Affordable Ways To Celebrate Holi This Spring For Travellers On A Budget

If you’re currently travelling India, or shortly about to arrive, no doubt you’ll have seen posters and advertisements for the upcoming Holi celebrations. This huge festival takes place throughout India and is celebrated by millions each year. It’s a great time to be in India as a tourist, as you’ll be surrounded by a huge part of the nation’s culture.

The festival marks the start of Spring (and in some parts is viewed as the New Year), and originates from stories in Indian Hindu mythology, including a celebration of love between two gods Krishna and Radha, and a story of righteousness, marked by the defeat of an evil demon Hiranyakashipu.

In India today, there are many ways you can celebrate as the locals do, even if you’re on a budget. Find out how travellers can take part in the celebrations with these affordable ideas for getting involved in Holi this Spring.

Create your own decorations

Holi is famous for its beautiful, striking decorations. You’ll be seeing banners, flowers, rugs and anything colourful all over the place. Instead of buying some to liven up your AirBnb, hostel or hotel room, why not make your own? You can create a Holi poster for free online with user-friendly templates and enjoy some creative design whilst you relax from a day of exploring.

You could also head to a cheap crafts shop and stock up with colourful papers or pencils to design your own rangoli. Rangoli is a ritualistic art that is traditionally created using dyed sands at the entrance to homes to symbolise positivity, and welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck. Watching others design their own will help you learn the art and significance of rangoli, which you can use to create your own souvenir.

Have fun making your own DIY dyes

Holi is known as The Festival Of Colour, and you may have seen pictures of rainbow riots as people take to the streets to throw dyed water balloons, coloured packets and anything else that’s bright and goes everywhere over friends, foes and strangers. Stay away from expensive artificial dyes and opt for more natural choices including turmeric, beetroot, spinach and henna for your colour. They’re not only better for your wallet, but for the environment too. 

You can even make your own powder with cornflour and food colouring, so you won’t have to miss out on the festivities.

Sacrifice your least favourite clothes

If you’re planning to head to a parade or procession to witness Holi celebrations in full force, get ready to be ambushed by a sea of colour. No one is safe, and tourists are just as much in the running for paint splattering as everyone else. Rather than spending more money on a shirt you know is going to end up permanently stained, pick your least favourite top and trouser combo to wear to the event. That way you won’t have to get rid of something you’re too attached to, and you won’t have to buy anything new for it either. 

Even better, you’ll free up a tad more space and weight for that all important luggage kilo number on your return flight!

Save on paper and postage with digital greetings

Friends and family in your home country will be curious to learn what you’ve been up to on your travels, whether you’re on holiday for a week or you’ve been travelling for a year. Send something more unique than a postcard, and save money on postage and stamps, with a digital Holi greetings card. Use ready-to-go designs on free platforms like the Adobe Express app, and help those you love feel closer to your experiences even if they’re not sharing them with you in person.

Try your hand at making traditional Holi snacks

There are some foods you’ll see everywhere around this time in Spring, which you simply have to try. Make sure you have a taste of gujiya, which are like sweet dumplings, and try a sip of thandai, a cold, spiced milk drink that is sometimes topped with marijuana at Holi! But buying meals and treats out constantly can quickly rack up, and if you’re on a budget, cooking at home is an easy way to make travelling cheaper

Ladoo, which are ‘energy-like’ balls made with dried fruit, and malpua, a sweet, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside kind of pancake, are two snacks that shouldn’t be too difficult for a tourist to have a go at making.

See what’s happening

The good thing about Holi is that it’s a festival which celebrates people coming together. That means you’ll always be able to find events taking place in public spaces, whether it’s a ceremonial bonfire to send away evil spirits and mark a fresh start for the beginning of Spring, or songs and dances parading through the streets. 

Get out there and soak up the electric atmosphere. Even if you don’t have a single dollar to spend, you’ll still be enveloped by the community feel that sweeps the nation for this truly magical public holiday.

Whether by chance or design, timing your trip to India to fall over the Holi celebrations is a great idea. You won’t have to look far in search of Hindu mythology, try Indian delicacies, or watch cultural artwork be created in front of your eyes.

One thing to keep in mind? Holi is not celebrated as widely, or with as much vigour, in Southern India. If you want to get the poster versions of Holi filled with explosive colour you’ve likely seen online, concentrate your travel in the Northern regions.

This Spring, get involved in the celebrations, no matter what your budget, with our handy suggestions for travellers looking to save money without sacrificing their experiences.

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