Holi Festival in Nepal

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Bucket List entry from 2009: “Experience the Holi Festival”…

When I booked my flight ticket about 9 months ago I had no idea that I would have the chance to experience the Holi Festival in Nepal in 2015.

It only dawned on me around October that by some stroke of luck my travel dates finally coincided with an amazing festival in Asia and that something that has been on my bucket list for nearly six years can finally be ticked off!

holi festival in nepal, hotel bright star, kathmandu, durban square, nepal

Holi Festival in Nepal

The day started out very quiet and very clean. Too quiet. Too clean. Only a few people roamed the streets. No colour was present. No happy faces were present. Shops were closed and the honks of cars and bikes were silent. 

But things quickly went from too quiet and too clean to joyfully loud and deliciously colorful.

The celebrations started with a few red stripes at a coffee shop, to three more colours all over the face and then it escalated into something unimaginable…

Holi Festival in Nepal, Nepal, holi, festival, kathmandu

It escalated into hundreds of layers of every possible colour of the rainbow, in every possible place of your body. Liters of cold water came from all directions; water from water guns, water from balloons, water from balconies, water from buckets. It went from acquaintances touching your face to strangers coming to you with open colourful hands to smear some more powder on you with a smile and a “happy Holi”. It went from walking to dancing to being moved by the crowds at Durbar Square. It went from dry to wet, to cold to hot. It went from clean, to a little bit dirty to three showers. It went from happy to happier and from Holi to jolly!

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No words or photos will ever be enough to convey the experience and emotions on the day of Holi in a country where it’s celebrated by everyone; young and old. The Holi Festival in Nepal is something you have to experience for yourself; it’s something you need to feel, it’s something for the heart. 

Holi, Holi Festival in Nepal, Durbar Square. Durbar, Kathmandu

Going Somewhere Slowly’s Tips for the Holi Festival in Nepal:

There’s no way to escape it

If you don’t want to get wet or coloured, stay in your hotel and miss out on all the fun. But that would be such a silly thing to do! Get coloured, get wet and join in on all the festivities!

Holi, Holi Festival in Nepal, Nepal, Kathmandu, Durbar square

Leave your valuables

If you don’t have any protective case or bag for your camera or phone, rather leave it at your hotel. A dry bag is a good idea for things like money and other necessities. I wrapped up my camera in Ziploc bags and I only used it while celebrating Holi on the rooftop of the Hotel. I only took my action camera in its waterproof case to Durbar Square…wise choice!

holi festival in nepal, nepal, kathmandu

Old Clothes

Whatever you have on will get ruined, even underwear. Wear old clothes.

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Go early and get high

No, I’m not saying you should get high on hash. If you don’t want to get trampled in the madness of Durbar Square, go early morning and find a good spot to sit – the higher you are, the safer you’ll be and you will be able to get some amazing photos!

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Celebrate at your hotel

For a more personal feeling, ask if your hotel will be celebrating on their rooftop – this is a great time to take “safe” photos with friends – old and new – and it eases you into the celebrations of the Holi Festival in Nepal.

Holi, water, HOli festival, HOli festival in nepal, nepal, kathmandu

Durbar Square

Yes, it will be crowded. Yes, you will get bumped around. Yes, someone will step on your feet. Is it worth it? YES, a thousand times, yes! Spirits are high from early morning and later in the day spirits will not be the only thing that’s high, so choose your time wisely.

Holi, Holi festival in Nepal, nepal, kathmandu, durbar square

Getting Clean

A shower after the festivities is a good idea…but take your time. You won’t get clean from a 10 minute shower. Apparently it helps to protect your skin with cream and your hair with oil before you get dirty. 

Holi, Nepal, Kathmandu, Hotel Bright star, Holi festival in nepal

Respect

Don’t get angry when someone throws a bucket of water on you and don’t assume a fancy camera in your hand means that you’ll get spared. Remember that you are a guest in this country and you’re also celebrating the Holi festival in Nepal as a guest.

Holi Festival in Nepal, HOli, Nepal, Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Last thoughts…

The Holi Festival in Nepal is the best experience I’ve ever had – my heart is overflowing with gratitude that I could participate in the celebrations from head to toe and that I’m able to tick this off my list of 30 Things to do before 30!

If you ever get the opportunity to experience the REAL Holi, grab it with both hands and get coloured!

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