I belong to a tiny but gorgeously picturesque town of Sujanpur tira in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, this small sleepy town comes alive every year during Holi celebrations. For years I had heard about how popular the Holi festival of my hometown was, but we always ended with school examinations and assessments around the same time and never made it. This year, as luck would have it I found myself in Sujanpur and man am I glad!!
Holi is one festival in India that is celebrated in very many different ways in different regions. From the outrageous Lathmar holi where people run out into the streets and hit each other with sticks to grand holi celebration of Vrindavan, the birth place of Lord Krishna- Holi is a festival that has as many forms as the colours themselves! And holi at Sujanpur was again very different from what I had ever seen.
Holi here is celebrated around a huge fair/carnival that is organised on the ground of this town (For a hilly state that I come from, having a Kilometre big flat ground is a huge deal!). I was quite stunned when I saw Chief Minister of State coming down by a chopper to inaugurate the fair. There was a local city parade that had dancing horses (yes..seriously!), decorated elephants and depiction of our local deities by children dressed up to play the part.
The main fair goes on for 3-4 days though you can find rides and vendors for almost 20 days! This fair also looked like a perfect place to soak in the culture and observing locals revelling here. The food……..is big here!! We drooled and ate at the fair for four days back to back because there was no way we could eat it all at one go. Momos, Rajasthani kachoris, jalebis, himachali Siddu, street side Chinese food, Biryani were some of the delicacies that had people go completely crazy. It also proved to be a great place to pick the famous Angora wool and Kullu shawls. The gorgeous Chamba embroidery shawls also stole my heart but I had limited place in my bags (aaarghh…!!). And the price was super low because government organises it all. We also picked pickles made by villagers who had put up their stalls here. And there was Himachali folk music and other performances by popular artistes. So it was fair by morning and one long party by night!
Holi itself was very gentle and a sophisticated affair. Now if you have seen Indian Holi you would right away associate it with getting wet, wild and completely dirty. After every Holi I had to literally scrub my body with clothes detergent because usual bathing soaps would not do. For four to five days following Holi it was always common to find green and red faces in office meetings. I mean that is how crazily we indulge in the festival of colours. But Himachal is a cold place and against the snow laden peaks of Dhauladhar range, it is a little difficult to come close to any source of water and hypothermia can be a bad way of dying I have heard!! So we played Holi with dry colours. The wet and wild holi was being strictly played by young and wild brigade of the town! It was great time to meet everyone in the family and finally celebrate Holi festival with them. Roaming and seeing the festivities in the fair with all cousins is something I would cherish for all my life!!
Say hello to this week's guest blogger Sarita from Boho Traveller!
We at Bohotraveller share a strong passion for making journeys that are exceptional and nothing short of brilliant. We believe in trotting on paths less taken and further believe in taking well trodden paths extraordinarily!
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