Don’t you just love going through old photo albums?

Don’t you just love going through old photo albums? Or is it just me?

We are a generation with a few printed pictures from childhood and a whole lot of digital photographs tucked away in some corner of a computer.

We have become so digitalized that nearly everything that has meaning to us is in Bit form. Instead of photo prints in albums we have digital pictures on our computers. Physical books have been replaced by kindle, Birthday cards have been replaced by gifs and letters by DMs and whatsapp messages.

May be I’m just old school but, don’t you miss the smell of a new book, or the joy a letter from a pen pal or a loved one brings you, or the inevitable smile that creeps up on you when you open up a birthday card from your cousin or best of all the feeling you get when you go through a physical photo album and the anticipation and excitement you get when you first bring the prints home from the studio? I surely do!

So guess who’s going to get a few pictures printed soon?

P.S- how is it that back in the “Film role” days we all looked good in one take and yet today we can hardly find a good click from the 10-20 clicks we take in the same spot in the same pose. Boggles my mind!

The Great Indian Railway

During one random conversation, my friend told me how obsessed (for lack of better wording) her husband is with Indian trains and the experience that comes with it. He was so intrigued by what he had heard about them that he was pestering her to go to India on their honeymoon just to get a taste of the train experience.

His prime interest- to shove his way in to an overcrowded Indian train!. Would have been quite the honeymoon I must say!!

I’ve had my share of train journeys across India (I was a student living on a tight budget, what did you expect?). I’ve travelled from north to south and west to east, I’ve practically lived on trains for days at an end. I’ve seen the landscape change from the shores of Chenni to Delhi and alongside I’ve seen the cultural change. I’ve seen the language change from Marathi to Bengali and along with it the flavor of food.

I personally have a love-hate relationship with the great Indian railway. It can be the best mode of travel through India and sometimes the worst and in some cases both at the same time.

  • Safety

Haha!! There is no such thing! You decide to take an overnight train? Kid you’re on your own! Unless you travel in first class, having your luggage safe, unattended is a myth. You better have your luggage chained up at all times. Yes! Literally! You can buy these thick metal chains that I’ve never seen in any other country I’ve traveled to, from the train station to serve as your safety companion. You’ll find hooks at the bottom of your seat through which you can run these chains to fasten your luggage. Keep your valuables like your passport very close to you, Fanny packs are ideal for this.

I’m not trying to inflict fear in you but it is what it is! Not just when you’re on the train, but you should be mindful even when you’re on the platform. You will not know from where or when someone would come and take what is yours! You lose concentration for a minute or two and your belongings are gone.

  • Food

Food on trains are surprisingly good! As long as you have a strong digestive system that is!  Bread-omelet for breakfast with chai, Wada and Kur-kure for snacks and railway biryani for dinner is the way to go. Depending on what part of the country you are traveling through the taste of food will change drastically! But the basics will be the same- In the morning you’ll be woken up to a train attendant shrieking “Breeeead Omleeett” and “Chaaaaaaiii” and for lunch and dinner an attendant will come and get your orders a few hours before lunch/dinner time and deliver them to your seat. Paani bottles are ever-present and so are local snacks, including counter fit Lays.

Go vegetarian as much as possible because you don’t want to have an upset stomach given the washroom situation.

  • Getting your ticket

Indian trains are an experience even before you step on them. You have two ways to get your tickets- one through the ticket counter, other through a sketchy guy from an outside agency. Don’t really know how the sketchy guy works but your name will be on the list, tried and tested (not recommended though). Yes there is a LIST especially on overnight trains, you’ll find this list pasted next to the door of the compartment.

Sketchy guy or not make sure your name is on the list and also check your name and gender on the ticket, because some ( I emphasize on some) ticket collectors may make a scene for the most random reasons specially when your identity proof is a passport. They know you are an easy target to shake a few bucks out of your pocket- yes bribery is a thing on trains too. So best option book in advance, way advance!.

Also make sure you reach the station a while before the departure time, especially if you’re getting on from a major stations, because Indian stations can be confusing! Especially if you are not familiar with the language. They change the platform numbers like it’s no one’s business! So always make sure you check and keep checking your platform number. And if they do change it know that you will have to be ready for a mad dash over crowded connective bridges and through crazy crowds on platforms and also dodge coolies carrying ridiculous amounts of luggage. Also, you might get the chance to reenact the infamous DDLG scene, running alongside a moving train to get in, because being late for a train is not something you can entirely avoid when in India.

  • Bathrooms

A hole on the floor is all you’ve got!  You will also find a sink with the most difficult and complicated faucet you will ever have to use, especially on a moving train. You will need mad balancing skills to even wash your hands.

  • Hygiene

Say what now?

 Cleanliness for the most part is a concept that stands no meaning on these trains. It’s not dead right unbearable, but it’s definitely somewhere up there!

 But one thing I did notice is that certain trains that run through certain states are cleaner than others.

Now sitting here post(-ish) pandemic and with millions of hygiene practices drilled in to my brain, I genuinely can’t imagine how I survived.

  • Sleep

Hoping for a good night’s sleep? Yah keep hoping!! Especially if you get the top most berth. Getting some sleep with all the noise and making sure you don’t fall down, not the most comfortable place to fall asleep. But I surprisingly have the superpower to sleep well on Indian trains, and I prefer the top berth because it’s a little away from the chaos bellow and I even like the sounds and movement of the train.

  • Overcrowded

 Again, there is no such thing!!You reserved a seat and you’re under the impression that you’ll get to sit on the whole seat. Think again! You’ll get your average last minute ticket owners that wants a little space on your seat to beggars, floor sweepers to Hijras asking you for money( in some parts of the country) taking up a little bit of space. But they are all just a beautiful part of the experience.

  • Need a Last minute ticket?

 Hope you like sitting/ sleeping on the floor. I’ve done it a few times (not proud of it though, Okay, maybe a little for surviving). It comes handy when time means more than hygiene.

  • Make friends but keep an eye on anything fishy

Gruesomely long boring train rides can lead to some great lifelong friendships. I’ve had many such encounters and some were life altering. For instance a chance encounter with a Tibetan monk on a train from Agra to Jalpaiguri got me the chance to go to Bhutan back when tourism in Bhutan was not a thing.

But do keep in mind, everyone that is friendly is not your friend.

Yes there are certain trains that run along the great Indian railroad like the Royal Orient that offers its passengers a train ride of a life time with its fancy saloons and sleeping quarters and safe, over the top cuisine. And they are an experience of their own too. But I would choose the noisy second class and its bland vegetable biryani over and over again, because it’s an experience that will give you a taste of what India is really about. And trust me it’s a beautiful journey!

Just a smile

Sometimes along life’s winding road you meet people who change your life forever, change how you perceive life, change the way you act and even challenge your power of reasoning. It could be someone you have known your entire life, it could be someone you just met or even someone you just pass on the road.  A life changing encounter can happen anywhere at any moment, it’s just a matter of whether your heart is open to accepting it.

This is the tale of how a fellow human changed how I look at life in a matter of seconds, how a Hijra lady changed my outlook on how I should live and how she inspired me to be a better version of me, a better human being.

For those who don’t know about the Hijra community, they are the third gender of India. If you are a traveler in India there is a good chance you will come across them on a train. There are small clans of ladies who get on trains at random stops and swipe through the train asking for money in return for blessings, and when you don’t they tend get a bit aggressive. Even though they have been legally identified as the third gender and has been granted many rights (legally), till date they do have to face a lot of discrimination and ill treatment from the society they live in.

The first time I met a Hijra lady was when I was 7 years old, on a train form Chennai to Agra. At that age I shamefully admit that I was scared of her, simply based on the fact that,  for a girl of 7 who lived a life filled with unicorns, butterflies and parental problems I found her to be a little too aggressive for my comfort. Thereafter for the next 3 years during which I traveled constantly up and down the great Indian railway, I got accustomed to the presence of Hijra ladies but I was still scared and intimidated by them.

When I came back to India in my teens, again I had numerous encounters whether it was on the train, road or at a shop. I realized that the younger me was slightly wrong, most of them were not aggressive just a bit pushy to the normal liking, and most of them are displaying these traits because of the image and situation that the society itself has created for them.

I would see them all dressed up, laughing, singing, doing all the normal thing we all do but with a flair of confidence that was just a dream for me. I was intrigued, curious, so as the “Curious me” would always do I started reading about the community in hope to better understand them. And I was fascinated by the history they are linked to, but at the same time devastated to learn how much discrimination these fellow humans have to bear on a daily basis.

That’s when I started to observe them more closely out of curiosity, and what I saw in real life was even more heart breaking. I saw how people would treat them in trains (way to go 7 yr old me!) or on the road. I listen to people talk about them with a tone of fear in their voice, saw how people would ignore them in the most brutal way possible, I listen to people telling me not to engage, I listen to people telling me how they can grant blessings and curses and why I should keep my distance, I saw people twitching when they walked by.. I saw the discrimination, I saw the labeling, I saw it firsthand. The treatment most of them got in public was one such that no human should ever go through. I wondered how they bear all this, I wondered how they go by their day with all this negativity following them.

All my questions were about to be answered on another ordinary train ride..

I remember the moment I saw her on the train, she was beautiful in her own way. Her ways demanded attention. She was but another passenger but she had such a vibrant air to herself, the way she carried herself with so much proudness. She had this smile on her face that showed how happy she was with herself, she looked content, she was happy on her own feet..

At one point she got up to go towards the door, and on her way she bumped in to another Indian lady accidentally (The jolting and bolting of the train was the culprit). Everything happened in a matter of second, how the other lady looked at her with eyes filled with anger, disgust and fear and how she pushed the lady away in an inhuman way, so much hate and anger displayed in such a short time. In all the chaos what registered in my mind most was the fact that the Hijra lady didn’t lose her smile ever for a second. She had that smile plastered on her face as if to give a silent answer to the ignorant humans around her.

Her simple smile was a statement of courage, love for self and her ability to mute the ignorant around her. A lesson that most of us need a 101 class on. Its not easy to learn how to stand your ground when your swarmed with ignorance nor is it easy to love yourself and keep that smile alive when you’re judged each passing moment, but she knew how to and she showed me that it’s possible. And in that moment I learned that I have the power to resist reacting to everything that happens around me – A simple lesson that changed my perception of life for the better in an instance!


The Beauty in Chaos

It’s late at night! It’s later than I would like it to be, I’m sitting on my bed not knowing what to do, should I try to study for the exam tomorrow or should I try to sleep?

The noise is too loud!! I can’t even hear myself thinking! Finally it stops, or does it? It feels like the calm after a storm, but how long will it last? A minute or two?

The source of this chaotic noise is the Ganesh Madal in the ghalee next to my PG ka ghalee! Loud speakers blasting songs at the highest possible tone, people shouting, dancing and chanting, fire crackers going off every five seconds, all this and more, overcrowds my senses like nothing I have ever experienced.

The chaos is not just in my neighborhood, by now it has spread all over Pune, filling every corner of this usually calm city!

It starts again even louder this time! They start to play the latest Hindi songs on repeat again, so much loud that my windows rattle every time the beat hits base! It feels like the vibration is seeping in to my bones and deep in to my core! I can feel the drums beating within me. I wonder how long it will go on for this time! How long I’ll have to listen to Sonu Nigam or Shreya Ghoshal sing at the highest possible volume. Along with some well-known songs they play the unknown or the songs which are known as “chapree” songs by my Marati friends, the songs that you’re advised not to listen to unless you’re forced to, like tonight.

I look out the widow I see people dancing like there is no tomorrow, many can’t keep to the beat and many dance under the influence, chaos even on the “Dance floor”, the roadside. I see color lights being shot in to the night sky and fireworks lightening the sky. I see parades marching along the road shouting Ganpathi bappa morya.. Mangal Murthi moray.. Chaos.

A neighborhood that’s usually very silent, apart from the occasional cry of a child, bark of a dog, or PG ka aunty’s angry outbursts, is alive tonight. People gathered on the street, laughter floating around, houses decorated and alive with Ganpathi idols proudly displayed decorated and surrounded by color,  a new face to the all too familiar ghalee.


With nothing that could happen under the circumstances, I finally give in and decided to give chaos a chance. That’s when it hit me! Amidst all this, the at times unbearable chatter, how beautiful India is! In India even chaos has its own beauty.

Today, a few years later I’m sitting here going through the pictures my friends sent me of the Ganesh mandels at their homes, pictures of the food and of visarjan. The memories starts to creep back in to my head! The sounds, the smells and the feeling. It feels like a dam just gave in inside my head, an overwhelming feeling courses through me taking me by surprise.

I never in a million years thought I would miss Ganesh Chaturti in Pune!! But it seems that I’ve been proven wrong, and now there is nothing I wouldn’t do to go back in time, in to my shabby shoe closet of a room and look out in to the night to see the chaos unfold in front of me! There is nothing I wouldn’t do to listen to the chapriest of music and feel my bones vibrate to the beat, to see the people dance to their own beat, or to feel the divine taste of modak again.

How lucky and blessed I am to have seen, experienced and felt the beauty of the chaos that is Ganesh Chaturti.


Until next time,

Safe travels



Pit Stop at Chandigarh

Chandigarh was the starting point to our Himachal Pradesh adventure, a small stop before the start of the next lag of our journey. We took a train from New Delhi and reached Chandigarh mid-day, so we only had a few hours of daylight left to explore since we were to leave to Shimla early next morning.

Chandigarh is the capital of the sates Punjab and Haryana and is not well known as a tourist attraction. But if you do go out and explore you will be surprised as to how much there is to see. As we only had a few hours we were only able to see the Rock garden, Sukhna Lake which is close by  the rock garden and a little bit of roaming around the city center. The city itself is well planned and clean with astounding architectural Pieces scattered throughout.

The rock garden is without a doubt,  a master peace with sculptures made completely with industrial and home waste. Birds made with broken bangle pieces, walls lined up with broken tiles, towers of clay pots and an array of waterfalls dotting the landscape are just a few of the things you will find here.


It is said that the master of this magnificent work of art was the self-taught artist and architect Nek Chand, after who the garden was named. Initially when it was developed it was illegal and was under the threat of being demolished. But the creator was able to obtain permission from the government and was opened to the public. Today it stands as the second most popular attraction in India following the Taj.

sometimes when on a tight schedule you tend to miss out on some important places and Chandigrah was one such place for me.

Next stop, Shimla.

Until next time,

Safe travels


Delhi Diaries

We arrived in Delhi on a hot summer afternoon after an exciting 20 days of exploring the states of Bihar and West Bengal. With only two days left to explore Delhi before we start the next leg of our journey- Himachal Pradesh, we settled in to our accommodation for the next two days, the Delhi Mabodhi Society Hostel and got some much needed rest.

During the late evening made our way in to the city and our first stop was the Red Fort at the heart of Delhi. A historical fort, this magnificent structure once was the residence of the royals of the Mughal dynasty of India. A masterpiece of architecture, this fort gives us a glimpse of what life back then must have been. Red sand stone walls, Marble structures and intricate carvings stand as proof to the craftsmanship of  a bygone generation.


Once we were done exploring the Red Fort we made our way in to Chandani chowk, one of the oldest market places in Old Delhi. It is one of the busiest markets in India till date and a stroll along Chandani Chowk is one thing you shouldn’t forget to do if in Delhi. Even if you don’t want to shop,  these narrow and crowded ghalees are full of new experiences waiting to be explored

At night Delhi is a vibrant, busy hub filled with both travelers and locals alike. Night food stalls come out and fill the air with mouth watering fragrances that are bound to make you hungry. Locals rushing back home on these crowded streets resemble an ant nest gone haywire.

New Delhi station is for sure one of the busiest train stations in the world and it is even more active during the night. The atmosphere around the station is a culture of its own with porters and rikshaw walas trying to find their last earning for the day, commuters rushing in and out and amidst all this chaos there is a beauty you can only see if you pause and take in the surroundings.  The small food stalls located on the Ghalees around the station is a great way to get in touch with the local culture and taste- pretty great food for cheap prices.

Next morning we arranged a taxi to take us to the other important sites scattered around Delhi. Our first stop was the Laxminarayan temple. Spread across nearly 7.5 aches the Laxminarayan Hindu temple is one of the largest temples in Delhi. A major attraction of Delhi, this temple is constantly visited by both devotees and tourists alike.


Laxminarayan temple

Our next stop was the world famous India Gate, a monument dedicated to the brave soldiers of the India army who gave their lives during the period of 1914-21. The gate is carved with the names of more than 13,300 of these brave men and the small structure called “Amar Jawan Jyoti” was installed to commemorate the fallen unknown soldiers.

A ride along the world renowned Rajpath way (Kings way) will give you the chance to see the Rashtrapathi bawan, The secretariat building and many more important government buildings which have a high architectural value.

The National Museum of New Delhi is home to a large collection of artifacts and exhibits belonging to many eras of Indian  history and is a great way to learn about this interesting country. From paintings, stone carvings to jewelry these exhibits boasts about the rich history, multiculturalism and the craftsmanship that belong to India.

Indira Gandhi Memorial is a museum dedicated to the life of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and is located at her residence. You will get to peep in to her life through the exhibits displayed and you will also get to see the location where she was assassinated. Most of the families personal effects are displayed in this museum including the blood stained saree she was wearing on the day of her assassination.

A Bahai house of worship, the Lotus temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Delhi. This temple is open to all, regardless of their faith, gender or social status and is considered as the most visited building in the world. This magnificent structure that resembles a lotus flower is made up of 27 petal like structures and a breathtaking interior hall.


A trip to Delhi will not be complete without shopping and we did most of our trinket shopping from roadside stalls along the way.

During the evening we went to the famous underground shopping center Palika Bazar in the hopes of doing a little bit of extra shopping. If you do plan to visit this place just know some of the things sold here are Fake.. be a little cautious !! Branded spray deodorant bottles filled with water, “leather belts” which were actually made of paper, 16 GB pen drives that were really only pieces of plastic were just a few of the “Quality” products we came across 😛  But the experience of walking amidst the small shops, listening to the sales pitch for each product is always entertaining. I’m sure among the fake stuff there might be genuine stuff too but I for one was not lucky !! First time I failed in shopping in India!! I was pretty disappointed in myself because hey it was not my first rodeo!!  Despite the fail in my “Indian shopping instincts” I definitely don’t regret the experience  because I got a good story out of it  😛

There is so much more to see in Delhi and I have visited some of the other attractions in my previous visits but as we had limited time this was all we could cramp in during this stay. I wish I had more time to see more but, when it comes to India there is always a next time  🙂

The perfect harmony seen between history and present in this confined space is the main reason why Delhi is so charming and appealing to me. Do visit Delhi if you are heading to India and make sure you plan better to make the most of your time there!

Until next time,

Happy travels


Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together” – Mark Twain

Have you ever been to a place that’s so chaotic, colorful and has so much character but at the same time there is this underling calmness to it.. A calmness that is surreal, enchanting and hard to explain.. That is Varanasi for me!

In Varanasi the sights, the smells, the sounds engage all your senses to a level where it feels magical, you easily get sucked in to falling in love with this place and all that it’s made of. It is a place where life and death goes hand in hand, a place that reminds us of the fragileness of life and also of the colorful side of life. She has the ability to bring out happiness and sadness at the same time- a perfect balance. She is the  world’s oldest inhabited city, and still is spreading her enchantment over anyone who sets foot on her soil.



Our train reached Varanasi in the middle of the night stranding us in the middle of nowhere. Ultimately we made our way to our stay for the next few days, the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Temple in Saranath.

Saranath a small town located  13 Km away from the main town of Varanasi and is the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon “Damma chakka pawathana suthra”.

Mulaghandha Kuti Temple 

Next morning our first stop was the Saranath temple “Mulaghandha Kuti Viharaya” which is a  massive temple complex built in the recent past to signify the importance of Saranath in Buddhism.


Deer park

Just next to the Mulaghandah kuti temple is the Deer park, a wildlife conservation project under which a variety of birds and other animals are sheltered and cared for.



Dhamek stupa

Just a little distance away from the new temple is the Dhamek stupa, a massive stupa built of bricks and sand. It is  believed that this is the location where Lord Buddhas first sermon took place. The stupa is  34 meter in height and   lord Buddhas relics are thought to be enshrined inside.

Dharmarajika Stupa 

The remains of the foundation of a pre- Ashoka era stupa can be seen in the Vicinity of Dhamek stupa.


Chaukhandi Stupa

A octagonal shaped tower built to commemorate the location where lord Buddha met his first five disciples.


Ashoka pillar 

King Ashoka erected a pillar to mark the area where lord Buddha preached his first sermon.

Other than the main temple complex  there are a few more modern Buddhist temples built by different countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka.


In the evening  we made our way to the main city of Varanasi to visit the bank of river Ganga, the most popular site in Varanasi.

Even before reaching the Ghats the city turns in to this colorful mess. Shops line the roads selling food, arts, traditional crafts, and Puja flowers.


Flocks of pilgrims come from all over the world to Varanasi every day to wash off their sins in the holy water of river Ganga or to cremate loved once. Varanasi is considered as an auspicious place to die as it is said that if you die here you will reach Moksha.

A labyrinth of ghali’s starting from the city will lead you to the Dashashwamedh Ghat passing shops filled with flowers and Puja offerings. The large Ghat takes you to the river bank where you can hire a boat to take you to see the Ghats from the river.

Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and holiest ghats in Varanasi. located in close proximity to the Vishwanath temple this ghat is constantly buzzing with action. There are many legends surrounding this ghat, the most popular being that it was created by lord Brhama  to welcome lord Shiva.



Once you reach the river bank you can ether walk along the Ghats or you can hire a boat to see the Ghats clearly from the river.

There are thought to be about 80-90 ghats edging the river Ganga in Varanasi, a ghat is a set of stairs leading down to the Ganga. They are used as a site for performing Puja and also to perform cremations. In some places these happen side by side- a true example of how life and death goes hand in hand.

Each Ghat has its own history, its own story and a purpose for its existence…

Prayag Ghat



Munshi Ghat 


Ahilyabai Ghat


Darabhanga Ghat


Ranamahal Ghat


Raja Ghat


Vijayanagaram Ghat


Harishchandra Ghat

Harishchandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats on the river bank. It is believed that who ever gets cremated at this ghat attains Moksha.

This Ghat is definitely not for the fainthearted !! The chances of you being there while a Hindu cremation is in progress is high. But it definitely is an experience not to be missed.



Trust me your guide/ boatman will definitely stop at one of the silk saree shops on the Ghats for you to visit. The sarees there are a bit over priced since its target customers are foreigners.

Once we were done with the boat ride we took a stroll along the Ghats and we got to meet so many interesting peoples, priests, Sadus, commoners  who have made a life on these Ghats.


Every evening a group of priests perform Agni Puja or Ganga arti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Thousands of people gather around every day to witness the puja, some standing on the ghats and some on boats on the river.

Visiting Varanasi was one of those experiences that have left me speechless (shocker!!) The things that I saw there, that I experienced there have left a mark on heart like no other. Varanasi made me grow even more closer and more deeply in love with India.

Safe travels,


The Story of Color -Origin of “Holi”

Holi, India’s colorful gift to the world, is a grand annual festival celebrated in India, Nepal and many parts of the world where Indian communities live. It is commonly known as the “Festival of color” and is a celebration of the arrival of spring. It also is the one occasion where you get to go “bananas” with colors without getting on the wrong side of your family and friends !! 😛

Anyone who is a obsessed with India and Holi knows the drill!! Apply as much color on people around you and also get as much as you can on yourself 😛  Simple and fun!!

But how many of us know the true meaning of Holi, why it is celebrated or the rituals surrounding this festival.

Holi is A Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day of the month Phalguna (March) and celebrates the commencement of spring, a celebration of good harvest and also symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

The stories behind the start of Holi is quite interesting.

According to Indian legend once there ruled a demon king Hiranyakashipu whose sister was the evil queen Holika (Thus the name Holi). Hiranyakashipu was given a boon that made him indestructible and because of this he become power hungry and tried to define himself as a god, forcing people under him to treat him as a god. But his son Prahlada was a deep devotee of Lord Vishnu and he believed in the path of righteousness and the demon king could not bear that his own son did not obey him. And as any annoyed demon king would do he tried to torture and kill his son (sigh!). But his attempts did not harm or break the devotion of Prahlada to lord Vishnu.

When nothing worked,  Holika steps in and tricks Prahlada to sit in a pyre with her in the hopes of burning him to death.  According to one legend she was wearing a shawl that had the ability to save her from the burning fire, but not Prahlada. But as fire rose the shawl flew away from Holika and wrapped itself around Prahlada saving him and burning Holika. According to another story Holika had the ability to withstand fire when inside the pyre only if she is with someone, and when Prahlada prayed to Lord Vishnu he saved him from the fire leaving Holika alone and she was burnt to death. Thus good won over evil !!

The lighting of a bonfire as a part of the celebration, done till date is to symbolizes the burning of Holika and the triumph of good over evil. It is said that the day after the burning of Holika people applied the ashes of the bonfire on their foreheads in celebration. Even today people apply the ashes from the bonfire on their foreheads as a ritual and believe that the ashes have medicinal properties.

This festival also has a mythological connection to lord Krishna. Krishna had dark blue colored skin because of the poisonous milk that the she-demon Putana fed him as a baby. So growing up he had doubts whether Radha and the other maidens would like him because of his skin color. After hearing this his mother Yashoda asked him to go to Radha and apply any color on her face so that they would both be colored.

And thus the epic love of Lord Krishna and Radha began and so did the tradition of applying color.


Modern day people start preparing for Holi from weeks before, they collect wood and twigs for the bonfire, buy color powder, water guns (pichkaris) and prepare food and drinks. The whole country goes in to a coma of festivity, with roadside shops popping up selling color powder and pitchkaris of all shapes and sizes, children going from home to home collecting wood and twigs for the bonfire and drummers and dancers starting to prep them self’s for the big day. The preparation of traditional delicacies such as Gujiya, malpuas, puran poli (Maharashtra) is a major part of this festival along with the preparation of Bahng the adult intoxicating drink popular among both men and women specially during Holi.

The main celebrations and rituals of Holi can change from region to region along with the number of days,but the two main events remain the same- Holi ka dahan and Rang wali Holi

Holi ka dahan

The commencement of the festival is marked by the lighting of a bonfire. This is done on the Full moon day of the Hindu month Phalguna (March). People in the neighborhood get together and clean an open area and build a bonfire with wood and twigs.

2013-03-26 18.47.38.jpg

Then at night they light it up and do puja around it, throwing oil and flowers in to it. They Sing, Dance around the fire to celebrate the arrival of spring. Then they would use the ashes of this bonfire to light up the stoves at home.

2013-03-26 19.14.25.jpg

Rang wali Holi

The day after the bonfire is the well-known color Holi,

People would get up early in the morning and get ready for the beautiful mayhem of colors. They gather in groups in open spaces to dance, sing and play Holi disregarding all  boundaries such as gender, cast and age .

Reds, blues, yellows, greens whatever color you desire is in the air surrounding you. It is as if you are wrapped around by a blanket made with every color you can find in the world. Some play with color powder and some play with liquid colors using Pichkaris. Be prepared to drench your self in color liquid and covered in powdered colors.

People used to use color powder  made from natural substances like, turmeric, kum kum or leaves. But now a days people commonly use synthetic color powders that are widely available in the market. But because of the environmental impact these synthetic powders have, there is a new tread to go back to natural colors. Also now a day’s people are encouraged to use the powder form of color to play instead of using the water solvable one  in order to save water.

Since this is a festival where people get out of their shell, let their hair down and have fun lots of pranks are played and the whole atmosphere is filled with laughter and just pure merriment.

And a bonus is you can get away with any silly prank that you do on this day (as long as it’s not dangerous), you just have to say the magical words “Bura na mano, Holi Hai!! (Don’t be angry, it’s Holi)!! specially the younger generation takes the advantage of this yearly chance to play pranks and just have pure fun! ( It’s not every day that you get to throw water at the aunties and uncles in the neighborhood and not get in to trouble 😛 )

Fun fact- In Braj India, where lord Krishna grew up Holi is celebrated for 16 days!!! And here on one day the men go around the village holding shields and ladies get to beat those shields with sticks – FUNN!!

Holi is a day to celebrate the arrival of spring, a new beginning, a day to forget and forgive. A day to have as much fun as the heart desires and a day to embrace the colors of the world. So if you’re planning to head down to India next year why not plan your trip to coincide with Holi so you can get this experience firsthand! Because trust me its a memory that you will cherish for the rest of your life !