First published on the AudioCompass Blog, written by moi :) This is the link to the piece there: Five Best Places to Celebrate Holi
Holi, the wildest Hindu Festival is loud, chaotic, lively and colourful. And, of course, you want to celebrate it. This festival is not celebrated in the South of India, so we focus our lens to the cities and towns in the rest of India. Presenting the best places to celebrate Holi in 2014.
1. Traditional Holi: Mathura or Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Mathura was where Krishna was born and Vrindavan was where he spent his childhood. These two cities have the most long-lasting celebrations, which go on for almost 40 days before the actual festival day. If you have the time, go in advance and be part of the celebrations at the Shri Banke Bihari Mandir.
2. A Royal Holi: Udaipur, Rajasthan
The royal family of Udaipur celebrates this festival with the public and you can join in too! An elaborate function takes place at the City Palace. Tickets for this function can be bought at the Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel. If tickets don’t work out, head to the public square at the Jagmandir. The rest of the city will be squished into that area for the two days of festivities.
3. A holier Holi: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
No place can be more important to Hindu mythology than Varanasi. The festival here takes on a rather ritualistic mode. In the night before the main day, wood and dung cakes are burnt. Grain is roasted in the fire and all assembled get a tilak on their forehead with the ash from this fire. Some people will also get a whole body massage with a ripe mustard pack. The belief is that this cleans the body of all ailments and diseases for the coming year. The next day its mayhem with colours, water like everywhere else in the country! When you’re tired of being soaked, find a vantage point on the terrace of a house or hotel from where you can look into the narrow lanes with all the mingling colours.
4. A different Holi: Purulia, West Bengal
Around 250 kms away from Kolkata is the district of Purulia. This is a rather special Holi where you have three days of celebrations with folk music and dance. Villagers arrange a Chau dance, Darbari Jhumur and Natua dance and also Sufi songs by the Baul singers. It is run by the villagers themselves, so this is a great way to support rural India and her traditions.
5. Modern Holi at Delhi – the Holy Cow Festival
You could do any of the above, but if that’s not what you are looking for then check out this very Modern interpretation of the festival. The Holy Cow Festival that takes place in Delhi annually. It’s all about music, art and more. This year the organizers promise 4 stages with more than 40 artists. If you are in Delhi and don’t plan on colouring it up with your friends, book your ticket today!
Finally, with a festival like Holi, it doesn’t matter where you go, the best Holi celebrations are right at your doorstep. Get out there and join in the tamasha.