Festival of Colors: India’s Most Dynamic Festival

If you adore the beautiful colors of Spring, popping up around you in green grass and flower buds, then you’ll be floored by the colors of Spring in India!

The most frenetic of Hindu festivals, India’s annual Festival of Colors waves goodbye to winter and ushers in spring with a rainbow of colors and 24 hours of rebellious fun.

Celebrated country-wide, Holi officially takes place over three days but it’s the final day’s riotous activity that has seen it become one of the most photographed festivals on the planet.

Crowds of children and adults takes to the streets throwing bright colored gulal (powder) and water over each other in a ritual dating as far back as the third century BC.

It’s sanctioned anarchy, and everyone is a potential target of dyed water tossed from buckets and balloons, particularly visitors, so don’t be surprised to look like a neon color chart by the end of the day – thankfully, natural dyes are used so they can be easily cleaned off.

Celebrated on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna – usually falling in early March (1, 2018) – the exact origins of Holi are unclear but many believe that, aside from welcoming a new season, the festival’s history lies with the Hindu god Krishna who as a mischievous young boy threw colored water over gopis (milkmaids), leading to the unruly games and antics of Holi.

It’s also considered a tribute to good’s triumph over evil with huge bonfires lit across major towns and cities during the evening of the full moon, burning effigies of the demon Holika.

There are several prime places to experience Holi, whether inside or out on the street:

  • the region of Uttar Pradesh – it can last up to 16 days here!
  • temple towns of Mathura and Vrindavan – four hours from Delhi – see some of the most vibrant and legendary celebrations
  • Udaipur starts the festival with a procession from the royal residence to Manek Chowk with the royals, horses and a band
  • Jaipur includes painting of the elephants, elephant beauty contests and more (I’ve been told the animals are well treated, but can’t report on this first hand)

For those of us who might be clean freaks the rest of the year, it’s a moment in time to be fully invested in the experience of laughter, joy and letting our inner child out for the day!

Find a local travel agent to help plan all the logistics and keep your trip on track!