From indulging in the traditional ceremonies to playing with colours and enjoying bhaang, Holi is an absolute delight and, of course, my favourite festival. It is why I prefer travelling to different places across India to witness how diverse Indian states celebrate the festival of colours.
So last year, I visited Hampi with my friends to celebrate Holi in an unexpectedly vivid style. While I understand many people do not consider South India to enjoy Holi celebrations, Hampi is undoubtedly an exception. Moreover, it’s emerging as a preferred destination to celebrate Holi with foreigners. It was a day before Holi when we hired a Bangalore car rental with an experienced driver and reached this ancient town of Hampi.
When I reached Hampi, I was stunned by the city painted in the festive colours and spirits with hundreds and thousands of foreign tourists and backpackers exploring the place.
Let me tell you that Hampi, located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, is a famous destination among backpackers. We decided to stay in a backpackers hostel and settled in soon before the Holi festivities began.
Also, while interacting with an Australian traveller in my hostel, I realised that Hampi emerged as a famous destination to celebrate Holi after a 16th-Century portrait bearing mesmerising engravings of the ‘Festival of Colours’ became popular amongst foreigners. It was another reason I got so excited to celebrate Holi in Hampi and headed straight for the Holika Dahan ritual.
The Holika Dahan Ritual
In Hampi, people celebrate Holi primarily near the famous Tungabhadra riverbank, and it was around 8 PM when everyone started gathering on the banks for Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan is a ritual where we light a pile of wood to mark the triumph of good over evil.
With hundreds and thousands of people all around brimming with joy, it was undoubtedly a magical sight to behold. Once the fire ignited, everyone started taking rounds of the fire and performed puja. After the Holika Dahan, we sat on the banks with some of our new Australian and German friends to spend some peaceful time and watch the flickering city lights.
The Holi Day
It was around 10 AM when I woke up to loud celebratory noises and commotion. As soon as I stepped out of my room, my friends greeted me by throwing some water balloons and colours at me. I quickly changed into my Holi clothes and went out to celebrate the festival of colours with my gang.
Upon reaching the main road, the sound of drums and people giggling, singing and hollering struck my ears and the Holi celebrations began. From coloured water pichkaris, drums and dhols to everyone merely singing and dancing on the streets, it was a memorable moment I truly enjoyed.
Our Holi celebrations continued till 5 PM with delicious food and water available across the Hampi town. With our excitement eventually shifting into exhaustion, we headed to the Tungabhadra River to sit back and relax for a while, post which we stepped out to make our way to our hostel.
As my exciting trip to Hampi ended, it was undoubtedly the most memorable Holi and I would cherish it my whole life. I would recommend everyone to visit Hampi at least once in their life during Holi and explore this magnificent city. For local commute, I would recommend booking a taxi using a top-rated cab booking app.