5 Steps to Having the Best Holi Experience

So, you finally decided to give Holi a chance. This vibrant festival which has been getting loads of global attention should be on your top lists of festivals to visit. Not only does it show the culture of India, but it is also one of the only rituals where anybody can participate, regardless of where they are from.

A trip to India on Holi is not an easy task. You always need to keep your eyes open for things that might be culturally insensitive. Or about the dresses you should wear on Holi. Also, Holi has a vibrant culture of drugs surrounding it which is something to keep in mind.

So, here’s five ways you can step up your Holi experience.

  1. Book your hotels in advance.

The best vacation planner makes a world of difference on Holi times. Remember, the places you visit during Holi, be it Varanasi, Vrindavan or any other place, are all popular with locals.  Book your holidays in advance if you want a place to stay.

Pro-tip? Always keep in mind where you have to travel from the hotel in India. Be smart, walk for the most parts. In ancient places like India, you’re likely to find something beautiful at every corner.

  1. Leave the DSLR at home

Unless you are at a specific place where watercolors are banned, Holi is a nightmare for electric appliances. Keep your phone close, but, your camera needs to sit at home when you indulge in colors.

Don’t worry; these colors don’t fade in a day or two, so you will still get the chance to take as many selfies as you want.

  1. Don’t drink bhang

Bhang, a part of the ritual of Holi, is a controlled substance. So, unless you have specific experience with it, avoid the drink at all costs. In replacement, you can get as many Holi sweets as you want.

A kind reminder that bhang is also not legal in most of India, so, if you get caught in possession, you might face significant jail time.

  1. Leave the water to the pros

Gulaal or powdered color was how the traditional Holi was played. The colors that most parties in India use are usually filled with heavy metals and can be toxic when ingested in large quantities. It is probably on the safe side to stick with dry colors.

Also, now, most of the people in India are switching to herbal colors in the public spaces, ask about them if you are unsure about what to buy.

  1. Be respectful

Holi is religious, so, if you don’t understand a particular part of the ritual, or feel uncomfortable, don’t fight it. Walking back to a hotel is a better idea.

Have some friends as a back-up if you just want to ask questions. They will also help you find the best Holi parties in town where you can just let your hair down.

So, that is it. Get yourself ready for the most colorful vacation you will ever have. Maybe, you will find something has changed within, who knows?

Why Not Try Somewhere New

As we start to enter holiday season again it’s time to look at some of the new emerging places in which to take a trip. Each year it seems new countries become more available to the average traveller and everybody is going to new exotic locations. The old one-week trip to Europe is no longer enough as travel becomes more affordable and our understanding of countries becomes clearer. They are no longer the distant scary places they once were, but are now easy to access, exotic and with a whole host of new experiences to offer us. This year is no different and in this article, we hope to look at a few countries which are more easily accessible than before, and which might spark your interest to travel further afield than you once might have had. We’ll look at some of its cultural and tourist hotspots to give you a flavour of some of the things these countries have to offer.

Colombia:

A country with a troubled past, it is a country quickly emerging as a hugely popular tourist location. As vast swathes of the country become more accessible to the public there are plenty of things to do and see throughout the country. You can experience the thrills of the cities of Medellin, Cali and Bogota, the jungles of the amazon and the beauty of the coast. All accessible through cheap airfare and a good transport network. The people are incredibly open and welcoming making them the main driving force behind this truly stunning country.

India:

A country and a continent in one. What better way to spend your holidays than attempting to transverse this astounding country. You can test your taste buds and strengths against the thousands of herbs and spices available throughout the country and visit manmade and natural wonders. Although some locations remain difficult to reach that is a given in a country so vast. Plan your trip carefully and you will be amazed with the differences and similarities that such a country can display to you. So go on a holiday to India.

South Africa:

One aspect of this country has been popular for a while now, but it has so much more to offer than simply a safari although this is a once in a life time event. South Africa is an ever changing and emerging country with a rich history to offer its visitors. Yes, some places would require extra caution but his is part and parcel when visiting any country be it your home country or somewhere completely new. Discover the history of the townships, the community development and of course the natural beauty of the country with its mix of European and African history mixing together.

Getting out of your comfort zone and visiting new countries is something everyone should do at least once. Maybe it will spark an increased interest you didn’t realise was there before or maybe it will be a once off, but either way a trip like this will not be something you forget to easily.

Your Guide to the ‘Festival Of Colors’ 

The festival of colors as many of us know it, is actually an Indian festival called Holi which, whilst celebrated by many around the World, is observed largely by the Hindu faith. The celebration involves the throwing of colored powder over others who are celebrating and after being such a large hit across India, the festival is now celebrated in many countries across the World.

You may have had an experience with the festival of colors but may not know exactly why the festival is celebrated or how the celebrations and traditions came about. Read on to find out more about the festival of Holi.

What is Holi

Holy is a festival that takes place between  the second and third week of March and coincides with the Phalgun Purnima or full moon each year that signifies the the end of winter and the arrival of spring. The celebrations of the festival are all about fun, pleasure and happiness and are representative of good beating evil or in this case, spring beating winter. The festal lasts for 2 whole days and is celebrated throughout India and Nepal.

Celebrations and Traditions

Most parts of the celebrations that take place over these two days are indicative of happiness, one is encouraged to play, laugh and more importantly to repair broken relationships and to forgive and forget.

The origin of the celebrations comes from Prahlada who was a worshipper of Vishnu and the son of  Hiranyakashipu, a man given an indestructible boon and believed that he was god-like. Prahlada suffered a cruel life but his faith prevented him from being injured. Prahlada’s aunt tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her but she was wearing a fire-proof cloak, the fire burned and the cloak flew from his aunt and covered the boys body. When his aunt died his father smashed a pillar with his mace and Lord Vishnu appeared and killed him. The next day, when peace was restored, the people covered their faces in the ash of the fire and this is where the traditions of covering each other in color comes from.

Traditions

The traditions kick off with bonfires on the eve of Holi and for weeks beforehand the locals will collect firewood for the bonfires. On top of the bonfires the locals will place an effigy of Holika, who famously tricked Prahalad onto the fire.

On the morning of Holi, colored water, chalks and paints are thrown around with careless abandon, all of those celebrating will be covered in color as they sing and dance.

The evening of Holi is spent cleaning up and bathing to wash away the colors and this when the ritualistic forgiveness takes place.

Elsewhere

The celebration is enjoyed all over the World at different times of the year although the only tradition that is really carried out is the throwing of colors, this has less religious connotations and is more about people enjoying themselves and being covered in bright colors.