A Word of Caution about Festivals (Holi)

#1 Oct 4th, 2001, 16:45
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One of our members sent me this letter about their experiences with the Holi Festival.

after reading how one girl was covered in pink powder paint during holi, i felt i should share my most unpleasant experience of that festival. if you're a woman - i advise you to stay in your hotel from morning of holi till mid or late afternoon, by which time the festival is kind of over. i've been in india a few times for holi, and the silly young men get sillier and more hysterical every time. in delhi, when i gingerly ventured out on main bazaar around 2pm to send an urgent email, even tho i was dressed in the most modest clothes imaginable, i was grabbed off the street by a gang of about 9 young guys and sexually molested in broad daylight. the incident was horrendous. i was rescued by another group of young men, who could see my distress. so beware girls - it's the excitable, horny teens' only great opportunity per year to molest a western woman.

#2 Oct 4th, 2001, 20:56
Gerlinde Future Member


A good decision to put the message up!
But the problem is not only Holi - girls should not go alone through Paharganj! The sender shows clearly both sides of Delhi -on the one hand she was badly harassed by a gang of youngsters - on the other hand she got help from another gang of youngsters!

After 10 years in Delhi I really have to confess that my behaviour has partly changed..., I did not bite anybody till now..., but I kicked, I used the ellbows, I shouted and I slapped. Sure - only exceptionally..but you have to be aware that you might use your physical abilities!

"Privacy" is what only very few Indians experience themself, "Respect" is a matter of age... , the society is still male dominated and Delhi has become over the years a melting pot of people who want to make the quick buck and to have fun on cost of others.
#3 Oct 5th, 2001, 00:44
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  • Ankur is offline


Delhi is known for cases of molestation and harassment, especially in the buses. And no one suffers as much as the Delhi women themselves. The Police has done a lot to control this and it is a little better than what it used to be a few years ago, but a lot needs to improve. Having said that..Delhi also has some of the most wonderful people in India.
#4 Dec 17th, 2001, 19:03
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Holi ...A case of what could have been

Ive just read your mail on holi mike and it brought back some memories of holi in Varanasi

There were three of us and we arrived in Benaris early on the day of holi

First we knew what it was a bout was the paint bomb hitting the rickshaw on the way into benaris from the train station
Looked like fun...who hasnt spent long summer days as a kid throwing water bombs and having great memories of it.

We were warned by both Indians and westerners...but bravado and a chillum convinced us that our water guns would be enough to fend off the gravest of attacks

As we walked down the street we exchanged some paint bombs with the local teenagers...good fun and i think we won on points

It wasnt until we had ventured into the crowds to hear the drumming and dancing that we realised that we were well and trully fu**ed.

Maybe it was the feeling of being surrounded with no way out maybe it was the hands maybe it was the water paint and other unknown concoctions we had thrown over us may be it was the vest i had ripped off me
I really snapped when they tried to rip my trousers off as i didnt fancy walking through benaris in the buff punch push hook to the jaw and the fastest 100 yeard sprint ive ever done.

We escaped up an alley...with probably around 100 teeangers after us...now i know what the beatles felt like in Help!!!
As we ran we suddenly stopped as another 100 came up the other end of the alley

Nice...nothing to do but charge in full braveheart styly all that was missing was the kilts and pipes...Dont care who you are
A charging glasweigan with blood lust in his eye would daunt the hardest of men especially the call to arms "mon then ya bas!!!!!!!"

We evaded hid ran and finally got cornedered at a wire fence where one of us had the tousers ripped off ...thankfully not me and had his hand ripped open on the wire fence
thats when big sticks ciome in handy....Not used by the grace of god
It was only by luck that we stumbled on a group of indians who helped us get back to the hotel almost in one peace

And that my friends is Holi in Varanasi...Mad mental craziness of the highest degree and a fantastic spectacle...just stay on your roff and make like a B52 great fun and the anonimity of soaking all pedestrians is a joy in its self

tell you what its sometimes the scary moments that make the best of stories

When is Holi next year?
#5 Jan 30th, 2002, 00:43
JAP5 Future Member

a cold chill

Delhi is not really women friendly. I am sorry to read that account. It really sent chills down my spine, i litterally turned cold. ANd the worst part of worst is that nothing can be done about this, because police will treat women equally disrespectful and blame it ALL ON THE WOMAN no matter what the circumstances.
I went to delhi with my classmates. in the busses -- were drunked men and trying to touch me. I thought it was cause I am a foreigner. It is not at all. They were treating my Indian girl classmates the same. We had to get our male classmates to stand on the female side of the bus to protect us. I would never travel in Delhi alone. I actually don't like Delhi.
you can visit my site at
to learn about my experiences in india
#6 Jan 30th, 2002, 00:44
JAP5 Future Member

one more thing

These things happen NOT only during festivals but during political upheaval. Once in Tamil Nadu when Jayalalitha was arrested, college students riding in a bus outside chennai were bombed and several died. WHy? Just like that. Just to start problems. Make sure when you are india NOT to go outside during political upheaveal or during elections. Just watch the news and talk with locals you trust about these things.
#7 Feb 26th, 2002, 21:29
snazi Future Member

Question Holi- When

I will be travelling to India during March when the Holi festival takes place. I have read the accounts on this thread and would like to know on which dates the festival takes place and for how long. Also is it celebrated all over India or only in certain parts
#8 Feb 26th, 2002, 22:01
Gerlinde Future Member


Date is 28 th of March. it's celebrated in the North. And it can be genuine fun. I remember several extremely nice come-togethers with color and with no hassle and with lots of Kingfisher!
But you should not travel by car in Rajasthan or Delhi at this day.
Stick together with friends and it will be great.
#9 Jan 9th, 2003, 11:25
markg Future Member

Where to go for Holi

We are coming for the holi festival in march. i've heard the stories of delhi and was hoping someone could help with a friendly destination to celebrate and film a short documentary on the festival. We obviously want the young , viabrant party atmosphere but are reluctant to jeopodise our safety for this.
please email me, markgillies@hotmail.com
#10 Jan 9th, 2003, 20:25
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  • paan wallah is offline
good tip to watch the holifestival from the top of a roof!!!
good to take precautions at festivals!!!
but with most things in life it s just a lucks game...
I m now travelling for nearly 20 years(not in a row) and I was only robbed once in my life...and that was in my hometown!!!!!
but while travelling I had quite a lot of experinces like beeing nearly robbed or beeing nearly enprisoned,even nearly murderd or bombed..
always I escaped somehow....so I guess I must have a good karma in my life...
I remember a weird story I had with a friend in tamil nadu...
there was a police post in a small village guarded by an older policeman with a gun from I guess 100 years before..
so I "told" my friend :go to the policeman,take his gun and I will take a picture...I was just joking but my friend took for it for serious and he did take the gun,posing,waiting for me to take a picture,
imaging doing this in western country!!!
the whole strange thing ended up in drinking alot of chai...
until now when me and my friend remember this story we pray to all the gods how much luck we had to survive this..

so I wish you good good luck on all your trips
#11 Mar 1st, 2003, 18:19
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  • indiamike is offline
With Holi quickly approaching, I thought I would bump this older thread up and make it a "sticky" thread for awhile.
#12 Aug 7th, 2003, 11:20
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  • guerik is offline
Aie! As a single young female I'm now ever so slightly terrified - I was planning to spend about a week in the Delhi area.
I'm hoping that these posts are just showing the worst case scenario, but what do y'all think? Should I make plans to spend that time somewhere else instead or should I be ok?
#13 Aug 7th, 2003, 11:24
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  • wonderwomanusa is offline
Holi was like difficult in Calcutta in the 70s, there's no reason to believe that men won't take it for an excuse to molest you now. I'd avoid Holi if possible; find some local women and disappear for the day.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#14 Sep 13th, 2003, 14:50
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Holi is awful unless you can hole up in a hotel with a roof. I was torn apart but teenagers, sexually molested, clothes ripped and torn and thrown into a ditch. I was rescued by a policeman. Big cities are no fun at this time. What looks like fun turns ugly. It's not just women who get roughed up.
#15 Sep 13th, 2003, 19:58
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  • Apana is offline
Good you bumped this up. From a festival of fun and colour, it has become a day when the sexually repressed Indian male, and the general troublemaker run riot. The problem is worse in North India.

But still, a day to remain indoors, unless you're prepared to carry a weapon and are prepared to use it.


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