Last year, Daniel and I started planning a one month trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, and just before booking it, made a split decision to go to India instead. I like to think that split decision was fate or something like it, pulling us to what was one of the most incredible trips we could have gone on. Even more exciting than going on a holiday was realising Holi Festival was in March; exactly when we planned on going. Could the stars align any more?
Now there’s a back story to our Holi story too. This was the plan: We did a two week G Adventures tour around North India (something i’ll surely be blogging about later) and followed it with a solo leg of the trip, which included Jaipur as our Holi spot, and Mumbai to finish the trip before heading back to Brisbane. Our plans when alone were minimal; we booked accommodation and flights and figured we’d wing the rest.
Day two of our G Adventures Tour and we not only found out our tour CEO, Anu was from Jaipur, but were invited to celebrate with him and his friends. So we cancelled our accommodation and organised to get picked up when we landed.
25 March 2016, Holi Festival
Quick Tip 1: In India, women only wear all-white outfits for death or grieving. Unfortunately, me and a couple other girls learnt this only after purchasing our outfits. They would be colourful soon enough, right?
Our morning kicked off playing Holi with the locals; kids had water guns and water balloons filled with colour, while adults walked around with little bags and would share with us. The custom is to spread the powder over another persons face while wishing a Happy Holi and sharing a nice big hug. Anu picked us up and let us know this day was really busy; there are a lot of different friends hosting parties and they all want us to go to theirs. So we did!
The day was a whirlwind. One of his friends owned a hotel we actually stayed at while on tour and had a party by the pool. We drank and played Holi and everyone pushed everyone else into the pool (Quick tip 2: if you’re going to do this, the all-white outfit is not ideal, but you’ll make friends quickly). “There’s a street parade”, we were told, so we ran to the streets in our rainbow outfits, some people had drums, others had music, and we realised that we were the parade.
Quick tip 3: A lot of Indians have either never, or very rarely seen white people. They’ll want photos with you, they’ll want to hug you and speak with you, and the best way to respond is to just go along with it and have fun.
Some would call it an ambush, but within minutes we were swarmed by a bunch of men and children playing Holi with us and hugging us. It was great fun but got intense pretty quickly, so off to the next party we went.
I don’t know if mud parties are customary, but that’s what this was. Overhead sprinklers in the backyard of what looked like a palace turned the place into a mud-bath. So we dived, danced, and mud-wrestled in what is now one of the biggest blurred series of events in my life.
As the day ended we were so overwhelmed by the hospitality we felt by every local we met during this day. No research, blog post, or planning could have prepared me for everything we did and experienced. No shower on the trip felt as great as the one we had that night, and in all honestly, no party could possibly be on par with what was Holi Festival in Jaipur with locals.
Here’s a small snippet of photos from the day: