Holi is a festival celebrating Rama’s returning to his wife Sita after his adventures in the Hindu mythology. With that being said, Holi remains a holiday for all communities across India.
This article is the next after the part 1: Jaipur, la ville rose !
And the part 2: Jaipur’s secrets
Holi It’s one of the few national holidays, celebrated by all. Saying we were eager to witness such an event would be understatement.
The main principle is quite literally, child-play: Grab color dust and/or liquid, and spray everyone else around.
We have been told a new regulation recently banned all processed pigments in favor of natural ones.
Natural colors are subsidized to avoid abuse, but according to their look, it’s not that sure!
The festivities actually start a day prior to the holiday, in the temples.
Holi day (not even sorry for that) starts with friends and family gathering for a prayer. Only mid-morning will the festival start in the streets.
The day has finally come for us, and we-are-ready! The time to meet up with our friend Beni and another couch-surfing couple is close, when the meeting point changes.
We adjust accordingly, get going, when, 10 minutes later our cellphone (bless him) informs us we’re supposed to meet at a different place! After that, only silence...
We take a stroll around the streets. Celebrations are everywhere, music playing, colors shinning, women...hiding?
Oh here they are, on that pickup truck! Oh wait no, those are Europeans. We get a glimpse at a few Indian ladies, behind the glasses of the rare vehicles driving along.
(We can see traces of colors nearly as shy as their laughter, hiding respectfully behind their hands.)
The city is...calm. Nearly no vehicles in sight.
11 am already, groups of boys and men, beer in hand, seem pretty happy to spot Delphine, one of the few woman around to throw colors at. Delphine seems a bit frightened by all this display of excitement coming from groups of men, but she’s not alone, everything goes smoothly.
After 2 hours of walking, the only feminine presence we’ve seen comes from "ladyboys" when passing by a lake. Experiencing the festival with and Indian family is really something we truely wished for!
We stay a while along the lake with the view of the water palace though.
Mid-afternoon, and already the rare passer-by we see in town are either drunk, colored or both.
The silence is as heavy as the Sun. We buy a few donuts from a rude vendor, the only one around.
And still there days after :
We already knew the Lassi (a drinking yoghurt), but not the Bang Lassi...! We met with a disappointed Beni the following day, still brooding over the failed Holi. He told us what happened to him.
Sooo, he ended up stuck with the couch-surfing couple, who were extremely picky from the start, and it only got worse. They became increasingly paranoid, and ended up asking to go back to get their luggages at his place, they just didn’t want to sleep under his roof anymore.
He finally got a straight answer: they had drank 2 bang lassi before meeting with him. A bang lassi is a regular lassi with crushed hemp flowers!
He had to pay for a tuk tuk to drive them back to a hotel.
As a gesture for having to abandon us the previous day, he took us to the cultural University Kala Kendra where he used to learn and we even got a real coffee !
Peinture stylisée de Krishna sur un mur entier des bâtiments de l’université
We then hit a local market to buy coconut oil and a few supplies for our trip.
We enjoyed the evening with him, before leaving Jaipur.
Onwards, new adventures await! Next stop, Hridwar, cradle of the Ganges.
While working on this article we saw this ad in the streets of Melbourne (Australia):
Unfortunately, on the 7th of November, we will be on our flight to Kiwiland!