New Delhi: As Holi this year falls on a Wednesday (March 23) followed by Good Friday. This gives an opportunity to travel to destinations far and near. Travelling during the festival of colours is a sure-shot way of experiencing the richness of cultures which come together to make the rainbow called India.
According to travel experts, many Indians are travelling during the long weekend — from March 24 to Easter Sunday on March 27 — within the country and abroad.
Here are a few destinations you can explore with loved ones this Holi:
Mathura and Vrindavan
Both Mathura and Vrindavan are situated in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. People across the globe gather every year to feel the essence of the festival in these ancient cities that have for centuries celebrated the festival with full fervour. During this festival, people here relive the legends associated with Radha and Lord Krishna. With an immensely strong bonding with Lord Krishna, the celebration of Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan continues for over a week.
A week prior to the primary festival, Barsana Holi begins. Barsana is a village near Mathura which was the village of Radha. It is famous for its lathmar Holi in which women beat men (playfully) with sticks.
On the very next day holi is celebrated in Nandgaon (Krishna’s village). Nandgaon has found reference in religious texts as the place where Krishna spent most of his childhood days. According to legends, after Krishna went to Barsana, Radha and her friends came to Nandgaon on the next day to put colour on Krishna. And hence, Holi celebrations shift from Barsana to Nandgaon.
The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is one such place to enjoy the festivities. In this temple Lord Krishna is dressed up in white coloured cloths and is brought closer to his devotees to play Holi. Vrindavan Holi is played with coloured water and gulal. Besides Banke Bihari Temple, every temple in Mathura and Vrindavan has some special celebrations during the Holi days.
The Gulal-Kund in Braj is also another interesting place to celebrate Vrindavan Holi. It is a small lake near the Govardhan hill. Local people act in Krishna-Lila drama and re-enact the scenes of Holi for the pilgrims.
The Great Hills
Hill stations are always in demand by city dwellers. India is blessed with the tallest mountain range on the planet – The Himalayas. Easily accessible for those who live in the northern parts of India, some of the hill stations to visit are:
Ladakh: Ladakh is a beautiful land, which can also be called the land of poetry. The place is famous for, trekking, mountaineering, camping, water rafting and Buddhist monasteries. The vastness and sternness of this region makes you understand the power of nature. It is located at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500m. Imagine playing Holi in this picturesque destination with your loved ones. Countless awesome selfies with snow-capped mountains in the background are a guarantee for you!
Shimla: Capital of Himachal Pradesh, this is one of the most popular hill stations of northern India. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specialising in wooden toys and crafts.
Kullu: Kullu is the capital town of Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Some of the places to visit in Kullu are the Kali Bari temple dedicated to goddess Shayamla. Raghunath temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ram and is the seat of the valley’s presiding deity and then there is Bijli Mahadev temple. It is also famous for shopping, where in Akhara Bazar you can pick up locally made woollens.
With so much on offer for the most colourful week on the planet, what are you waiting for! Go ahead, pack your bags, make reservations and take off for the best Holi ever!