Celebrating Holi in the Himalayas

Experience the festival of colours with the people of Uttarakhand as they bring in their joyous celebrations of Holi with much pomp, colour and traditions!

By Avani Society

Holi is a five day long celebration filled with colours and joy.

Holi celebration (2020-10-03/2020-10-03)Avani Society

Music is an essential part of the celebrations!

Women celebrating Holi (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

Young, old & all in between come out to play Holi together.

Kids during Holi (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

As it is customary in India, all occasions begin by seeking the blessings of the almighty. Here too, the people gather at their local temple for an auspicious start to the festivities.

Mata ka Mandir, Thanga village (2020-10-03/2020-10-03)Avani Society

A beginning marked by devotional song and pradakshina

Opening ceremony of the auspicious festival (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

Each village has a temple that is the starting point of the Holi celebrations with their beautiful devotional songs

Musical instrument (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

Then the group of men gathered at the temple proceed from there carrying their revered symbol to each household in the village

Proceedings (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

Nishan: Devi ka jhanda (2020-07-03/2020-07-03)Avani Society

The revered symbol

Made of yak hair, peacock feathers and ornamental flowers and leaves, the Nishan gets worshipped at each household gathering.

Nishan considered holy, marks the identity of the community and is the first object of worship as the toli reaches a home.

Proceedings (2020-10-03/2020-10-03)Avani Society

The group moves from one household to the other with a lot of fanfare! Music and fun are essential parts of enjoying the Holi celebrations!

Proceedings (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

The women of the village gather in a different group and travel in their clusters singing, dancing and showering colours on each other.

The celebration is filled with dance...

Women celebrating Holi (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

... and community singing.

Women celebrating Holi (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

Proceedings (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

Women celebrating Holi (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

The white saree with a red border is the traditional attire that the women wear while celebrating Holi

Women celebrating Holi (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

The women's celebration is called the Baithak Holi or sitting Holi. Songs are sung ranging from devotional to mainstream bollywood and they dance to the beats of the dholak.

It is customary to offer something sweet during auspicious occasions and jaggery or gur is part of the rituals, in its most authentic form.

Jaggery (2020-08-03/2020-08-03)Avani Society

Jaggery is offered to the almighty first and foremost before being distributed to everyone else. 

Jaggery (2020-08-03/2020-08-03)Avani Society

Playful banter and sweet jaggery are a must have!

Proceedings (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

The overall atmosphere is one of playful banter, shower of colours, a sense of community and a deep sense of gratitude to the almighty for a good Holi.

Age no bar for turning into pranksters on Holi!

Women celebrating Holi (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

Friends and family sing along together!

Holi celebration (2020-10-03/2020-10-03)Avani Society

 Giggles, colours and unsuspecting mothers! All part of the Holi fun! 

Proceedings (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

Women and girls are known to engage in their own brand of mischief as they shower people with colours and coloured water from their terrace and balconies!

Bidding adieu on day 5

The goodbye ritual starts with a pradakshina and the returning of the Nishan to the temple

Farewell (2020-10-03/2020-10-03)Avani Society

A last song sung to the beat of the traditional dhol thanking the almighty for a lovely Holi

Musical instrument (2020-08-03/2020-08-03)Avani Society

A last shower of colour as they bid farewell

Musical Instrument (2020-09-03/2020-09-03)Avani Society

A joyful and energetic send off until the next year!

Musical instrument (2020-08-03/2021-08-03)Avani Society

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