India is a land of festivities. With hundreds of different communities living together in harmony, the country hosts one or more festivals every month. Full of colours, enhanced by rituals, and offering spectacular visuals, festivals and fairs in India reflect the Indian philosophy of joyous living and togetherness.
Among the various extravagant festivals in India, let us take a look at some of the most famous festivals in India:
1. Dev Deepavali
The auspicious day of Kartik Purnima or the first full moon in the month of November is celebrated in North India by lighting a million (yes, a million!) of oil lamps on the ghats (riverbanks) of Varanasi.
Decorated idols of deities are taken out on the street in a procession and the lamps sparkle under the starry sky at night. The sight is just unbelievable! Also known as Ganga Mahotsav (grand festival of the Ganges), Dev Deepavali is the grandest spectacle in North India.
2. Durga Puja
‘Poojo’ (the worship), as it’s adoringly called in West Bengal, Durga Puja is the grandest festival in India. The roads of Kolkata and its outskirts are lit up with decorative lights, theme-based pandals (temporary temples) are erected to show the creative might of Bengali artisans and the ten-handed idol of Goddess Durga is worshipped by an entire community.
The festival marks the celebration of feminine power and the triumph of good over evil. People from all over the world come to Kolkata to witness the idols and pandals even throughout the night. Held over the span of a week, Durga Puja is the most extravagant festival you may ever behold.
Dussehra is the last night of Navratri, the nine nights of worshipping the goddess of power. This festival is the North Indian counterpart of Durga Puja. Devotees keep fasts and celebrate the end of the festival to appease the goddess.
This grand event is marked by shooting a symbolic arrow at the head of the effigy of demon king Ravana and burning it to the ground. The Ramlila Maidan in Delhi hosts the largest fair to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
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Black words on a white screen cannot do justice to describing the colourful frenzy of Holi. The festival of colours is celebrated across India. People smear each other with colours and dance in the joy.
Originally, the festival is dedicated to commemorate the love of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. The holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, which are famous for being the birthplace of Krishna, host the best celebration of Holi with thousands of devotees and locals enjoying to their heart’s content.
5. Pushkar Camel Fair
Seven days of colourful exhibition and celebration of Rajashtani folk culture are the highlights of Pushkar Camel Fair. Pushkar is a holy city in Rajasthan and its lake is a popular pilgrimage for Hindu devotees.
This traditional carnival is famous for being the largest gathering of cattle, especially camels. Apart from trading cattle, the fair is famous for its rural Olympics, longest moustache competitions, camel race, magic shows, and cultural performances.
6. Ganesh Chaturthi
The spectacular festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is dedicated to the famous ‘elephant God’ Lord Ganesha. Communities in Mumbai worship the god’s idols and celebrate with various traditional rituals.
The highlights of this celebration are the vibrant processions of thousands of people who carry the idols to the Arabian Sea and immerse it with great joy.
7. Rath Yatra
Juggernaut – the English word has been derived from the name of Lord Jagannath. The meaning of the word juggernaut comes from the processions of huge chariots carrying the lord and his siblings amidst a sea of millions of devotees each year.
The Rath Yatra (journey of the chariots) takes place in the month of August and is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals in the world.
8. Rann Utsav
Rann is the name of the white sand desert in the state of Gujarat. From October to February, the desert is transformed into a tent city with dozens of tented complexes hosting thousands of visitors.
Cultural performances by folk singers and dancers enthral the spectators. An array of activities await the tourists including horse riding, camel riding, bird watching, traditional dances, different games, giant chess, and para-motoring.
9. Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela, dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, is where millions of devotees take the ritual dip in the holy rivers of Yamuna, Ganges, Godavari and Shipra.
The only festival that can be observed from space, the largest congregation of human kind takes place at a cycle of 12 years at four riverside pilgrimages in India.
The soulful culture of Kerala reflects itself in its festivals. Onam, the main festival of Malayalis – the natives of Kerala, is observed each year in August-September.
Boat races, tiger dances, pokkalam (colourful flower decoration), folk music and dance, and Indian martial arts – all mark the traditional festival in Kerala.
Dedicated to the Hindu sun god – Surya, the festival of Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu. Marking the end of harvest season on the winter solstice, families gather in public to make a traditional dish by boiling rice, mixing milk and jaggery with it.
The literal translation of ‘pongal’ is ‘to boil and overflow’. People from all walks of life offer prayers to the sun god at home and in temples, exchange gifts to mark a day of joy and togetherness.
Indians just need an excuse to celebrate. When one festival ends, they look forward to the next one with greater fervour. If you want to experience Indian festivals with luxury and comfort, get in touch with us.