Maharajas’ Express is renowned for its exclusive experiences which include cultural interactions at destinations covered in the itineraries offered by the train. When it comes to cultural diversity, India is hardly matched by any other nation in the world. Religious diversity and beliefs have added to the cultural potpourri of incredible India.
One of the popular and internationally renowned festivals in India is Holi and Maharajas’ Express Treasures of India journey on 20th March, 2016, will offer you the opportunity to celebrate and observe this year Holi in style with a touch of royalty.
Holi is a celebration to express warmth with colors which takes place during Phalgun Poornima that usually takes place either in the end of February or the beginning of March. This festival of colors helps in rebuilding the relationships of the people.
People celebrate this festival by rubbing colors and ‘Gulal’ on each other’s face and wish them by saying ‘Bura Na Maano Holi Hai, Holi Mubarak’. It also gives an opportunity to take blessings from elders and sharing love and affection with near and dear ones.
Although Holi is celebrated throughout the country but in places like Mathura, Nand Gaon, Vrindawan, Haryana and Agra, it has its own charm. People celebrate this festival with great vigor and enthusiasm. In places like Barshana and Nandgaon, the ‘Lathmar Holi’ is quite very famous.
On the occasion of Holi, men from Nandgaon sortie into Barshana to raise their flag over the Sri Radha Rani temple and women of Barshana welcome them with long wooden sticks. The spirit of this colorful festival makes it unique and special throughout the country.
There is a popular story in the Indian mythology regarding the ‘Festival of Colors’-Holi. According to the Hindu mythology, the son of Asura Hiranyakashyapu, Prahlad was a great devote of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashypu was the staunch enemy of Lord Vishnu and it was unacceptable to the Asura king that his own son is the devotee of his brother’s assassin.
Upon the request of her sister, Holika, who had a boon that she can enter the fire and return unscathed, entered the fire carrying Prahlad in her lap. However, the boon failed to protect her and she was burned to ashes. But Prahlad was miraculously saved by chanting the name of Lord Vishnu.
To this day, a bonfire, before the day of Holi, is set up and burned to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Scroll down and take a look at the chain of events through which people undergo while preparing for this festival.
Preparations of Holi:
The entire country bears a celebratory look, just a few days before the festival. The markets are at buzz, with various vendors selling Gulal and Abeer. They also sell ‘Pichkaris’ which are used to drench the person with wet colors. The women at home prepares luscious delicacies such as gujiyas, mathri, papri and dahi bhalle for the family members, relatives and friends.
On the eve of Holi, also known as Choti Holi, there is a huge bonfire celebration known as Holika Dahan. It is a tradition followed in different parts of the country. It is done to commemorate the victory of good over evil and to pay respect to the god Agni by offering gram.
On the day of Holi, the entire panorama is worth seeing. People play with gulal and abeer, pour basket full of color water on each other. Dancing on Dholak, eating sweets and savories and applying colors on each others face is the highlight of this day.
Bhang Consumption on Holi:
During Holi, the consumption of bhang is a tradition. Though it is intoxicating in nature, consuming excessive bhang can deteriorate the spirit and excitement of Holi. It is very important to take precautions while consuming bhang.
In the evening, people meet friends, relatives and exchange of gifts and greetings take place. In short, this festival encourages brotherhood and unity in the society.