Backpacker guide to the Holi Festival in Delhi

Holi is an ancient Hindu festival, which is sometimes known as the ‘festival of colours’. Backpackers from across the world go to New Delhi to experience this amazing spectacle of colour. The festival is meant to represent the victory of good over evil, and the advent of spring.

The Festival of Colours, involves painting each other in powdery pigments, giving away sweets and splashing water at one another.

Image by Antoine Collet (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Antoine Collet (Flickr/Creative Commons)

If you’re going to Delhi for a spring holiday, then you’ll be arriving during India’s main tourist season, and will need to book your accommodation in advance. Check out where you can stay cheaply in Delhi on a budget and find out how you can survive the Holi festival below.

When is the Holi festival?

In 2017, the Holi Festival will be on March 12, but the main day for throwing colours is on March 13. Holi is traditionally observed on the full moon of Phagun, which is the 12th month of the Hindu calendar and this usually falls at the end of February or early March.

Where the Holi is celebrated?

Holi is observed across India and predominately in the north of the country, especially in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.

How to enjoy Holi as a backpacker?

Holi is a crazy experience and one travellers will remember for a lifetime. If you’re going on holiday to Delhi this March, then don’t expect a quiet night’s sleep! If you don’t want to take any risks in the streets, then many hostels will have their own Holi parties. Meaning travellers can throw bags of colour at one another and savour the Holi experience in a safer fashion.

Travel tips for backpackers in Delhi

Image by VasenkaPhotography (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by VasenkaPhotography (Flickr/Creative Commons)

– Single travellers should avoid going out into streets on your own. Stick with your partner or group and be careful at night.

– Holi is a messy colourful event and you should wear old clothes if you don’t want to ruin your favourite top. People on the streets are likely to throw colours at you without warning. Wear long-sleeve shirts and trousers, sun block, lip gloss and nail polish to reduce potential skin staining. You also want to wear glasses to protect your eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses.

– You should throw natural plant-based colours such as henna, turmeric or marigold flowers. These can be purchased in local shops and are less harmful than synthetic colours.

– When cleaning your skin, remember to use cotton wool and baby oil. Try to keep your eyes and lips closed when washing off any unwanted chemicals. It might sound strange, but soap can actually make your skin drier and increase the risk of skin damage.

– Conceal your personal belongings, especially your wallet/purse, smartphone and camera.

– March is the tourism peak season of India, not to mention during the Holi Festival. You’re strongly advised to book your hostel in advance.

Where to stay in Delhi over Holi?

Image by Dawn Danby (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Dawn Danby (Flickr/Creative Commons)

You can stay in a Delhi hostel for only 3 Euros a night with HostelsClub. That’s an incredible price and you can have a choice of budget hostels in the city centre if you book in advance. Book your holiday today as many will get booked up with the Holi festival fast approaching. What you save in cents, you can spend on powder! Happy Holi-days!

*Header image by Antoine Collet (Flickr/Creative Commons)