Holi Festival | Photo credit: Anurag Kumar via NatGeo
I was in Jaisalmer in the kingdom of Rajasthan during the Holi Festival last year. I've always imagined my Holi experience to be insanely wonderful, like the picture above -- me, among the crowd, having fun, throwing gulaal at everyone! But that wasn't exactly what happened (insert sad face here). You see, Marky and I joined the desert safari our hotel organized for us the day before. We got back to our hotel at noon on the day of the Holi Festival. Sadly, we missed the celebration because it always happens in the morning. All we found when we got to the Jailsalmer Fort were remnants of what was an amazing celebration -- people and streets covered in bright pink gulaal! Gulaal is colored powder they use during the festival. It's mostly organic and easy to wash off.
Good thing, there were a few locals who were still having fun with those colored powder, throwing handfuls to tourists. While in the tuktuk, someone threw yellow and pink gulaal at us! I loved it! My entire back was pink! I wasn't covered with too much colored powder though because whenever someone would attempt to throw gulaal my way, my sweet overprotective Indian friends would reprimand them (worried about my camera getting wet or covered with powder). And because I didn't want to be a killjoy, I'd say: "Just a little." They would then gently rub gulaal on my face.
I would really love to go back to India one day and experience Holi again and hopefully by then, I'll be with the crowd, celebrating.
Celebrations at Guwahati | Photo credit: AFP Photo via Time
The Holi Festival signifies the triumph of good over evil. On the evening before the holi, bonfires are lit to burn the demon Holika. This is called Holika Dahan. On the day itself, people go out to the streets to have fun and throw colored powder or colored water at each other!
Many locals say that Holi is also the day when you forgive those who have wronged you and repair broken relationships. It also signifies the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
When is Holi Celebrated?
Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in March. This year, it was celebrated on March 6. In 2016, it will be on March 24.
Important Things to Remember when Joining the Holi Festival
- Buy/bring gulaal with you so you could join the festivities.
- Some colored powder/water might be difficult to wash off, wear clothes you are willing to throw away after. Some people also suggest you rub oil/coconut oil on your skin so the colors won't absorb and would be washed off easily.
- Protect your cameras and gadgets by putting them in waterproof casing/ziplocks because there are places where they do not only use colored powder, they also use colored water.
- There'll be lots of people, take extra care of yourself. Although I never felt unsafe while I was in India, many people advise against venturing out on your own, especially if you are female.
- The highlights of the festival happens in the morning and is over by midday, so go early.
- Enjoy and have fun!
Here's sharing some photos I took in Jaisalmer during the Holi Festival last year.
We went to the Jaisalmer fort in the afternoon to grab some lunch and see the sights.
By the time we got there, the festivities were over. All we saw were a few pink people.
And bright pink streets that were empty.
And oh, we saw some people covered in rainbow. Haha.
Sigh, they reminded me what I missed that morning.
Tired from that morning's celebration.
I was amused how pink they were!
While going around the fort, we saw someone doing mehndi (temporary tattoo)
and I've always wanted one, so I decided to go for it.
Mehndi in Indian tradition is typically applied during Hindu weddings.
Taken just outside our hotel, The Mystic Jaisalmer,
before our Indian friends left to go back to their respective cities.
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How to apply for tourist visa to India, click HERE.
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