Beyond the religious rituals, Holi is always full of colors and joy. What could be more culturally engaging than joining in its color fights as a traveler?
The date of Holi is based on the Hindu lunar calendar (March 24 and 25 in 2024) and is always in March or late February. Before the color fights on March 25, 2024, don’t miss the atmospheric bonfire party on the evening of the first full moon before the spring equinox (March 24, 2024).
Best Places to Celebrate Holi in India
Holi is celebrated all over India, but the best color fights usually take place in North India (Delhi, Jaipur, and other cities in Rajasthan).
Century-old traditions are well kept in Mathura, Vrindavan, and Varanasi, while Udaipur, Jaipur, and Delhi add some modern elements to the celebrations.
When taking part in the local celebrations, you can feel the enthusiasm of India’s people. Crowds are unavoidable if you join in the color fights in the streets. If you don’t like a bit of chaos and clamor, stay distant, or contact us for a private celebration.
1. Mathura and Vrindavan: The Most Traditional and Craziest Places
Being in the birthplace of Holi, the celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan last for weeks! The events in Mathura and Vrindavan are the most photogenic, as most of Holi’s traditional activities have been kept alive there.
Beyond the famous color fights, you’ll have chances to experience the parades. The most interesting parade is probably Lathmar Holi, during which women chase men and beat them with sticks (lathi). The men protect themselves with shields. This is based on the legend of Lord Krishna being beaten by his consort Radha for teasing her.
Contact us if you’re interested in a guided Holi tour of Mathura and Vrindavan.
If you don’t like this kind of “violent” Holi activity, celebrate Holi in Udaipur or Jaipur, which are more peaceful and are friendly to travelers.
2. Varanasi: Celebrate Holi in the Spiritual Capital
Holi is celebrated for two days in Varanasi: Holika Dahan and Holi. Like in other cities, people light a bonfire and throw color powders, particularly near the ghats (river steps).
However, people in Varanasi have their own way to celebrate Holi. They rub their bodies with ubtan herbal paste to pray for good luck in the next year.
3. Udaipur: Celebrate with Royal Family
If you’re keen to learn more about royal ceremonies inside regal palaces, celebrate your Holi in Udaipur. With the most luxurious setting, Holika Dahan is the highlight of Udaipur’s Holi.
The resident Mewar royal family perform the rituals, then take their elaborately decorated camels and elephants for parades from the royal residence to Manek Chowk at the iconic City Palace. Locals then light up a bonfire and burn a Holika effigy. To finish the day, you could enjoy stunning fireworks over the city.
4. Jaipur: Holi Celebrations in the Pink City
Jaipur is a travel hot spot in India, one of the must-stop-at golden triangle cities (with Delhi and Agra). Majestic palaces and convenient transportation make it a perfect place to go to celebrate Holi.
During this 2-day holiday, Jaipur comes alive with decorated streets and homes covered in colorful flowers. You can join in a local carnival in the streets or have a private celebration at your hotel.
Jaipur’s oldest temple — Govind Dev Ji Temple — is an exception, and celebrations at this temple last for more than a week.
5. Delhi: City Party in the Capital
As the capital city of India, Holi celebrations in Delhi can are often intense and boisterous. If you go out into the streets in Delhi during Holi, you can expect to have powder thrown at you by anyone nearby, including children and shopkeepers!
Holi Moo Festival is a paid event that offers shows from 40 Indian and international performers. The event also provides non-toxic colors, street food, drinks, and water sprinklers. This is a popular event with expats, travelers, and locals. The event also has security, and is therefore a relatively safe choice for female travelers.
Check out the 29 Ultimate Things to Do in Delhi (for Friends, Families & Couples)>>>
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How Many Days to Stay for a Holi Trip
In most cities, Holi is celebrated for two days: the first day for Holika Dahan bonfires and the second for color fights. You could select one of the cities above, and spend 2–3 days experiencing the Holi celebrations.
Most travelers prefer combining the Holi celebration with a golden triangle trip (Delhi–Agra–Jaipur) for an 8–10-day India tour. If you want to experience the most authentic Holi, extend your trip to 2 weeks and stay longer in Mathura.
Sample Itinerary of a Holi Trip
To get the best Holi experience, you’re suggested to take a multi-destination tour: visit Vrindavan for its traditional activities a week before Holi, then have fun in Varanasi for a more traveler-friendly experience.
Days 1–2: Arrive in Delhi, Delhi city tour, leave for Vrindavan
Days 3–4: Experience Lathmar Holi at Vrindavan and then head to Agra
Days 5–6: Agra sightseeing and Agra to Jaipur
Days 7–8: Jaipur sightseeing, back to Delhi
Days 9-11: Holi in Varanasi and Departure from Varanasi
You can check more details at our 11-Day India Holi Festival Tour >>>
How Much Does It Cost for a Holi Trip?
Holi is usually celebrated in March, which is a peak time for travelling. Unlike for other festivals, prices during Holi stay almost the same as the rest of the peak season.
However, this atmospheric festival makes India more attractive to international travelers, so, due to the huge demand, tickets and rooms sell out fast. Thus, booking at least half a year before is beneficial to guarantee your rooms and earn early-bird profits.
For more comfortable private tours, you need to pay around US$150–200 per day per person at a mid-range hotel. If you prefer a higher-end hotel experience, US$200–250 per day per person is a must.
Getting To and Around India During Holi
Getting to India
You can fly to Delhi directly from the USA, Canada, Europe, or Australia. International airfares depend on the travel season. As March is still the high season, you’d better keep eye on it to get the best discount.
Getting Around in India
Flights are undoubtedly more comfortable for long trips, such as Delhi to Varanasi or Delhi to Mumbai.
Since flights are not available everywhere, private transfers are likely to be the quickest way to reach some destinations, like Delhi to Agra or Rajasthan. Considering the convenient door-to-door service, a private transfer is popular for a short journey thanks also to it offering the most flexibility.
During Holi, trains and local buses are the first choices for locals, so prepare for crowding. A train could be your alternative if you don’t mind the slow pace and have plenty of time. Local buses are not suggested due to how packed they get and their frequent detours.
Get to learn the best way to go between Agra to Jaipur and Delhi to Jaipir>>>
March sees the transition from mild to hot weather in the golden triangle cities (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur) and in Rajasthan. The daily temperature range of around 16–30°C (61–86°F) and low rainfall means conditions are usually pleasant for celebrating Holi.
Thanks to the generally nice weather, you could pack t-shirts and shorts for the day. A light jacket and a sweater are necessary as the temperature difference from day to night is large.
During color fights with locals, you’d better take some light clothes to protect yourself. A hat, a pair of glasses, long-sleeved shirts, and long trousers are a good idea to cover your body as much as possible.
What’s more, covering all visible skin and hair in coconut oil is a top tip, or else you can expect it to take around an hour to wash off all the colored powder after the festival.
Celebrating Holi with Asia Highlights
Want an authentic Holi experience? Confused about the best places to go? Just contact us and tell us your interests! Your travel expert will take the hassle away and customize a worry-free Holi tour for you!
Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!
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Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
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