Several years ago, I came across a photo of people throwing vibrant, flying colors at a festival in India. The colors were beautiful and the festivities seemed like such a fun experience. Upon learning more about the Holi Festival, I decided I would someday have to experience it for myself.
Fast forward to 2013 and I finally made it happen. Suffice to say, it was an amazing experience!
The colorful Holi Festival is a celebration of Spring. The colored powder everyone throws represents the colors of the flowers that are sure to follow the new season. There are also religious aspects to the Holi Festival for Hindus, though the more solemn celebrations occur in the South and the North tends to celebrate with more pomp and extravagance, including the colorful powder.
With recent reports of men acting wildly, often ripping shirts right off of participants and using the crowd as an excuse to touch women inappropriately, I wanted to make sure that I chose a place that was going to be fun, yet still safe. After getting advice from Indian friends, I headed to Pushkar, a small, religious village in Rajasthan, India for Holi.
The crowd in Pushkar was still festive, with a large crowd dancing and throwing colors in the main square, but without some the rowdiness that I was fearing. Here, the participants ripped off shirts of the men only, and there weren’t any instances in which I was groped inappropriately or felt in anyway uncomfortable. It was nothing but music, dancing, flying colors, happy people, smiles, and well wishes for a happy Holi. It was everything I had imagined and hoped it would be.
I’m really glad I managed to time a trip to India to coincide with the Holi Festival and I would highly recommend anyone interested in the festival to do the same. Pushkar was the perfect location for Holi and I’ll forever remember my time here fondly.
INSIDER TIP: Have a bottle of clean water with you at all times during the Holi Festival! It’s inevitable that you will get the powder in your eyes and mouth. Rinse your eyes immediately as the chemicals in the powder causes a lot of pain, and in some extreme cases, temporary blindness! The powder also tastes terrible so rinsing your mouth immediately is also a good idea.
Have YOU ever traveled somewhere specifically for a festival? WHERE?
A special thank you to Patrice Aroca for letting me use his photos in this post. For more of his beautiful images, please visit his website.