Happy Holi!

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March 26th 2013
Published: April 2nd 2013
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I was very positively surprised when I found out that I would have a chance to witness Holi festival while I was here! Since there is no fixed date for the festival as it follows the lunar calendar, I was pretty lucky that it was happening at the time I was in Kathmandu! Now it kind of made sense why people (well I’m assuming they were kids actually practicing for the festival) threw water at me the day before when I was coming back from Swayambhunath – I have to say I wasn’t too happy about that at the time as a full bag of water splashed right on top of my head (don’t really mind the water on me, but my camera was in danger!). So when I found out about Holi suddenly the water throwing didn't seem that strange anymore!

When I came down for breakfast in the morning and sat in the garden enjoying the sun, looking around I saw a couple of ‘coloured’ faces already! It seemed like the locals were very gentle to them though as the clothes were all clean and they had only a few smears of paint on their cheeks. I thought, not bad! That is until a Polish couple came in to the garden a short moment after, her whole face, hair and clothes were full of colours! And then she said that the paint doesn’t seem to come off at all! Hmmm… Just when I was thinking I would be joining the fun, a few doubts clouded my head… She seemed to have gone with her boyfriend to play Holi and that didn’t seem to save her from the locals, so I was wondering how I would look like and what kind of attention I would be getting walking around on my own! I knew I would be a pretty easy target for the locals! So started thinking whether to go or not… Went to the roof of the hotel to see what was going on around and you could see that the battle was full on! Kids throwing bags with water and paint from one roof to the other and hiding behind the walls shortly after… One kid was particularly unfortunate (or maybe the other way around as he seemed to have enjoyed it after all!) as he got a full bucket of paint thrown right on his head! The moment after I saw three tourist girls screaming and giggling and running away from a bunch of local boys chasing them with buckets and bags with paint! They did seem to have a lot of fun though so I thought come on! This might be the only chance to take part in this festival, so there was no point sitting around and thinking about it, but to join the fun instead! Went to change clothes, wrapped my small camera and a few rupees in a plastic bag and set off to Thamel!

When I was leaving the hotel the security guard seemed to be a little worried to see me going on my own in that direction, but then there was no stopping me now! So listened quietly to his warning to avoid the big groups of boys with painted faces and headed to Thamel! First I seemed to be a target of some sneaky attacks only – kids throwing the water bags at me from the windows of their houses or from the street far away, but soon after everyone that was passing me by felt the need to give me their blessing and smear my face with paint, give me a hug and to have a picture with me as well! 😉 By the way if I followed the security guide’s advise to avoid the groups of boys with painted faces, it could actually mean that I would need to avoid everyone on the way, as except tourists there were only groups of boys and men on the streets – no local women at all! Ah well... Wasn't exactly a surprise I guess...

It sure was a lot of fun watching lots of painted faces walking by, as well as hearing Happy Holi everywhere and seeing the tourists joining the game! Barely anyone spared me along the way, and soon I was all covered in water and paint! Still with a huge smile on my face! Smiling seemed to be quite contagious on that day actually! 😊 And then in the crowd I spotted the guide from my Everest Base Camp (somehow all clean!) so went to say Happy Holi to him, but seeing me all covered in paint he left very quickly (I met him some other day later on and he said he was working on that day, I guess it explained the
Trouble (all three of them) approaching...Trouble (all three of them) approaching...Trouble (all three of them) approaching...

I sure was looking decent until these guys came along ;)
clean look! 😉). Spent some time in Thamel watching people playing and taking part in the madness as well, but after a while decided it was time to head back and have some lunch! My decision was confirmed only a short moment after when some boy passing me by on the bike thought it would be a great idea to break an egg on top off my head! Water and paint fine with me! But an egg??? Come on!!! I know it's meant to be great for hair and all, but come on!!! 😉 Still nothing could destroy my mood at that moment so all I could do was to laugh (and the passing tourists and locals seemed to have quite a laugh seeing me like this also)! Still it was definitely time to call it a day… As I was getting closer to the hotel, one thought was flying through my head – will it come off??? Ah well... Eventually it would for sure! 😉 In the end I was very glad I decided to join the ‘game’ as it sure was an unforgettable experience and a lot of fun as well! Happy Holi everyone!

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Attack coming from every direction!Attack coming from every direction!
Attack coming from every direction!

As I would find out sooner or later, the bikers were the most dangerous of them all! ;)
Watching the crowds from the safe spot?Watching the crowds from the safe spot?
Watching the crowds from the safe spot?

...don't think there were any though...

...and troublepreventers? hmmm.. rifles though???
Back at the hotel!Back at the hotel!
Back at the hotel!

...was quite afraid to touch anything...

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