Home > Top 10 Places to Celebrate Holi in India
Holi is a lively and fun-filled festival. A time to stop worrying about everything and come together as a family and community to enjoy. Celebrated with the highest level of enthusiasm, it is only natural that we seek to make Holi better and bigger.
With the pandemic induced directives limiting public gatherings and travel in the past two years, it is expected that you must be looking forward to this Holi with an unbound excitement. With the period of the COVID-19 pandemic finally coming to an end – seemingly, it’s a great time to marry your Holi celebrations with that much-awaited travel plan.
If this sounds like a plan you would be up to, Venuezz has curated a great list of top 10 places that will offer the best Holi celebration in India!
10 Best Holi Destinations in India
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Holi in Mathura is special for many reasons. Being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the festival of Holi finds its roots in the city of Mathura. During the season, the city attracts devotees from all over the world, creating an environment of spirituality, celebration and excitement, Temples in Mathura host grand celebrations of the Holi. If you want to witness Holi in its most grand and spectacular avatar, Mathura is the place for you.
The colourful Holi parade starts in the late afternoon from Vishram Ghat and finishes at the Holi Gate. Dwarkadheesh Temple is also a major attraction for the Holi celebration as devotees gather here on the morning of Holi. With the spirit of festive fervour high as the sky, they celebrate it with music, dance and loads of gulal! Holi in Mathura is definitely something that should be on your bucket list!
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi, another extremely important holy city, is also a delight during the Holi festival in India. The famous Lathmar Holi is a topic of intrigue among people from all over the world. In this celebration, men need to safeguard themselves from the playful beatings by women. Women from Varanasi and Nandgaon suburbs beat men with sticks, while men have to protect themselves from the hits under shields. Lathmar Holi takes place a week before Holi.
These suburbs were witness to the legendary love story of Shri Krishna and Radha. As per the legends, Shri Krishna used to paint Rasha’s face with colours to maintain that there is no skin tone difference between them. He used to visit the city with his friends to colour Radha and her friends. In return, the ladies would playfully beat the men with sticks. This led to the tradition which is now known as Lathmar Holi. Apart from Lathmar Holi, don’t forget to partake in the sweet festivity – the Laddoo Holi at Shriji Temple to enjoy a joyful bundle of sweetness.
If you are fond of the royal lifestyle and grandeur, Holi celebrations in Udaipur will be an absolute treat for you! In Udaipur, Holi is an imperial affair in which the royal family participates. The celebrations begin with the Maharaja lighting up the ceremonial bonfire for Holika Dahan in the royal palace’s courtyard. This is known as Mewar Holika dahan. The locals perform a folk dance around the bonfire. The Holi parade in Udaipur starts from Shambhu Niwas Palace and ends at Manek Chowk royal residence. During this, the royals ride elephants, horses, and camels and are accompanied by the royal music band. With amazing cocktails and dinner waiting for the guests at the palace, the celebrations culminate with amazing fireworks.
On the day of Holi, people play with colours – obviously – but that’s not it Traditional sweets are prepared and people enjoy sharing the sweetness of the festivity. The grand celebrations are not just confined to the royal palace only but also in the narrow alleys all around the city. All in all, Holi in Udaipur is an experience to be a part of.
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Another spiritually important city – Shri Krishna’s playland – Vrindavan holds a lot of importance among Hindus. The festival of Holi in Vrindavan attracts a large number of devotees from Vaishnava community. The epicentre of the Holi celebrations here is the Banke Bihari Temple. The celebrations go on for over a week, starting with Phoolon ki Holi with flowers, then Widows Holi, and concluding a day before Holi with playing with colours.
The Gopinath Temple is another major point of attention that witnesses the unique colour play by widows. The landscape is beautifully unreal, almost like a scene from a movie, with a huge amount of marigold flowers and clouds of gulal! Lord Krishna’s devotional songs add to the charm of Vrindavan Holi. If you want to be truly lost in the celebrations, visit Vrindavan for an amazing Holi bash!
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Festive fervour reaches its peak with the Holi celebration in the city of Agra. The festival is celebrated with zeal and gusto in this city, with a plethora of colourful activities to partake in. As people chug glasses of bhang and play with colours, there is no excuse to take part in the celebrations. Partying, dancing, music, enjoying sweets and other fares. The Holi celebrations in Agra know no bounds! Colourful parades with folk songs is a highlight of Holi celebrations in the city.
Quite like many other destinations of India, the festivities start with a bonfire on the night of Purnima. Street corners are lit up with traditional fires to ward off evil spirits and bad omen – signifying the burning of Holika. The next morning, people play with colours and in the evening, people greet each other at Holi mela or visit friends and relatives.
During Holi, the Pink City transforms into a rainbow. The highlights of Holi celebrations in Jaipur are the gala celebrations in the palace. It is a wholesome gesture by the royal family to support local charities. With the help of the tourism authority, the old Khasa Kothi Hotel hosts celebrations. Rajasthani folk music and dance, as well as a decent gulal performance, are the highlights of the programme. At the Govind Dev Ji Temple, the environment is filled with a sense of spirituality and devotion, where marigold flowers are offered to idols of Shri Krishna and Radha. The echoes of Bhajans add to the soulfulness of the environment here.
Jaipur Holi also has the unique ‘Gulaal Gotas’ or Water Canon Bowls celebrations. These are eco-friendly and harmless as they are made by melting lacquer. Bollywood theme parties are also organised at various resorts and luxury hotels in and around Jaipur city.
Kolkata, West Bengal
Shantiniketan – a well-known place in Bolpur near Kolkata, celebrates Holi as Basanta Utsav – the Spring Festival. This was introduced by none other than Rabindranath Tagore. This is a very unique way of celebrating and capturing the magic of Holi as students are the frontrunners in the celebrations. People join en masse to play with colours, with yellow being the most prominent one. The people’s attire too is yellow, adding to the beauty of the celebrations.
A cultural program is organised where students showcase their talents by performing melodious songs and enchanting dances. Students and teachers greet each other by applying gulal on each other to celebrate the joyous nature of the festival. These aspects make Shantiniketan Holi in Kolkata a very unique but happening experience. Surely one of the best places to celebrate Holi in India.
While Holi is more prominently celebrated in the North Indian region, there are some amazing Holi traditions in South India too that one must experience at least once in their lifetime. One such Holi celebration is in Hampi, Karnataka. Temples reverberate with Holi celebration spirit all day long. Beginning with Holika Dahan, the festivities include enjoying singing and dancing around it. The next day, people play Holi in its fullest vividity. Drumbeats echo all around, adding to the festive fervor.
After enjoying a day full of colourful play, people join at River Tungabhadra to dive in. This cleanses colours from the body as well as one’s sins. People also gather around the ruins of the grand Vijayanagar Empire, a true highlight of the festival. Don’t forget to visit Hampi for its unique Holi celebrations.
Holi in Delhi is as enthusiastic as it can get, turning the fast metro city into an ocean of vibrance and colours. Coloured water balloons and pichkaris are used to elevate the fun while the air takes the colour of gulal. The best Holi celebration in Delhi happens at the Holi Moo Festival. Holi celebration includes performances by several Indian and international artists. Frenzy Adventure, Gamesforest, the Garden of Five Senses, Maharana Pratap ISBT, Janmashtmi Park, and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium are also some of the places where Holi parties are hosted.
With organic/non-toxic colours, bhang, mouth-watering treats, and a party environment, Holi in Delhi is a mega-fun ride!
Mumbai is second to none in its Holi celebration. All the big resorts, clubs, and city grounds prepare to throw extravagant Holi parties in Mumbai. Every nook and corner of this city radiates with Holi cheer and joy. Mumbai folks often face the problem of plenty as amazing Holi parties to choose from are staggering in number. Every year, Mumbai just takes its Holi celebrations to the next level, offering a great experience to locals and tourists alike.
The zealous revelry is full of colours, music, dance and a lot of fun. The tunes have a great groove and thumping beats at luxurious hotels. Water parks also provide their fair share of Holi fervour with unrestrained colour spray, making you a child all over again. As a metro city, Mumbai also has a lot of environment-friendly Holi celebrations so that no one can miss out.
For many, Holi is a synonym of endless fun and celebration. And as we hopefully move beyond the period of the pandemic, celebrating Holi with vividity and extravagance is a great way to leave the dull period behind and enjoy life to the fullest.
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