Have you ever seen your friends post pictures on Facebook, travelling to India, covered in colours, mixing it up with the locals and partying like there’s no tomorrow? Ever wondered what that is? It’s Holi festival, a traditional Hindu party that celebrates “the win of the forces of good over the forces of evil”.
What better way to celebrate such a wonderful occasion than by throwing coloured chalk at each other’s heads for a day?
While in Berlin Holi festival is a celebration of summer that takes place in July, the traditional Hindu party usually takes place in March, sometimes towards the end of February.
Actually, the original Holi isn’t just “throwing chalk at strangers”. Here’s a guide of the best places to celebrate Holi in India… and the activities they provide!
1. Holi: Lath mar Holi in Uttar Pradesh
Hey girls, wanna beat up your boyfriend with a stick while strangers look on happily? Head to Uttar Pradesh about a week before Holi! In this tradition based in Hindu tradition, women chase men away from the city using long sticks called lathis. Strange but fun: it is said that many participants like to drink bhang thandai, the marijuana-laced yoghurt drink so popular in hippie circles.
2. Holi: The Holika Dahan Ceremony in Udaipur, Rajasthan
If Holi is a celebration of good over evil, then evil must be crushed. And this is what Holika Dahan is all about.
All around India, on Holi eve, people light up bonfires, throw things they feel are evil in the fire, hurl insults, scream at the fire, and through this symbolic gesture, destroy demonic strength.
The City Palace Complex in Udaipur is a wonderful majestic complex that took almost 400 years to build. And the authorities of the city throw an elaborate and complex ceremony to go around the lighting of a huge bonfire on the palace.
3. Holi: Street colour parties in Mathura, near Delhi
It’s in the city of Mathura that Lord Krishna was born, and it’s where one of the most intense colour-throwing parties of Holi festival happen each year. People process through the streets on horse-, bull- and camel-drawn carts, on the back of their pickups, or even on top of elephants, throw coloured powders everywhere, play music in the street, scream and dance, and the celebrations go on until dawn.
4. Holi sweets! Puran poli in Mumbai
Holi isn’t just a party, it’s also a feast. It’s dominated by sweets, and each region has its own. In Rajasthan, gujiya is the traditional sweet, a cheesy gooey nutty sweet dumpling; in most of Bengal, malupas are king, combining a deep-fried dough and covered in simple syrup; and in Mumbai and the regions that surround the megalopolis, puran polis are served, sweet flatbreads made from split chickpeas, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.
5. Club night out in Delhi
Because in India there are no parties without dancing, and because Delhi is such a cosmopolitan city connected to the world, there’s no escaping the clubs of Delhi on Holi night. The kids are all out, dressed in their best clothes, DJs are hired a premium, VIP sections and bottle service are selling out fast and guestlist entrances are hard to come by. It’s an exclusive, bling-bling, no-tomorrow celebration!
6. Play with the hippies in Goa
Goa does the best parties in India, and Holi is part of it. This province is a go-to for all partygoers and foreigners come from everywhere around the world to live, work, stay, pass by, stick around for a while, have a week-long vacation or simply play for a few days. Goa is one of the electronic and techno music capitals of the world and, for Holi, the beaches of this beautiful part of the subcontinent are transformed in dance floors for some of the best DJs in the world for a whole day and a whole night! Go play with the hippies and see what they can do, you might be impressed.