India celebrates Holi festival: in pictures

India has been painted red – and blue, green, yellow, pink and purple – in Holi, the festival of colours, this week. And the fun-filled carnival, which comes on the day after the full moon in early March every year to mark the beginning of spring, will continue for the rest of the week.

One of the biggest Hindu holidays celebrated across India and beyond sees small towns leap to life as more than a thousand kilos of coloured paint and flower petals are thrown into the air and at fellow revellers. Dance and music also add to the incredible celebrations.


The spring festival, also known as the festival of love, is an ancient Hindu religious celebration which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.

This year was extra special for some, as widows participated in the festivities for the third year in a shelter for widows abandoned by their families in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The women danced, sang, and threw paint on one another as they took part in the joyous occasion, from which they had not previously been able to participate in.

If you haven't made it to India this year, don't fret; celebrations in London promise to be just as colourful.

Award-winning Indian restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen offers plenty of the Holi spirit this week, as does the much-loved and chic Dishoom, which hosts its celebrations on 29 March with street food traders such as Pizza Pilgrims and Lily Vanilli bakery. For a Holi-inspired cocktail, check out the Reverend JW Simpson bar in Fitzrovia.