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India festivals

Camel Festival in Bikaner, Rajasthan

(January 12-13, 2019 / January 11-12, 2020)

The rays of the sun, the cool sand and the camel enliven the orange tones of the desert. For centuries the camel has served as a traditional means of transport in Rajasthan and as a livelihood. But the bond between the camels and their owners goes deeper - the Bikaner Camel Festival celebrates this wonderful animal and its relationship with the people in the desert.
Camels at the Bikaner Festival are a vision! The festivities begin with a camel train in the red milieu of Junagarh Fort. In a unique festival show with camels wrapped in Rajasthan's living tissues, they live up to the beauty standards of long, slender necks, thick eyelashes and swaying bodies. In this two-day treat, the camels literally dance after their masters, performing acrobatic stunts and graceful movements with their feet. While the spectacle in itself is fascinating, you will be tempted to become part of the ongoing frenzy of camel races, camel safaris, competitions including tug-of-war and camel milking in other activities. Those who can't help but shop big can spend their money on exquisite handicrafts in Rajasthan. Take a break from this extravaganza, with musical concerts, puppet shows and folk performances of rock dancing, as well as the famous Bikaner fire dance, which can only be seen during the festival. At the Bikaner Festival you can cherish the decorated camel all day while watching the festive madness end with colorful fireworks that adorn the night sky.

Gangasagar Mela Sunderbans in West Bengal

(January 13-15, 2019 / January 13-15, 2020)

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, on an island in the Sunderbans, Gangasagar offers pilgrims as well as adventure lovers a long-awaited travel destination with the charm of an unspoilt beach at the mouth of the Ganges.
Gangasagar is an ideal destination for visitors planning a weekend getaway, amid the vast expanses of silver sand and under the infinitely blue sky and sea. The many stories of Hindu mythology and ancient Indian literature such as Ramayana and works by Tagore and Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay mention Gangasagar. Gangasagar, one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimage centers in India, also known as Sagardwip, is still an unexplored area.
Every year in mid-January on Makar Sankranti, pilgrims from all over India gather in Gangasagar for a holy bath at the confluence of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. After the refreshing and cleansing bath in the river, the pilgrims offer "puja" or worship in the Kapil Muni temple.
The Gangasagar Mela (fair) during Makar Sankranti is one of the largest fairs in West Bengal.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

(January 14, 2019 / January 14, 2020)

Rice and other grains are added in an earthen pot that is almost lathered with milk over the fire to create pongal, a festival of thanksgiving. This is the sacrifice for the sun god, the life giver of all that exists.
In traditional clothing, men and women, as well as children, sing and dance and express deep joy while giving thanks to the rain god, Lord Indra. Cattle adorned with colored beads, bells, grain trees and flower garlands are worshiped. Unusable household items are thrown into the fire during bhogi mantalu so that the unwanted is used and heat is generated in the final lap of winter. For an agrarian society, nothing can be compared to the joy of a good harvest.
Across India, the harvest season is celebrated with gusto in the various regional flavors. Pongal celebrates the rice harvest on four days in the state of Tamil Nadu in the Hindu calendar month Thai, which falls in January and February.
In addition to rice, grains, sugar cane, and turmeric (an essential part of Tamil cuisine) are also harvested. Each of them is an integral part of the sweet and savory ritual dishes that are prepared over the four days. Celebrate with us the cycle of life, regeneration and the infinite abundance of nature.
Let yourself be guided through fascinating landscapes and enchanting architecture to ancient customs and traditions in which nature and man's dependence on the cycles are celebrated.

International Kite Flying Festival Jaipur in Rajasthan

(January 14, 2019 / January 14, 2020)

The International Kite Festival is celebrated on Makar Sakaranti Day, January 14th, and is organized by the Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation. The Makar Sankranti festival is marked by the transition of the sun into the northern hemisphere. To commemorate this day, kite enthusiasts from all over the world come to the pink city of Jaipur to participate and show off their kite flying skills.
In vivid colors and myriad shapes and sizes, kites soar high above the sky as those who control the kites compete to cut each other's kite strings.
Women prepare special dishes of papdi and laddoos with sesame seeds and sugar to mark the festival. The day is also marked by the fact that many help with the cause of giving to the poor and needy.
The festival takes place on the Polo Ground of Jaipur and Jodhpur. A kite market is set up, consisting of food stalls, accompanied by cultural performances and special kite performances at night, such as illuminated kites or tukals. In less than a couple of years, the International Kite Festival has become one of the most eagerly awaited and large-scale festivals in Rajasthan that lives up to its expectations of adding color to people's lives.

Magh Bihu Festival in Assam

(January 15, 2019 / January 15, 2020)

Assamese culture is very different from the rest of India when it comes to traditions and festivals. Bihu, the most famous and national festival of Assam, takes place more than once a year, with three different festivals taking place. In connection with agriculture, these festivals are Rongali Bihu, Kaati Bihu and Magh Bihu.
The Rongali Bihu Festival, also known as Bohag Bihu, takes place in Assamese at the beginning of the New Year, which falls around April 15 each spring. The Rongali Bihu Festival begins with bathing the cattle in nearby ponds by applying a paste of freshly harvested turmeric or black gram. The cows and bulls are later worshiped and given the name goru (cow) Bihu.
The Goru Bihu is followed by the Manuh (human) Bihu, where people take a bath and put on new clothes. Traditional dishes called larus are made from coconut and rice, along with sweet jolpan and pitha which have their own charm. The third day marks the Gosai (gods) Bihu. Statues of gods are worshiped on this day and asked for blessings.
Songs and dance are performed by young boys and girls wearing traditional dhoti, gamosa, and saadar mechela. It is accompanied by Dhol, Pépa (buffalo horn pipe) and Gagana.
The Bihu Festival is a festival in which people from different communities participate, regardless of their caste, beliefs, religion, beliefs or views.

Modhera Dance Festival in Modhera, Gujarat

(January 18-20, 2019)

The 11th century CE Sun Temple in Modhera in the Mehsana district of Gujarat in western India may be in ruins, but it is one of the finest examples of ancient Indian architecture. The temple was built in 1026-27 AD during the reign of King Bhimdev I of Patan and is dedicated to Surya or the sun god. The remarkable temple is so scientifically constructed and positioned that the sun's rays illuminate the deity in the temple's Sanctum Sanctorum on the equinox. The outer walls of the temple are covered with impressive sculptures, most of which are made of surya. The beautiful canvas on the walls and pillars shows scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
This stunning temple hosts the spectacular Modhera Dance Festival every January. The three-day visual extravaganza, organized by Gujarat Tourism, celebrates dance, music and the arts - reviving the state's glorious royal legacy and restoring the ambiance of centuries past.
Classical and traditional dance forms from all over the country set the stage on fire. The incredibly beautiful temple of the sun forms the background for this festival of the beautiful traditions and culture of India. The biggest highlight of the festival is the Garba dance of Gujarat. People dressed in colorful clothes perform the pulsating Garba dance. Light, colors, entertainment, insights into the culture and the exquisite backdrop of an ancient temple make the festival simply perfect.

Jaipur Literature Festival Jaipur in Rajasthan

(January 24-28, 2019 / January 23-27, 2020)

The quaint, magnificent, small property of the Diggi Palace, which is bursting at the seams for five days in January every year, hosts the “largest free literature festival in the world”.
From a humble beginning of around 100 participants in 2006, it now takes around 250,000 steps from book lovers, culture lovers, older people and young people to the youngest in the special children's departments or just those who want to take part. Some of the best writers from the Indian subcontinent and the works of local writers will be shown in numerous simultaneous sessions over five days. From fiery debates to harsh laughter and musical interpretations under a starry sky to tales that move to tears, workshops for aspiring writers, book signing and a serious exchange on socio-political issues. All of this and much more takes place here.
Go through the gates to a slightly different mela (fair), for a mela it is in every way. People dressed at their best rush to the best places near the stage where their favorites speak. Those torn between two simultaneous sessions lament the inability to double themselves, and those trying to catch the camera's eye jostle with those who wandered the site for a short while Stopping for a break while walking through stalls or grabbing a quick bite. The festival is a must for book lovers, for those who want to interact with some of the best minds, be it literature or serious political issues, for those who love a good laugh and also want an informed taste of the subcontinent. But it is also for those who love a crowd. Be part of the cheering excitement, because where better to experience it than in breathtaking Rajasthan? We can say one thing for sure, no one goes away disappointed.

Surajkund Crafts Mela in Faridabad, Haryana

(February 01-15, 2019 / February 01-15, 2020)

As the time for the annual festival known as Surajkund Crafts Mela approaches, the ancient reservoir known as Surajkund (8 km from the city of Faridabad not far from Delhi) is preparing to decorate and prepare for the various festivities to become an unforgettable celebration. Drums, splashes of paint, and craft items best describe this event. The Mela is known for creating its own ambience and is longed for by Indian and international tourists alike.
Surajkund Crafts Mela wants to promote the various traditional crafts in India. Every year the organizers work out a theme based on the culture and art of a particular state. The rural setting of this place invites hundreds of award-winning artists from all over India to take part in this celebration. It's also an important platform for new and aspiring artists looking to show off their arts and crafts skills. The Surajkund Crafts Mela, held annually in February, is undoubtedly the largest arts and crafts fair in India and has held its place on the Indian tourism calendar for the past 26 years.
The Surajkund Crafts Mela is a true shoppers paradise and offers exquisite paintings, pottery, clothing, ethnic jewelry, toys and much more. For those who want to experience the brilliant showcase of entertainment, the fan-shaped open air theater called Natyashala is the venue for soulful music and dance performances. Delicious kitchens from different SAARC countries are an additional bonus for trade fair visitors.

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai, Maharashtra

(February 02-10, 2019 / February 01-08, 2020)

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a unique kaleidoscope for culture and art. Art lovers from all over the country visit Mumbai during the festival, which features a wide range of art, literature, music, dance, cinema, and theater.
Founded on October 30, 1998, the festival aims to preserve the art culture of Sothern Mumbai. The festival was launched in 1999 and continues to offer its viewers a wide variety of arts. World-famous artists show their works of art during the festival in the visual arts. There is also a literature section that serves as a platform for book launches, discussions and workshops with popular authors. Well-known artists and groups from the fields of dance, music and drama inspire with captivating performances. The culinary section, which is the most popular among food lovers, has a live demonstration of the food in different kitchens. The festival's art installations are eye-catching and fascinating and generate curiosity in the viewer.
The festival starts every year in the first week of February and is extremely popular with tourists and participants. The highly anticipated Kala Ghoda Festival is not only for adults, but also features various events for the children to get involved in. It is held in a variety of locations including the National Gallery of Modern Art Auditorium, David Sassoon Library Garden, CSMVS lawns and auditoriums, Museum, Mumbai, and Cross Maidan.

Nagaur Cattle Festival in Nagaur, Rajasthan

(February 10th - 13th, 2019 / January 30th - February 2nd, 2020)

Colorful, swirling ghagraas (skirts) and beautiful veils that are half drawn over faces, huge turbans (traditional men's headgear), wonderfully massive jewelry, unusual mustaches; Camels, horses, oxen, donkeys, cows and oxen, tens of thousands put together, all of which are part of the Nagaur Cattle Festival. There are also pretty birds screeching from brightly painted cages, dogs and cats, merchandisers, craftsmen and women. Bright tones of red hot chilli, set ablaze under the bright golden sun, give off a pungent, pungent odor that tickles the nostril. This is the scene in Rajasthan, at one of the largest cattle fairs in the world, which is held in the small town of Nagaur.
This ancient settlement lies between Jodhpur and Bikaner and is most likely mentioned in the Mahabharata. A place that offered solace to lonely wanderers and traders, it developed into a multicultural community with a rich complexity of interfaith life.
The annual livestock festival attracts people from the area. In addition to the trade, fairs offer the locals the rare opportunity for excursions with family and friends. There is excitement everywhere, with singing and dancing, haggling over prices and a crowd of giggling women trying on bracelets and shoes and eating something they didn't have to cook. There are also games and activities such as tug of war, camel races, ox races, cockfights, juggling, puppet shows, campfires and ballads sung by traditional storytellers. Take part in this festive atmosphere and take back memories of an Indian village and an experience of a lifetime.

Baneshwar Fair in Dungarpur District, Rajasthan

(February 15-19, 2019 / February 05-09, 2020)

The colorful Baneshwar fair is a spectacular spectacle because of its saffron colors, early mornings and sunsets. A mass, mainly for the Bhils, tribes from the districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara. This also includes the worship of the holy Shiva Linga, who is kept in the Mahadev Temple in Dungarpur.
In a small delta, 50 km from Dungarpur, the fair takes place in Baneshwar, which takes place between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. and is accompanied by the cheerfulness of the songs, graceful folk dances, exciting magic shows, animal shows and incredible acrobatic tricks. The joy of driving on the carousels and the swings are the cherry on the cake that adds to the excitement and spirit of the festival. The procedure begins in the morning when saffron is applied to the Shiva Linga. It is then bathed and an aromatic incense ceremony is held in front of it.In the evening, bhabhut (ashes) are applied to the linga and another ceremony is performed with a fine wick lamp. The devotees worship both Baneshwar Mahadev and Mavji. Offerings include wheat flour, legumes, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash. The highlight of the celebration is when all the bhils sit together around a campfire every evening and sing traditional folk songs. In addition, groups of villagers are invited to participate in the program.

The Desert Festival in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

(February 17th - 19th, 2019 / February 7th - 9th, 2020)

The Desert Festival or Jaisalmer Desert Festival takes place every year in February. The festival hosts exciting events every year such as cultural events, camel races, and even turban tie competitions. The golden sands of the Thar desert give the festival an enchanting charm. This is a three day extravaganza that shows the cultures of Rajasthan. It takes place in the Golden Fortress of Jaisalmer.
The festival attracts actors such as folk artists who expressively sing and dance to the triumphs and tragedies of this country, and even local nomadic acrobats such as Kalabaz or Nat, as well as snake charmers take part in the festival. During the desert festival, the city and people start to glow with joy and activity. It also attracts a number of tourists, mostly from other countries, and is organized by the Rajasthan State Tourism Corporation.
The longest mustache competition is the most longed-for event during the festival. Here guests and tourists are also invited to judge the man with the longest mustache. Visitors can be seen posing with the man who wins this competition. In their opinion, this image is a moment to be remembered. Another popular highlight of the festival are the performances of famous gair and fire dancers. The Jaisalmeri camels also participate in a number of events such as camel races, camel polo, and camel dance. The Desert Festival is an extremely colorful festival that is also a shopping experience and focuses on local heritage and customs.

Taj Mahotsav in Shilpagram, Uttar Pradesh

(February 18-27, 2019 / February 18-27, 2020)

Indian cultural diversity, which has been widespread for almost 5000 years and is at the same time characterized by history and mythology, comes alive during the Taj Mahotsav.
Taj Mahotsav is a flamboyant 10-day event and long-awaited annual event that serves as a meeting point to bring together the finest Indian handicrafts and cultural creations. From February 18th, the Mahotsav is organized every year by the Uttar Pradesh Tourist Office and held in the Shilpgram. The event gives an insight into history and its diverse meanings through a potpourri of performances. Hard to miss, Taj Mahotsav is the perfect place to experience India's best arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music all under one roof. An aristocratic ensemble of 400 Indian musicians, folk artists and playwrights ensure that the event leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the audience, especially those who have a soft corner for folk and classical art. In addition to the charming artists, the Taj Mahotsav is also a unique shopping destination among all others. Buyers can shop for a variety of antiques, crafts, wood and ivory works while enjoying the appetizing kitchens.
Taj Mahotsav offers a wide range of folk music (Shayari), dance performances, camel and elephant rides, which are relatively popular with Indian and international tourists. It offers a spectacular experience and remains a major tourist attraction for the city of Agra. Every year it is celebrated with a theme that sends a message to the whole world.

Attukal Pongala Festival in Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

(February 20, 2019 / March 9, 2020)

Attukal Pongal disregards all beliefs related to caste, belief or religion. He welcomes all the women of the world to a great and huge gathering in the famous Attukal Devi Temple. Pongala literally means “boiling over” and is a ritual offering of a sweet dish, consisting of rice porridge, sweet brown molasses, coconut roast, nuts and raisins.
As one of the few festivals in the world that is only celebrated by women, it has to be seen to be believed that the Attukal Pongala Festival is overwhelming. Regardless of their beliefs, thousands of women offer pongala to appease the temple's ruling deity, goddess Attukalamma. It is a show of true devotion with devotees from all over the country and abroad taking part in the ritual. The Guinness Book of Records lists this celebration because many women come together to make this event a success.

Sufi Festival in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

(February 22nd - 24th, 2019)

A quiet breeze carries the hypnotic voices of the Sufi masters into the desert, while the magical swirls of the robes of the mystics and the dim lights transform the corridors of the Ahhichatragarh Fort into an ethereal bliss. Enjoyable music, pleasant weather, dancers swaying in a devoted trance - we welcome you to the World Sacred Spirit Festival. Between Jodhpur and Bikaner lies the ancient settlement of Nagaur, which is first mentioned in the Mahabharata. A place that offered solace to lonely wanderers and traders, it developed into a multicultural township with a rich complexity of interfaith life. Islam had arrived in India long ago with the simple message of equality in the teachings of the Sufi saints, and with greater success than the more well-known so-called "Islamic invasions".
In this long-inhabited city there are countless temples and also the dargah (final resting place of the Muslim saints) of the widely revered Haminuddin Chishti, who is around 700 years old. The sanctuaries of the saints embody the syncretism of the religious life of the masses popularized through the Sufi tradition. This Sufi mysticism is brought to life at the music festival, where voices from India and beyond are celebrated by the most talented performers in musical interpretations of the masters.
Join us on this spiritual journey that takes place in radiant Rajasthan.

Khajuraho Dance Festival in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

(February 25 - March 3, 2019 / February 25 - March 3, 2020)

The Khajuraho Dance Festival is organized by the government of Madhya Pradesh to promote the country's cultural heritage and traditional dances of India. The festival takes place in the famous temples of Khajuraho, which feature impressive architecture.
Classical dancers from all over India and around the world take part in the week-long festival against the backdrop of beautifully lit Khajuraho shrines. A variety of classical dances such as Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri and Mohniattam are performed at the festival and attract tourists from all over the world. The festival celebrates the heritage of India and is one of the most important cultural events in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
As a result, the festival has made a name for itself at various renowned dance schools around the world. The festival is an opportunity to showcase international talent and art. The festival is witnessed by tourists from abroad and gives it the culturally extravagant hue that makes it unique.

International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

(March 01 - 07, 2019 / March 01 - 07, 2020)

To celebrate yoga as a way of life, the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India, organizes the week-long International Yoga Festival.