Festival of colours – Holi.

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Holi is a popular ancient Indian festival, also known as the “Festival of Love”, the “Festival of Colours” and the “Festival of Spring”. The festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of *Radha Krishna.

Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love and for many, it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.

It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon Day) falling in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, which falls around the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar.

Holi is an ancient Indian religious festival that has also become popular outside of India. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a *Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire.

The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi (Dhuleti) – a free-for-all festival of colours, where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children, and elders.

The date falls typically in March, but sometimes late February of the Gregorian calendar.

In the Braj region around *Mathura (map), in north India, the festivities may last more than a week. The rituals go beyond playing with colours, and include a day where men go around with shields and women have the right to playfully beat them on their shields with sticks. It is known as Latthmaar Holi, traditionally celebrated in the Barsana village (map). Barsana is the village of Radha and women assume the role of gopikas (Radha’s friends) and men as gopas (Krishna’s friends).

 

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BUS: Redbus • Travelyaari • Buskiraya • myticketbuddy. Reliable carriers: Raj National Express • KPN Travels. While you can’t take a cross-country bus ride across India, buses are the second most-popular way of travelling across states and the only cheap way of reaching many places not on the rail network (e.g. Dharamsala)

TRAIN: irctc.co.in ⇒ Railways were introduced in India in 1853, more than one and half a century ago by the British, and today India boasts of the biggest network of railway lines in the world, and the rail system is very efficient, if rarely on schedule. It is one of the safest ways of travel in India.

AIRPORT: Chhatrapati Shivaji AirportIndira Gandhi Airport • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport • Dabolim Airport. Domestic flights, the main operators are: Air India (Discover India) • Air India Express • Air Asia India • IndiGo • Go First • SpiceJet • Vistara.

Playing HOLI in Mathura with locals.

We had the most incredible time playing Holi in Mathura! This was our first time we experienced the Holi festival and finally got to tick this special occasion off our bucket list! Would you ever go to Holi festival in India?

video source: Shev and Dev / youtube.com /

Useful websites.

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Indian Food.

If you”re planning to visit India and want some more information about Indian food, then this Indian food guide can help.

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The One-Stop Guide to Indian Food: Indian food is very different from western food and can seem a little intimidating from an outside perspective. If you”re planning to visit India or just want some more information about Indian food before visiting your local restaurant, then this Indian food guide can help.

Restricted / Protected Area: Travel in much of the North-East (with the notable exception of Assam) and parts of Andaman and Nicobar, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will require obtaining a *Protected Area Permit (PAP). The easiest way to get one is to request it along with your visa application, in which case it will be added to your visa.