Best Places to Celebrate Holi In India – 2023


Holi is a highly anticipated and enthusiastically celebrated festival in India that not only adorns the skin but also fills the hearts with colourful happiness. The best places for celebrating the Holi festival in India immerse you in an unparalleled festive spirit.

The options for Holi celebration places in India are diverse and cater to different experiences that one may seek. While numerous activities and traditions are followed across the country as per customs, the preparations and festivities set each apart. As a festival that marks the arrival of spring and the harvest season, Holi brings an atmosphere of boundless joy.

To set the Holi mood, people participate in Holika Dahan, consume bhang thandai (a refreshing drink made with milk, saffron, and dry fruits) or indulge in bhang pakoras (fritters), attend DJ parties, and enjoy musical performances. Temple rituals, vibrant parades, and grand celebrations, all add to the charm of Holi festivities in India, which attract a large number of international tourists. It’s no wonder why Holi is a festival that people travel far and wide to experience in India.

Among the religious festivals of India, Holi attracts the highest number of international vacationers. This year, with Easter falling around the same time, it is the perfect time for foreign travellers to immerse themselves in the festivities. As Indians engage in the tradition of playing with coloured powders and pigments, foreigners are warmly invited to join in the revelry and let loose. They can partake in the merrymaking and enjoy the festival to the fullest.

If you’re looking to explore different parts of India during Holi, here are some of the best places for Holi celebrations that you should consider visiting.

1. Mathura – The Janmbhoomi of Lord Krishna

Mathura is renowned for its spectacular Holi celebrations, and for good reason. As the birthplace of Lord Krishna and a place where evidence of His miracles can be found, Mathura is a highly sought-after place for devotees, particularly during Holi. The temples in Mathura organize elaborate events to celebrate the festival, some of which are among the grandest and most magnificent Holi celebrations in India. Being a part of these festivities is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The colourful Holi procession in Mathura commences in the late afternoon from Vishram Ghat and concludes near Holi Gate. The Dwarkadheesh Temple is the main attraction for Holi celebrations, where hordes of devotees gather on the morning of Holi to revel in the festive fervour, with music and dance in a gulal-infused atmosphere. The Sri Krishna Janmasthan temple also holds a famous show in the week leading up to Holi. Visiting Mathura during Holi is an opportunity to witness the beauty of this Indian festival and should not be missed.

2. Vrindavan – Celebratory revelry in the holy town

Vrindavan, known as Lord Krishna’s playland, holds a special place in the hearts of Hindus and draws visitors throughout the year. Holi in Vrindavan is a significant occasion that sees a massive influx of Vaishnavas. The Banke Bihari Temple is the epicentre of Holi celebrations in Vrindavan. The festivities last for a week, starting with flower splashes or Phoolon ki Holi, followed by Widows Holi, and concluding with a riot of colours a day before Holi. The town, which is obsessed with Krishna, is awash with people of all ages drenched in different hues.

The Gopinath Temple is another prime attraction that showcases the unique colour played by widows. The scene is made even more breathtaking by the plethora of marigold flowers and clouds of gulal, creating a surreal live picture. Devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna add to the charm of Holi in Vrindavan. Don’t miss out on this incredible sight, and make sure to visit Vrindavan for an unforgettable Holi bash. It will undoubtedly be your best trip to Vrindavan.

3. Barsana – The famous Latthmaar Holi

Barsana is one of the top places for Holi celebrations in India. The Holi festivities in Barsana are famously called Lathmar Holi, which is a unique twist on the traditional celebration. During this event, men must protect themselves from the playful beatings of women with sticks. Lathmar Holi takes place a week before the main Holi day, and in 2023, it will be held from March 2nd to March 10th in Barsana and Nandgaon, with the main event on March 12th, 2023.

Barsana and Nandgaon are suburbs of Mathura, which are known for their association with the love story of Lord Krishna and Radha. According to legend, Krishna was envious of Radha’s fair complexion as he was dark-skinned, so he would paint her face with colours to bridge the skin tone difference between them. He would visit Barsana from Nandgaon with his friends to colour Radha and her friends. In the playful affair, the ladies would beat the men with sticks. This tradition has now become known as Lathmar Holi.

In addition to Lathmar Holi in Barsana, visitors can also enjoy the sweet festivities of Laddoo Holi at the Shriji Temple, which will be held on March 8th, 2023.

Read More – Radiant Love: Celebrating the Eternal Bond of Radha Krishna Holi

4. Pushkar – Holi celebrations in the holy town

Pushkar, the holy town in Rajasthan, is renowned for its vibrant and lively Holi celebrations. The main square of Pushkar hosts a grand party, where people dance to lively music and throw colours at each other. To add to their excitement, bhang thandai or lassi is served, making the atmosphere even more energetic. The festival begins with the traditional Holi bonfire on the eve of Holi, known as Holika Dahan.

The sight of wooden logs and garlands were thrown into the fire is a sight to behold, with flames rising higher and higher as people cheer. After the fire extinguishers, people take the embers to their homes as a symbol of good fortune. The next day, the town is bathed in a riot of colours, creating a flamboyant and lively ambience.

5. Purulia – The Dol Festival

Purulia, a hidden gem in West Bengal, is an excellent place to celebrate Holi in a distinctive way. Known for its lush green landscapes, rolling hills, and dense forests, Purulia celebrates Holi three days prior to the actual festival. The local Holi, also called the Dol Festival, is centred around the 8th-century Bandhar Deul temple, where you can witness a variety of folk performances like Chau, Natua dances, and Darbari Jhumur, along with the unique touch of Baul music.

Another prominent attraction of Holi in Purulia is the Ayodhya Pahar, which turns into a sea of red during the spring season when Holi is celebrated. This is due to the blooming of Palash flowers that spread their vibrant hue throughout the region, creating an awe-inspiring sight. Don’t miss out on this captivating experience and visit Purulia to celebrate Holi in a truly enchanting way.

6. Shantiniketan – Celebrate Holi as Basant Utsav

Shantiniketan, located near Kolkata in West Bengal, celebrates Holi in a unique and cultural manner, known as Basanta Utsav. Introduced by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Rabindra Bharati University, the festival is a grand celebration of the vibrant colours of Holi.

During Basanta Utsav, people, along with university students, dress in saffron-coloured clothes and sing and dance to the songs of Tagore, followed by playing with colours and applying gulaal to each other. Delicious sweet treats are also enjoyed during the festivities.

The Holi celebrations at Shantiniketan attract numerous tourists from all over the world to witness this special event, making it a must-visit place during the festival season.

In conclusion, Holi is an exhilarating festival celebrated across India with great enthusiasm and energy. From the Lathmar Holi in Barsana to the vibrant Basanta Utsav in Shantiniketan, the country offers a myriad of options for celebrating this joyous occasion. Whether it’s the grand parties in Pushkar or the unique Dol Festival in Purulia, each place has its own charm and flavour, adding to the diversity of the festival. As you plan your Holi itinerary, be sure to consider these iconic places, and experience the colours, music, and merriment that make this festival truly unforgettable.

Nikhil Singh is the Founder and CEO of The Wanderer India & NV Rise an internet-based company. An enthusiastic Digital Marketer who belongs to a Computer Science background and loves to explore new things digitally. He is also Experienced in marketing, maintaining, and promoting products in the online world.
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