Holi or Fagu Purnima is the festival of colors celebrated widely in India and Nepal. It usually falls on the full moon day in the Nepali ‘Fagu’ month (February to March in the solar calendar) and usually lasts for about two days. Holi is one of the most awaited festivals in Nepal and is celebrated with much enthusiasm and bright colors. The spring season in Nepal is that time of the year when many tourists from various countries come and visit Nepal. Most of these tourists are trekking enthusiasts and the rest come to soak in the history, culture and heritage of the country. If you visit Nepal during Holi, you will get to experience the festival of colors first hand, an experience like no other. It is definitely an experience like no other because it is the most enjoyable festival in all of Asia. The festival will be held from March 9 to 10, 2020. If you are planning to be here during this festival, you could choose our Kathmandu Heritage site tours to make the most out of your Holi experience.
According to Legend, in ancient days, there was a devil king named Hiranyakashyap. The demonic king had earned 5 special powers as a boon: he could never be killed by a human being or an animal. He couldn’t be killed in night or day, neither by projectile weapons or handheld weapons. He couldn’t be killed on land, water or air. He thought he was God and grew arrogant. He was so arrogant that he did not allow anybody in his kingdom to worship Vishnu; instead they were made to worship him. His son, prince Prahlad was a true devotee of Vishnu and he prayed to him every day in spite of his father’s threat. Knowing that his own son was defying his orders, King Hiranyakashyap decided to kill his son, prince Prahlad. On a full moon night the king ordered his sister Holika who had magical powers sit on a pyre with Prahlad. Holika was wearing a magical cloak and remained immune from fire. Prahlad did not have any protection as such but his devotion to Vishnu was so strong that magically the fireproof cloak flew from Holika and encased the precious body of Prahlad saving him and killing Holika. After the incident, Vishnu appears in the form of ‘Narasimha’- half human and half lion. Narasimha took the king on the door step, which was neither indoors or outdoors, placed him on his lap, which was neither air, land or water and killed the king with his lion claw which was neither a projectile or handheld weapon.
In Kathmandu, The arrival of Holi is signified after the ‘Chir’ a wooden pole is erected in the Basantapur area at least a week prior to Holi. People start preparing in advance and one can already see people start to play with water and colors, especially children. On the day of the festival, thousands of people gather at the main crossroad between Basantapur and New Road and start throwing color and water at each other. It is one day when everybody comes together to play with various colors and enjoy each other’s company.The energetic crowd moves from one place to another applying color to their friends and even to those who they have never met in their life. There are no strangers today and everyone is unified because of one festival. From a bird’s eye view, it looks like a river of colors moving in all directions.
For people who do not like to mix with the crowd, they stay back home and throw buckets of water from their terraces to the passing crowd. If this happens on any other day, one would probably be very angry but on this day you will find locals screaming merrily. ‘Happy Holi’ even if you wet them with water. The tourists who go outdoors on this day are sure to return back full of color and wet from top to bottom. You will also find music and dance in almost any neighborhood of the country. It is one day when everyone puts aside their differences and come together to celebrate the festival of colors.