10 Fairs and Festivals in India you can’t miss!
India is a country which celebrates every season and occasion, a country which celebrates history, mythology and divinity just the same. Here is a list of 10 fairs/festivals/melas in India that you simply cannot miss.
1. Kumbh Mela
One of the largest peaceful religious gatherings in the world happens once every 12 years at one of the four places in India- Haridwar on the Ganges in Uttarakhand, Ujjain on the Shipra in Madhya Pradesh, Nashik on the Godavari in Maharashtra or Prayagraj at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Sarasvati in Uttar Pradesh. This Hindu pilgrimage sees tens of millions of saints, seekers, worshipers, sadhus and people from all walks of life. The most important Kumbh Mela is the Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela), that periodically falls every 144 years or after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas, and is held at Prayag. The Maha Kumbh Mela is considered very auspicious by a lot of people and is a literally once in a lifetime occasion. The Kumb Mela held in 2019 was estimated to have 150 million pilgrims.
Time to Visit: Subject to change as per the position of the stars
2. Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat
Enjoy one of the most popular and once in a lifetime experience at the white sand, the Rann Utsav in Kutch, Gujarat. Adventurous, mystical, romantic, and meditative experiences all rolled in one at the full moon night when the desert shines under the moonlight. Go for a walk, meditate, sit with your partner or simply bask in the beauty of nature at Rann Utsav. Try to book this one in advance as people from across the globe come to experience the unpolluted folk dance, music concepts, and never seen before artisans at work.
Time to Visit: Every December
3. Torgya Monastery Festival, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Torgya Monastery is a three day monastic festival celebrated in Arunachal Pradesh every year on the 28th day of the 11th month of the lunar calendar. The festival begins with recitation of the religious texts and monastic dances. The festival is celebrated to welcome prosperity and chase out evil spirits. The traditional monastic dance, chham, is performed by monks as part of the festival in addition to the rite of Yamactaka Chak Khar Zur Gurpa. Tawang Valley should be part of your domestic tour package if you love nature, mountains and breathtaking views and try to visit the place during the festival to have a deeper insight on the culture and the traditions of Torgya Monastery.
Time to Visit: Every January
4. Pushkar Fair, Pushkar, Rajasthan
The eighth lunar month (Kartik) of the Hindu calendar is considered as one of the holiest months and during this month takes place one the most exotic festivals of Rajasthan in the deserts of Pushkar, The Pushkar fair or the Pushkar camel fair. Each year approximately 200,000 people attend the fair bringing some 50,000 camels, horses and cattle. The mela or fair is galvanized with musicians, mystics, tourists, traders, animals, devotees and hundreds of photographers. The Pushakar Mela has become very popular among-st international tourists as well.
Time to Visit: Every November (the dates may change depending upon the lunar calendar)
5. Konark Dance Festival, Konark, Odisha
One of the best musical festivals of India depicting the Indian Heritage and various folk dances is not to be missed by anyone who is fond of Indian Classical music. Held in Konark, Odisha every year the festival celebrates Indian classical music in its full form. The open auditorium wakes up in lights and flutes playing in the background just at the sunset creating an atmosphere of love, divinity and magic. Besides celebrating dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Chau Dances, Kathak and others this festival also serves as a platform for performing artistes and the dance connoisseurs.
Time to Visit: Every December
6. Desert Festival, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
February comes with many festivals in India and one of them is the famous desert festival of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan held every year amidst the dunes of the Thar Desert in the Sam dunes. Activities like Camel polo, gymnastic stunts on camel back, tug-of-war, turban tying, folk music, crafts bazaar, processions from the Jaisalmer Fort, fire dance are few of the many activities that take place as a part of the festival.
Time to Visit: Every February
7. Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
Nagaland celebrates the diverse tribes and sub tribes of Nagas in the annual 10 days long Hornbill festival held in December at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama. The festival is a symphony of various cultural events, art and craft exhibitions, music events, games, motor sports, carnival, floral galleria and mouth watering food. Besides enjoying and learning about the culture of Nagland you also get to witness the beautiful views from Kisama. Every Naga is represented through their respective Morungs (male dormitories).
Time to Visit: Every December (1st-10th)
8. Khajuraho Dance Festival (Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh)
Celebrated annually at end of winter and the beginning of spring this five day dance festival at Khajuraho in Madhya Pardesh is a treat to eyes. This dance festival celebrates the Indian diversity and heritage through centuries old dance forms which include Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri. It also includes the mythological dance performances such as Shiva’s cosmic dance-the Tandava and Lord Krishna’s Rass Leela with the Gopis. These performances against the backdrop of the glorious temples of Khajuraho are a sight to see for everyone who wishes to explore the culture of Indian classical music. Also, let us not forget that The Khajuraho Group of Monuments are a UNESCO world heritage site and definitely worth a visit.
Time to Visit: February
9. Hampi Festival, Hampi, Karnataka
The Hampi festival celebrates the culture and the ancient prosperous city of Hampi through cultural dance and musical performances, carnivals, elephant safaris, puppet shows, traditional handicraft shopping markets and mouth watering food. The three day festival is celebrated in the ruins of the ancient city of Hampi. Activities like water ports, rock climbing, and rural native games have recently been included in the festival by the government to attract more tourists. Besides the festival, Hampi is a lovely site to visits and every historian or archeologist’s summer dream.
Time to Visit: Every November (dates subject to change)
10. Goa Carnival, Panjim, Goa
Consumed with vibrancy and energy, the Goa carnival is held annually in Panjim since 18th century right before the 40 days of Lent, exhibiting the colors, energy and spirit of Goa. Celebrated for three to four days, the lanes are decorated with colors, the streets are taken up by beautiful parades, and you can indulge in the delicious Goan cuisine while enjoying the various musical bands which lifts up the dullest of dull moods.
Time to Visit: Every February
Experience culture, colors, a variety of food, dance forms and go back to history by attending these beautiful festivals of India. Add any of these in your domestic tour package and you will not be disappointed.