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  • Events & Festivals in India

    With many Events, Festivals and Fairs happening thoroughout the year in different states of India you can plan your tour. You will find all the information regarding the popular Festivals & Fairs in month and state wise to assist you to plan it.

    Popular Festivals

    India's most spectacular festival & one which marks the end of the season that opens with Dussehra, Diwali is also called the festival of lights as people illuminate their homes at night with garlands of lit candle or oil-lamps with fireworks being a major attraction. Diwali means many things to many people.

    PONGAL (January)
    A festival unique to the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the harvest festival. The cow is worshipped as the central theme of the celebration, homes are decorated with flowers & various jaggery-based sweets prepared.

    ID UL FITR or RAMZAN ID (February)
    An all India festivity celebrated among the Muslim community to mark the end of Ramzan month. Apudding, called "sevaiyan", is made.

    VASANT PANCHAMI (February)
    The onset of spring is celebrated in February with characteristic verve all over the country especially in Northern India. With the mustard folwers in bloom, it seems most appropriate that people dress in yellow.

    GOA CARNIVAL (February-March)
    A truly Goan celebration with a Portuguese flavour featuring continuous singing, dancing, loud music, lots to eat, floats and processions. This marks the period February-March before the beginning of the austerities of Lent.

    SHIVRATRI (March)
    The birth anniversary of Shiva, the Lord of Destruction, is celebrated all over the country with the god being propitiated in temples. People fast throughout the day & ritual prayers are conducted in temples at night.

    HOLI (March)
    The triumph of good over evil is celebrated at this unusual festival in March when during the first half of the day people throw coloured powders & water at each other. It is also traditionally the day when the hand of peace is extended to everyone & is especially loved by childern.

    GANGAUR (March)
    Chiefly celebrated in Rajasthan it marks the quest for marital happiness among women who pray to Parvati. On this day they carry idols of Shiva & Parvati through the streets while marching in gay processions.

    RAM NAVMI (April)
    Ram, the Hindu religion's most popular god, an incarnation of Vishnu, was born on this day in April & the event is traditionally celebrated in temples. People observe this day by fasting.

    ID UL ZUHA or BAKR ID (April)
    Muslim festivities are celebrated throughout the country. This day commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim who offered his sons to god, & whose death was replaced by that of goats sent by the Angel Gabriel. A procession of tazias is taken out of the city on this occasion.

    RATH YATRA at Puri (July)
    A monumental festival held in July at Puri, Orrisa (a similar, smaller but equally impressive celebration is held at Mahesh, Bengal) that commemorates the journey of Lord Jagannath from his temple to his summer retreat & back. The Jagannath (Krishna) idol is pulled in a giant wodden chariot that is pulled by hundreds of thousands of people participating in the festivities. The word 'juggernaut' is a corruption of the word Jagannath indicating the massive scale of this festival.

    ONAM (September)
    Celebrated in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu, with decorated swings, flower decoration, motifs & a celebratory-style cuisine, Onam is the time to visit these states. Processions of caparisoned elephants & snakeboat races add a mark to southern festivity.

    LADAKH FESTIVAL (September 1-15)
    Ladakh. Nestled in the Western Himalayas where a confluence of cultures -- Central Asian, Tibetan, North Indian etc. meet. From 1st to 15th of September, its traditional sports (Polo & Archery), its folk dances & songs, its age - old social & cultural ceremonies, its art & handicrafts .... are all going to come alive in a colourful Kaleidoscope called ... The Ladakh Festival" to be held in the towns & villages of the two Districts of the region, Leh & Kargil.

    RAKHI (August)
    An ancient tradition celebrated in August when sisters tie silk or brocade threads on their brothers wrists as sign of their affection. In ancient times this also marrked the protection of brother for his sister.

    JANMASHTAMI (August)
    Lord Krishna is looked upon as a folk hero, and has always been regarded as being especially close to the common people with his childhood pranks of stealing butter & milk & casanova-like flirtations in his teenage years. His birth anniversary which is celebrated in August all over the country with temple festivities & the announcement of his birth at midnight which has his devotees rocking his cradle.

    GANESH CHATURTHI (September)
    The birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is joyous occasion for the entire country. Festivities in September are particulary marked in Bombay where during the immersion ceremony (when the idol is floated in the sea) traffic comes to a standstill. In Pune, a special three-day long tourist festival is organised. The festivities in South India boast their own distinctive, regional flavour.

    DUSSEHRA (October)
    Celebrated all over India, Dussehra marks the victory of Ram over Ravana, & the rescue of his wife Sita. All institutions are closed for the days of the festival. In North India gigantic effigies of the ten-headed Ravana & his brothers are set aflame with a bursting of crackers. Fairs are usually held on this occasion with lots to eat, buy & enjoy.

    DURGA PUJA (September -October)What Dussehra is to the rest of the country, Durga Puja is to Bengal. Celebrated at the same time. This occasion commemorates the homecoming of the Goddess Durga. Her return home is marked by the immersion of her idols in running water.

    Popular Fairs

    Kerala's backwaters are the picturesque setting for snake-boat races held in the second week of August. This annual event is very attractive for oarsmen who practise round all year. The prestigious Nehru Trophy is presented on this occasion. Spectators lucky enough to gain a ringside view will love the spectacle.

    PUSHKAR FAIR (September-October)
    The largest camel trading fair in the world is held in this small town in Rajasthan which manages to attract world attention during this three day period. Women participate in the religious festivities associated with this event, praying at India's sole temple dedicated to the god Brahma, & taking a holy dip in the waters of the Pushkar Lake. There is a great deal of commerce & trading in arts & crafts & families gather here exchanging gossip as well as reaching matrimonial prospects. The fair has been held for as long as anyone can remember & the scene is evocative of biblical times. Special accommodation & activities for tourists are organised for this fair.

    NAGAUR FAIR (January)
    A major camel & cattle trading fair held in Nagaur, Rajasthan. This is a trading event with cattle & camels being sold or bought. The campfire evenings are an extremely exciting component. Traditionally, women do not participate.

    SURAJKUND CRAFTS MELA (1st- 15th February)
    The heritage & skill of the Indian craft world is highlighted during this pageant where visitors can watch award-winning crafts-men at work & pruchase directly form them. Held at Surajkund, Haryana, close to Delhi, it features ethnic dining, evening cultural programmes & a fashion show.

    KUMBH MELA (April-May)
    Traditionally celebrated every 12 years, it is commemorated annually, usually on the banks of the Ganga & other holy rivers where large numbers of sadhus (holy men) gather. A dip in the river during this period is considered very auspicious. You can enjoy major festivities at Allahabad.

    National Celebrations

    REPUBLIC DAY (26 January)
    The anniversary of attaining Republic-hood, in 1950, is celebrated nation wide with official pomp and grandeur. All state capitals parade the nation's cultural and military wealth, among other things.

    INDEPENDENCE DAY (15 August)
    As a reminder that the country was under foreign rule just about half a century back, Independence Day is marked by a number of patriotic events all over the country, all celebrating the spirit of freedom

    The birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. Celebrated as a National Holiday. All banks and government offices are closed on this day.

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