Top Ten Places to Celebrate Holi in India

Top Places to Celebrate Holi in India

If you want to immerse yourself in Indian culture, there are few better times to visit than at the end of March, when Holi is celebrated. Holi is an ancient Indian festival that commemorates the end of winter and the arrival of Spring. When you consider how vivid and festive Holi can be, it makes sense that a vibrant celebration is also used to herald India’s most colorful season. As the country blooms with spring flowers, so do its streets, which are filled with vibrant clouds of color. It is truly a sight to behold, not to mention an amazing experience year after year.

If you’re planning a trip to India to celebrate Holi the traditional way, you should be prepared. Learn as much as you can about the festival, including its history, fables, customs, and challenges. The myriad legends and traditions surrounding Holi will certainly pique your interest. You should also write some Holi cards to share with people you meet along the way.

India is a vast country with an astounding variety of cultures, ethnicities, languages, and landscapes. Due to geographical and cultural disparities, Holi is not celebrated in just one way. Every region celebrates Holi in unique ways and has its own folklore linked to the occasion. This means your Holi experience will differ depending on where in India you plan to spend the day. The best celebration would make the event even more memorable. 

If you want to travel to India for Holi but aren’t sure where to go, read on. This article will take you through 10 of the best places to celebrate Holi. 

1). Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Vrindavan is an essential addition to any list of the top places to spend Holi in India. The city is revered for its link with Lord Krishna and Radha, hence Holi is celebrated with much fanfare and passion. The week-long celebration features several events, like Phoolon Wali Holi, Widows Holi, and Lathmar Holi (where women beat men with sticks). The vibrantly decorated Banke Bihari Temple serves as the center stage of Vrindavan’s Holi celebrations. Devotees smear colors on each other’s faces and dance to traditional music.

Phoolon Wali Holi is held at the Radha Raman temple, where priests sprinkle flowers on worshippers. Around noon, the Gopinath Temple observes the recent custom known as Widows’ Holi, in which widows celebrate their own version of the festival of colors. The town celebrates Holi with traditions, devotion, and harmony. Thousands of marigold flowers together with gulal clouds create a stunningly surreal landscape Tourists from all over the world flock to Vrindavan to join in the flamboyant and energetic Holi celebrations.

2).  Shanti Niketan, West Bengal

Shanti Niketan is a neighborhood located in Bolpur, a town in West Bengal, India. While it is not as big as some of the other places on this list, it more than compensates with its lively Holi celebrations. Here, Holi is also known as Basanta Ustav (Spring Festival).  Drawing inspiration from the colors of Holi and spring, renowned Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore established the occasion as a yearly celebration at his Vishva Bharati University.

If you’re in the area, you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with both locals and visitors during the lively festivities. What distinguishes Holi in this region is that, unlike in other parts of India, locals apply ‘Aabeer’ – made from dry vegetables – on one another. Shanti Niketan celebrates the occasion with a riot of color, flowers, dance performances, folk music, and delicious food. People are dressed in yellow and orange, which adds to the festive atmosphere.

3).  Pushkar, Rajasthan

Pushkar is one of the go-to places in India for those looking to fully experience Holi. While it’s a small town, Holi festivities here can be quite wild, with almost everyone on the streets playing, dancing, singing, and throwing color bombs. Celebrations take place everywhere: people assemble on the streets, in temples, and in other public areas to throw colors at one another and have fun. The main square hosts a huge party, complete with loud music and color-bathed revelers. Their excitement is heightened by Thandai infused with Bhang. 

While Pushkar is famous for its temples, the Holi celebrations can be surprisingly over-the-top. Pushkar throws the wildest Holi parties in India, and you’ll frequently hear pulsating music that makes you think you’re at a rave. Aside from its temples, Pushkar is noted for its natural beauty. After the Holi celebrations, you can relax by exploring the lakes and deserts.


4).  Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Can there be a more fitting place to celebrate Holi than the birthplace of Lord Krishna? Mathura is highly sought-after by devotees, particularly during Holi. The celebrations begin about seven days before the festival. Temples are decked, and the whole city comes alive with vibrant hues, devotional melodies, and other festivities. The Sri Krishna Janmashtami Temple, Lord Krishna’s sacred birthplace, organizes a show the week before Holi. It is your chance to observe fascinating rituals and immerse yourself in the spiritual environment. 

A glorious and melodic Holi parade begins at the ghats and concludes near the Holi Gate, where youngsters dress up as Radha and Krishna and ride in chariots. The Dwarkadheesh Temple is the main attraction during the Holi celebrations. On the morning of Holi, devotees assemble to dance and sing with joyful fervor in gulal-filled premises. The highlight is “Dwidhiyo Ka Holi,” which is a colorful combat between priests and believers. If you want to experience the beauty of Holi, Mathura should be at the top of your list. However, keep in mind that the town attracts a large number of tourists around Holi, so be prepared for chaotic crowds.   

5). Barsana, Uttar Pradesh

Barsana, a tiny town in Uttar Pradesh, is famous for its unusual and extraordinary Holi celebrations. To celebrate the divine love between Lord Krishna and Radha, women in Barsana enjoy Lathmar Holi by smacking males with sticks. It is believed that when Shri Krishna and his entourage came to Barsana to celebrate Holi with Radha, she and her friends chased them away with bamboo sticks or laths. Since then, this tradition has evolved into a ritual. During the Lathmar Holi celebration, men from the neighboring village of Nandgaon visit Barsana, and the women welcome them with bamboo sticks. However, everything is done in a fun spirit. It’s a mock fight, and both the winners and the losers have a good time. 

The festival in Barsana is not restricted to one day; it lasts a week, with each day holding a different meaning. The Lathmar Holi of Barsana usually takes place a week before the main festival and is one of the most fun-filled celebrations you will encounter. Laddu Holi is observed the day before Lathmar Holi. The devotees flock to the temple, where laddus (sweet balls) are thrown at them among gulal. The celebrations in Barsana are not only unique but also historically and culturally significant, making it an enjoyable event for everybody involved.

6). Udaipur, Rajasthan

Udaipur is a charming city in western India that is unquestionably one of the most elegant destinations to spend the Holi. The city’s majestic palaces and forts make a perfect backdrop for capturing special moments during the festival. Holi in Udaipur is an imperial celebration that includes the royal family. To start the Holi celebrations, the king lights the ceremonial pyre in the courtyard of the palace—popularly known as Mewar Holika Dahan. The occasion is marked with a folk dance around the bonfire, which is followed by a royal procession that begins at Shambhu Niwas Palace and ends at Manek Chowk’s royal residence. The festivities conclude with dazzling fireworks. During the parade, the royals are seated on elephants, horses, and camels, and are escorted by the royal band. 

The following day, people rejoice in a riot of colors as narrow lanes come alive with festivities, and traditional sweets and other delicacies are prepared and devoured. City Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake, and Gangaur Ghat are among the top spots for celebrating Holi in Udaipur. If you don’t like crazy public celebrations, you can check with your hotel. Many resorts organize an in-house Holi event, where you can participate in Rajasthani folk dances and musical performances.

7).  Jaipur, Rajasthan

The Holi celebration in Jaipur will be an extravagant affair with a touch of royalty. The capital city is a melting pot of people from all around the country, so a Holi here is sure to be special. Jaipur, popularly referred to as the ‘Pink City,’ has multiple locations for celebrating Holi, most of which are palaces, forts, and temples. Every year, the City Palace holds a grand Holi feast complete with music, cultural events, and authentic Rajasthani cuisine. Marigold flowers are offered to the idols of Radha and Krishna at the Govind Dev Ji Temple in the City Palace. Bhajans or hymns resonate around the area, adding a divine touch to the festivities. 

Jaipur’s markets, including Johari Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, and Nehru Bazaar, are especially lively during the festival, with vendors selling traditional sweets, colors, pichkaris, water balloons, and other Holi staples. Bollywood theme parties are also held at many resorts and luxury hotels for large groups. Apart from the landmarks, Jaipur’s Holi festival is particularly well-known for its Elephant Festival, during which elephants are decked up in costumes and jewels and take part in tug-of-war, polo, and racing.

8).  New Delhi

Delhi is known for its legendary Holi festivities and parties, which attract both locals and tourists. The multi-ethnic city celebrates the festival with a modern twist. On the eve of Holi, bonfires or Holika are lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The next day, people play with vibrant colors. There are plenty of Holi parties in the Delhi region to select from, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, regardless of your preferences or budget. The crowd, cuisine, and music will be different at every event you attend. Colour-water-filled balloons, fluorescent pichkaris, clouds of gulal, lip-smacking Indian delicacies, glasses of bhang, rocking DJs, and beats of Dhol add to the fun. 

The Holi Moo Festival is one of the most popular events. Here, you can celebrate Holi with performances by more than 40 Indian and international artists. Frenzy Adventure, the Garden of Five Senses, Janmashtami Park, and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium are just a few of the locations where exciting Holi events are held in Delhi

Places to Celebrate Holi in India

 9).  Mumbai, Maharashtra

Mumbai’s Holi is becoming even more spectacular every year, providing tourists with a great festive experience. The Holi celebrations in Mumbai rival Bollywood films in terms of drama. Beachside parties, rain dances, Gujiya eating competitions, water balloon fights, and infectious energy – Mumbaikars celebrate Holi in their unique style. Every little corner of the big city exudes the Holi spirit. The beaches of Juhu and Versova are an eruption of color, with families enjoying the glorious weather and picturesque setting. The city’s biggest resorts, clubs, and water parks host pulsating Holi celebrations with everyone dancing to the latest Bollywood numbers and Dhol beats. With so many different Holi events taking place in Mumbai, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to celebrate Holi.

Places to Celebrate Holi in India

10).  Hampi, Karnataka

It’s a common misconception that Holi festivities are exclusive to North India. The Holi celebrations in Hampi are notable exceptions. For two days, Hampi celebrates Holi with great gusto. The festivities begin with the Holika Dahan bonfire, followed by singing and dances around the pyre. The next day, people gather around the ruins of the magnificent Vijayanagar Empire to celebrate. The boulder-strewn landscape, dotted with beautiful ruins and temples, provides a stunning backdrop for the flamboyant festivities. The entire town drenches itself in colors and welcomes spring by drumming and dancing with fervor. 

After playing Holi, people jump into the River Tungabhadra to wash the colors off their bodies. This tradition is based on the notion that a dip in this river cleanses your sins. The vivid environment, free-flowing hues, delicious food, and throbbing music are why the ‘City of Ruins’ is one of the best spots to visit for Holi in South India.

Final Thoughts

While festivals like Holi are observed almost everywhere in India, the way they are celebrated varies depending on where you are and who you’re with. Because of this diversity, travelers can enjoy Holi in a variety of ways, depending on where they choose to go. This also implies that it is possible to celebrate it multiple times, with no two experiences being the same. In this post, we’ve looked at 10 of the most interesting sites in India to celebrate Holi. So, what are you waiting for? Book your ticket and hop on a plane to have the time of your life this Holi. 

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