Rajasthan is truly a precious gemstone that adorns the crown of Incredible India most beautifully. A land of intriguing history, of valour and chivalry, Rajasthan mesmerises its visitors with warm hospitality, royal exuberance and myriad experiences. The sheer enigma of Rajasthan is steeped into its rich culture, fairs and festivals that highlight the true colours of life. Holi in Rajasthan is a spectacle to behold, an experience to cherish forever! If you visit the state in February — March, you can experience the festival of Holi — Rajasthan style — when the entire region comes alive in a riot of colours.
One of the best things about Holi festival in Rajasthan is its miscellany. Every city or town here gives a unique touch to the celebration, making it even more intriguing and enchanting for travellers from around the world. Holi customs and traditions across the state vary with culture and that makes the festival of colours even more fun and enjoyable. Holi, also known as Spring Festival, marks the beginning of Spring season, which indicates bringing with it fun, frolic, colours and celebrations. Typically, the festival is celebrated on the Phalguna Purnima (full moon day) as per the Hindu calendar and falls in the month of March. However, Holi celebrations in Rajasthan commence way before and continue even after the day in many places of the state.
WaytoIndia takes you on a memorable journey to experience Rajasthan Holi celebrations at its best.
No one celebrates Holi with such gaiety and vibrancy as people of Braj does. The Braj Festival is held every year for three days in the Shukla Paksha of the Phalguna month which is few days prior to Holi. The festival of colours is dedicated to Lord Krishna who is believed to have lived here, as per Hindu mythology. Holi in Braj Rajasthan not only highlights the spirit of the festival but also impersonates Radha and Krishna’s eternal love most beautifully.
The key highlight of the festival is Raslila dance which is performed with immense zest and fervour. People adorned in multi-coloured attire can be seen singing and performing Raslila, replicating the immortal love story of Radha and Krishna. The entire town paints itself in a myriad hue and you can feel the vibe in the air. Be ready to get splashed if you visit Braj during Holi.
Royal Holi Celebrations
Rajasthan is royal in its truest sense. A land of royal forts and palaces, of chivalrous Rajputs, Maharajas and princes, the exuberance of royalty still lingers today. And what can be more enriching than watching the royals celebrate the festival of Holi! On the auspicious event of the most boisterous of Hindu festivals, Holi, even the royals don a festive mood and come together with the commoners to celebrate the occasion with immense zeal and passion.
During earlier days, Rajput warriors and kings of Rajasthan used to demonstrate their equestrian skills in the event of Holi. Continuing with the cultural heritage, Rajput men still ride their steeds through the colours, splashing colours on each others. Over the years, the royals have refined Holi celebrations into an art, where every member of the royal family indulges into the spirit of the festival and gets drenched in colours. Make sure to ask your guide about royal Holi celebration in India that would ensure a somewhat unique experience like never before. And don’t miss to savour some of the finest Holi delicacies amid a royal ambience.
Dhulandi Festival, also known as the Festival of Colours, is celebrated in Rajasthan a day after Holika Dahan and marks the beginning of Spring. On this auspicious occasion, people play with colours and indulge into vivid celebrations all day long. The highlight of the occasion is various folk dance performances like Gait and Ghoomer. Children love drenching passerby with water balloons. The women prepare special dishes for Holi such as Mathari, Gujiyas, Papri and Dahi Bhalla.
The festival gets a unique touch in Jaipur, where the Department of Rajasthan Tourism organizes a special event, especially for foreign tourists. The event is held on the lawns of the Khasa Kothi Hotel, where visitors can have a splendid time playing with colours and dancing to traditional Rajasthani folk music and dance performed by local artists. You can also have the taste of lip-smacking Holi recipes in Rajasthan as you indulge into one of the most celebrated and invigorating Hindu festivals ever.
Badshah ki Sawari
This is one of the key highlights of Holi in Rajasthan, alluring thousands of foreign tourists every year. The Badshah ki Sawari at Beawar is a spectacle to behold which replicates a medieval practice that was instituted by the great Mughal king Akbar. History has it that the king, impressed by Raja Todarmal, a minister and one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court, made him the emperor for a day. To celebrate the honour awarded to him, Raja Todarmal went around in a gala procession on the day of Holi, distributing money to people. The heritage still continues today, when the emperor and vizier of Beawar move around the town in a grand processing, throwing colours and celebrating the spirit of Holi.
Beawar is situated about 185 km. south-west of Jaipur and is one of the best places to visit during Holi. During Badshah Mela, people choose one member from the local Agarwal community to be the Badshah or Emperor for a day. He rides in full regalia on a rath, with this ‘minister’ and other subordinates dancing in front. Thandai, a Holi-special drink, marks the festivity around the town as the processing starts from Bhairuji Ka Chowk with a grand crowd following it and thousands of visitors watching it from terraces and balconies.
Holika Dehan is a famous ritual of Holi where people gather, create a bonfire with dried twigs and branches and celebrate the victory of good over evil. While this is a common picture everywhere in Rajasthan, in villages like Dungarpur and Banswara, visitors can witness dare devil acts like walking on burning coal. The celebration surrounding the bonfire, mouth-watering delicacies, and preparations for Holi the next day make the tradition most enchanting.
Koda Maar Holi
If Barsana’s Lathmar Holi in Uttar Pradesh is famous, Rajasthan’s Koda Maar Holi also does not lag behind in its popularity and zest. The celebration is most typical of Beawar near Ajmer, where men throw water and colour on women and get whipped by them. This is typically a battle between a brother-in-law and sister-in-law where the former tries to throw coloured water on the latter and gets beaten up. Watching the event is fun and enjoyable as you witness a unique form of Holi celebration in India.
Holi in Udaipur
Experience Holi in Udaipur and the deeply pigmented colours of India will surely leave you completely mesmerised. A day before Holi, most of the city meets on the Central Square in front of the Jagdish Temple to witness the fervour of Holika Dehan and watch folk dance performers. And trust us, this is no ordinary bonfire! The blazing fire spreads the spirit of Holi and sets the perfect mood for celebration. On the day of Holi, the royal family hosts an elaborate event at the City Palace, and being a part of this function would be an experience to cherish forever.
Rajasthan has its unique way of celebrating Holi. It is the “larger than life” spirit and rich cultural traditions that make Holi in Rajasthan most intriguing and memorable.
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