The Holi Festival of Colors

The incredible Holi Festival in India is right up there with some of my most memorable experiences like Diving with Whale Sharks in Thailand or the Sinulog Festival in the Philippines.

It was actually serendipitous that I even made it at all! When I had originally booked my tickets maybe 5 months in advance, I had actually selected to return home to Thailand just a few days before the Festival. I even ended up getting rejected for first flight due to an incorrect passport identification number on the visa application thanks to the e-visa company I used.

To make matters worse, I was also under the gun because I was now in serious risk of overstaying my Thailand visa. So it really came down to the wire to even make this trip possible after having my visa rejected and such a short 24-hour turnaround for a new e-visa over a weekend nonetheless.

I actually ended up having to fly to Malaysia to avoid the overstay and then as soon as I got my new e-visa. Sleeping on the floor at the airport for 48 was just an extra part of the adventure, but thankfully, and after a ton of stress, I was finally able to rebook new flights which included the dates for Holi Festival.

holi festival of colors

India Holi Festival Origins

The story behind this magnificent festival of colors is that it commemorates the victory of good over evil. According to the Hindu religion, Lord Vishnu the God of Preservation was able to defeat the demon of destruction known as Holika. The use of colorful powders was derived from Lord Krishna’s childhood antics in history books for playing pranks on local village girls by covering them in coloring or soaking them with water.

festival of colors kids playing with nomadic nava

How to Celebrate?

Holi is celebrated by smearing colorful powders all over your friends and other people you encounter, throwing colorful water on cars and passerby, as well as loud parties in the streets. celebrating holi

I ended up enjoying Holi with thousands of people in the clean and cultured city of Indore, but if you’re looking to party with the masses then you may want to head to Dehli or Mumbai. Special events with music, rain dances, and colors are well organized in cities throughout India but in Indore, they also do a special ceremony where they transport their holy Krishna statue with spectacular floats through the city.

holi fest lightsBhang paste made from cannabis plants is also traditionally consumed as part of the celebrations in the form of delicious almond smoothies. I may or may not have had a couples glasses = ).

Bhanja Holi

What Rituals are Performed?

Large bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi to symbolize the defeat and burning of the demoness Holika, known as Holika Dahan. People also perform dancing and singing which is part of the Puja ceremony and then walk around the flames three times.

lord krishna holiDepending on what part of the country you’re participating in Holi, some people even perform fire walks across beds of hot coals and is considered sacred.

holi traditions

When is Holi Celebrated?

In parts of India, Holi is also celebrated as a spring festival, to provide Thanksgiving for an abundant harvest season and is usually held on the day after the full moon in March each year.

women of holi

Where is Holi Celebrated?

The largest raditional Holi celebrations are in Mathura and Vrindavan, about four hours from Delhi, where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up.

holi in indoreUnfortunately, there have been many reports of sexual assaults from women tourists and solo female travelers in India so no matter where you go, it’s highly recommended to travel with a guide or a local.

holi fest ceremony

Rajasthan is another popular Holi destination for foreign tourists and is actually one of my favorite places that I visited while in India. Jaipur was particularly accommodating and filled with so many wonderful places to explore, I would highly recommend visiting here if you’re planning a trip.

festival of colors

From the Taj Mahal to all the delicious dishes of food, the impressive forts and palaces, kind and friendly people, as well as one of the funnest festivals on the planet, there are so many reasons why India is quite literally AMAZING.

Special Thanks

holi festival friends

I would like to give special thanks to my friend Dr. Gaurav Gupta and his amazing family and friends for taking me in and showing me world-class hospitality. You surely helped make my trip India a lot easier and better than I could have ever expected. Thank You.

holi festival india

Holi Festival Video

The Festival Of Colors

Thanks for reading my “Holi Festival” blog post, please feel free to leave a comment below or on my Youtube. Follow my Instagram to keep up with my travels and subscribe to my blog for more travel tips and adventures.

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Nomadic Nava

Author Nomadic Nava

"Travel the world, live a better life, be who you want to be." @nomadicnava

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