March 18, 2022: Known as a celebration of the victory of good over evil, Holi brings family and friends together as they play with colour and gorge on delicious food. And now, as restrictions have begun to ease, what better way to start travelling than by relishing our own country’s rich heritage. While the festivities occur throughout India, various regions across the country have their own distinct local traditions – a sight to behold. Travel platform Agoda has curated a list of destinations where Holi is celebrated in the most unique ways, so go ahead and get inspired
Uttar Pradesh is the place to be to get into the spirit of Holi. Aptly called ‘Phoolon ki Holi’, the celebration goes on for an entire week starting on Ekadashi at the Banke Bihari Temple of Vrindavan where only flowers are used to play Holi. Flowers are splashed across the temple with the aim to connect with Lord Krishna and bring him joy. This celebration is followed by Widows Holi. Traditionally, widows are told to strictly wear white after their husband’s departure. However, on this day, the widows get together to play Holi and break the rules of the previous tradition. Continuing with the festivities, kids are dressed as Radha and Krishna and the people of Vrindavan and Mathura get onto the roads to colour the streets, temples, and ghats in rainbows. The famous Lathmar Holi is also celebrated where women playfully beat men with lathis (wooden sticks) in the towns of Barsana and Nandgaon of Uttar Pradesh.
While in Uttar Pradesh, travellers can choose from a host of Agoda accommodations to stay at:
Hola Mohalla celebrations in Punjab
In Punjab, Holi is celebrated to honour the bravery of a particular sect of Sikh warriors, ‘Nihang Sikhs’ and is known as Hola Mohalla or Hola in this region. The festival includes a profound display of martial arts, horse-riding, and reciting poetry. The participants perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses and various other feats of bravery. This is later followed by music, dance, and colour. The fair is held for three days and ends on the day of Hola with a long military-style procession.
While in Punjab, travellers can choose from hundreds of different places ideal for couple or family retreats. Check out
Uttarakhand’s Kumaoni Holi
Celebrated in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Kumaoni Holi not only signifies the victory of good over evil but also the start of the sowing season for the farming community. The festivities are more of a musical affair than of colours in this region. There are three forms of celebrations based on musical gatherings of Holiyars (the singers of Holi songs) that start from Basant Panchami and last for almost two months.
- Baithaki Holi – Seated gatherings held for two months where holidays sing traditional classical songs to the tunes of harmoniums and tablas with a heavy influence of Kumaoni folk music traditions.
- Khadi Holi – People sing, play instruments like dhol, joda (metal instrument), and Hurka, and dance in groups wearing white nokdaar topi, churidar payajama, and kurta.
- Mahila Holi – These are exclusive gatherings for women and is similar to Baithaki Holi
Agoda has a range of accommodations to suit all budgets in Kumaon Travellers can choose from :
Basant Utsav in West Bengal
Rabindranath Tagore started the tradition of Basant Utsav at Shantiniketan to mark the beginning of the spring season. Now an integral part of the Bengali culture, the three-day-long folk festival is organised in the Purulia district of West Bengal. Festivities include folk songs and unique folk art exhibitions. Folk dance performances such as Chau, Darbari Jhumur, and Natua are treats for the viewers’ eyes. Owing to its own dignity, the festival lures visitors from all over the world.
Choose to stay in hotels, B&Bs, or resorts in West Bengal :
Holi is celebrated as Yaoshang festival in Manipur and is the most important festival of the state. The celebration continues for 6 days starting from the full moon day in Phalguna with the burning of ‘yaoshang’ that is constructed with bamboo and straws followed by singing, dancing, and other traditional performances by the residents of Manipur. The main highlight of the festival is Thabal Chongba dance or “Moonlight dance.” The participants perform the dance with songs to the rhythm of the Dholakar (drum) at night.
Travellers can find a host of places to stay with great value deals :
- Shalom Farmhouse by the hillside
- Classic Grande Imphal, a member of Radisson Indiviuals
- The Classic Hotel
Gair in Rajasthan during Royal Holi
Holi at Udaipur in Rajasthan is a royal affair, and the city is famed for its grand celebration. Spread across two days, the royal family takes active participation in all the functions. When visiting Udaipur during this time of the year, expect to be enthralled by the enchanting festivities. Known as Mewar Holika Dahan, the bonfire takes place on the grounds of City Palace and continues with the traditional folk dance, Gair. There is a rally where the royal family members sit on ornate camels, elephants, and horses, followed by cocktails and dinner at the royal palace. The next day, tourists and locals rejoice and play Holi throughout the city.
While in Udaipur, travellers can choose from a host of Agoda accommodation to stay at including :
- The Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur Hotel
- Fateh Prakash Palace – Heritage Grand
- Aurika Udaipur – Luxury by Lemon Tree Hotels