Welcome to Rajasthan Tourism
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Fairs and festivals which are an integral part of Rajasthan’s essence,present an opportunity for the state to exhibit its rich heritage and culture to one and all. And the festival of Holi with its inescapable vibrancy and unmatchable appeal rightly corresponds with the nature and feel of Rajasthan. Holi in Jaipur, the Pink City of India, is celebrated with special fervor and charm. The city folk put in a lot of effort and heart to make this festival not just a hit but also unique. And it is this that generates excitement among the locals while attracting a huge crowd from different parts of the nation and outside.
Holi in Jaipur and most parts of India is a two-day festival marking the onset of the season of spring. Holiis widely recognized as the Dhulandi festival in Jaipur and neighboring areas of Rajasthan, and is celebrated on the second day, following Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan or the traditional bonfire is observed post-sunset on the first day of Holi, and is known by several names, the most popular among them beingChhoti Holi and Holika Deepak. As per Hindu scriptures, Holika Dahan commences on the evening of Purnima (Pradosh Kaal), after Bhadra, in the month of Phalguna. As the festival of color and gaiety, Holi or Dhulandi brings along a much needed fervor amongst the population, as young or old alike gather around to celebrate it.
The legend associated with Dhulandi is as fascinating as the festival itself.It states the popular story of
Prahalada, the famed devotee of Hindu God, Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap (also known as Hiranyakashyapu),
king of demons had obtained a boon that bestowed on him five special powers, which made him nearly
invincible. His special powers included –
1. No human being or animal could ever kill him
2. He could be killed neither indoors nor outdoors
3. He could be killed neither at night nor during the day
4. No Astra (projectile weapon) or Shastra (handheld weapon) could ever kill him
5. He could be killed neither on land nor in the sky
The boon not only made him powerful but also arrogant, and Hiranyakashyap went on oppressing the poor and the weak. He even forced his subjects to worship him as their new god. However, his own son Prahalada had devoted himself to Lord Vishnu, and continued praying to him alone. Angered by this, Hiranyakashyap subjected him to various punishments, none of which could break his resolve. Eventually, the king sought help of his demonic sister, Holika, who having received a boon from Lord Brahma; another Hindu God, had been rendered immune to fire. To put an end to Prahalada’s devotion, Holika sat amidst a roaring pyre,carrying Prahalada in her lap. However, Prahalada was graced with life for his undying devotion towards Vishnu, while Holika burned in the pyre to everyone’s surprise. Vishnu, the protector of mankind, to restore balance on Earth, then incarnated in the form of Narasimha (half man, half lion), and eviscerated Hiranyakashyap with his lion paws (neither Astra nor Shastra) while placing him on his lap (neither land nor sky) towards dusk (neither day nor night), killing him. The defeat of the tyrant Hiranyakashyap restored people’s faith in Lord Vishnu, and they rejoiced throwing colors in the air. This legend can be traced back to Chapter 7 of Shrimad Bhagavata Gita, ancient Indian scripture and revered text to Vaishnavism.
The commemoration of Dhulandi in Jaipur witnesses amazing enthusiasm and grandeur. The locals gather around on Dhulandi smearing bright colors on each other with utmost gusto, painting the Pink City in multiple happy colors as if it were a canvas. As dusk descends, people visit each other’s homes, sharing greetings and joy while indulging in delicacies, thandai (sometimes with Bhang) and light conversations. The Department of Tourism too gets in on the festivities, making special arrangements on the occasion of theDhulandi festival in Jaipur, at the Khasa Kothi Hotel. Tourists from different corners of the world are welcomed to brilliant colors andfascinating folk music and dance. The lively celebrations etch lasting memories in the heart of the visitors. And as they prepare to leave for their homelands, they also take along a part of this influential culture of the city.
The Dhulandi festival in Jaipur essentially marks the victory of Prahalada over Hiranyakashyap,of good over evil. The end of the mighty demon king had put to rest the fear he had instilled among his subjects and they were once again free to keep faith in their gods. When burning the traditional bonfire, city folks pray for all their evils to be expended in the fire (just like Holika) leaving behind what is good and pure. Besides the religious value, the festival also lends people achance to forget their differences and start on a fresh note by embracing each other. On the whole, Dhulandi or Holi in Jaipuris a memorable experience for anyone who visits the city during this time.