Holi in Kathmandu

I spent a week at home in Chiang Mai under the guise of doing job searching and other work related things, but really just spending most of my time with friends. Vacation mode was hard to shake 🙂

I arrived in Nepal on Monday afternoon and after waiting for an hour and a half to get through immigration and finally getting a new stamp in my passport, I headed outside and was greeted by my sister Tara.

While I saw her just 6 months ago in Ireland (which in our world is quite recent) it was a happy reunion and we were super excited to see each other again.

While today (the 23rd) is the official holiday of Holi, in Kathmandu it is celebrated on the 22nd. So yesterday, after a lazy morning at home, we set out on Tara’s motorbike (a much bigger machine than any scooter I’ve ridden in Chiang Mai) and drove across town to meet her friends.

Holi is a Hindu holiday that, like most holidays, has been adopted by non-religious people and is largely a celebration of spring and sharing love. According to Wikipedia. My knowledge of the holiday is pretty much summed up in the fact that chaos and paint take over the city and it’s a ton of fun.

We met Tara’s friends at the Jazz Upstairs, a bar/restaurant somewhere in Kathmandu (the exact location of which I could never describe since we drove through the most insane roads, crowds, and traffic to get there and I know nothing of Nepal geography…) This holiday is a big deal here, and the streets were packed with people covered in color.

When we arrived at the bar we were immediately welcomed with smears of vibrant paint powder being wiped across our faces by the owner of the place, Chedupp (name almost certainly spelled wrong).

From there it became 3 hours of throwing paint on each other, drinking delicious cocktails, and eating some fantastic Nepali food.

Usually the paint is mixed with water but given that we were in a bar, we stuck to dry powder. This in no way lessened the amount of color stuck to our bodies, as you can see from the progression in these photos…


This morning my hair still had a tinge of red to it, despite having been thoroughly washed. I went to Tara’s school with her today and saw a sea of children with similarly hued hair, so at least I wasn’t the only one. All in all a pretty great day.

I’m here for another week before heading back to CM. I’ll have another post soon about what a week in Kathmandu has been like. So far it ain’t bad!

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