Rang Barse, but not just with gulaal!

The rang, the pichkaari, the gulal, the gubaare, the gujiya and the bhang - Looks like the usual setting at any Holi Party but lo and behold! There's more to this festival of colours!

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Get to know of the not-so-playful but yet exotic celebrations of Holi that happen around the country!

Uttar Pradesh

Vrindavan

We all know of the popular Vrindavan and Mathura Holi but little do we know of the “Holi with the widows of Vrindavan” Abandoned by the families, after being widowed, they find solace in the town of Lord Krishna, where they lead a life of abstinence. But some colour and a lot of flowers make them feel free and let them laugh and live, even if it be for just a day. A two-hour drive from Delhi, add some colour to the ones in the white.

Source: Indranil Roy

Barsana

Here, men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the women of Barsana, the land of Radha. They come charged with the hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji's temple, and in a mood to play with the women, but instead of the ‘rang’, it is the ‘lath’ that awaits them. Ouch!

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Goa

In the usual spirits (pun intended) of Goa, is celebrated Holi too. Known as Shigmo here, bands, parades and night time musical fare is how Goa celebrates the colours. Well, when in Goa, celebrate in the night time. ;) They take on the drumsbeats and perform an epic enactment of mythology which culminates with the Panaji Shigmotsav Samiti’s special parade in Panaji. Make sure you stop by at Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco Da Gama and Margao to soak in the colours of Goa.

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Punjab

Anandpur Sahib

The brave, the vigour and the swag of Holi can be best experienced the Sikh-ishtyle. Come to Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, attend the Hola Mohalla which is an annual fair that dates back to 1701. There's wrestling, martial arts, mock sword fights, acrobatic military exercises, and turban tying to enchant the feisty you and not the usual colours and pichkaaris. Don’t miss the langar (community feast)!

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Manipur

Tucked away in the beauty of the north east, here, the revelry goes on for six days starting the full moon day of Phalguna. Coinciding with the centuries-old Yaosang festival of Manipur, celebrations are no ordinary here. A thatched hut of hay, twigs and sticks which is then set ablaze, like anywhere else, is followed by boys and girls playing colour. The last day of the festival, devotees take out procession towards the main Krishna temple, 3 km west of the state capital, Imphal. It ends with a special Manipuri dance, called 'Thabal Chongba' (moonlight plus dance).

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West Bengal

Popular by the name of 'Dol Jatra', 'Dol Purnima' or the 'Swing Festival', Holi has different colours to it in this land. Other than the regular poojas and playing with the colours, Shantiniketan has a very cultural Holi to its credit. Started by Rabindranath Tagore and inspired by spring and the colors of Holi this annual event here lets the students dress up in colors of the spring as they and put their best cultural foot forward. Pop in some dances to Tagore's songs and the Holi becomes a tad special here.

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Purulia

Not one but three days of celebrations embark upon this town of West Bengal where one can sing and play Holi with the locals, in the undertones of unique folk art. Be it the effervescence of the Chau dance, Darbari Jhumur, Natua dance, or the soulful sounds of the Baul musicians. About 5-6 hours by train from Kolkata, and you enjoy Holi, the holy style.

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Crafted By, Megha Mishra


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