Splash of colour for jolly Holi day at Corfe Castle

Bright colours at Corfe Castle in Dorset this spring will have less to do with daffodils or bluebells, but more to do with a festival in which rainbow paints are thrown over the crowds.

Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, love and spring, is to be celebrated by the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BPC) Indian community at the National Trust’s Corfe Castle on Saturday 23rd March 2024 and everyone is welcome to come along to the inclusive event.


Corfe Castle will be transformed by the colours, sights and sounds of the Holi festival

1,300 already set to attend

Rang Barse – Colours over Corfe Castle, is the second event organised by the group in conjunction with the National Trust following the successful Bollywood on the Beach party at Knoll Beach, Studland, in September 2023.

The castle ruins will become a backdrop for the colourful celebrations, which will include the Hindu tradition of showering festival goers with powdered paint.

There will be decorated stalls in the outer bailey offering Indian street food and drinks, as well as arts and crafts, henna painting and an area for Bollywood music and dancing.

Although the event is free, organisers would like those wishing to attend to register online – and already more than 1,300 people have said they want to join in with the unique event.

While Holi events are held in the UK, they tend to be private events for Hindu communities in large cities, not open inclusive festivals – and none have ever been held at National Trust properties in the past.

BPC Indian Community Association

Bollywood on the Beach at Studland was a huge success in September 2023

Bollywood on the Beach

Organiser and founder of the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Indian Community Association, Anjali Mavi said:

“We set up our group five years ago with the intention of doing some musical events in Bournemouth, but since Covid we have expanded and started doing events in the wider Dorset community.

“This is our second event with the National Trust, we did Bollywood on the Beach at Studland with them last September. It clashed with an Indian festival held on the same date, but more than 400 people came to visit us on the beach and we all had a great time.

“The best part of Bollywood on the Beach was that the weather was so supportive, we had decorations up and lots of Indian music – people loved it so much that visitors booked some of our artists, bands and businesses for their own private functions.”

BPC Indian Community Association

More than 400 people joined the Bollywood party on Knoll beach, Studland

A wonderfully diverse mixture

Anjali added:

“The National Trust team gave us a lot of support and were very pleased with its success, so much so that they wanted to do another event with us.

“We decided to celebrate Holi, which is a spring festival all about colours, greeting your friends and family and celebrating with music, dance, food and drink.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response with 1,300 registrations already through the Ticket Tailor booking platform. But we don’t have any restrictions on numbers as it’s Corfe Castle and it is open for all.

“From the names I have seen, the people who will attend are more English than Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan, so we should have a wonderful mixture of diverse communities.

“I have worked closely with Dorset Council to do a food and drink festival and I think that word of mouth has spread quickly about how much fun we have at these events!”

BPC Indian Community Association

Colourful powdered paint gets used very creatively during Holi

Paints are non allergenic and biodegradable

The group has already bought more than 2,000 packets of coloured paint powders from an authorised seller which are non allergenic and biodegradable, so should not cause any problems for revellers, plantlife or the 900 year old castle itself.

Paints will be handed out to those taking part and organisers have urged those attending not to bring their own colours, to make sure that there are no problems during the ceremony.

BPC Indian Community Association

Indian music and dance will feature strongly in the Holi celebrations at Corfe Castle

Wear white and bring a change of clothes

Anjali Mavi said:

“This event is meant to be colourful, that is why we tell everyone to wear white and perhaps bring a change of clothes for after the festivities.

“But we want to be absolutely sure that the paints do not cause any skin allergies and we will also make sure that we are very respectful of the castle land.

“We have arranged to release coloured smoke into the air every hour which looks amazing, and we have plenty of activities lined up – my dancers are going to do a Bollywood workshop and we have an Indian DJ who will get everyone on their feet.

“It is an amazing and vibrant festival with a party atmosphere which is perfect for families. We would like to thank the National Trust for all their help and for allowing free entry to Corfe Castle for the day, and we would love to see as many people there as possible!”

BPC Indian Community Association

Purbeck National Trust is working with the Indian community for a second time at Corfe Castle

An inclusive celebration

Senior Community manager at Purbeck National Trust, Tom Clarke said:

“There’s a significant part of our visitor base in Purbeck that has Indian heritage and we’ve wanted to better celebrate and reflect that for a number of years.

“We met the BPC Indian Association a couple of years ago and quickly got talking about how we could put on joyful family events that celebrated the culture of India with everyone.

“We started with Bollywood on the Beach at Studland last year and have become more ambitious with this event.

“Anjali and the BPC Indian Association have been fantastic to work with – their love of Purbeck shines through in the care they put into the creation of these events.

“Entry is free, it’s going to be a lot of fun – more so if the weather plays nice – and it would be great to see as many local people there as possible.”

The Holi festival is colourful, fun and just a little bit messy…

The Holi festival is colourful, fun and just a little bit messy…

Triumph of good over evil

The event begins at 12 noon on Saturday 23rd March 2024 at Corfe Castle and runs until 5 pm. Holi, also known as the festival of colours, falls on Monday 25th March 2024 and is a celebration from the Hindu world that celebrates the eternal love between Radha and Lord Krishna.

Holi is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India, but the core value is the same, marking the triumph of good over evil. The most iconic image of it in the Western world is the riot of colours from powdered paints thrown over those who take part.

Event manager for Rang Barse – Colours over Corfe Castle is Sona Madan from GoldRain Exclusive Events, and other members of the BPC Indian Community Association who have worked to make the event a reality are Poonam Paranjpe, Abhishek Jahwar, Jitender Mavi and Ramesh Lal.

BPC Indian Community Association

Anjali Mavi and the BPC Indian Community Association team toast to the success of an amazing Holi celebration at Corfe Castle

Further information

  • Find out about all the Easter events, including Rang Barse, on the Corfe Castle National Trust website
  • Book your free place at the event through Ticket Tailor
  • Read about the Holi festival legends on the BBC Bitesize page

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