By Ambuj Saxena
Fanni, wife of Martin Zsarnoczky, confessed to her husband “I don’t really fancy going to India during Holi!”. Martin looked up from his laptop, took off his spectacles and asked her “You haven’t been to India, have you? What makes you so sceptical?”. Fanni replied- “I have heard weird stories about Holi and that any one can put colors on anyone’s faces and that too without asking the other whether they want to celebrate holi! Doesn’t’ that sound weird?”. Martin smiled and walked away. He knew that their tickets to India were booked and that this was the best opportunity for him to change her perception about India from that of a snake-charmer’s country to the fastest developing economy!
Martin lives in Budapest, Hungary and is a member of Budapest chamber of commerce. He is a leading researcher and writes for reputed International Journals about the international business opportunities in Wellness Tourism all over the world especially India.
Martin and Fanni were going to India as International delegates in the 4th International Conference on Sustainable Destination Excellence in Jammu University, India. Soon, Prof Parikshit Manhas, Director, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Jammu University, who was also the conference coordinator, called up Martin to know about the couple’s travel plans to India. Martin told him about his wife’s views about India and Holi. Prof Manhas opined, “We can’t change Fanni’s perception without hosting her here in India. Only when she sees that India is very different from her perception, will she believe it! Besides in my opinion, various tourism stakeholders in India should spread awareness about Holi and incentivize foreigners to visit India during holi and other festivals to increase the tourism footfall and spread the incredible Indian cultural heritage.”
After sharing their experience and thoughts in the International conference in Jammu University, Martin decided to take Fanni to experience the India she did not know! The India that was no more known as the land of snake charmers but now known for its colors, brightness, warmth, and hospitality! After a multi-city trip to north India arranged by Travel Green Earth, they came for a brief stay in Delhi during Holi. Martin insisted on staying in a Bed and Breakfast room to be with an Indian family and to experience the real Indian hospitality. Thus, BnBNation helped them find a hospitable stay with Chrysalis BnB owned by Mr. Khubchand in the heart of south Delhi.
Curious about the Homestay, Martin and Fanni talked to the Co-Founder of BnBNation, to know more about Mr. Khubchand. When they learned that Mr. Khubchand had been in Budapest for 10 years, Martin and Fanni felt nostalgic and grew even more curious to know about the Bed and Breakfast! Mr. Khubchand, warm as always, was hosting other guests from Canada. He arranged Martin and Fanni’s dinner with his Canadian guests and BnBNation co-founders in order to break the ice between the guests and the BnB Aggregators.
During the dinner, BnBNation team and Mr. Khubchand told them about the significance of Holi and the story of Holika Dahan. As Anshul Saxena, CEO BnBNation put it: “The legend of Holi has it there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the ‘Holika dahan’ comes mainly from this legend. So, if you see logs of wood burning on the streets, now, you know what symbolizes the fire!”
Fanni could recall that while coming to the BnB she had seen a few people gathered around a blazing fire. She grew more curious! Before anyone could say anything further, Fanni spoke up ‘Can I play Holi with you guys tomorrow?”. Her voice’s pitch and tone surprised everyone but the group smiled and said, “Yes Fanni, Why not!”
About the Author:
Ambuj Saxena is Co-Founder at BnBNation. He is a 2013 Brand Management graduate from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA). He has successfully executed various online and offline marketing campaigns for companies operating in Automobile, Fashion, and Lifestyle, Travel and Tourism sectors as well as Government departments. He has co-founded BnBNation as he believes that Tourism and Hospitality is as much online as it is offline, and he can add value to both.