India is a diverse land, often described as a land of many religions and languages, but it might as well be described as a land of festivals. There is some festival or the other being held throughout the country, almost year round. A diverse country like India celebrates festivals of almost all the faiths in the world – be it Hindu festivals like Dussehra, Holi & Diwali or Muslim festivals like Eid and Ramzan and important events in the Christian calendar like Christmas and Easter.
The enigmatic charm of India attracts tourists from all over the world to be a part of the celebration that represents its history as well as its age old cultural legacy. The eclectic celebrations summon to the roots in the rich tradition, customs, age old religious beliefs, togetherness and the seasons of the country.
Each season in India brings along a new festival and each has its own color, beauty, togetherness and merrymaking that attract travelers to be a part of this divinity. Be it the Durga Pooja of West Bengal, Ganesh Chaturthi of Maharashtra, Onam of Kerela, Pongal of Tamil Nadu, Bihu of Assam or the popular festivals like Holi and Diwali which is celebrated at each and every home in India. Every occasion has its own divine beauty and each one of them is celebrated with same fervor and enthusiasm. We present a list of the main festivals and fairs in India which are a spectacle and a unique experience for all travellers.
Nehru Boat Race and Onam in Kerala
Kerala is a land filled with natural beauty, exotic wilderness, divine greenery, paddy fields, serene beaches, boat houses, Ayurveda health clubs, green plantation and the huge network of canals, backwaters and rivers makes it Venice of the East. Life in Kerela flourishes around the waterways.
Nehru boat race is associated with Onam, the harvest festival and a day devoted to the demon king Mahabali. Snake boat race events are the traditional adventure sports in Kerala which clearly signifies team spirit, integration and amity amongst the people. Celebrating this festival each year on every second Saturday of August, you will witness rows of huge snake boats that are manned by 4 helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 to 125 oarsmen! The atmosphere is electrifying and enthusiasm of the participants is infectious. Visit Kerala during the Nehru Boat race and enjoy the ride!
Ladakh Festival in Leh
Ladakh, the land of Lama is renown all over the world for its majestic scenic beauty and the adventures that just gives an adrenaline rush to anyone being there. Also known as the adventure capital of India, Ladakh is not just rich in its scenic beauty but its rich culture, friendly people, monasteries and the traditional Tibetan villages. Explore the village dwellers and discover the lifestyle of the pilgrim monks, get thrilled with the huge number of adventure sports or just sit in a hill top with your partner and gaze for hours at the serene beauty. Ladakh has it all to give you an experience of paradise on earth.
The Ladakh festival is one of the biggest annual festivals of Jammu and Kashmir. This year, it will take place from 20th to 26th September. Organized by the tourism department, this festival showcases the tradition and culture of Ladakh on a bigger scale. A huge procession starts from Leh with the contribution of cultural troupes from various regions of Ladakh and moves forward from one village to another. Various performances take place at every stop where programs like archery, polo, mask dances, folk dances amongst a few, take place. The entire setting looks vibrant with the colorful traditional attire of the people dancing and merrymaking to their traditional music. Join in the celebration for a memorable experience.
Durga Pooja in Kolkata
Kolkata is a city that has charm, beauty, tradition, aristocracy and ancient history blend into one. Be it the great Hoogli river or the Victoria memorial or the biggest planetarium in the world or the enormous Howrah beach or the mouth-watering cuisines, the place has everything in store for you. Being near the Bay of Bengal the city served as an important commercial center with ports in the shore and lots of decade old monasteries and houses which would keep you in awe at every gaze.
Celebrated with divine love and devotion to Goddess Durga, it is an occasion of reunion, rejuvenation and the coming together of traditional culture and custom of the Hindus. Celebrated everywhere as Navratri, which is a ten days celebration, Durga Pooja is celebrated during the last four days with much gaiety and grandeur in the Eastern part of India, especially West Bengal. This year, Durga Pooja will be celebrated from 29th September to 3rd October. Goddess Durga represents an embodiment of power and a divine force that governs every cosmic creation, change and existence. This year, come to the city of delight and be a spectator of the grand celebration and lose yourself amongst the huge crowd.
Dussehra in Mysore
Mysore is the 2nd largest city of Karnataka and is one of the most sought after destination in the southern part of India. Also known as the cultural capital of Karnataka, the city is rich in art, literature, royal connection and the grand royal palaces. It has numerous breath-taking avenues to woe your heart like the Lalit Mahal Palace, Karinjikere, Jagmohan Palace, Chamundi Hills, Brindavan Garden, Mysore Palace etc. are few or the many that you can visit while being in the city.
Dussehra is one of the main festivals celebrated all over India but the grandest and most spectacular of the festivities takes place in Mysore, Karnataka. It is a festival that last for 10 days with the first 9 days as Navratri and the 10th day is Dussehra, when the traditional procession which is also called as Jumbo Savari is organized in the streets of Mysore. The grand procession starts from Mysore palace and culminates at Bannimantap. The same night, a traditional torch light parade called Panjina Kavayatthu takes place followed by feast, cultural and sports events. This year, alongside Durga Pooja, this ten day festival will also be celebrated from 29 September to 3 October. Participate in light parade on 3rd October in Mysore city and spark the light emitting from the victory of good over evil.
Pushkar Fair in Pushkar
The cattle fair of Pushkar known as Pushkar Fair is renowned all over the world and is no doubt the biggest fair of its kind. Held every year on the eve of Kartik Purnima, it is one of the most sought after tourist attraction of Rajasthan. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of 50000 cattle brought in for trade and you can witness hoards of sellers and buyers from all over northwest India. It is not just cows but all prized animals including camels, horses, goats and sheep in huge number, ready to be bought or sold. Otherwise a very quiet town, it bustles up during the event and the original scarce population magnifies to lakhs from just the few thousands. Gear up your digi-cams and enjoy some great shots with the crowd from October 26th to 6th November this year.
Desert Festival in Jaisalmer
As the winter wraps up in the most beautiful city of Rajasthan, the wait for the grand Desert Festival comes to an end. This 3 day long festival takes place in the month of February and its grandeur and charm is breathtaking. These are the days when the beauty of the Thar Desert is enhanced with all round festivity celebrations. Organized by the tourism industry, it is one of the main attractions of Jaisalmer for travelers from around the world. Rajasthani folk culture is the prime attraction with the rustic local men singing folk songs and women dressed in costumes dancing to its rhythm. In addition, you can also witness camel sports, craft shows, snake charmers, acrobats, puppeteers and 3 days of fun, feast and entertainment. Next year this unique and interesting fair takes place on the 1st of February. Plan your visit to the city during this time to witness the spectacle.
Holi in Jaipur
Travel to Rajasthan and get enchanted with its charm and enjoy an experience of a lifetime. Get a glimpse of royalty in the city of Jaipur which is filled with forts, ancient palaces, divine temples and folk culture that will just take your breath away. Few of the famous attractions that are must see around the city are the City Palace, Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, the Dilwara temple, Mahavira temple and Birla Mandir.
Holi is celebrated all over India but the most joyful and colorful of all Holi celebrations happens in the Pink city of India. Celebrated in the month of Phalgun of Hindu calendar it is a 2 day event filled with fun, boisterous festival, colours and feast. The celebration begins with lightening of a bonfire on the eve of Holi and on the main day, hoards of people comes out of their homes to celebrate the festival of colour. Be part of this colorful celebration on 6th March of 2015 and embarrass the warmth and joy of togetherness.
Rann Utsav in Gujarat
Gujarat is a potpourri of ancient tradition, rich heritage and a land of spiritual presence. Also known as the jewel in the west it has abundance of picturesque landscapes, long stretch of coastlines, serene salt desert, spiritual temples, architectural heritage, diverse wildlife, colorful fair and festivals and medieval monuments that would make your stay nothing but enchanting. The land is a package deal that attracts tourists from all around the world.
The Rann Mohatsav of Gujarat celebrated at the great Rann of Kutch is an event that speaks in volume about the ancient culture and long lasting traditions that still prevail in India. Filled with music, dance and flash light of the full moon illuminating the largest salt desert of the world, the festival is one event you would not want to miss. Organized by the tourism industry it is an occasion including various activities like cultural dance, art shows, camel safari, live-in tents, magic shows, musical ensemble and many more activities. The 2015 date for this festival is 7th March.
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