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Holi, also observed as the Carnival of Colours, is a significant Hindu festival that is celebrated across India. In essence, the festival marks the victory of good over evil. It is also celebrated as a token of thanksgiving for a better harvest. No matter one’s age, people revel in this festival, hand in hand and armed with vibrant colours.

With some of the best places to soak in the true essence of this festival stated below, planning a Holi getaway has never been easier. Read on:

Places To Celebrate Holi in India:

1. Barsana and Nandgaon (Uttar Pradesh)

Barsana has a unique way of celebrating Holi. The ladies of this town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, chase the men from Nandgaon, a neighbouring village, and hit them with sticks. It is this tradition that has lent it the moniker lathmaar Holi.

Holi

In this mock contest, the men resist being captured. The catch is that they are not allowed to retaliate on this day. The main celebrations unfold at the Ladliji Temple, built in the memory of Sri Radha Rani.

How to reach

  • By air: Nearest airport is in Agra (100 km away). Book a taxi from Agra airport to reach Barsana. IGI Airport (New Delhi) is 150 km from Barsana
  • By train: Nearest railway station is Mathura (45 km from Nandgaon). Book a taxi from Mathura Railway Station to reach Nandgaon
  • By road: Barsana and Nandgaon are well-connected by national and state highways

2. Shantiniketan (West Bengal)

The festivities in Shantiniketan, or the abode of peace, were introduced by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Known as Basanta Utsav, Holi in Shantiniketan is nothing short of a carnival, attracting scores of visitors across the world.

Besides the customary celebrations, people sport spring colours and showcase a variety of cultural programs, including folk dances, for the visitors. Now considered integral to the Bengali heritage, the festivities here are unique in the way there is no chaos in the revelry, something which is prevalent in most Holi celebrations across the country.

How to reach

The most convenient way to reach Shantiniketan is by train. Nearest station is Bolpur, only a couple of kilometres away from your destination. You can avail a quick taxi or bus service to arrive at your accommodation.

3. Hampi (Karnataka)

South India is generally subdued in their Holi celebrations. Hampi in Karnataka, however, is an exception. Tourists across the globe flock to Hampi at this time of the year to bask in the spirit of Holi.

You will find a lot of Westerners coming to experience the spirit of Holi here.  Against the ruins of the magnificent Vijayanagara Empire, this UNESCO World Heritage site turns up drumming, dancing, and splashing colours, transforming the city into a kaleidoscopic treat.

How to reach

  • By air: Nearest airport is at Belgaum (about 270 km from Hampi). Avail bus or taxi service from Belgaum to reach Hampi.
  • By train: Nearest railway station is Hospet (13 km from Hampi)
  • By road: Hampi enjoys fine road connectivity with the other major cities of Karnataka, including Bangalore.

4. Goa

One would not generally associate Holi with Goa; however, the festival is celebrated over a fortnight in this coastal state of India. Known as Shigmotsav here, the highlights of the festivities are parades, cultural performances, enactment of epics and mythology and drumbeats.

Both locals and tourists gather around the town, permeating the air with vibrant colours while the beaches turn into a splendid display of pomp and fanfare.

How to reach

  • By air: Nearest airport is at Dabolim (almost 30 km from Panaji)
  • By train: Nearest railway stations are at Vasco-da-Gama and Madgaon
  • By road: Nearest bus stand is at Kadamba, Panaji.

5. Pushkar

Celebrations in this city of Rajasthan are far from subtle. It is the infamous kapdaa faad Holi that draws hordes of visitors to this sacred city bordering the Thar Desert. It is during this time of the year that the otherwise quaint pious town of Pushkar transforms itself into the locus for all merrymaking and carousing.

Right from water guns and confetti showers to groovy electronica, Pushkar should undoubtedly feature in your ‘go to’ list this Holi.

best places to celebrate holi in india

How to reach

  • By air: Nearest airport is in Jaipur (about 140 km away). Take a taxi or bus to reach Pushkar from Jaipur
  • By train: Nearest railway station is Ajmer. From here, Pushkar is only a 30-minute drive
  • By road: Buses ply from nearby cities to Ajmer and Pushkar. If you live in Jaipur or Delhi, driving can also be a good idea.

6. Vrindavan (Mathura, Uttar Pradesh)

The temple town of Vrindavan is renowned for its Holi celebrations with a difference. Festivities begin with the phoolon wali Holi at the Banke Bihari temple where coloured water, made from flowers and saffron, is sprinkled to mark the beginning of the proceedings.

Tourists from faraway shores come to witness the grand Holi procession here. Vehicles decorated with flowers and other fancy items are paraded through the streets, drenching the town of Vrindavan in the colours of joy.

best places to celebrate holi in india

How to reach

By air: Nearest airport is at Agra (53 km from Vrindavan). IGI Airport (New Delhi) is 128 km away

By train: You can avail regular train service to Mathura Cantonment (10 km away)

By road: Nearest bus station is at Mathura (10 km away)

7. Udaipur (Rajasthan)

The celebrations of Holi in Udaipur have a tinge of nobility and kingship to them, where the royal family joins the masses in the festivities. The Holika Dahan is a key ritual where people create large bonfires to ward off evils. Gatherers sing and dance to the tunes of folk music amid merrymaking and traditional sweets being distributed.

Hotels usually arrange elaborate celebrations for their guests. If you are planning your Holi getaway in Udaipur, be ready for oodles of exuberance matched with eminence and royalty.

How to reach

By air: Udaipur has its own airport, Maharana Pratap Airport. Once here, you can reach the main city by taxi or bus.

By train: Udaipur is well-connected to major Indian cities, including Kolkata, Delhi. Mumbai, thanks to the Udaipur Railway Station.

By road: Regular buses ply from Udaipur, connecting the city to Kota, Indore, Jaipur, and Delhi. The Rajasthan State Transport Corporation links the city to other cities and towns within Rajasthan. Besides, Mumbai and Delhi are easily accessible by the NH8.

Nothing can widen your horizons and infuse fresh perspectives like the way travelling does. That being said, if you are planning to backpack during Holi, you better plan your trip meticulously. That’s because no matter how careful you are, external factors like loss of baggage or flight cancellations can be a big dampener. Besides denting your spirit, such contingencies lead to a drain on your finances as well.

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