9 Best Places To Enjoy Rajasthan Holi With 9 Unique Traditions
Holi – a vibrant festival of colors is celebrated in March across India. While there are several places to celebrate Holi in India, but Rajasthan Holi is something not to be missed. I highly recommend taking a Rajasthan Trip during Holi to enjoy one of the best Holi celebrations across the country.
What makes the Rajasthan Holi festival so special? From the energetic techno Holi in Pushkar to experiencing the royal ways of Holi celebration in Rajasthan, this vibrant state offers several options to enjoy the Holi celebrations across the state.
Out of the major festivals in Rajasthan, Holi is the time that truly brings everyone together as the royal families open their doors to the public, allowing them to participate in the Holi celebrations hosted by the royal families.
Apart from that, people of all age groups gather around and participate in the Holi celebrations by playing with colors, offering prayers in the Holika Dahan, and relishing in the traditional festive dishes like gujiya, bhang, pakoras, and a lot more.
Holi celebration in Rajasthan attracts locals and tourists from India and across the world who truly want to experience the “Rangeela Rajasthan” (colorful Rajasthan) – a characteristic of this colorful state which is further enhanced during Holi.
This 2-day celebration is filled with immense joy, colors, and festivities, making it a perfect time to immerse in the cultural side of the state. Holi generally marks the end of winter and is celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun month.
The day before the full moon is Holika Dahan where people light a huge fire, and gather around it to perform rituals and offerings in the sacred Holi fire. The huge fire cleans the aura and is meant to burn all the evil. The next day is called Dhulandi where people play with colours and exchange sweets.
There are also various ways in which Rajasthan Holi is celebrated across the state. Let’s explore how Rajasthan Holi is celebrated in different parts of the state and then you can choose which place suits you best!
Best Place For Holi Celebration In Rajasthan
1. Techno Holi – Pushkar
When we talk about Rajasthan Holi, the first place that comes to mind is the quaint town of Pushkar. Mostly known for housing the only Hindu temple in Rajasthan dedicated to Lord Brahma, this quaint little town transforms into a party hub during Rajasthan Holi.
Holi in Pushkar is very popular amongst the young generation as this festival transforms the whole Pushkar market, the main square, and the ghats around Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan into a big party place. People gather on this street, play with colors, and dance to the tunes of all kinds of music from techno to desi Bollywood Holi songs, making Holi in Pushkar a whole vibe.
The excitement of celebrating Holi in Pushkar is further enhanced by bhang thandai or lassi – a special drink served during Holi. The scene of color bombs being thrown around and the pulsating young crowd sets a perfect scene to celebrate Holi in Pushkar.
2. Brij Mahotsav – Bharatpur
Bharatpur, otherwise known for its thrilling safari in the largest bird sanctuary in Asia, is another best place to witness a traditional Rajasthan Holi. Brij Holi in Bharatpur is celebrated before the main Holi festival. This traditional way of celebration was started by Raja Surajmal in the 18th century and has been followed since then.
The Brij Rajasthan Holi of Bharatpur is celebrated in different ways than the rest of the state. People dress up as Lord Krishna and Gopis to celebrate the eternal love between Radha and Krishna through Rasila dance – a traditional dance form that can be witnessed at various stage shows across Bharatpur.
The spirit of the Rajasthan Holi festival is seen in full pomp in Bharatpur. It is believed that if you take a dip in the Holy Banganga River during Holi, all your sins will be washed away and your soul will be cleansed too.
3. Royal Holi Celebrations – Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
If you want to witness Rajasthan Holi in the royal style, do visit Udaipur, Jodhpur, or Jaisalmer. The royal families at these places take active participation in the Holi festivities and invite the public to their palace gardens and courtyards to celebrate this festival of colors.
On the night of Holika Dahan, the Maharaj of Udaipur lights the ceremonial fire in the City Palace courtyard, which can be witnessed by locals and tourists alike. It is one of the best things to do in Udaipur, as you will get an opportunity to witness the royal lifestyle. The royal family also distributes sweets after the Holika Dahan.
The royal family of Jodhpur also opens the gates of the Umaid Bhawan Palace courtyard on the day of Dhulandi for the public to come and play colors together in the premises of these finest hotels of Rajasthan. Children joyfully jump into the tubs filled with colored water, and adults through water balloons on each other as the Bollywood music backs the energetic atmosphere.
If you want to celebrate Rajasthan Holi in the only living fort of India – then the Sonar Qila/Jaisalmer Fort is the place to go. Wander through the timeless narrow alleys and participate in the festive celebrations by playing with colors along with the locals in Jaisalmer.
4. Dolchi Holi – Bikaner
Dolchi Holi of Bikaner is a traditional way of Holi celebration in Rajasthan that dates back to 300 years. In this Rajasthan Holi celebration, men gather around and throw water on other men in a vessel called Dolchi which is made of camel skin.
Initially, this tradition of throwing water on others was started when a fight broke out between two communities over food. Men from these communities started throwing water in each other’s Dolchi to find a tradition and it eventually became a tradition. Only men can participate in Dolchi Holi, while children and women can watch from a distance.
5. Dhulandi Holi – Jaipur
Dhulandi marks the 2nd day of the Holi celebration in Rajasthan where people gather together and play with colors. In Jaipur, the royal family opens the gates of the City Palace – one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan for the public to come and celebrate Dhulandi as remarks a special occasion in Hindu mythology.
In Jaipur, Dhulandi has a special place as it celebrates the day when Lord Krishna painted Radha in his skin color. According to the legend, Lord Krishna had turned blue as he drank the demon’s milk. Later, his mother Yashoda suggested that he paint Radha in his same skin color and that is how the tradition of playing with colors started.
The Rajasthan Holi festival celebration mostly celebrates the love between Lord Krishna and Radha. Roam around the old picturesque town of Jaipur and relish in the traditional Rajasthani food like ghevar, gujiya, and some mathris to celebrate Rajasthan Holi like a local.4
6. Gair Holi and Mali Holi – Ajmer
Gair, a regional folk dance of Rajasthan that showcases diverse expressions as it is performed in various styles across different locations. In the vicinity of Ajmer, a unique way of celebrating Rajasthan Holi is seen which is known as Gair Holi.
In this celebration, several men hailing from 12 villages meet at Godaji village near Ajmer in Rajasthan to engage in Gair just a few days post the Holi festival. Each village brings its own set of drummers, Gair troupes, and musical instruments, creating an atmosphere of enthusiasm and excitement. The vibrant celebration captivates both the audience and the active participants gathered in and around the area.
Mali Holi is another way of celebrating Rajasthan Holi in Ajmer. According to the age-old tradition, men from the Mali community throw colors at women, and in response, the women playfully hit the men with a stick or a long piece of cloth. This spectacle is truly captivating, generating immense enthusiasm. The distinctive approach to Holi celebration fosters a sense of unity and brotherhood, bringing the local community together in a unique and festive spirit.
Also Read: 10 Ways To Enjoy The Nightlife In Rajasthan
7. Koda Maar Holi – Bhilwara
Koda Maar Holi is celebrated in Shri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bhilwara, and Ajmer regions of Rajasthan. In Koda Maar Holi, the men play with colors and gulal, while the women add an extra twist by playfully hitting them with Kodas (handmade double wooden sticks with rubber) or wet cotton cloths.
It’s a unique way of Holi celebration in Rajasthan where the colors of both joy and a bit of playful ‘ouch’ blend together. Imagine the laughter and excitement as everyone joins in, making Koda Maar Holi a lively and unforgettable experience in these Rajasthan areas.
8. Pattar Maar Holi – Banswara, Barmer
Pattar Maar Holi is celebrated in Barmer, Dungarpur, Banswara and Bara regions of Rajasthan. A comparatively unsafe way of playing Rajasthan Holi, but it is mostly done in a friendly manner. In Pattar Maar Holi, people throw stones and colours a each other.
For safety, people use shields and cover their head by tying a turban. Generally, these stones are very small in size so that it would not harm the other party.
9. Rang Teras – Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh – one of the most historic forts of Rajasthan, does not celebrate Dhulandi on the day when rest of the Rajasthan celebrates Dhulandi. So if you fail to be in Rajasthan during Holi, you can still experience the joy of Holi celebration in Rajasthan few days later in Chittorgrah.
Apparantely, one of the former rulers of Chittorgarh passed away on the day of Dhulandi, so mostly the people of Chittorgarh do not play with colours on this day. Instead, the people of Chittorgarh play with colors on Saptami or as they call it “Rang Teras”. That day is declared as a holiday in Chittorgarh, so that the people can fully immerse themselves in the festivities.
Is it safe for tourists to participate in Holi celebrations in Rajasthan?
Participating in Holi celebrations in Rajasthan can be safe and enjoyable if certain precautions are taken. It’s advisable for tourists to celebrate in popular and organized events, where the atmosphere is controlled. Wearing old clothes, applying oil on the skin beforehand, and being cautious around crowded areas can ensure a safer and more enjoyable Holi experience for tourists.
What are the best places in Rajasthan to experience the true essence of Holi?
Some of the best places in Rajasthan to experience the true essence of Holi is Jaipur, Udaipur, Bharatpur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, etc. While, youngsters mostly prefer Pushkar to celebrate Holi as the whole Pushkar market turns into one big Holi Party.
Are there any unique traditions or customs specific to Rajasthani Holi?
Yes, Rajasthan has its share of unique Holi traditions. In some places, like Bikaner, Dolchi Holi involves men throwing water at each other in a vessel called Dolchi. In Gair Holi of Ajmer, people play while performing the Gair folk dance. In Koda Maar Holi in Bhilwara men play with colors while women playfully hit them with Kodas or wet cloths. Other unique ways include Pattar Maar Holi, Mali Holi, Rang Teras, etc.
How is Holi celebrated in Rajasthan?
Holi in Rajasthan is filled with colors and joy. People come together to play with vibrant colored powders, creating a lively and festive atmosphere. It involves traditional music, dance, and delicious local snacks. Different regions have their unique ways of celebrating, adding diversity to the overall Holi experience.