Holi is a celebration of colors. A time when nature plays with colors, trees are laden with red green, blue and yellow flowers and whole atmosphere is filled with their fragrance. No festival is complete without its mouth-watering delicacies and holi have its own special dishes sprinkled with fresh condiments. Holi is a time to welcome the summer season and immerse our taste buds with the sweetness of gujiyas, crisp papads and the spicy masala kachoris.

Different parts of India celebrate this festival of colors in their own way. The Northern state of India, Uttar Pradesh have its own variety of lip-smacking delights for this festival. Delicious Gujiyas, Thandai, Kachori, Samosa, SevPuri, BhelPuri, and PaniPuri are an intricate part of this festival of colour, especially in UP and its neighboring regions. Luscious sweets such as Petha, Imarti, Kalakand, Kulfi, Raj Bhog and Peda are an important part of the character and attraction of Holi for tourist worldwide. These sweets are recognized by their respective region, such as the world famous Pedas of Mathura, Pethas of Agra and Jalebis of Benaras.

UP food culture can be broadly divided into Awadhi and Nawabi cuisines and these dishes are an important part of this culture. As far as holi celebrations are concerned Uttar Pradesh is undoubtedly a heaven of delight for the food enthusiasts.
Here is a glimpse of different cuisines of UP:

The Nawabs of Lucknow were great experts in matter of taste hence, Lucknawi delicacies form a large part of the Holi special food of Uttar Pradesh.

Gujiyas: The khoya and dry fruit mixture filled dumplings are the soul of Holi. It’s a tradition to prepare gujiyas in all households in Holi and distribute them among relatives and neighbors. Their signature half-moon shape sets them apart from other sweets. The golden brown crust, garnished with almond –pistachio looks utterly delicious. The sugar coated maida crust provides a contrast to the smooth khoya(milk boiled until it becomes dense) fillings. Over the time Gujiyas have been modified to include modern taste and style. For example; Baked Gujiyas dipped in honey, Chocolate Gujiya fused with chocolate chips, Coconut Gujiya filled with crushed coconut, and many more such varieties exist.

Kanpur, the city of fragrance and and romanticism is the city synonymous with its famous “Thaggu ke laddu” and “Badnam Kulfi”. Such is the playful nature of Kanpur and its food. Holi brings out the original taste of Kanpur and these include the delicious Malpuas, A pancake like dessert fried in desi ghee and drenched in sugar syrup. Paneer Malpuas are made with cottage cheese and garnished with kesar(saffron).Ragi Malpuas are made with Ragi Flour and oats.

Banaras is a land of holiness and tradition. This, one of the oldest city in earth has a rich and diverse food culture. In Banaras, in every alley, one can find a culinary surprise unheard elsewhere. Banaras has myriad number of tastes to offer during Holi. Bhaang ki thandai, Kachoris, Samosas and Jalebis make this city is a great attraction for foodies. The yummy delights of Banaras include:-

Thandai, which is a fennel-fragrant concoction that has a cooling effect. Banarasi Thandai is popular all over the world.

The Banarasi paan, also known as Tambul is a mixture of kattha ,choona, snauff, Kiwam, and gulkand Wrapped in betel leaf . Pan is an intricate part of the culture of eastern India’s weddings and various traditions.

Kachori Sabji is a highly demanded breakfast dish of Banaras. Kachori, is basically Puri, stuffed with moong dal mixture and is served with different type of vegetables.

Jalebi, the funnel cake is a traditional sweet made by coiling a batter of finely grinded wheat flour, fried and then soaked in sugar syrup. Served with either curd or milk, it is a common sight to see people enjoying Jalebi in Banaras


Litti Chokha is a popular dish from the Eastern U.P. and Bihar region. Littis are roasted wheat balls while Chokha is a mixture of roasted brinjal, tomato, potato along with raw onion, green chilies and mustard oil.

Aaloo-Tikki is one of the most popular type of ‘chaat’ sold across U.P. Patties of mashed potato are mixed with a variety of spices and shallow fried in oil or ghee. These can be served with toppings of cooked chickpeas, a variety of chutneys, spices and curd which gives it its authentic flavor.

Malaiyyo, the little known recipe of this fizzing and foaming seasonal sweet is Banaras’s little secret. It is said to be made from milk and drops of dew on a full moonlit night. Only a few people have the expertise in preparing Malayia .

Malaai Chhena Roll, This particular dish is created by extracted milk stuffed and rolled in thick milk cream (malaai) and topped with dry-fruits and rose petals.

Holi is a major festival of UP and played with great joy and enthusiasm. These cuisines add special flavors to this festive season and it has something to offer for almost every taste bud.  This colorful season, explore UP and its lip smacking dishes.