For three days around the March full moon you can experience the welcoming of spring in northern India and Nepal. This exuberant and rowdy festival is awash with all colours of the rainbow and Intrepid Express reader Mellita Ilich found herself covered in the celebrations…
“My husband and I arrived in Nepal for a four week holiday. We were rather naive travellers back then and had read up on customs, food and drink, dangers, highlights etc, but had not thought about special events or festivals.
After a few days in Kathmandu enjoying all the city had to offer we were told by our hotel to make sure we wore old clothes today and to be careful of our camera getting wet. The puzzled looks on our faces must have said it all, as our hotel receptionist then gave us a lesson about Holi, or the Festival of Colours and Fagu, as it is also known in Nepal.
This exciting festival includes spraying water, especially coloured water, and coloured powder on everyone. Great we thought, what wonderful photos we will be able to get. As soon as we had taken a few steps down the street I was hit by my first water balloon from a passing car. I was stunned initially, not thinking that foreigners would be included in the festival activities. However it didn’t take long before we realised foreigners get special attention. We were getting bombed by balloons, some with water and some with powder from all angles,even from the windows above. It wasn’t long before we were covered from head to toe in a mess of colour. We even joined in buying some powder.
Towards the end of the day there seemed to be a ‘cease fire’ and the locals just wandered around celebrating. It was at this time we got out our cameras. We had so many photos with locals as they loved the fact we had joined in. We ended up leaving our clothes behind except for my hat. I had worn a white hat that had now become a palate of the most unusual colours. I still have that hat and smile every time I look at it!”
* photo by Roger Sandford – Intrepid Photography Competition