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Holi! The vibrant festival of colors sees friends and families zealously throwing fists of vibrant coloured powders and squirting water through pichkaris at each other.
Though the atmosphere of fun and frivolity remains the same everywhere, each state has its own special traditions associated with Holi.
Holi 2022 date and time
This year Holi will be celebrated on 18 March 2022, while Holika Dahan (also known as Choti Holi) will be observed on 17 March 2022.
The Holika Dahan muhurta, which is the auspicious time for burning of the demon effigy – Holika on a bonfire is from 21:06 to 22:16 on 17 March 2022.
Best places to celebrate Holi 2022
Hampi – A South Indian Holi
South India is generally known for peaceful and tranquil holi celebrations, but one must count Hampi out. This ancient town is popular amongst backpackers from all over the world, and come Holi, people of all colours join the locals in the joyful celebrations.
While you are there, roam around its beautiful temples and take in all the history of the place, because if there’s one thing here more fascinating than the festival itself, it’s all the age-old tales and fables.
Delhi – A Bollywood Holi
The capital of India is sprayed with every shade of every colour, as young and old alike drench themselves (quite literally) in the gaiety of the festival. Delhiites usually start with a tilak- a small mark on the forehead considered to be a good omen- and before you know, they are covered with Gulaal from head to toe.
True to the city’s party-culture, there are several parties arranged across Delhi, from premium bashes offering gourmet food and alcohol, to budget-friendly, no-frills options. Bollywood party music resonates from every corner of the city, so get ready to sway to your fave go-to moves.
Shantiniketan – A Cultural Holi
If you’re looking forward to cherishing the true essence of the festival, Shantiniketan is the place to be. This university town steps away from the clichéd customs of Basanta Utsav (Holi) and takes a more cultural spin of the festival. Students, clad in bright yellow clothes, showcase their talents through ethnic dance and entertainment performances. You can even meet the artsy community of the area and get insights into the Bengali culture.
The baul singers singing on the tune of their unique ‘Ektara’ instruments are a treat for your years, and even though you don’t understand the language, the music will stay with you forever.
Udaipur – A Royal Holi
Whatever the City of Lake does, it does with a touch of grandeur and Holi is no exception. On the first day, the Holika Dahan ceremony in Udaipur is graced by by the royal family and the King lights the holy pyre while the local artists dressed vibrantly in Rajasthani traditional attire sing and dance around the bonfire.
A stately procession, complete with ornamented camels, elephants and horses, then starts from the Shambhu Niwas Palace and moves up to Manek Chowk royal residence. The Maharaja of Mewar personally welcomes honorable guests, foreign tourists, and many dignitaries to the Royal City Palace.
Mathura – The Ultimate Holi
The birthplace of Lord Krishna is the undisputed king of the Holi celebration in India. The historic city becomes a riot of colours during the festival, coming alive with infectious energy and fervour. Women playfully fend the harmless flirtations of men with sticks, depicting the innocent relations between Krishna and Radha. Priests shower blessed water on devotees visiting the temples during these days. Barsana, Vrindavan and Nandgaon are the nexus of Mathura’s festivities.
Here, you’ll also get to sample some of the best Bhang, a traditional milk-based drink flavoured with cannabis leaves.
State-level COVID rules & restrictions for Holi 2022
With the country registering around 3,000 new cases, India has been observing a dip in the COVID-19 infection rates for the past few weeks. The centre has urged state governments to relax most of the COVID-19 related restrictions like night curfews, lockdowns, limited gatherings, etc.
West Bengal has relaxed restrictions on the occasion of ‘Holika Dahan’ on 17 March 2022. Movement of public and vehicles between 12:00 am to 5:00 am will be permitted on this day.
The state of Madhya Pradesh has also withdrawn all pandemic-related restrictions with the decline in daily Covid-19 cases. wearing masks and following social distancing norms is still a must.
However, the government of Odisha has announced that Holi celebrations in public places and large gatherings will not be permitted in the state. The government had earlier imposed a night curfew which is no longer in force from 18 February 2022. Citizens have been requested to follow COVID-19 protocol such as physical distancing, use of face mask and sanitizers.
On an individual level as well, each one of us has to be careful. It’s advisable to celebrate Holi with only a few close ones to reduce the risk of contracting this contagious virus through contact. Everyone should use gloves to the extent possible. Play with the colours on an open, airy ground rather than in congested, close quarters. Afterwards, make sure you wash and sanitise your hands and face well.