Holi aayi re Kanhai,
Awaited and celebrated with the highest levels of enthusiasm, Holi in India is a festival that paints not just skin but also hearts with colors of happiness. The best places to celebrate Holi festival in India bathe you with unparalleled festive fervor. The choice of places to visit for Holi celebrations in India also varies as per the experiences you are looking forward to. Several activities and Holi traditions are celebrated as per the customs across the country but the preparations and celebrations set each apart. Marking the onset of the harvest season and spring, Holi infuses the atmosphere of unrestrained joy.
Holika dahan, guzzling bhang thandai (a refreshing milk and saffron drink, infused with dry fruits) or gorging on bhand pakoras (fritters), DJ parties and musical performances set the Holi mood. Temple rituals, colorful parades, royal celebrations, all collectively make Holi celebrations in India something to travel for from far and wide. No wonder, India witnesses a huge influx of international tourists during Holi.
13 Best Places to Celebrate Holi Festival in India (2022)
- Holi in Mathura
- Holi in Vrindavan
- Holi in Barsana
- Holi in Agra
- Holi in Udaipur
- Holi in Jaipur
- Holi in Hampi
- Holi at Shantiniketan
- Holi in Pushkar
- Holi in Delhi
- Holi in Mumbai
- Holi in Purulia
- Holi at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab
The festival garners the most attention by international vacationers among the religious festivals of India. This year, Holi is approaching with the Easter festival in tow, giving the most suitable time to foreign travelers to delight in the festivities. As Indians indulge in the play with colored powders and pigments, foreigners join in the revelry, and are open heartedly welcomed. People are free to let their hair down and partake in the carousing. If you want to explore various parts of India for Holi, here are the best places for Holi celebration in India that you should check out.
1. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Effervescent celebrations in Janmbhoomi of Lord Krishna
Holi in Mathura is much glorified and all because of obvious reasons. After all, why won’t a place be famous for the festival that has its roots there? Being known as the birthplace of Lord Krishna and the place that holds some evidence to His miracles, Mathura is largely sought-after by devotees, most especially during Holi. Temples in Mathura host elaborate events to celebrate the festival. Some of these are the most spectacular and grandest Holi celebrations in India. Being a part of these festivities is a lifetime experience.
Colorful Holi procession commences in the late noon from Vishram Ghat and finishes near Holi Gate. The major attraction for Holi celebrations is the Dwarkadheesh Temple, where teeming devotees gather on the morning of Holi. They delight in the festive fervor with music and dance as well as chant with a gulal infused environment. Sri Krishna Janmasthan temple holds a famous show in the week before Holi. Do visit Mathura to see the beauty of this Indian festival.
2. Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Joy and carousing in the sacred town
Lord Krishna’s playland – Vrindavan is highly revered by Hindus and frequented all through the year. Holi in Vrindavan is an occasion that receives a huge influx of Vaishnavas. The epicenter of the Holi celebrations in Vrindavan is Banke Bihari Temple. The merriment continues for a week that commences with flower splashes or Phoolon ki Holi, proceeds with Widows Holi, and concludes with a riot of colors, a day before Holi. You will find people bathed in different colors in this Krishna-obsessed town.
The Gopinath Temple is another prime attraction here that witnesses the unique color play by widows. Whopping amount of marigold flowers with clouds of gulal make the scene beautifully unreal, somewhat like a live picture! Krishna devotional songs add to the charm of Vrindavan Holi. Don’t miss out on this marvelous sight and do visit Vrindavan for such an amazing Holi bash! This will be your best trip to Vrindavan.
3. Barsana, Uttar Pradesh
The famous Lathmar Holi
Barsana is among the top places for Holi celebrations in India. Holi celebrations in Barsana are also known as Lathmar Holi that intrigue people. This is the Holi festival celebration with a twist where men need to safeguard themselves from the playful beatings by women. Women from Barasana and Nandgaon – the two sub-urbs of Mathura beat men with sticks, while men have to protect themselves from the hits under shields. Lathmar Holi takes place a week before the main Holi day.This year it will take place on 18th March 2022 in Barsana and in Nandgaon on 19th March 2022.
These sub-urbs of Mathura are witness to the love story of Krishna and Radha. As per the legends, Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion as he was dusky. So, he used to paint her face with colors to maintain that there is no skin tone difference between them. He used to visit Barsana from Nandgaon with his friends to color Radha and her friends. In the playful affair, the ladies used to beat the men with sticks. This became tradition, which is now known as Lathmar Holi. Apart from Lathmar Holi in Barsana, also partake in the sweet festivity – Laddoo Holi at Shriji Temple, which will be held on 16th March this year.
4. Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Colorful celebrations in the Taj City
The Holi festival in Agra sets the city at the pinnacle of festive fervor. This Indian festival is celebrated with much zeal and gusto ion this city and brings forth colorful opportunities to indulge in. As people gulp glasses of bhang and delight in playing with colors, you know that the celebratory mode is at its top. Partying, dancing, savoring sweets and other fare, and making merry knows no bounds. Colorful parades with folk songs mark the highlight of the Holi celebrations in Agra.
Just like many other destinations of India, the festivities kick start with the bonfire on the full moon night. Street corners are lit up with traditional fires that symbolize warding off evil spirits and bad omen. Thereby, signifying burning of Holika. The next morning has people enjoying with colors and in the evening, people greet each other at Holi mela or by visiting each other’s houses.
5. Udaipur, Rajasthan
A Royal Holi
To witness Holi celebrations in royal style, do visit Udaipur. Holi in Udaipur is an imperial affair that involves the participation of the royal family. The celebrations begin with Holika dahan, where the local Maharaj lights the ceremonial bonfire in the royal palace’s courtyard. This is known as Mewar Holika dahan. The locals perform ‘Gair’- a folk dance, around the bonfire. Thereafter, a royal procession takes off from Shambhu Niwas Palace and concludes at Manek Chowk royal residence. In the procession, the royals are seated on bedecked elephants, horses, and camels; accompanied by the royal music band. The palace now serves cocktails and dinner to its guests. Finally, the celebration culminates with amazing fireworks.
The next day people rejoice with the play of colors. Traditional sweets are prepared in households and people enjoy sharing the sweetness of the festival together. The festivities are not confined to the royal palace and Manek Chowk but also in the narrow alleys of the city. All in all, Holi celebration in Udaipur is an experience to be a part of.
6. Jaipur, Rajasthan
Holi in the capital city
Holi in Jaipur transforms the Pink City into a rainbow. The highlights of Jaipur Holi celebrations are the gala celebrations in the palace. It is hosted by the royal family to support local charities. The old Khasa Kothi Hotel organizes functions with support by the local tourism office. Programs here include customary Rajasthani folk music and dance along with a decent gulal play. At the Govind Dev ji Temple in the City Palace, a devotional atmosphere is created, where idols of Krishna and Radha are offered marigold flowers. Bhajans or hymns echo around, adding a soulful impact to the environment there.
Other aspects that make Jaipur Holi unique include ‘Gulaal Gotas’ or ‘Water Canon Bowls. These are eco-friendly as made by melting lacquer. Bollywood theme parties are also organized at various resorts and luxury hotels as well as chic venues.
7. Hampi, Karnataka
A unique South Indian Holi festival
Holi in Hampi will begin on 18th March 2022 and ends on 24th March 2022.
It is a common notion that Holi celebrations are only confined to North India. However, Holi celebrations in Hampi are remarkable exceptions. Here, temples and other venues reverberate with festivities of Holi. It is because of this revelry that Hampi is listed among the top places to visit for Holi celebrations in South India. Beginning with Holika dahan bonfire, the festivities include songs and dance around it. The next day, people get indulged in a delightful and colorful cheer. Drum beats echo all over, adding dynamism to the festive fervor.
After enjoying the colorful play, people join at River Tungabhadra to dive in. This cleanses colors from the bodies. This practice is backed by the belief that a dip in this river washes away your sins. The highlight of the festival is that people gather around ruins of the grand Vijayanagar Empire for the festivities. Do visit Hampi for its unique Holi celebrations.
8. Holi at Shantiniketan, Kolkata
Holi celebrations as Basant Utsav
This famous place in Bolpur near Kolkata, West Bengal, celebrates Holi as Basanta Utsav. Also known as Spring Festival, this Utsav was introduced by the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Recreating the magic of Holi, it is celebrated in a unique way. The entire university joins in this merrymaking, smeared in various colors, among which, yellow is dominant. People are clad in yellow attires, adding to the beauty of the celebrations’ sight.
A cultural program is organized where students perform as per their talent. With melodious songs and enchanting dances, you get an experience to cherish. The festival not just welcomes one and all to celebrate the season’s charm but also welcomes the spring in a beautiful way. All these include Shantiniketan among the best places to celebrate Holi in India. Teachers and students apply gulal on each other to delight in the joyous nature of the festival to the fullest.
9. Pushkar, Rajasthan
Holi festivities in the holy town
The holy town of Pushkar celebrates Holi with much vim and vigor. The main square hosts a grand party here with lively music and color-bathed people enjoying. Their excitement is further upped with bhang thandai or lassi. The scene of color bombs being thrown around and the pulsating crowd all set to enjoy the day to its max.
Holi celebrations in Pushkar begin with the traditional Holi bonfire on the eve of Holi. The view of Holika dahan is worth enjoying as with wooden logs and garlands thrown into fire, the flames rise higher and higher. Cheers add to the delight of the environment. After the fire extinguishes, people take embers to their homes as a symbol of auspiciousness. The next morning witnesses the peppy play of colors, making the town look like a flamboyant heaven.
Generous dollop of colors in the capital city
Holi festival in Delhi in 2022 will begin in the evening of 18th March 2022 and ends in the evening of 19th March 2022.
Holi in Delhi is an enthusiastic affair that transforms the metro city into a vibrant rally. Colored water filled balloons are thrown everywhere, pichkaris spray colors, and clouds of gulal paint the city into a colorful scenery. If you are wondering, where to go in Delhi for Holi celebrations, the Holi Moo Festival (previously the renowned Holi Cow Festival) welcomes you among others. Here, you will enjoy good Holi celebration times with performances by several Indian and international artists. Frenzy Adventure, the Garden of Five Senses, Janmashtmi Park, Maharana Pratap ISBT, Gamesforest, and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium are some of the places where happening Holi parties are hosted.
With organic/non-toxic colors, bhang drinks, lip-smacking treats, and sprinklers a safe and enjoyable environment is assured during the Holi events and parties in Delhi. Enjoy DJ music, live performances, rain dances, and much more in Delhi Holi celebrations.
11. Mumbai, Maharashtra
Dreamy merriment in the city of dreams
Mumbai Holi celebrations in 2022 are worth partaking in. all the top-notch resorts, clubs, and grounds of the city get ready to throw pulsating Holi parties in Mumbai. Every nook and corner of this city ooze with Holi cheer. With a host of amazing Holi events in Mumbai, people are spoilt for choice to select where to go for Holi celebrations. Every year, the Holi celebrations in Mumbai are more vivid than before, offering the best trip for festival celebrations to the tourists. By doing so, you can be sure of having festive memories to cherish.
Have an amazing revelry with colors, music, and a lot of fun at Mumbai Holi parties and events. Groove to the tunes of thumping beats at luxurious hotels, partake in rain dance, and soak in the merriment all around. Water parks also host Holi events where the unrestrained color spray is sure to take you to childhood days. Delight in a greener celebration at nature camps if you have planned to travel to Mumbai for Holi.
12. Purulia, West Bengal
Where even the Hills celebrate Holi
Purulia is a gem tucked in the westernmost West Bengal that still keeps its pristine beauty intact. The land is blessed by emerald landscapes, verdant hills, and dense woods. Its rustic ambience and peaceful surroundings make it a must visit destination. Another unavoidable reason to visit this place is its Holi celebrations. People here celebrate Holi in traditional style three days before. Holi or Dol festival (as locally called) is organised around Bandhar Deul – a temple dating back to the 8th century. Chau dance, Natua dance, Darbari Jhumur, and songs of Baul musicians mark the merriment of Holi in Purulia. These dances and music add a unique color to the colorful festival and its festivities.
What’s more makes Purulia Holi unique is the fact that its Ayodhya Pahar is bathed in red color during the season in which Holi is celebrated. It is because of the generous shower of Palash flowers. That is why it is also called the land of Palash. The entire hill covered in the lovely red flowers presents an amazing sight to behold. Don’t forget to sip on Mohua – the local brew during Holi/Dol celebrations in Purulia.
13. Holi at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab
Holi with Martial Arts
Holi has various hues – gulal and wet colors are just mediums through which this festival of colors is celebrated. Love, happiness, and valor are among the several hues of the festival. Among these, Anandpur Sahib celebrates Holi with the color of valor. The event is called Hola Mohalla and is more of like the Sikh’s colorful display of pageantry. Celebrations include the Sikhs demonstrating martial arts in a three-day long event. They celebrate the foundation of the Khalsa (Sikh brotherhood) through this event that is held after Holi.
Nihangas lead a procession, where they are clad in traditional costumes and showcase mock battles. Wrestling and sword fights are among other activities during the procession. Horse riding show is the highlight of this event in which amazing stunts are performed. Weapon exhibition, poetry reading followed by kirtan, singing, dancing and community service such as Langar (voluntary community kitchen) are among other features of this event.
Splashed by a host of happening places to celebrate Holi in India, you can never go wrong with the place of your choice. And what’s more? There are even more places in India to celebrate Holi other than those mentioned above! So, choose your favorite destination and celebrate the joy with colors that paint your skin and tint your soul with happiness. No matter where you go, a unique experience is waiting for you to enrich your visit and make the festival a beautiful memory. Have you decided, where are you heading to for Holi? Do let us know in the comments below.