“Dipped in hues of love and trust has come the festival of Holi” – Anonymous.
Vivid hues taint the sky as India ushers in the season of spring with the festival of ‘Holi’. The vibrant festival is known by a variety of names like ‘Rangpanchami’ in ‘Maharashtra’, ‘Lathimaar Holi’ in ‘Mathura’, ‘Hola Mohalla’ in ‘Punjab’, etc. Despite the changes to name the essence of the festival is same everywhere. As with every other festival in India, Holi too has its fair choice of edibles and sweets and no one can forget the intoxicating bhang that is the characteristic to this festival.
And if it’s Holi and the name of our ‘Rangeelo Rajasthan’ is not taken then what is said?
With the colorful state having it’s cities named with colors like ‘Jaipur the Pink City’ and ‘Jodhpur the Blue City’ then what about the Holi here?
Unlike the people of ‘Mathura’ and ‘Vrindavan’ even ‘Rajasthanis’ have a peculiar way of celebrating this festival. Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Rajasthan with the great patron. The celebrations stretch for two days. The first day of ‘Holika Dahan’ is observed with the custom of lighting it and the following morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets. On this day even the ‘Royals Family’ come out in their most dazzling attires to don the festive spirit and mingle with the locals.
‘Rajput Warriors’ of the Rajasthani courts used to show off their equestrian skills during the festival. Even today, Rajput men would ride their steeds through the white and pink clouds of color, throwing color powders on each other. Even the members of the royal families are not immune from being drenched by color.
Different cities of Rajasthan have a unique way and name to celebrate the same Holi festival like the Braj situated in the ‘Bharatpur District’ of Rajasthan has ‘The Braj Festival’ which is held in honor of ‘Lord Krishna’ a few days before Holi, in the month of March. Villagers in multi-hued attire, can be seen singing and performing the raslila depicting the immortal love-story of ‘Radha and Krishna’.
The next is ‘Gair at Godaji’ celebrated few days after Holi, this occasion is marked with the gathering of men from 12 villages at Godaji village near ‘Ajmer’ to play gair a few days after holi. Each village brings his own drummer and gair troupes. The picturesque location for it is a valley surrounded by hills on all sides.
Thousands of onlookers and close to hundred players make a wonderful sight and a fond memory. Another one in the list is ‘Dolchi Holi’ at ‘Bikaner’. Here members of ‘Harsh’ and ‘Vyas’ communities have been celebrating Holi by throwing water at one another with force from more than past 300 years. A specially designed vessel called ‘Dolchi’ made from camel skin is used for the purpose and water is thrown only at the back of an individual.
With the list going on another one is, ‘The Dhulandi Festival’ is celebrated across India. However, the festival acquires a special charm in the way it is celebrated in the capital city of ‘Jaipur’. The department of tourism organizes an exclusive event in the lawns of Khasa Kothi Hotel for international guests where they can take part and enjoy the culture, food and spirit of India, besides relishing the traditional Rajasthani folk songs as well as music.
The last but not the least is ‘The Elephant Festival’ which should not be missed if you are in ‘Jaipur’ during Holi. Brightly decorated elephants adorned with scarves, embroidered head-plates, velvet parasols, ear danglers, gold embroidered rugs and large anklets parade through the lanes of Jaipur.
Various competitions like ‘Elephant Race’, ‘Elephant Polo’, ‘Tug of War’ between the elephant and 19 men and women are especially popular. In addition to the elephant procession, a parade of chariots, camels, palanquins and lancers on horses is also organized which keeps the audience indulgent and entertained.
Come get drenched in the myriad colors of Holi this year in Rajasthan about which you have always heard great stories and imagined in your thoughts.