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Holi Festival in Jaipur

Jaipur Travel Blog

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Friends
By chance, we were in India for this amazing festival.
For those who don't know what Holi Festival is, let's just say it's, in a way, an equivalent of the occidental carnival, or of the russian Maslenica. A way to celebrate the arrival of spring. In this way, there are a couple of similar things : party, drinks, bonfires, ... But there are also some huge differences.
Actually, this festival has its roots in hinduism. I'm not a specialist on the question, so I'll just let you look by yourselves on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi). As you may learn if you take time to go and read that, the festival is way more than just "we make bonfires, we party, and we paint each other". But if you're celebrating it in big cities (like we did in Jaipur), you don't really discover all this other part.
Maybe next time I go to India, I'll celebrate it around Barsana, and tell you more about it. But there, I'll just talk about what we did in Jaipur. Still, if you have any experience on the question, you're welcome to share it in comments !

For us, everything began the day before March 1st. With people starting to throw colour powders to everyone's face, and saying "Happy Holi !". With bonfires lit at sunset, and people playing music, dancing, and drinking around. With all shops closing one after another (excepted the ones selling colours, alcohol and drugs), and all public transports stopping their activity. With people starting to get crazy all around the city. Men, mostly (not to say only). On this night, we prefered going home (we were hosted by a jaipuri CSer) early and not getting into trouble (being the only girl out in the middle of drunk men could have been quite uncomfortable for Alex's second day in India.
Drinking Banglassi
..). The only trouble we had was with our lock, as we put it in such way that it had become impossible to insert the key and to unlock it... So we had to try to break it, and after more than 1hour trying (it was a damn strong lock !), we decided to break a part of the door to set it free. And then close the door from inside, and get in and out from the room through another one. Yes, never invite us to your place if you want to keep it intact ! Anyway...
The day after, it was all about painting each other. First with the "easy to remove" colour powder. Then with the "not easy at all to remove" powder along with drums of coloured water. In the meantime, we were drinking banglassi (lassi in which they brewed drugs), eating snacks, dancing, ... After a couple of hours like that (and dozens of layers of paint on ourselves), we went to visit friends in another neighborhood (compared to the other days, almost nobody on the roads.
Serial colourer
only drunk and high painted people), where we kept on painting each other (again), dancing, and eating other snacks. Then back to our host's house (around 4pm), go to shower (2hours, but that was not enough to remove all the paint. It took 2 weeks. And still, after almost a month, Alex's hair is still a bit pink, and some of my nails blue...), and then our host's family prepared a delicious typical jaipuri dinner. Then shower again, and sleep.
Oh, and don't even try to wash your clothes afterwards... Even after hours and hours of handwashing, the water still comes out pink/blue. I dared trying to wash the "cleanest" piece of clothes (the only one that wasn't making water turn pink anymore) in machine with other clothes, and... everything got coloured. Happy Holi !

Anyway..
Splash
. Apart from that, what was the most remarkable for this festival was that it's not even a real holiday, but barely anybody works on this day. No shop open, no bus driving... No cops... Everybody drinks banglassi and party. The rest of the time, Indian people don't drink a lot, don't really go on drugs (or really few of them). I don't even know if it's really legal. But for this day, everything is tolerated. "There are no limits, no rules, we just forget everything for a day and do whatever we want", as our host told us. Like if everyone was friend with everyone. Or almost. No more melting between different casts and religion than usual. Only few women participating (and if so, only in the family circle, or with women friends, definitely not in the street). So yeah, "no limits, no rules", only the tacit ones.
Selling colours

Still, even despite of that, celebrating this festival among friends and families really made it a positive experience. And during all the rest of the trip, as we were remaining a bit more colourful as usual, everyone kept telling us "Happy Holi". But we weren't the only ones, as many other people still had painted shirts, or took some time before going back to work. Because of that, there were no bus driving from Fatehpur Sikri back to Agra (2 days later), so we had to take a taxi. Well, actually, he was asking way too much, so we just decided to walk to the main road (it was 1.5km, and a tractor offered us the ride) and try to find other buses there.
Fire
Only other taxis that wouldn't lower their prices... Until a tourist bus arrived, empty on the return from Bharatpur, and proposed us to drive us to Agra for as much money as we wanted. We asked a bit more than the regular price for bus ticket, and everyone was happy : the driver to earn some extra money, and us to have a luxury AC bus for us alone, for 4times cheaper than what the taxi wanted to charge.
India...
samanthaxang says:
Enjoyed this post! Full of colours. Love it!
Posted on: Dec 28, 2012
ken2010 says:
interesting and colourful. Great!
Posted on: Sep 24, 2010
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Friends
Friends
Drinking Banglassi
Drinking Banglassi
Serial colourer
Serial colourer
Splash
Splash
Selling colours
Selling colours
Fire
Fire
Music
Music
Going home
Going home
Moustache ?
Moustache ?
Dancing
Dancing
Teaching...
Teaching...
Cheers !
Cheers !
Dancing
Dancing
Noooooo !
Noooooo !
Even to the weakest !
Even to the weakest !
Preparing banglassi
Preparing banglassi
Dancing
Dancing
Fight
Fight
Disposable clothes, I hope...
Disposable clothes, I hope...
Fight
Fight
Hug
Hug
Hands
Hands
Splash
Splash
Dancing
Dancing
Splash ?
Splash ?
X-(
X-(
Hands
Hands
Woman
Woman
Eh eh eh
Eh eh eh
Beware of the girl !
Beware of the girl !
Ooh yeah !
Ooh yeah !
Roar
Roar
Blue man
Blue man
Woman
Woman
Jaipur
photo by: oxangu2