India, as we all know, is a country of diverse culture and religion, so are its festivals. Colorful fairs and festivals are an integral part of an equally colorful India. Celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness, the fairs and festivals offer magnificent experiences to cherish forever. From the Pushkar Cattle Fair in Rajasthan to Snake Boat Race in Kerala and from Rann Utsav in Kutch to the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, a tour to India especially during this time will certainly mesmerize you with its charm.
A whole list of impressive fairs and Indian festivals is marked in the Indian calendars. Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Eid-Ul-Fitr, Pongal, Baisakhi are the various festivals in India which have great beliefs and legends associated with them, each being equally intriguing. Each festival is marked with great enthusiasm, fervor and harmony. Apart from all these, there are fairs that highlight the local culture of the land in colorful and expressive ways, emphasizing the prevailing folklore and history of the region. Here are some of the fairs and festivals in India which display pomp and magnificence on a grand scale.
Holi is considered as one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of the country. It is also sometimes called as the “festival of love” as on this day people get to unite together forgetting all resentments and all types of bad feeling towards each other. The great Indian festival lasts for a day and a night, which starts in the evening of Purnima or the Full Moon Day in the month of Falgun (February-March). The ritual starts by lighting up the bonfire one day before the day of Holi and this process symbolizes the triumph of good over the bad. On the day of Holi people play with colours with their friends and families and in evening they show love and respect to their close ones with Abeer.
Diwali, the festival of lights is indeed the most awaited and the most celebrated festivals of India. People in every nook and cranny of the country welcome the festival with enthusiastic gestures. Diwali, is generally celebrated on the full moon light, sometime in the month of Ashwin and Kartika (October or November) according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This wonderful festival is the celebration of five days. On the third day of the celebratory occasion, the key rituals of the Diwali festival take place. Lighting of Diyas and candles all around the house, worshipping the Laxmi Ganesha to summon health and wealth and bursting crackers are the chief rituals of the festival.
Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting thousands of camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days. For visitors it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan. Competitions such as ‘matka phod’, ‘longest moustache’ and ‘bridal competition’, draw a large number of people. A recent addition to this festival is the exhibition cricket match held between the Pushkar local club and a team of foreign tourists.
Paying tribute to the classical dance forms of India, Khajuraho Dance festival is a celebration of Indian heritage. Every year the UNESCO World heritage Site of Khajuraho Group of Monuments, hosts the fiesta of spectacular performing arts of India. Attend performances of classical dance forms- Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathak (North, West and Central India), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Odissi (Odisha), Manipuri (Manipur), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), and Sattriya (Assam). Watch artists perform dressed in beautiful attires with elegant expressions and intricate hand gestures to melodious beats of classical musical instruments. The dance performances narrate extracts from ancient mythological texts.
Rann Utsav, organized every year in Dhodro village in Kutch district, showcases the folk culture and colors of Gujarat. Held on the great white salt desert called Rann of Kutch, it is marked by several events that keep the visitors entertained. From stargazing to sightseeing, this festival is a unique combination of sightseeing, adventure and entertainment. Witness the lovely folk dances and music or enjoy an aerial view of the entire proceedings from above through a hot balloon ride, the options are many. One can also take away lovely souvenirs at this event, apart from other valuable items like handcrafted articles, silverware and intricate Kutch embroidery.
A very popular festival of Nagaland, often cited as “festival of all festivals”. The Hornbill Festival is a grand celebration that is brought to life each year in Nagaland, North East India. The festival is gritting in its element and a powerful representation of the Naga culture through splendid traditional music, dance and performances. The performances are perhaps extremely eye catching and demand attention. All diverse tribes in Nagaland offer their heartfelt contribution towards making the festival more vibrant and entertaining.
The annual Hornbill Festival is held for ten days, from1st – 10th December. It draws all the tribes and sub-tribes of Nagaland to the foothills below the lofty spur of towering Mount Japfü wherein lies Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – the venue of the Festival. It plays host to a weeklong medley of cultural performances, indigenous games, craft bazaar, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, events, a kids carnival, floral galleria, food courts, film festival and a series of competitions in various activities.