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The festival of Holi: India & Abroad

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There are some festivals, which find their way across the border. And Holi, the festival of colours, is one of them. Celebrated mainly in north India, and now across the country,the festival falls in March,signaling the onset of spring.

Traditionally, a bonfire is lit on Holi eve, signifying the victory of good over evil. Colours, gaiety and lots of fun is the common thread of the festival that is celebrated in different styles across the country.

After a bout of throwing colour,both dry (gulal) and wet (coloured water) at one another, mouthwatering delicacies, mainly gujjias, and drinks in the form of thandai and the heady bhang, bring family and friends together. This may well be one of the main attractions for foreigners,who head for places like Mathura, Varanasi and Jaipur.

Every year, these cities witness a surge in overseas tourist arrivals. Thus it is that the festival has become popular overseas,particularly in countries with a sizeable Indian diaspora.Our neighbour, Pakistan, has even chosen to declare a holiday to mark Holi.

They say, when one is away from home one realises the importance of celebrating festivals. As in India, people settled abroad greet friends and exchange sweets. It may well be a means to socialize but it also serves to bind the people of Indian origin and also to their roots. We take readers on a trip to different countries to see how Holi is celebrated there:

The US

With a large number of Indians residing in the US, Holi is celebrated with much fervor.Indians from major cities and colleges team up with local friends to celebrate the coming of spring. Different societies set up by Indians residing in various cities help organise the festivities. In New York, Holi parades are taken out. People can be seen having fun in these parades, playing with colour.Many a time Bollywood actors join the celebrations that see dance performances, fashion shows and music concerts. There is so much revelry that it becomes quite difficult to imagine that New York is not in India. With the rise in popularity of Holi,celebrations are seen at Las Vegas, Idaho and Arizona,as well as several cities in California,including Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Sacramento.

The UK

Being the second largest ethnic minority in the UK, Indians settled there do not miss out on the excitement of celebrating Holi. One can particularly sense the zeal in localities with a large number of Indians. For instance,in Leicester,where every Indian festival is celebrated in full spirit, enjoyment reaches its peak during Holi. Like the US, here too, Holi parade is taken out.In the evening people visit their friends and relatives to exchange greetings and sweets. They also apply tilak to mark the traditional joy.

Australia

Celebration of Holi in Australia is the same as in the US and the UK. However, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan takes a lead in terms of organising festivities. Holi is celebrated in the most prominent location,constantly visited by people from every community,such as Darling Harbour (Sydney). The two-day festival at Tumbalong Park at Darling Harbour gives visitors to chance to enjoy performances and delicious Indian vegetarian food and craft stalls. A Rath Yatra (the journey of the hand-pulled Chariot of Lord Jagannätha) passes through the busy streets of Sydney, culminating at Darling Harbour and Tumbalong Park.

Pakistan

Due to the common cultural roots, Holi in Pakistan is celebrated in the same way as it is in India. People here follow the same rituals and traditions, such as cleaning one’s house, preparing delicacies like Gujia, Papri and Dahi Badas, meeting up with friends and playing with colours.Local Hindus gather in temples. Much gaiety can be seen in temples located in cities with comparatively greater Hindu population such as Lahore and Sindh region. In Punjab province, men form a pyramid to break a matka, or clay pot, which is hung at a high spot. Onlookers throw water and colour on the human pyramid.

Others

In countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Mauritius and Fiji, where Indian people were taken as indentured labourers during the colonial era, Holi is celebrated with the same fervor as in India. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is celebrated on the Sunday closest to the actual date. In Guyana, the main celebration in Georgetown is held at the mandir (temple) in Prashad Nagar. In Mauritius,Holi comes close on the heels of Shivaratri

Credits: The Statesman

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Best Casinos In India

In areas like Goa, there are quite impressive gambling establishments, which can provide a pretty good idea as what the future holds.

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Casino Popular with Indian Gamblers. Pixabay

Gambling is hugely popular all around the world, especially in the form of casinos. People love nothing more than heading down to their favourite land-based casinos to try their luck on slot games, blackjack, poker and roulette. Nowadays, we have all heard and might have visited Las Vegas and Macau; two of the best places to experience the best casinos have to offer. In fact, there is arguably little to choose from between the two renowned places. With regards to India, gambling is currently restricted to certain regions. In spite of this gambling in this part of the world is still is a popular form of entertainment and has a growing following. So much so, that some believe, it won’t be long before we see casinos and gambling being allowed across the country; especially when taking into account revenues that will be realised through taxation and licensing.

Right now, in areas like Goa, there are quite impressive gambling establishments, which can provide a pretty good idea as what the future holds, if indeed gambling is allowed to flourish. We have taken the liberty of highlighting a few of the best that everyone needs to visit in India right now.

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We’re all very familiar with gambling websites and online casinos, where you can do anything from betting on sports events. Pixabay

Deltin Royale

The Deltin Royale is by far and away one of India’s finest, largest and most luxurious casinos. It’s a must visit venue for a reason, with gaming taking place on three levels. Whether slots or table games are your thing, your needs will be catered for, with 850 gaming positions inside the casino. Visitors will also be able to treat themselves to some fine dining, while also being able to enjoy fine wines and single malts. This place is more than just a casino, with plenty of shows, including stand up comedy, taking place on a regular basis.

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This place is more than just a casino. Flickr

Casino Mahjong

Casino Mahjong is a venue with plenty to offer its visitors. It was set up by three entrepreneurs from Gangtok and aims to provide gamblers with that sweet feeling of triumph associated with winning. It’s actually one of the most famous casinos in India, spread across 7,000sqft, with 15 live gaming tables available to play at. They also offer a private poker room which sports 7 tables, with VVIP gaming and state-of-the-art slot games on offer too. Visitors will also find themselves entertained by the daily performances at Casino Mahjong, as the venue goes that extra mile to keep their players happy and entertained throughout their stay.

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Mayfair Hotels & Resorts, along with Casino Mahjong support and promote responsible gambling. Flickr

Casino Pride

Casino Pride is a group of casinos within India, which are recognised as being some of the best around due to their high standard of gaming and hospitality. They currently have two five-star venues under their banner which tells you that they offer players the quality experiences they expect, every time. They’ve also been awarded the award for being the best casino in India by the Indian Travel Awards too. What you’ll find at Casino Pride establishments are slots and table games, as well as local favourites such as Mang Patta and Paplu. Casino Pride is an operator who stick close to their roots, while also recognising their international connections too.

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A landmark of Glory & Glamour. With five Casinos & two five stars under its banner, awarded the best casino in India by Indian Travel Awards. Flickr

Casino Pearl

Casino Pearl is one of the newest casinos in India, located in the 5-star resort of Bogmallo. It may be relatively new to the scene, but it’s already managing to cause a stir with it being one of the largest casinos in the area. They have everything a gamer casino goer could need and more, with plenty of slots, table games, live roulette, baccarat and Tai Sai. Visitors are also able to take advantage of unlimited food at the buffet, as well as unlimited drinks, making this a must visit venue for people looking to have a good time.