go and teased the ladies. These ladies reacted with friendly banter. Go to the Ladliji temple, dedicated to Sri Radha Rani to witness the bizarre and super fun traditional Holi celebration, which you won’t experience anywhere in India.It is a two day event, where on the first day men from Krishna’s village, Nandgaon travel to Barsana to tease the women there. The women chase men and hit them with sticks. Men are allowed to protect themselves with shields. The second-day women from Barsana go to Nandgaon to play Holi with men of Nandgaon.

3. Shantiniketan, West Bengal

Holi in Shantiniketan has a unique flavour. This festival here is known as the Basanta Utsav (Spring Festival). The famous Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore introduced the occasion as an annual event in his Vishva Bharati University Inspired by spring and the colours of Holi. Shantiniketan celebrates the festival with colours and flowers. Students dress up in yellow colour and present some wonderful folk dances and cultural programs followed by the throwing of colours and flowers. The celebration start a day earlier than Holi and are now considered an important part of the Bengali heritage

4. Hampi

Though Holi festival is not truly popular in South India, but Hampi is one of the places that celebrate the festival. One of the top heritage site in India turns colourful on the eve of Holi. The event takes place for 2 days, Hampi celebrates Holi with a play of colours and music. Welcome spring with pleasant colours, dancing and amid drumming against the backdrop of ruins of the grand Vijayanagar empire. Vibrant colours mark faces and everything you see. Later the people are seen frolicking in the waters of the Tungabhadra River.

5. Jaipur and Udaipur

Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Rajasthan with great grandeur from royal families of Rajasthan. The advent of spring is marked with the festival of Holi and Rajasthan celebrates the festival in royal style.
The celebration of Holi is stretched for two days. The first day they observe Holika Dahan at the City Palace in Udaipur, which is among the most popular tourist places in Rajasthan. The next morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets of Udiapur & Rajasthan .
In Jaipur the festival of elephant kicks off the Holi celebrations. In Rajasthan the festival of Holi begins with a massive parade including elaborately decorated camels, elephants, horses, and folk dancing on the streets. There are other many activities like elephant polo, elephant races and the tug-of-war between elephants.

6. Pushkar

One of the major tourist destinations in Rajasthan, Pushkar celebrates this festival of colours few days before Holi by the devotees of Lord Krishna, in a unique way. In Pushkar, people celebrate Holi with flower instead of colours. The devotees dance on the beats of devotional songs and praise Lord Krishna. Flower petals are being thrown on each other with the motive to strengthening brotherhood.

There is a major Holi festival that takes place in Pushkar. The festival includes bonfire night, DJ music and accommodation. Stay in the luxurious Swiss Tents that come with attached bathroomsGroove to the thumping noise of the electronic music and get lost in the explosion of colours thrown everywhere. Set yourself free amongst a sea of thousands of people, locals and tourists alike splashing colours at each other in the middle of a small town.

7. Mumbai

Holi is a major festival in Mumbai and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and spirit. There are a lot of Holi bashes arranged in the city. The celebrations include a game known as ‘matki phod’, in which there is a pot hanged full of buttermilk and men climbing on each other to reach the pot. The person that succeeds in breaking the pot is named Holi King of that year. Doing such things reminds us gimmicks of Lord Krishna stealing maakhan in his childhood..

The megacity celebrates the festival in a fancy way merging the customs with equal dose of modern fun and play of colours, Bollywood music, dance and food. Even Bollywood celebrities host big parties and play with colour during this festival.

Sweets & Savouries of Holi

People participating in the festival of colour are served with various sweets and savouries as refreshments. There are variety of sweets, savouries and drinks include Gujias, Thandai, Puri, Halwa, Puranpoli.

Do’s & Don’ts in Holi

It will be better if you get indulged into the festival of colours with some cautiousness.  We from Target Tours India are hereby reminding you few points to keep in mind to play safe and joyous Holi. Follow the do’s and don’ts and have a cheerful Holi this year.

  • Use Dry Colors:  Use dry coloured powder instead of the coloured water, which is easy to clean. Powder colours do not cause irritation. You can also play Holi with flowers.
  • Use Hair Oil: Oil your hair with coconut oil before you start playing Holi. The oil will prevent the colours to stick into your hair. And you can easily wash your hair even after getting drenched with colours.
  • Clothes: Wear fully covered clothes.
  • Nail Paint: Girls can protect their nails by applying thick coat of nail paint.
  • Lukewarm Water: Use lukewarm water to cleanse the colour from your skin.

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