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The iconic Holi song ‘Rang-Barse’ playing in every nook and corner as colours stream down the streets. There’s colourful magic in the air. It’s almost time for one of the most-spirited festivals celebrated in India and around the world – Holi. The first festival of spring, ready to engulf the crowd in its vibrancy and fervour.
These days there are exciting parties and events held to celebrate Holi. But there are some places which are a must visit during this time. These places burst not just with colour but with traditions as well. The enthusiasm and uniqueness in which Holi is celebrated here remain unmatched year after year. Let’s check out the list of these places where you can celebrate Holi in the best possible way!
1. Lathmar Holi, Barsana and Nandgaon
Barsana and Nandgaon are two popular places near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh where you must celebrate Holi at least once. In these towns, Lathmar Holi is celebrated a few days before the actual festival. According to the legend, Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha’s village and playfully teased her and her friends. The women of Barsana chased him away with sticks and that is how Lathmar Holi began. Today, both these towns are filled with tourists around Holi. There’s singing, dancing, some intoxicating thandai and decked-up women running amuck with sticks to chase and playfully beat the men away.
The Radha Rani temple is a must-visit if you’re in Barsana. In 2019, the stipulated dates for Lathmar Holi are 15th – 16th March.
Distance From Delhi By Road: 177.2 km
How To Reach?
By Train: Mathura is the nearest railway station to Barsana. You can also travel till Agra by train and then book a taxi till Barsana.
By Road: Buses and taxis are easily available from Delhi to reach Barsana. It will take you about 4 hours by road if you take the Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expressway from Delhi.
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2. Braj ki Holi, Mathura and Vrindavan
Lord Krishna was born in Mathura and spent his childhood in Vrindavan. This makes the Holi celebrations in these towns all the more eminent. Celebrations begin up to 40 days in advance with Raas-Leela being held across these towns. The Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan celebrates Phoolon wali Holi (Holi played with flowers) on the Ekadashi before Holi. In 2019, the date for Phoolon wali Holi is expected to be 17th March. The very next day, Widow’s Holi is celebrated in Vrindavan which is a relatively newer tradition.
The Banke Bihari temple opens its gates again for the Holi festival on the 20th of March, 2019. If you’re in Vrindavan, then you can take any local transport to reach Mathura. There’s a huge procession which starts at Vishram Gate in Mathura and the next day the big festival starts at the Dwarkadheesh temple.
Other places of interest:
- Prem Mandir, Vrindavan
- ISKCON, Vrindavan
- Kans Qila
- Pota Kund
Distance From Delhi By Road: 183 km
How To Reach?
By Train: Various trains run from Delhi to Mathura with a sleeper class fare of about Rs. 140.
By Road: Buses and taxis are easily available from Delhi to Mathura. It will take you about 3.5 – 4 hours by road if you take the Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expressway from Delhi.
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3. Shantiniketan, West Bengal
Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur, West Bengal, approximately 163.5 km north of Kolkata. The place attracts thousands of tourists each year who participate in the folk style of Holi. This celebration of the Basant Utsav spreads a joyful aura with Baul music, cultural programmes, dances, and a play of natural colours.
Distance From Delhi By Road: 1380 km
How To Reach?
By Air: The easiest way to reach Shantiniketan from Delhi is by air. Flights can be taken to Kolkata and then a 2.5-hour road trip will take you to the place.
By Train: Bolpur is the nearest railway station when travelling to Shantiniketan by train.
By Road: If you hire a private cab or drive down to Shantiniketan, then the travel time will be around 22 – 25 hours.
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4. Holla Mohalla, Anandpur Sahib, Punjab
The Holla Mohalla celebration in Punjab is one-of-a-kind. There’s a fair held along with a procession of martial arts display. Langar serves delicious vegetarian dishes and people engage in kirtans (religious singing) and poetry. This three-day spring festival coincides with Holi which adds up to the festivities.
Distance From Delhi By Road: 314 km
How To Reach?
By Air: The easiest way to reach Anandpur Sahib from Delhi is by air. Flights can be taken to Chandigarh and then buses or cabs can take you to the destination. The total travel time is about 4 hours.
By Train: There are direct trains from Delhi to Anandpur Sahib. The travel time is about 6.5 hours.
By Road: Buses or private taxis can be taken to reach Anandpur Sahib from Delhi. The fastest route is via NH44.
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5. Rajasthani Holi in Udaipur and Pushkar
Holi is celebrated with grandeur in Udaipur. There’s a procession held by the royal Mewar family in Udaipur that starts from Manek Chowk to the City Palace. Decorated horses along with the royal band add to its splendour. Jaipur also showcases elephant parades, beauty contests of elephants, different folk dances and other festivities during Holi.
Holi celebrations at Pushkar are also an unmissable affair. Backpackers and tourists enjoy the festival alike. A visit to the Ajmer Sharif Dargah is a must. You can also book yourself for private events that include musical nights and a visit to the Brahma temple.
Distance From Delhi To Pushkar By Road: 416 km
How To Reach Pushkar?
By Air: The nearest airport to Pushkar is Jaipur, located at a distance of 140 km. Jaipur is well-connected to all major airports. A 3-hour journey from Jaipur will take you to Pushkar.
By Train: Trains can be taken from Delhi and other railway stations around India to Ajmer. From there, a half an hour cab ride will take you to Pushkar.
By Road: Buses can be taken from Delhi to Ajmer and further ahead to Pushkar. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation that runs semi-deluxe and deluxe buses are available. You can also drive to the destination which takes about 7.5 hours.
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6. Khadi Holi, Uttrakhand
Khadi Holi is celebrated in the Kumaon region of Uttrakhand. It is a musical affair that starts with Basant Panchmi. Locals wear traditional clothes, sing khari songs, dance in groups and move in tolis (groups). All the three versions of Holi – Baithika Holi, Khadi Holi and Mahila Holi showcase traditionality and festive enthusiasm.
Distance From Delhi To Almora By Road: 399.9 km
How To Reach Almora?
By Air: The nearest airport to Almora is Pantnagar Airport. Cabs or buses can be taken from there on.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Almora is Kathgodam at a distance of 38 km.
By Road: Buses and private taxis can be taken from Delhi to Almora. It is the most convenient way to reach Almora.
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