Pokhara, Nepal, March 2018: Today is Holi and that means its going to be a messy affair, especially later on if last year is anything to go by! Holi is a very big deal here in the Lakeside district of Pokhara with business’s gearing up for a financial windfall as thousands are expected to arrive here around lunchtime. With live music gigs at Centre-point, Camping chowk and at smaller venues along the lake front the scene is set for a very noisy, colourful, crazy afternoon!
The origins of Holi are somewhat lost in history for the most part with a tenuous link to the Hindu Lord Krishna. The modern and updated interpretation of Hloi however is ‘A Day Off Work’ Yes, another public holiday to herald in the Spring across Nepal. Coupled with the fact that everyone at some point in the day will be covered in coloured water and brightly coloured paint powder then defining Holi is pretty straight forward, ‘A Festival of Colours to mark the start of Spring and the season of Love’.
When the festival occurs depends on the Hindu calendars lunar interpretations, but generally speaking its after the full moon between late February and early to Mid March.
From around mid morning sellers are on the streets flogging bags of paint powder for 150 rupees while kids charge up their water guns, fill up buckets of coloured water and fill balloons with water in readiness for some good old fashioned mischief making – all under the guise of Holi of course.
Selling paint powder for Holi…
So, as thousands of Pokharas residents head on down to lakeside its time to change into something I can discard later, grab some lunch and tease the kids for a while.
Lets get messy….
As the music pumps and the powder flies its a good idea to keep ones mouth shut for the time being. Moving between gigs is when the water also flies with kids bombing tourists and small boys trying to smear powder across girls faces but often just tall enough to reach the breasts – Yes, quite a few slapped faces today I should think!
Thousands gather for Holi celebrations…
Holi day is a great festival for tourists to get involved with. Its a cultural experience like no other. However, with the vast amounts of paint powder flying around and considering that there are next to no reliable quality control measures in Nepal some powders may well be toxic So here’s a few top tips to follow for a happy, healthy Holi.
- Asthmatics should probably avoid large crowd concentrations.
- Before revelling in Holi buy a face mask or 2.
- Girls be prepared for some intimate touching by young boys.
- Keep that mouth closed as much as possible – eat and drink later.
- Don’t wear those designer jeans or the prized Tee-shirt – obviously.