Celebrations in Western India


Engulfed in the clouds of varied colors, the people in Rajasthan celebrate holi with equal fervor. The ground of Jaisalmer?s Mandir Palace echoes with the folk songs and reverberates with drumbeats.

In Rajasthan horsemen attacking each other with color pellets make the tournaments in Holi a more colorful event.


In Gujarat an imaginary King is paraded through the village and the villagers take this opportunity to make fun of the King. Perhaps this was the only way they could be satirical of the policies of the rulers. In a way Holi is a festival to make people feel good.

Another unique variation of the celebration of Holi is found in this state. The unmarried girls create images of Goddess Gauri out of the ashes left by the bonfire of the night before. They create these images with the wishful thought of marriage.


In Maharashtra Holi is celebrated as a social get together. People celebrate it with fervor. Colored water balloons are thrown at passers by. Holi is popularly known as Shimga in Maharashtra and is also referred to as Rangapanchami. The fisherfolk celebrate it in a large scale. The men and women come together to perform a special dance called Balya Dance to ward off evil spirits, thoughts and desires. This dance is accompanied by uttering a peculiar sound by striking their mouths with the back of their hands known as Bombne.

There is a very interesting Holi incident in the Maratha history related to Shivaji's parents. During the Maratha regime the festival was celebrated with great fervor. Five-year-old Jijabai, daughter of Lakhooji Jadhav threw gulal on Shahaji, son of Malajirao Bhosale,. This was considered as an auspicious event and their engagement was fixed the very day.


The festival of Holi is known as Shigmo in Goa. The Panaji Shigmotsav Samiti organizes a parade in Panaji. Numerous temple festivals around Goa and special celebrations at Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco Da Gama and Margao, characterize the festival of Holi.


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