If you’re torn between Vrindavan and Pushkar for a Holi vacation then let’s make it more difficult — entering the competition is a lesser known region of Himachal, Kinnaur. By Japleen Kaur
Holi is all about colours, laughter, joy and more. And, Kinnauris believe in celebrating this festival like pros. Sangla Valley in Kinnaur is the gateway to the daunting Spiti Valley. Unlike the latter, this valley is lush green with narrower roads, taller mountains and night skies that are breathtaking. This is also the region where Buddhism meets Hinduism and both thrive beautifully. The amalgamation is wonderful to watch and Holi is one such time.
The day of Holi begins early with the landscape being all snowy. The festival starts at the temple where you can soak in all the prayers, chanting and folk songs. Kinnauris celebrate only with dry colours (gulaal).
Then comes the fun part. Men are chosen to dress up as characters from the epic Ramayana and some even cross dress. Wigs, make-up and vibrant costumes are donned with style and the parade begins. On the beats of drums and trumpets people move from one village to the next with huge smiles plastered across their faces. And, in the meantime, women perform local dances in a circle. The energy is at an all time high.
Amidst all this, people stop to have a humble meal of buckwheat chapatis and sabzi, traditionally cooked in the open on wood.
The celebrations go on till the wee hours of the morning, without any indication of tiredness. If you’re sick of the way this festival has taken shape in metropolitan cities, Kinnaur is a refreshing space to be in to relive the richness that this part of the Indian culture entails. Also, imagine all the colours against the white snow! Absolute bliss.
To know more, and see the visuals, check out this episode of the web series Way Back Home produced by The Vibe, and hosted by Rohan Thakur of Ronnie & Barty.