Also known as the festival of colors, Holi is one of the most popular festivals in Nepal and India and is gradually catching on all over the world. Holi is the welcoming of a warm and cozy spring after the harsh winter. On this day, people from all ethnic groups, religions, faith, and gender gather out on the street and put colors on passer-by as a token of love. Holi is also celebrated in remembrance of the victory of virtues against the wicked.
When is Holi for the year 2020?
March 09, 2020 (Falgun 26)- Holi in Hilly Regions, including Kathmandu and Pokhara
March 10, 2020 (Falgun 27)- Holi in the Terai Regions.
Legend Behind Holi | Why is Holi Celebrated?
The origin of Holi can be traced back to Mahabharata- a famous Hindu epic, where there have been mentions of how Holi came to be a prominent and important festival among Hindus. As per the legend, King Hiranyakashipu was against the worshipping of Lord Vishnu and forbade anyone to do so either. However, his own son, Prince Praladha, an adherent devotee of Lord Vishnu directly opposed and rejected the morals of his father. This infuriated the king. The king ordered his sister Holika to burn the prince alive on the full moon night. But under the blessings of Lord Bishnu, the prince was unhurt by the fire. Instead, the king’s sister Holika got burnt into ashes. When the prince emerged from the fire, unscathed, people witnessing the event showered him with flowers and colorful water to acclaim the victory of virtues against evil.
Celebration in Kathmandu
Holi in Nepal starts one week before the actual day of Holi. A long bamboo pole (Lingo) adorned with various pieces of colorful fabric (Chir) is erected on the premises of Kathmandu Durbar Square. This tradition itself dates back centuries and signifies the official start of the festival.
In Kathmandu, Holi can be often seen being celebrated with colors, water balloon fights, open concerts, dance parties on the streets and also private events hosted in fancy venues. On this day businesses are closed and the whole Kathmandu valley emerges lively with the festivities. The natives visit their relatives and friends, put color and enjoy the day with big feast and drinks.
One can walk leisurely on the streets, put colors on people, participate in water balloon fights and interact with the locals. People of Nepal are known for their kindness and friendly nature. With that on the mind, do not get alarmed if any unknown passer-by approaches you to put colors on you and initiate water balloon fights, its just a part of the festivities.
Best Places in Kathmandu for Holi
With the festival engulfing the entire Kathmandu Valley, there are certain areas where one can witness a high concentration of crowds and events.
Kathmandu Durbar Square- If the number 1 on the list as it has a particularly high concentration of people overwhelming its premises. You can witness dance parties happening on the streets, eat local cuisine and drink local drinks like Chhyang.
Thamel- The backpackers' point, comes second where one can roam the streets, eat lunch in good restaurants and enjoy the day with a little less crowd as compared to other places on the list.
Patan Durbar Square comes third on this list where you can witness the reminiscence of ancient kingdom come alive with the crowd, colors, and festival. You can witness various dance parties on the streets, water balloon fights whilst admiring the beauty, the city of Patan has to offer.
Tudhikhel is the open ground in the middle of the city. It is closed from both Kathmandu Durbar Square and Thamel. With dance parties and music, people in numbers flock there to celebrate Holi.
Suggestions for Holi
Be prepared, it is going to be crowded!
- Wear a white T-shirt. It looks particularly beautiful after it has been dyed by the colors.
- Take out your cameras and prepare to shoot the most colorful day of the year. However, make sure to protect your lenses.
- Facial cleanser and shampoos are essential to get rid of the colors after the carnival.
- Do not carry valuables like jewelry, important documents, and other expensive items because there might lie a chance of getting them lost in the crowd.
- Do not accept any sweets or drinks as it may be mixed with Bhang- a hallucinogenic plant. However, it is a part of the festival and you can witness people enjoying themselves on these sweets and drinks.