Indian culture is so rich and varied that different colours of cultural canvass can be perceived from north to south and east to west .There are thousands of dialects and languages spoken, different crops are grown from region to region, numerous fairs and festivals of India are celebrated and being participated by the masses. India can aptly be called as a melting pot of diverse religions and cultures. Thus travel to India is not considered complete without taking part in any of these famous fairs and festivals.
Different kinds of fairs and festivals of India
In the country some religious festivals are celebrated to mark the passing of season or harvesting the crop. These can rightly termed as cultural festivals. The other religious festivals mark the important events of each religions such as Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama to his native place after being victorious, Eid-A Milad marks the birth of Prophet Mohhamad etc.
Some festivals are National festivals like the Republic Day or the Independence Day. Likewise various fairs are arranged in the country from the metro citiesto the isolated parts of the country and the tribal dominated areas These fairs and festivals provide an opportunity to freak out. Thus they are like the comic interlude in the dreary life of an inhabitant.
Why do people celebrate fairs and festivals?
People celebrate festivals to fret out the weariness of day to day life and to get revitalized . Besides on account of religious believes and national events , people celebrate these festivals.Similarly they part in fairs to enjoy with the family and to shop the usables.
Holiday Calendar 2022
|09||Sunday||Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti|
|14||Friday – Monday, 17 Jan||Pongal|
|18||Friday – Sunday, 20 March||Hola Mohalla|
|02||Saturday – Monday, April 11||Chaitra Navratri Begins|
|14||Thursday||BR Ambedkar Jayanti|
|02||Monday – Tuesday, 03 May||Eid-Ul-Fitr, Ramadan Ends|
|09||Saturday – Sunday, 10 July||Eid ul-Adha|
|31||Sunday||Hariyali Teej (Shravan Teej or Choti Teej)|
|19||Friday||Sri Krishna Janmashtami|
|19||Friday||Parkash Guru Granth Sahib Ji|
|01||Saturday||Durga Puja Begins|
|02||Sunday||Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti|
|05||Wednesday||Dussehra, Durga Visarjan|
|28||Friday||Chhath Puja Begins (Nahai Khai)|
|31||Monday||Chhath Puja Ends (Suryodaya Argh)|
|8||Tuesday||Guru Nanak Jayanti|
Diwali Festival- This festival is celebrated across India with great religious fervor. Normally this festival falls in the month of either October or November. This is celebrated twenty days later the Dusshera festival. This is otherwise known as the festival of lights.
Holi Festival—Holi is the festival of spring in which the group of merrymakers spray colored powder[aveer] on each other in a atmosphere of exuberance This festival is celebrated across North India where social barrriers are let down and all embrace each other The festival normally falls by the end of February or the beginning of March. The Holi of Mathura is known all over the world and lots of people annually come to participate in the famed Lathmar Holi of Barsana.
Durga Puja is dedicated to the worship of mother goddess Kolkata in the West Bengal comes alive during the eve of Durga Puja.Grand pandals are pitched and the idol of Durga Ma is placed in each of them . Now besides Bengal this tradition is prevalent in different other cities of India. In Kolkata durga pandals vie with each other and puja in each of them is offered for nine consecutive days. On the tenth day of the celebration the idols of the goddess are taken to the river for submerging into the river water. Presently in some cities in India just to fight with the problem of pollution the local administration arranges for the nearby place close to the river or the lake.
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This great festival of India is celebrated by the end of September or in October every year. During this time Ramlilas are arranged in various parts of India. This festival starts with Navratri and ends on the tenth day- with the burning of the effigies of Ravan. Accordings to the legends Lord Ram killed the demon Ravan for goodness. If you are doing Agra Jaipur tour, you can take part in Dusshera Mela .Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is well known for Dusshera.
Modhera Dance Festival
This famous festival was once known as Uttarardha Mahotsav. The venue of this festival is the renowned Modhera Sun Temple. This event provides a great spectacle of beauty combined with heritage and tradition of the region to the audience . This festival incorporates many local rituals and legendary story narration.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
This festival celebrated in the arid region of Jaisalmer is best known for its local performances of dance, jugglery , folk songs and local customs . In the fair you can buy local handicrafts , paintings ,camel leather goods and you can involve in the game of puppetry,camel safari etc. you also get the chance to savour the local delicacies.
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Vasant Panchmi – This festival is linked with the worship of goddess Saraswati. The Hindus celebrate it across the North India. This usually falls in January or February months. This festival has special significance to the followers of Radha Swami sect as the initiator of this belief was born on Vasant Panchami. Thus Vasant in Dayalbagh AGRA is celebrated with much fervor.
Baisakhi-This is aspring festival of Punjab and is celebrated with great gusto alongwith the folk dances. This festival is aharvest festival and signifies the founding of Khalsa of Sikh religion. The festival normally falls in March or April.
India is an agriculturist nation most of the festivals celebrated in India has links with agriculture profession. Holi, Diwali, Lohri, Onam are all related with agriculture, these festivals are rejoiced only when the new crops are harvested and people have money. A festival celebrated in the land of five rivers “The Punjab” has pronounced relation with profession of majority of Punjabis. Punjabi the grain bowl of India, wheat being the main rabi crop which is harvested in the month of April, this is the time when the standing crop of wheat in the Punjab fields is ripe and ready to be harvested. The farmer is elated watching his ripe crop, as a manifestation of this happiness fairs are organized and festival of Baisakhi is celebrated. The agriculturist starts their harvest after enjoying the festival of Baisakhi. In older times harvest was a long and arduous procedure. Manually the crops were cut and no machines were used to harvest the food grains from the crop.
Month together were spent and finally the crop was sold in the market nowadays in few days hundreds of acres of standing crop can be harvested using modern technology. Every village in Punjab had the Baisakhi fairs where the youth got rejuvenated for the tough job of crop harvest, the women also went to the Baisakhi melas enjoying the fare, dances, festive mood and the sweets, children looked forward and waited for a long time for the Baisakhi festival as they could enjoy the joy rides and could buy their favorite toys from the Baisakhi mela. The melas had the dance troupes performing Bhangra and Giddha while the fair also had the wrestling matches as a star attraction, famous wrestlers were called and people were entertained by the bouts of wrestlers. Kabaddi matches were held even now the villages have kabaddi tournament at the occasion of Baisakhi.
On the occasion of Baiskahi IN 1699 the devotees and disciples of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth master of Sikhs collected in large numbers at Anandpur sahib. These congregations were a regular affair so disciples came from far and wide. Amidst the large congregation of devotees Guru sahib came to the dias with a sword in hand and said today he required a head as an offering to the swordfrom his devotees, listening to the call there was a pin drop silence, one of the disciples “Dayaram” who was a resident of Lahore stood up and offered himself Guru took him into the canopy, after a while Guruji again came back and again asked he needed another head there was silence, now Dharam Singh a resident of Hastinapur stood up and offered himself like wise Guruji took five disciples inside the canopy. Then he came in to open with all five disciples.Guru Gobind Singh announced that these were the Khalsa and a new creed has been born. Guru ji himself became baptized from the hands of the blessed five. This was the birth of khalsa- at a place in Anandpur sahib on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. The Sikhs celebrate the Baisakhi as the birthday of Khalsa.
Lohri – The festival of Lohri is a very famous festival of Punjabi people, the amazing aspect of this festival is that it is not associated with any particular religion. Abdulla Bhatti is a famous character from the times of King Akbar it is said Abdulla Bhatti rebelled against the Mughal Empire. The local Punjabi people from the Punjab supported their brother Dulla who according to them was on righteous path, he was a kind of Punjabi Robinhood a savior of poor and down trodden. Dulla Bhatti a muslim by birth saved two Brahmin girls Sundri and Mundri and assisted their marriage .The local people get around a bon fire on the Lohri night and sing songs of the valour of Dulla Bhatti “sunder Mundariye tera kaun bechara Dulla Bhatti Wala”.
The Lohri falls a day before Makar Sankranti in which the sun is said to enter the Makar Rashi, the days start getting longer and the temperatures starts moving up in north India, the people get respite from the cold winters. As the days are longer and more sunlight is available the farm produce grows rapidly so this is the time to rejoice. The young children move across Punjabi villages asking for Lohri singing “De maai lohri teri jeeve jori”. The villagers donate popcorns, peanuts and cow dung cakes for the bon fire. As the night looms the large bon fires are organized and people gather around the fire sing Lohri songs offer black sesame seeds, popcorn, peanuts to the fire and pray for their families and good fortune.
The families who recently had son’s marriage in the family or where a male child has been born are known to celebrate Lohri with a special fervor- They organize a party of their near and dear ones, collect around the bonfire thus the night is spend dancing and merry making.
What is the significance of Pongal?
It is a major crop festival of South India . Indian society being agrarian more than ninety percent population of the country dwells in the countryside .Pongal is a four days crop festival and is celebrated on 15 th January every year. The first day celebration is called Bhog Pongal and reserved for family. The second day is dedicated to the Sun god and is known as Surya Pongal. The third day is known as Mattu Pongal and is dedicated to the cattle The last day is for the birds . People normally paint their houses and doorways are coloured with vermillion All over the state bull fights known as Jalikattus are arranged.
Goa is well known for its party feelings and festivities This festival pof Goa Carnival is an exllent opportunity to feel the local culture of Goa as a tourist It goes on for a time period of 3 days Major attraction of this carnival is the large parade which happens in all major regions of Goa such as Panjim , Mapusa, Margaon . You can witness the stalls full with the souveniers and other gift items .
This carnival tradition was brought to Goa by the Portguese nearly 500 years ago . There is no entry fee to this carnival and this is a fusion of music , dance and entertainment .The parade moves through the main streets of Panji . The festival ends with the red and black dance in which men and women are seen dancing clad in red coloured upper garments and the lower garments in black colours.
The most famous festival of Kerala is Onam in which the magnificent boat races are arranged and the boatmen compete with the other boatman and show their skills of rowing .thousands of spectators witness these events and cheer up the boatmen. Besides this lots of kerela temples are the venue of temple fairs in which these a procession of caparisoned elephants . inside the temples premises many classical dances are arranged for the common folks.
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Trirurkara Festival in Kerala
Kerala has a series of beautiful temples besides its magnificent landscape. These temples, backwaters and scenic beauty allure the tourists. Trirurkara temple is located in Kottayam and has its famous tradition of holding a fair on 23rd March every year. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a famous Pilgrimage for Shaivites. Within the temple the performers give presentation of Mayilattam or peacock dance. In this dance the performers are clad in the attire of a peacock from tip toe. peacock plums and beaks are also fixed with the costumes and operated by the strings like in the case of a puppet show. Many stalls are set up which engage in selling and promoting the products among the common folk.
Bikaner Camel Festival
Get bewildered by witnessing the glorious traditions of desert city Rajasthan – Bikaner by joining the camel festival. This animal festival starts on 12th January and ends on 13th January. This festival arranged by department of tourism showcases the typical Rajasthani culture. You can enjoy musical concerts, puppets show, camel race and dance. You also get a chance to savor Rajasthani delicacies and buying local artifacts.
Bateshwar Cattle Fair
Bateshwar is famous for having more than 100 Shiva temples on the bank of Yamuna River. This place also has a jaina tirtha known as Shauripur close to it. Besides the religious significance this place holds the largest cattle fair of Uttar Pradesh close to Diwali celebration. If you plan for Agra tour during this time you can visit the fair at Bateshwar. This is the birth place of late Prime Minister of India – Atal Bihari Bajpai.
Rann Utsav Kutch
The great Rann of Kutch is famous is for being the biggest salt desert is the world. One must borrow the Gargantua’s mouth to narrate the beauty and cultural significance of the Rann festival. It is going to be celebrated from 1st December’2020 and will end 28th Feb ’2021.
This mega event of Gujrat tourism drags the tourists across the globe. This festival provides a great spectacle of the cultural, musical and royal traditions of Gujrat State. It is located nearly 90kms from Bhuj district. Near a village named Dhorda a tent city is setup and this sprawls in an area of 5000000 sq meters. These tents range from budget to the luxury way.
This is one of the largest fair of India and starts in November at Pushkar in Ajmer tourist from India and overseas come to attend this camel fair. They also have a holy dip in the Brahma Sarovar and visit the only temple of Lord Brahma which is nearly 2000 years old.
How Pushkar is named?
The legends believe that once Lord Brahma dropped a lotus flower from hand and the place where this flower dropped down, a lake was formed. Thus the nomenclature of Pushkar was done pushp means flower and kar means hand. The 14 days cattle fair of Pushkar is also known as kartik Mela. Besides camels a large number of horses, oxen sheep and other cattle are sold and purchased.
Nehru trophy Boat Race
This is a mega event of kerala and has its old name as Vallam kali. Thus boat race is done in the water of Punna Mada Kayal of Alappuzha every year of second saturday of August. The main attraction of this boat race is the competetion of the Chundan Vallams or the snake boats when these boats hold more than 1o0 rowers , having snake designs. Normally this festival is celebrated on the second week of August.
Taj Mahotsav, Agra
This is an annual cultural which is celebrated in the lap of the Taj Mahal India every year from 18th Feb to 27th Feb. This is a unique crafts and cultural festival which gives you the opportunity to buy the souvenir and besides you can enjoy the like performers of the artists and savour the local food.
Sonepur Mela is considered the largest castle fair of the world and goes on nearly one month from 30 November to 30 December every year. This Mela is also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela and is held at Sonepur in Bihar on the eve of Kartik poornima. This fair is blend of castle shopping and spirituality. According to the legends the history of Mela dates back to the Maurayan era when Chandragupta and Bindusar used to come and buy the best quality of elephants and horses for their army.
Mythology with Sonepur Mela
It is considered that the Somepur Mela is held to commemorate the incident of the fight between Gaj and Grah. As per the legends there happened a fierce battle of Gaj (Elephant) with the Grah(crocodile) while the elephant was going to drink water. Lord Vishnu as savior helped the victim elephant and saved his life.
Khajuraho Dance Festival
Kajuraho is well known for it’s famous erotic temples and falls in Madhya Paradesh. Since 20th to 26 Feb this dance festival is celebrated at Chitagupta and Vishwanath temples. Various renowned classical dancers from India come to participate this event which is arranged by Kala Pathar. This mega event has attended international coverage and fame in the recent years .
Teej is the monsoon festival celebrated mostly in northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP. It occurs on the third day after the full moon night in the Bhadon month of the vikrami calendar, in Gregorian calendar it usually falls in July- August. This is the time when the monsoons are in full vigour the greenery compels you to celebrate so the ladies enjoy the season, they come together arrange swings sing together apply henna.
In religious parlance the teez is dedicated to Lord Shiva and parvati the women fast and pray to Goddess Parvati for well being and long life of their husbands. According to folk lore it was on this day Lord Shiva accepted Parvati as his wife.
The married girls in Haryana Punjab come back to their father’s home in this month and all the married women of the village collect at a particular place where huge trees are used to tie swings. The women sing songs enjoy themselves perform Giddha on the occasion of Teej. The married women receive gifts from father’s side on the occasion of teej, the “Sindhara” or the Teej gift usually contains bangles, beauty products , sweets, new dresses etc.
A festival celebrated just after the most famous festival of India-Diwali specially in areas of Bihar, Jharkhand and Nepal. In areas of North India where we have millions of Bihari labour working we can experience the importance of Chatt festival as the trains leading to Bihar in these days are all Jam Packed there is absolutely no room and people travel paying no heed to any security consideration.
This festival goes on for four days and it culminates on the sixth day of the lunar date after the no moon night of October –November (Kartik Month of Hindu calendar), This festival is primarily related to the lord surya or the sun god. Fasting not even accepting a drop of water, standing in water and offering the offerings to sun god and chatt maiya or the mother goddess is what chatt festival is all about. The all four days have different rituals to be solemnized. The final day of the chatt is most famous as large crowds gather on the river banks and offer Arghya to the sun god. Women decked with vermilion right up to their nose tips also participate in the fasting and the offering. This is the most important festival of Bihar.