A Guide to Visiting Holi Festival (India)

Today’s guest post was written by Karen Bleakley.

The Holi Festival, or The Festival of Colours as it is also often referred to, it is an iconic Hindu religious festival primarily observed in India. During the celebrations you will find many smiling participants throwing brightly coloured powders at each other as the festivities take to the streets! It is celebrated across the country to usher in the time of good harvest, fertile land, and to signify the casting away of evil spirits.
One of the most interesting aspects of visiting the Holi festival is how different areas of India celebrate it in their own unique way. For example, whether you’re on a flight to Cochin or Mumbai, you can expect a different Holi experience upon your landing.

New Dehli


Photo credit; tibchris

If you wish to experience the most raucous and intense celebration of the festival your first choice should be the Indian capital of New Delhi.  Once you arrive make plans to attend the Holi Cow Festival at Chattarpur, where tourists and locals of all ages come together in a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the Holi festival. With bands and DJs playing alongside artists and puppeteers, there is certainly no shortage or variety of entertainment at Holi Cow.  Unwind with a glass of Bhang Lassis and get into the spirit of Holi by covering your fellow revellers with handfuls of the (non-toxic) brightly coloured paint powder provided!



Photo credit; zosogis

For a slightly more traditional Holi experience take a visit to the city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Do this on the eve of the Holi festival and you will find yourself also in the midst of the annual Elephant Festival. Held in the Jaipur Chaugan Stadium, entrance to the Elephant Festival is completely free of charge and definitely worth a visit. Inside the stadium you will be treated to the traditional processions of ornately decorated elephants, as well as elephant tug-of-wars and even elephant beauty contests.  As the festival progresses into the evening you can dance to the sounds of local folk music and end the evening enjoying the spectacular fireworks display.

Mathura and Vrindavan


Photo credit; Bhaskar Mallick

Finally, if you are looking for the quintessentially traditional Holi experience then a trip to one of the two temple towns of Mathura or Vrindavan, both situated in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, should be firmly on your agenda. Mathura is steeped in ancient history and tradition, known most as the birthplace of Lord Krishna the Hindu deity. The celebration of Holi in Mathura takes place during the 40 days leading up to the main Holi day. It is characterised by a variety of dance and music performances.

5 Responses to “A Guide to Visiting Holi Festival (India)”

  1. Cathy P says:

    It looks wonderful! I have to add this to my travel list! Thanks for sharing!

  2. So much color and fun! I have yet to experience this so I’m ever more eager to give Holi a go (Uttar Pradesh it’ll be!) hopefully next yr before heading to SE. Thanks for this!

  3. Thomas says:

    I have heard about this and seen great photos several times. A lot of fun and people seem to really be enjoying themselves. Not sure if we will ever make it there though.

  4. Rebecca says:

    looks like such a great experience! this is definetly on my bucket list of things to do

  5. That looks like such a great time! I was just up in China and am now in Nepal…I think my next stop would be India especially if this is on the itinerary. 🙂


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