India, the land of Festivals, is known for its rich heritage, varied traditions and languages. Owning to its large geographical area and diversity in culture, it is believed that everyday round the year there is some festival celebrated in parts of India. Each Festival has its own significance for celebration, which is considered to be a major attraction for the travellers to explore India in the best way.
Let us share 15 Fairs and Festivals from our country which should be on every travellers list
Hornbill Festival in Kohima, Nagaland
The Hornbill Festival is an annual celebration at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama near Kohima which happens in the month of December. It is also known as “Festival of Festivals” since Hornbill gives a deep insight and glimpse of culture in Nagaland. This festival in all sense is a clear window of Nagaland where many Tribes come together and celebrate their rich culture. It also showcases their art, food and music. Host of folk dances, performances, games and ceremonies go on till the evening.
Champakulam Boat Race in Kerala
Experience the uniqueness of skill and speed at Champakulam Boat race, held at River Pamba in Alappuzha Kerala in June. It is the first boat race in the season and the oldest snake boat race of Kerala. Prior to the race the participants undergo a rigorous training for several days. In the afternoon, boats from nearby regions assemble at the starting point of the race, which is later followed by a procession of participating teams and cultural shows. By late afternoon, boats of various categories like the chundan (snake boat), veppu, iruttu kuthi, churulan and others would line up for their heats leading to the final race in each category. Among the category of boats, the snake boats are the cynosure of all eyes and thus become the main attraction for the cheering thousands, especially during the final race.
Dussehra celebration in Chhattisgarh
The celebration of Dussehra in Bastar, Chhattisgarh spans over 75 days starting around August and ending at October, where Lord Rama is believed to have spent the 14 years of his exile. It is thus the longest Dussehra celebrations in the world. It involves the participation of diverse tribes and castes and involves rituals of extraordinary rigour like a girl swinging on a bed of thorns; a youth called Yogi sitting in vigil etc. One of the most awaited events is the Rath yatra. It is made new each year using tribal tools and methods and sight of 400 persons pulling a large chariot is an experience by itself. Bastar Dussehra is deeply influenced by the local myths and religious beliefs and the customs of the tribals.
Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan
Every year Pushkar in Rajasthan play host to the world’s largest camel fair in November and attracts thousands of tourist from across the world. The five day camel and livestock fair is a wonderful eye candy for the travellers who are graced with camel race, local music, exhibitions and cultural performances. Pushkar Mela also offers various rides, giant Ferris wheel, hot-air balloons, camel safari, food-stalls etc. Not to be missed is the “longest moustache” competition.
The Kumbh Mela happens every three years among one of the four sites. The Kumbh Mela sees more than a million visitors who take a holy dip in the Ganges. It also sees numerous tourists who come to get acquainted with the proceedings of this one of a kind mega event- ranging from saints, travellers to foreign tourists.
Rann Utsav in Kutch, Gujarat
Giving a glimpse inside the culture and heritage of Gujarat, the Rann Festival takes place in full bloom at the white desert of Kutch from December. During the festival the place is abuzz with tourists and tents are set up in the desert in order to experience its culture and hospitality. The days are filled with folk dances and music, adventure sports, handicrafts, food stalls, and excursions to surrounding places.
Don’t miss out on splendid Full Moon night during Rann Festival.
Sunburn in Goa
Hit Goa during December to experience the full party mood as it is the most happening place around this time. The Vagator Beach play host to Asia’s most amazing EDM (Electronic dance music) Festival called Sunburn. Spread over 3 days, the festival has multiple stages with artists playing simultaneously.
Desert Festival in Jaisalmer
A three-day long extravaganza of Folk dances, music, handicraft fairs the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is organised by Rajasthan Tourism in February. Get a glimpse of unusual competitions like ‘Mr Desert’ pageant, ‘turban-tying’ and ‘best moustache’ contest. Besides the food, the music and the cultural performances, there are camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war, which is held against the backdrop of giant held Jaisalmer fort. Fireworks displays at night light up the area, and the fort is illuminated too.
Karsha Gustor Festival in Zanskar Valley, Ladakh
Karsha Monastery, the largest monastery in Zanskar in Ladakh district, celebrates the Karsha Gustor Festival in July every year. The festival marks the victory of good over the evil. During the festival, a Black Hat Dance performance is followed by a Masked Dance performance by the monks. The masked Hat Dancers symbolizes the guardian divinities. Apart from music and dance, one gets to witness vibrant colours at the Karsha Gustor Festival.
Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha
Puri Rath Yatra is an important event which is celebrated in July every year in Puri, Odisha. Rath Yatra or Jatra is the celebration of the Lord Jagannath, who is believed to be the Lord of Universe’s journey towards his aunt’s house. Jagannath Rath Yatra is more than five thousand years old, the practice of which remained unchanged since the start. During this world renowned festival, lord Jagannatha is worshipped along with his brother lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra.
Ladakh Festival is organised by J&K Tourism board every year in September, which showcases The Ladakhi culture. The weeklong extravaganza includes processions, cultural folk dances, yak dances, and sports including archery, rafting and polo. It also has local delicacies on the display, to experience Ladakh fullest. Do not miss the Ladakh Marathon, which happens every September in Leh. The race showcases the panoramic views of the valleys and rivers which it has. The race majorly has three divisions which covers Leh, Choglamsar village and Khardung village.
Ziro Music Festival in Arunachal Pradesh
Considered to be India’s most fun outdoor music festival, Ziro festival of Music showcases the most talented musicians in the North-East. The festival takes place not far from Itanagar in the Ziro Valley, over 5500 feet above sea level surrounded from all sides by majestic misty mountain. The festival also aims to boost tourism and local music in the beautiful state. The Festival takes place in September.
Loku Festival in Arunachal Pradesh
Loku or Chalo Loku is the greatest festival of the Nocte tribe of Arunachal Pradesh which is celebrated in November. A harvest festival, Loku is celebrated with remarkable grandeur. The famous Chalo dances of the Noctes add much colour and grace to the Loku festival. It is a 3 days festival which starts with a day called Phamlamja; on this day animals like pigs and buffaloes are slaughtered for meat and the village people engage in preparations for the next day. The second day of the festival is known as Chamkatja and on this day the Noctes enable the male members of the family to become full-fledged members of the Paang (decision-making committee. Final day is called Thanlangja, and on this day villagers participate in folk dances.
Dev Deepawali in Varanasi
Called as the festival to celebrate light, Dev Deepawali in Varanasi takes place after 15 days of Diwali. It is observed on Kartik Purnima. The Ghats of Varanasi are lighten up with thousands of floating lamps and Diyas, by the devotees who come to Ghat to celebrate Deepawali. A sight in itself, this is followed by Ganga Aarti and other cultural programs.