This weekend sees the vivid colors of the Holi Festival in India explode into life once more – a spectacular two week Hindi celebration that marks the triumph of good over evil. Beginning with a series of bonfires lit up across the nation on Holika Dahan, the eve of the Holi Festival, the real action kicks off the day after as revelers take to the streets in an orgy of dancing, singing and colored powder being thrown everywhere.
One of the more entertaining Indian festivals, the practice of throwing colors around originates from the story of a young Krishna who, jealous of the fair complexion of his lover Rahdna, decided to mischievously smear paint on to her face.
Travelers looking to join in the festivities might want to head down to Mathura, Krishna’s birthplace, or Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, where the festival is most eagerly embraced. Thousands of revelers are expected to attend the highly anticipated event.
Another great place to witness the spectacle of Holi is in Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, which is notoriously lively during the celebrations. As a foreigner, you can expect to receive extra special attention from the hundreds of enthusiastic revelers spraying paint and colored liquid from their water pistols – just make sure you are not wearing your Sunday best to the festivities!
Nihangs, or Sikh warriors, apply coloured powder to each other during celebrations of "Hola Mohalla" at Anandpur Sahib in the northern Indian state of Punjab March 11, 2009. "Hola Mohalla" or the festival of Nihangs is celebrated during the Hindu religious festival of Holi, marking the congregation of Sikh devotees from all over the country
Holi is also celebrated with fanaticism in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, which sees some of the biggest celebrations of all and is traditionally one of the most exciting of destinations to indulge. If you do plan to enjoy the celebrations, be warned – you can bank on having a wild time and getting very wet and extremely messy – have fun!