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Holi Jaipur

Holi Jaipur ImageHoli, the Festival of Colours, is celebrated in the month of Phalgun on a full moon day, according to the lunar calendar and usually falls in the month of March. Phalgun is the month of spring in India. Holi is thus celebrated to mark the end of winter chill and the onset of summer. The woolens are packed away and light summer clothes are brought out. At this time, nature itself is also in full bloom; the flowers of India present a sight to behold. 

Traditionally, vegetable dyes have been used for colour, both dry and wet. Called Gulal and Abeer, the dry colour is applied directly while wet colour is mixed in buckets full of water, in which friends are dunked. Accompanied by the sound of ‘Dhol’ (an Indian percussion instrument) and plenty of singing and dancing, Holi is the festival of merrymaking.

What is a festival without celebratory food? Holi also has certain special sweet and savoury dishes associated with it. Gujiya, Mathri and Papri is made especially for the occasion. Traditionally, consumption of intoxicating bhang is associated with the festival of Holi. Bhang can be consumed in the form of Thandai, a sweet drink or mixed inside the eatables. It is so much fun to watch the otherwise sober people making a clown of themselves in public. However, bhang should be taken with caution; while it is not threatening to the well-being of a person, the discomfort can last for a long time.

The evening that falls before Holi, marks Holika Dahan. A bonfire is lit on this evening. This part of the festival has a legend associated with it. According to this legend, demon King Hiranyakashyap demanded everybody in his kingdom to worship him but his pious son, Prahlad who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu did not do so. Hiranyakashyap wanted his son to be killed. He asked his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap as Holika had a boon which made her immune to fire. Prahlad was saved by the Lord himself while evil minded Holika was burnt to ashes, for her boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Since that time, the bonfire called Holika has been lit on the eve of Holi festival to celebrate the victory of good over evil and also mark devotion to God.

Holi is also considered to be the day of friendship, when in keeping with the spirit of the day, people forget petty enmities and renew their friendship.

In Jaipur, Holi is the day for Elephant Festival, involving elephant sports and noisy parades, music, folk theatre and dance performances.... Mobs of people flood the streets, playing cymbals and singing songs. The merrymaking goes on till early afternoon. After some rest and cleaning up, evening is again the time to catch up with friends or to enjoy a performance.

Let the spirit of revelry overtake you when you visit Jaipur this spring and have time of your life.
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