Where will you be riding to this Holi?

Modified On Oct 23, 2018 By Anand Krishnan

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One rides a motorcycle for various reasons - to see places, to explore the unexplored, to create records or just to experience the joy of riding with wind on face. India with its unity amidst all diversity presents various cultures in an unabashedly naked form. It’s so true then when one says that Incredible India is best experienced by road. Within its greatness lie a slew of festivals that the masses of the country celebrate in various forms with united beliefs.  No festival is considered as cheerful as the festival of colours – Holi. 

So, what if you had the choice to leave the comforts of your locality and travel on a motorcycle to explore the myriad ways this festival is celebrated in India? Now, that also depends on the kind of Holi festivity that you wish to revel in – traditional, warrior, royal, stick or cultural. Wondering how could there possibly be different ways to celebrate the same festival? Believe it or not, there are indeed and below are some that we would like to proudly present:-

Royal Holi – Udaipur

The city of Pushkar in Rajasthan state celebrates the most colourful Holi. But no other city displays oodles of Royalty than the city of Udaipur. On the eve of the colourful festival, locals light up a bonfire. The ritual called “Holika Dahan” has been practiced for generations. In kingly style, the locals who are also accompanied by the Mewar Royal Family chant in unison to ward off evil spirits. One can also see most families contributing a log of wood for the bonfire. As history has it, the ritual marks the death of the devil Holika in the Kamudu pyre. The event is concluded by burning a huge effigy of Holika.

 Approximate Riding Distance:- 

Jaipur – Udaipur  : 400 kms 

Delhi  – Udaipur  : 680 kms

Cultural Holi - Shantiniketan 

Nobel laureate and poet Rabindranath Tagore was inspired by the onset of spring and decided to celebrate Holi with dry colours every year in this university that he founded near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Since its inception, state locals, tourists both national and foreign flock to this place to take part or just watch. Given the fun and fervour, the locals fondly call it “Dol” as it comprises a variety of songs, hymns and dances. In this part of the world, the festival seems way too organized and dignified as against the boisterous forms one can see elsewhere in India. Also, it is done a day earlier than the given date in other parts of India. 

 Approximate Riding Distance:- 

Kolkata – Shantiniketan  : 165 kms 

Stick Holi - Barsana

The birth place of Lord Krishna’s beloved “Radha” is dominated by the women folk on this day of the year. It is the men who need to save themselves from the mock ferocity that the opposite sex displays by beating the men up with sticks.  Of course there is no bloodbath considering this is a tradition they have been following since time immemorial. The men come fully padded from the neighbouring village “Nandgaon”, also the birth place of Lord Krishna. It was Krishna who started this tradition of applying colors on Radha and the Gopis. After a thousand years, it is now time for the women of Barsana to take this sweet revenge of that prank played by the Lord. This is the only place in the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India where during Holi men are greeted with sticks instead of colours. But men will be men and they are still eager to apply colours on the women of Barsana.    

Approximate Riding Distance:- 

Lucknow – Barsana  : 465 kms 

Delhi      – Barsana  : 185 kms

Warrior Holi – Anandhpur Sahib

The extremely hospitable and large hearted Punjabis from the warrior state – Punjab, do it with charisma and style. Endurance, stamina and physical ability is the norm that sets precedence for the celebration.  A three day exhibition known as “Hola Mohalla” sees men in their traditional Sikh attire “Bana” wielding scimitars, spears and hatchets on horses galloping down corridors. Even the name “Hola” is their masculine form of the more feminine sounding “Holi”. The participants go up against each other in a mock battle of martial arts, wrestling, sword fights and even turban tying. This spectacle of grit that inspires the tradition of Punjab dating back to the late 17th century concludes on the verdant meadows of the Charan Ganga River.

Approximate Riding Distance:- 

Jaipur – Anandpur Sahib  : 590 kms 

Delhi  – Anandpur Sahib  : 320 kms 

Traditional Holi – Mathura

Vibrancy of culture and colours in epic proportions can be seen here a whole week before the festival actually sets in. Celebrations at the Banke Bihari temple, colour throwing at Dhulendi and processions at Vishram Ghat towards the Holi Gate make this important town of Uttar Pradesh going nostalgic with pages from mythology, the place to see the celebration in its full splendour.   One can also witness the temple priests making the official drink – Bhang. The drink helps escalate the spirit on the day that holds no restrictions. The very essential ingredient in pakoras, thandais and vadas are savoured all through the day to celebrate the festival with the gusto unseen anywhere else in the country.  

Approximate Riding Distance:- 

Lucknow – Mathura  : 372 kms 

Delhi      – Mathura  : 162 kms

So, there you have it. With the long weekend ahead, we recommend that you ride to these cities and enjoy the festivities of Holi in a very different, exciting and unique tune. 

Happy Holi!!!

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