Happy Holi!

Udaipur Travel Blog

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We had a quick breakfast and got in the bus around 7:30am, dressed in the clothes we will be wearing for Holi. I have a white shirt and a pair of khaki travel pants that are old and I’m willing to part with—or maybe they will wind up with a really cool design afterwards! Who knows! On the bus, Pancham explained about Holi, which was not clear to anyone, and hen he opened a packet of peach colored powder and put some on each of us to get us started and wished us a Happy Holi. He has a fabulous white cotton outfit on, with purple painted handprints. We were afraid the powder would stain the bus, but it didn’t seem to. In fact the peach color just looks like everyone got smacked with foundation powder. Listening to Pancham on the phone with the tuk tuk drivers: “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” sounds like, “Ha cha cha cha.”

We quickly dropped off all our stuff at the Dev Villas Hotel, then got in tuk tuks and headed to the Jagdish Temple in the center of the city. The traffic was crazy, so we stopped a ways back and went on foot to the main square. On the way, we met some folks who put powder on us, and then when we got to the square it was like a rave with colored powder exploding in the air all over, and folks dancing to a drum, and just craziness - super fun. I had been warned about roving bands of young guys getting high and getting aggressive with the women, or spraying people with paint, but we didn’t see that.

The standard greeting was to say “Happy Holi,” as you smear your powder on one of their cheeks, then the other, and then you hug. The hugs got a bit overly long, but none of us felt groped, exactly. Some of our girls got kissed...Marnie got her cheek nibbled on!...and we certainly got powder in every crevice imaginable. Graham had fashioned a shirt out of a white plastic-coated sack, which he claimed could also be a save his clothes. Mary Rose just had on her new fancy tunic and sandals...not sure how they didn’t get ruined! After we’d had our fill, we walked down one street, which was like water balloon alley...we got pelted by kids with those and there were water guns here and there. It was so crowded, even the pedestrians couldn’t get through so we took a different way to find tuk tuks back to the hotel.

Morgan and I took a shower and the water coming off us ran red! We threw out the clothes...we wore lights/whites so you could see the color...but some of them really don’t come out. Especially hair and light skin. We were warned, and were told to coat our hair with oil, but Pancham said he only had mustard oil which has a strong smell. The skin under my boobs looked like a bruise - the powder went right down the front of my shirt and stuck in my bra! My hair is tutti frutti—green in the back with red bits in the front, and there’s a blue dot above my bellybutton - none of which would come out.

We then took more tuk tuks back to the center of town and took a sunset boat ride around the lake for 45 minutes or so, then went to dinner at the rooftop restaurant of the Udaigarh Hotel. The rooftop terrace had a fantastic location looking over the lovely lake. in fact, the location was used in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The food was actually quite good there, and they had cocktails - finally a gin and tonic!
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photo by: s_vivek62