13 Colorful Photos of the Holi Festival in India

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    What is Holi?

    Holi Hands
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    The Holi festival got its name as the "Festival of Colors" from Lord Krishna, a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. Unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God of preservation, enabled the destruction of demoness Holika.

    Holi is a very carefree festival that’s great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. You'll end up saturated in water, with color all over your skin and clothes. The Holi pictures in this photo gallery show what the festival is like in India.

    You can also find out more about Holi and discover when Holi is celebrated each year.

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  • 02 of 12

    Holi Colors for Sale

    Colorded powder for Holi.
    Enn Li? Photography/Getty Images

    Roadside stalls and shops throughout India sell colored powder and water guns for Holi celebrations.

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  • 03 of 12

    Holi Colors Ready to Throw

    Men throwing color on Holi.
    Laura Grier/Getty Images

    These men have bags of colored powder, ready to throw at people they encounter.


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  • 04 of 12

    Holi Surprise

    Celebrating Holi
    Grant Faint/Getty Images

    Watch out! People love to smear color all over your face during Holi, and they'll often sneak up behind you and take you by surprise. It's all part of the fun.

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  • 05 of 12

    Throwing Holi Colors

    Throwing of color on Holi.
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    Even better if you can throw color on people from above! This huge celebration takes place at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan.

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  • 06 of 12

    Temple Priest Praying

    Poras Chaudhary/Getty Images.

    One of the priests of Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan praying at the beginning of Holi festival celebrations.

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  • 07 of 12

    Throwing Colored Water

    Squirting colored water during Holi festival near Mathura
    Peter Adams/Getty Images

    You're most likely to get wet as well as dirty, as buckets of colored water are thrown around and water guns are used to squirt people.

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  • 08 of 12

    Lathimar Holi

    Gopis of Nandgaon Beat the Gops of Barsana with Long Sticks (Laths) During Lathmar Holi Celebrations
    Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

    Holi isn't just all about color! A group of women beat a man holding a shield over his head with sticks during Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of Nandgaon near Mathura in India. This takes place about a week before the main day of Holi.

    Read more about the 10 Ways and Places to Celebrate the Holi Festival.

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  • 09 of 12

    Flower Holi

    Crowd throwing flower petals during the Flower Holi Festival, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India
    Laura Grier/Getty Images

    The week-long celebrations at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan are also legendary. The festivities start there with the throwing of flowers, called Phoolon Wali Holi, by the temple priests. This takes place on the Ekadashi before Holi. The temple gates open around 4 p.m., and the throwing of the flowers is over in about 15 minutes. So, don't miss it!

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    Drumming and Musicians

    Locals celebrating the Holi festival with drums.
    Friedrich Schmidt/Getty Images

    Bands of drummers commonly roam the streets during the holi festival, and plenty of drumming goes on during temple celebrations too.

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    Holi Dancing

    Celebrating Holi with dancing.
    Nikada/Getty Images

    Music and dancing is a huge part of the Holi festival. Rain dances (dancing under sprinklers to music) are widely held.

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    Covered in Color

    An old man covered in yellow and red color during the festival of colors, Holi, India.
    Poras Chaudhary/Getty Images

    If you decide to give involved in the Holi celebrations, be prepared to be completely drenched and covered in color! The red doesn't wash out easily, so be sure to wear old clothes. It's also a good idea to rub hair oil or coconut oil into your skin beforehand, to prevent the color from absorbing. It stains pale skin very easily!