Today is Holi (Sanskrit: होली, Holī) festival, a Hindu celebration for spring with colors and love abound. It’s known as “festivals of colors” or “festival of love” in the evening of Purnima (Full Moon day) in March.
The celebration in Jaipur starts with Elephant Festival the day before and Holika Dahan ceremony, a gathering of people around bon fire to sing and dance. Today is Dhuli, all shops are close and everyone is drinking and eating good food and people smear each others with colored powder. Lotsa, and lotsa colors. I’m glad I bought extra shirt and pants back in Delhi as an advice from Mrs. Kamala.
The auto rickshaw driver took me to one of the Holi celebration in another hotel where foreigner and local providing the entertainment celebrate Holi and rains of colors on our faces, cloths, seeped to our skin. It’ll be a bitch to wash it off, but hell, it’s fun.
The colored powder known as Abir (अबीर) or Gulal (गुलाल), is usually made of natural pigment from turmeric for yellow, neem (Indian Lilac), orange and red from tesu tree, red sandal wood, dried hibiscus, pomegranate etc, green from the leaves, blue indigo from blue hibiscus, berries etc. But nowadays water-based pigments are use. Kinda worrying for the non-natural pigment will stained and pollute the water system. Of course people is doing something about it but in the province you don’t know which is the natural dye or the industrial one.
The pink city Jaipur literally painted it self pink, or purple. It looks like it’s a common theme.
Some of the friends I met at the Holi celebration and wham, photo bomb.
Since everywhere is close, we went up the Nahargarh Fort at the edge of the Aravalli Hills. There are a couple of students, British lady and tourists who want to drink away on the top of the hill. I’ll have a water bottle please.
Nahargarh fort means “abode of the tigers”, built in 17th century AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II with walls around the hills and connected to Jaigarg Fort with various palaces built like the Madhavendra Bhawan built by Sawai Madho Singh. Unfortunately since it’s a holiday, we can not go into the buildings (to cool off).
The view over Jaipur is spectacularly packed and condensed in the middle of arid desert land and rocky mountains.
In the afternoon we go back to town. But unfortunately I have to pay so much more for the two days with the auto rickshaw driver though since it’s festival he said and I can contribute to the community. A load of bull crap I say. But never the less he did guard us and bring the other guests, mostly women, safely to each of our hotel. 2 days whole day ride and guide 1500₹. Ugh, I feel cheated. Note to self, at that price, might as well just arrange a tour with the hotel. My last day in Jaipur is better.
Back to my hotel and have a long, long hot shower, dinner and throw away the clothing I wore today since it’s hopelessly ruined.
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- [Travel] Jaipur, the Elephant Festival. Hail to the Wise Chief
- [Travel] Jaipur, Holi Festivals, the colors of love
- [Travel] Jaipur City Palace, the Royal Residence of the Maharaja
- [Travel] Jaipur, Ex Astris, Scientia at Jantar Mantar
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Source Information: Wikipedia, Travelwiki, India Eye Witness Travel.