India – Being a prominent cultural hub has great diversity in celebrations of various occasions and festivals attracting people around the globe to witness these celebrations in live spirit. One such festival that describes the true spirit of India is Holi. Holi also named as ‘Phagwa’, commonly known as ‘festival of colors’. It is a spring festival celebrated during the onset of spring. People from across the globe visit our country to witness the Holi celebration in India.
While the Mathura Holi and Vrindavan Holi stand to be the most popular locations to witness the best Holi celebration in India. These are top ten places to visit in order to experience the best Holi in India.
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Vrindavan is a well-known place where Lord Krishna was brought up and is the one to attract about 5, 00,000 pilgrims each year to experience the best Holi of India.
Celebrations here last for about a week at the Banke Bihari Temple, where everyone including the priests will involve in playing with organic colors, water, and marigolds, along with lively ‘bhajans’, setting the festive mood at its best.
Inexpensive accommodation and great connectivity to neighboring cities highlight it as a favorite tourist spot. Delhi is nearby Vrindavan having the nearest international airport, which is about a four-hour drive (144 km).
Agra is next nearby destination which is about 73 km away from Vrindavan city. It is suggested to make pre-booked arrangements before visiting this city at the time of Holi because of its extreme popularity and tourist congestion.
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Holi at Mathura has great significance since Mathura was the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Holi celebrations here happen at full swing in all the temples, and colorful processions lead their way from these temples to the ‘Holi Gate’.
Such processions travel across the city alongside the river and if you go early, you can witness the making of bhang, sweets, organic colors, decorations and other edibles.
Journey to Mathura is comfortable as it is well connected by means of a National Highway. It is 145 Km away from Delhi and 60 Km away from Agra. If time permits, you should definitely witness Holi celebration at Vrindavan, along with Holi celebration at Mathura. It is just 12 km away and is convenient drive by a cab.
Barsana, Uttar Pradesh
Holi at Barsana is famous as Lath mar Holi. It has a tradition that the ladies of village playfully hit men from the Nandgaon village to prevent them from raising their flag over the Shri Radhikaji’s Temple.
Celebrations here will last over a week, giving the men of Barsana a chance to reciprocate the intrusion and play with the ladies of Nandgaon, all in the spirit of Holi.
One can easily reach Barsana by renting a cab or taxi from Delhi (110 km) or Agra (79 km) and witness the colorful celebration with joy.
Shantiniketan, West Bengal
The elegant and cultural celebrations of Holi or Basant Utsav were started here by Rabindranath Tagore. Holi is celebrated here as the ‘season of hope’, marked by a unique way of celebrating with dignified dances, hymns, cultural shows that end with colors.
If you are a fan of Bengali culture, it is the right place where to go to experience the celebration of Bengali heritage.
It can be reached easily by road from Kolkata (223 km) by renting of a cab that would allow you to enjoy the greenery throughout the route.
Anandpur Sahib, Punjab
The most unusual celebration of Holi can be seen here, which is started by Guru Gobind Singh. Here Sikhs portray their physical strength by means of demonstrative and mock fights instead of the traditional color splashing.
The event here is well-known as ‘HolaMohalla’, which depicts other cultural highlights like turban tying, sword fighting, horsemanship, wrestling, traditional food and massive colorful decorations.
Reaching Anandpur is a relaxed journey from Chandigarh (65 km) and Ludhiana (71 km). However, if you are traveling from Delhi, it is suggestible to rent a cab on the drive along with halt at Chandigarh.
In case if you were wondering where to go to experience a mix of modern and traditional Holi, then Mumbai is the only answer to the question. It acts as host to top-notch celebrity parties as well as local events and parties that charge a variable entry fee ranging in between INR 500-3000, depending upon the package offered.
Traditional celebrations commence from a day before with burning of a dry figurine called ‘Holika’, continued by playing with colors the next day. Cultural programs may be witnessed in different areas, one such prominent place is Dharavi.
It is one of the largest slums in the world, where one can experience a unique Holi with the slum kids by participating in fund raising activities of which the proceeds will go to the welfare of the slum kids. Foreign nationals, as well as Indians from other parts of the country, will be spotted here for Holi celebrations, because of its great connectivity by rail, road, and air.
Udaipur is famous for its royalty and Holi celebrations here do full justice to its royal status. One can participate in the royal procession of the Mewar family from their residence to the City Palace with pre-purchased passes which are available online.
After the ‘HolikaDahan’, the bursting of firecrackers marks the victory of good over evil and the joyous celebrations begin. If you miss the ticket of the royal celebration, there is more traditional and fun-filled celebration that happens around the Shrinathji temple, which is open to all.
One can reach Udaipur by road, rail or air. Maharana Pratap Airport is the nearest airport which is just 20 km away from the city. However, most people prefer hiring cabs or driving down from Mumbai or Delhi (700 km from both) as it is an amazing journey through NH8 highway.
Purulia, West Bengal
A purely Folk Holi can be witnessed here with tent stays along with a rustic 3-day experience, put together by locals in order to sustain. Folk dances, songs, and art comprises of Basant Utsav, along with color playing and participation in folk activities by tourists on the last day.
The closest airport is just 330 km away in Kolkata. There are several cab rental services available, which make your journey comfortable and hassle-free.
Apart from being frolic, elephants are the main highlights of the Holi celebration here. They indulge in parades, beauty contests and tug of war with humans. However, such events have been canceled by time, due to the pressure of animal rights groups.
But a group of locals hosts an event called Eleohi, which portrait elephant activities, folk dances, music and much more at varying package deals ranging from INR 1500 to 4000.
Jaipur can be easily reached by road, which is most convenient and popular as it is connected to major cities like Delhi (235kms), Agra (220 km) and others by National highways NH 8, NH 11 and NH 12.
Holi in Uttarakhand is a musical affair called the Kumaoni Holi, which comprises of Baithki Holi, Khari Holi, Mahila Holi, Cheer Bandhan, Dhulendi and a ShubhKamna prayer ending the celebrations on a spiritual note. The celebrations here will last for a month with multiple singers performing specific songs as per the ritual like the Mahila Holi in which only women witnessed singing songs and is followed by a bonfire (Cheer Bandhan).
It involves each group trying to steal the ‘cheer’ of another group, by indulging in spirited activities and playing with colors made of natural ingredients.
The roadway is best to reach Almora and it is suggestible to rent a cab/taxi with an experienced driver as the condition of the road is not at its best.
The above-mentioned places are termed as the top places offering best Holi celebrations in India. It is best to rent a cab service for a multi-city trip in order to witness Holi celebrations in two or more destinations. There are multiple cab services available for multi-city trips. GetmeCab is the best cab service to choose, as it has great connectivity options to most of these destinations along with additional options to avail for one way or round trips across these cities. Hassle free booking process and experienced drivers of GetMeCab service will make the journey convenient, comfortable, and dependable.