Essex to India Rajasthan Bike Ride Part 2 – ‘Don’t Worry…be Holi’

April 4, 2012

Welcome to the second Instalment of Trevor Gibbs’s diary of his time in Rajasthan with celebrated Essex girls Lydia Rose Bright and Denise Van Outen. This time he’s remicning about the team’s colourful experiences in the Holi Festival. All images courtesy of Gareth Gatrell, (

“Even in a country renowned for its colourful exuberance, the festival of Holi takes some beating. A celebration to mark the beginning of spring and the triumph of good over evil, the annual Holi festivities explode across India in an all-encompassing cascade of water and colourful dyes. No one is spared, not even well dressed tourists…or celebrities.

As we made our way from Agra’s bustling train station, the early morning streets were alive with colour. Everywhere we looked people, dogs and cows were covered in brightly coloured paint and, given the events of the previous day amongst the meandering back streets of old Delhi, we were somewhat apprehensive as to what today might hold in store for us. We did manage to make it to the hotel unscathed, but this was to prove to be as far as we would get, before the inevitable mayhem overtook us. In the time it took to drop bags in rooms and change for our visit to the Taj Mahal, we had been joined by a travelling band of musicians and an enthusiastic collection of brightly coloured locals (including two dogs and a passing cow).

By the time we left for the site we were all covered from head to foot in fetching multicoloured ensembles. The only bits of white that still seemed to be showing through were everyone’s grins! All of which made our visit to the Taj Mahal a memorable encounter, and not just for us. We became a source of amusement to the locals, as every step we took enveloped us in clouds of coloured dye. The security on the gate were somewhat unsure how to deal with us. And, once inside the complex, we seemed to be vying with one of India’s most iconic monuments for celebrity rights, as locals and tourists alike snapped away at us with cameras and mobile phones.

As the afternoon wore on and the celebrations ran their course, life began to return to a semblance of normality in Agra and we began the serious preparations for the bike ride ahead. It is said that one of the ultimate joys of travel is to be able to experience a little something of the true essence of a country and, on a journey of incredible contrasts, this brief encounter with one of India’s most colourful celebrations was to have a long-lasting and uplifting affect on us all…”

To find out more about Trevor, and his various adventures, please visit his website at

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