Fairs and Festivals in India | Fairs in India | Festivals Tours

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A country of many climates, many languages and many beliefs, Indians are constantly celebrating a festival or a fair. Some mark the passing of seasons; there are six seasons and each one is ushered with festivities in different ways in the many parts of India. Local faiths being many - festivals in India are many too. The land being ancient - old customs, traditions continue to be followed and culminate in celebrations of varied order. The varied fairs and festivals of India add color and integrity to this beautiful land of culture. More

Its' people speak a total of 1,652 dialects and has 15 officially recognized languages with a cuisine that undergoes changes every 200 km. Lifestyles and customs vary every few hundred kms. Each state promotes its tourist wonders. It has myriad festivals, in rhythm with the cycle of the seasons, with sowings and harvesting. Elsewhere, around them have grown legends most depicting the victory of good over evil. Before Independence, many persons counted their age or an important event in their lives connecting them with particular festivals during their birth years! These were the punctuation marks in the story of their life.

Fairs are the focal point of socio, economic activities and attract people from far and near - a camel to be sold – like the Pushkar camel cattle fair, a land deal to be negotiated, a marriage to be fixed- a meeting place is necessary & fairs are ideal!

Two cycles of the moon per month, 365 days in a year - there is a fair, a festival in some isolated corner, perhaps unnoticed elsewhere - all the same a celebration! Some of these functions make a pleasant interlude for visitors who chance upon them, while others are worth the effort of a special trip!

The Indian calendar is a long procession of festivals in India; if you can find yourself in the right place at the right time; it is possible to go through your visit with a festival each day! Pongal, the harvest festival of the South India the immersion of Ganesh in Mumbai, Ratha Yatra, the car festival of Puri, snake-boat races in Kerala, Republic Day celebrated in Delhi & all the regions, every faith has something to celebrate. Let us look at them month wise. Less

Amarnath Yatra
Destination: Kashmir

Duration: 1 Jul 2024 - 19 Aug 2024

In the month of Shravan, thousands of pilgrims make an arduous trek up to the Amarnath cave in the Kashmir Himalayas. They come to worship the sacred ice Lingam – a symbol of Lord Shiva, which is a natural phenomenon.

The legend about the importance of Amarnath ji cave is chosen by Bhole Shankar for narrating the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe to Maa Parvati Ji. The story goes like this. Centuries ago Maa Parvati Shiv Ji to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Bhole Shankar replied whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Maa Parvati said, "My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are immortal. Please let me know the secret of this. "Bhole Shankar replied that it is due to Amar Katha.

When to take up Yatra: The Amarnath Yatra is organized every year and the registration is done by the J&K Govt. during the month of Sharavan July the dates however, vary every year looking at the weather conditions and according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sharavan (Vikrama Samwat). Yatra to Baba Amarnath Holy Cave for which one has to trek a height of about 14500 Ft. is full of thrill and joy.

Baisakhi - Harvest Festival
Destination: North India

Duration: 13 Apr 2024

An important day for the Sikh community, Baisakhi is of special significance, when their tenth teacher, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa sect. It also marks the beginning of the solar New Year for the Hindus. There is a lot of feasting, dancing and jubilation especially all over north India particularly Punjab on April 13. The Hindu New Year finds expression in these exuberant festivals. Baisakhi celebrations in Punjab are spectacular, as this is a very special day for the Sikhs. It was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa. Robust revelry and feasting mark the celebrations and dancers perform the vigorous Bhangra to the rhythmic beat of the drums.

In Kerala, the festival is known as Vishnu. ‘Vishu Kani’ – a display of grain, fruit, flowers, gold, new cloth and money, is viewed early in the morning to ensure a prosperous year ahead. Firework displays and the buying of New clothes are a part of the festivities.

Known as Rangali Bihu in Assam, the festivals is celebrated with lively dances, music and feasting.

Baneshwar Fair
Destination: Dungarpur (Rajasthan)

Duration: 20 Feb 2024 - 24 Feb 2024

The name Baneshwar is derived from the revered Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev Temple in Dungarpur.”Baneshwar” means; the master of the delta in the local vagdi language and this name was given to the Shiva Linga. The Baneshwar fair is held at small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadasi to Magh Shukla Pornima.
A religious festival with simple and traditional rituals, this fair is the centre of attraction of a large number of tribal’s from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who join their brethren from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva. On Magh Shukla Ekadasi, the priest called the Mathadish arrives at the fair site from Sabla, in huge procession. A 16 cms Silver Image of Msbji on horseback is also brought here.
The Baneshwar fair in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs: one which used to be held in honors of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The Baneshwar fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils. They revere Baneshwar Mahadev as well as Mavji. The majority of the gathering is from the districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara.
Two disciples of Mavji named Aje and Vaje built the Lakshmi Narayana temple near the confluence of rivers Som and Mahi. The pran-pratishtha ceremony of the idols was performed on Magh Shukla Ekadashi and since then, the fair is held on this day.
The priest called the Mathadish arrives at the fair site from Sabha, in huge procession. A 16 cms silver image of Mavji on horseback is also brought here. The river water supposedly becomes holier when the Mathadish takes a bath. Prayers are offered five times a day in the temples of Lakshmi-Narayana and Brahma. Brass gongs are struck at the time of aarti. During the fair, aarti of Mathadish is also performed and Raslila takes place at night in the Lakshmi Narayana temple.
The fair site is at a distance of 6.5 kms from Sabla, a village on the Udaipur-Banswar-Dungarpur route which is at distance of 123 kms from Udaipur, 53 kms from Banswara, 45 kms from Dungarpur and 22 kms from Aspur, the Tehsil headquarters. On normal days, one has to reach Sabla from Baneshwar on foot or on private carts. However, buses go left up to the bank of the river Som during the fair.

Bikaner Camel Festival
Destination: Bikaner (Rajasthan)

Duration: 13 Jan 2024

A festival where the hardy ships of the desert are seen at their best a colorful spectacle the beautifully decorated camels fascinate the onlookers with their languid charm and grace. A celebration of joyous music, the precession of the Camel Corps is the highlight of the festival. The Camel Festival begins with a colorful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance & acrobatics, etc. The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their trainers. Bridal, bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands cast a magical spell. The evenings close with a different tenor and tempo altogether: a traditional rendezvous of renowned artistes of Rajasthan & the local folk performers. The jubilant skirt-swirling dancers, the awe inspiring fire dance & the dazzling fireworks light up the fortified desert city of Bikaner.

Destination: Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Duration: 4 Oct 2024 - 12 Oct 2024

Tirumala Brahmotsavam is a Hindu festival celebrated annually at Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. According to Hindu mythology the history behind this Festival traces to Lord Brahma (Creator of universe). It is believed that Lord Brahma worshipped Sri Balaji on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati. Lord Brahma wanted to thank Sri Balaji for Balaji’s protection of mankind.

Thousands of devotees every year gather to witness this grand Festival, participate in the rituals, and receive the blessings of Sri Venkateswara swami. The complete 9 day Festival is a memorable experience for all tourists and devotees. The feeling of complete bliss and heavenly connect is often termed as “Vaikunth anubhav”.

On the first day of the Festival Garudadhwaja (flag with the emblem of a black garuda) is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham. A procession then proceeds of Lord Venkateswara on the Pedda Seshavahana proceeds around four streets of the main temple for two hours until midnight.Ankurarpana and Senadhipati Utsavam are celebrated on the day just before the first day of Brahmotsavam. In the Brahmotsav celebrations, the powerful snake transforms itself as the vehicle for god. The moral behind the prayers that are offered during Garodtsav, is to pray to God for a living with high values and morals.

Braj Mahotsav
Destination: Bharatpur (Rajasthan)

Duration: 19 Mar 2024 - 20 Mar 2024

The Brij Festival takes place a few days before Holi, (the festival of colors) in the month of March. Held in honour of Lord Krishna, this festival is marked by verve and zest. Villagers, in gay, multihued attire, can be seen singing and performing the Raslila dance (dance depicting the immortal love-story of Radha and Krishna).
All of Bharatpur echoes the sound of folk melodies on this festival held on the eve of Holi. The spirit of this festival touches men and women, young and old, rich and poor-all. Boisterous revelers spare no one during this festival and delight in splashing colour on everyone around.
Bharatpur is situated on the Delhi - Mumbai main railway line and also on National Highway no. 11. The nearest airport is in Agra 56 kms.

Buddha Purnima - Buddha Birthday
Destination: All Over India

Duration: 23 May 2024

Buddha Poornima, which falls on the full moon night in the month of Vaisakha (either in April or May), commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, founder of Buddhism. Notwithstanding the summer heat (the temperature routinely touches 45 degrees C), pilgrims come from all over the world to Bodh Gaya to attend the Buddha Poornima celebrations. The day is marked with prayer meets, sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, religious discourses, continuous recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, worship of the statue of Buddha. The Mahabodhi Temple wears a festive look and is decorated with colourful flags and flowers. The Chinese scholar, Fa-Hien has recorded celebration of this festival.

He attained Supreme Enlighten or Buddha hood, beneath the Bodhi-tree at Boddha Gaya. Forty-five years later at the age of eighty, he finally passed away in Parinivana on the same day of the year at Kushinagar. Vaisaka Purnima is celebrated especially in Boddha Gaya, Lumbini and in Kushinara as they are the holy places that were connected with the blessed ones birth, enlighten and the Parinirvana. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Japan and quite a number of western Buddhists participate 'Vaisaka' Purnima Day religious activities in a festive mood. Sarnath the capital of Buddhism too celebrates Vaisaka Purnima day in a grand way.

Bundi Utsav
Destination: Bundi, Rajasthan

Duration: 18 Nov 2024 - 20 Nov 2024

This annual function at Bundi is celebrated in the month of November/December. The city virtually comes alive to festivities with several cultural performances by well-known artists.
Sir Rudyard Kipling's destination Bundi in Rajasthan is the first destination, in the Hadoti region (named after the Hada kings) comprising of Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota and Baran that is accessible from Jaipur by road. Set in a narrow encircling gorge, the palaces and fortress of Bundi have a fairy tale like quality about them. Few other places in India have such a picturesque location. Isolated and independent, the entire township appears like a miniature painting, frozen in time. The ethereal beauty and grandeur of Bundi architecture is vividly brought out in the “Palaces of India”. ”The rulers who built these palaces must have had terrific egos, a great sense of style and humour.” The little town once famous for its Baories (reservoirs) and miniature paintings attract the traveler and from the highway it seemed as if the city itself was a miniature painting frozen in time.
The Chambal river, flowing through rock gorges and forests, provides ideal locales for the perfect water adventure. The exotic landscape of the Chambal dominated Bundi district of the Hadoti region is so diverse and challenging that it captivates numerous adventure lover's to its surroundings. The ravines, different from the arid ambience have always attracted the wanderer as a fascinating destination. The zone with the lush green widespread jungles, the vast stretches of forests and wildlife, the sprawling rocks and ravines makes it a paradise for adventure lovers.
Bundi is one of the few places in India which can lay its claim to an authentic school of painting. The splendid paintings in the Chitrashala in the Bundi fort are excellent and can be compared with probably the best anywhere in the world. Kipling had commented “The Taragarh Fort must have been built by goblins not men". The Bundi Palace, built of locally quarried stone, presents one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Intricately carved brackets, pillars and balconies and sculpted elephants are used liberally. Of special interest here are the Diwan-I-Am, Hathi Pol and the Naubat Khana. Also located in the palace is the famous Chitrashala which provides a colorful glimpse of history - the walls and ceiling of this palace are completely covered with paintings of the Bundi school. Hunting and court scenes, festivals, processions, animal and bird life and scenes from Lord Krishna’s life are still in very good condition.
Bundi has other palaces and hunting lodges like the Ramgarh and Shikar Burj. Each palace has its own historical importance. Phool Sagar houses a collection of murals: done by the Italian prisoners of war who were held here; Sukh Mahal Palace evokes memories of Rudyard Kipling who not only stayed here but is believed to have found inspiration for his famous work Kim from the scenes that he saw here. Bundi is also known for its baolis or step-wells. Unique to Rajasthan and Gujarat, the step-wells served as water reservoirs during the months of summer when there was a scarcity of drinking water. At one time, there were over fifty such wells in Bundi but most of them have suffered the ravages of time. One very good example still to be found in the heart of the town is called Raniji-ki-Baori. It has exquisitely carved pillars and ornate archways - even the simple function of drawing water from the well becomes a special occasion for the womenfolk, when they dress up in their finery to visit these elaborate structures.
"Bundi Utsav", a pageant of resplendent heritage of the much esteemed Hadoti has made the place even more famous. An extraordinary effort to present the culture ,folklore ,traditions and craft of the region along with the artistes from the adjoining areas for the guests to see and believe in the treasure that lies ahead to explore and savour. The programme includes: a colorful Shobha Yatra , Arts & Crafts Fair, Ethnic Sports, Cultural exhibition ,DEEP DAAN ,Folk/Classical Music & Dance Programmes, Sight Seeing, Traditional Rural Sports, Turban competition, Bridal Attire, Musical Band Competition, Folk /Classical Music & Dance programme & sparkling fireworks display etc. The small township of nearby Keshorai Patan wears the look of a little 'Pushkar' on the night of the full moon in the month of Kartika. Early in the morning, the banks of the river Chambal witness a colorful scene of men and women, clad in fantastic costumes mirrored in the crystal clear waters of the river. Women float lighted diyas (lamps prepared by them from flour dough), into the river and seek boons with prayers. The temple and the scenic beauty arrest the attention of visitors and speak of its grandeur and glory in silence.
The historic city Keshorai Patan is set ablaze with the scintillating cultural displays in the soft caress of the moonlight during the annual Bundi Utsav due soon. The soft silver deluge flooding the banks of the auspicious chambal presenting an exotic setting for the aspiring tourist. The villagers dress up to exhibit the folklore and the beautiful season once again rises up to greet yet another festive moment Keshorai patan is also known as the "Mini Pushkar” of Hadoti .

How to reach: Bundi is around 210 km by road from Jaipur and about 110 kms from Sawai Madhopur. Kota is connected on the broad gauge railway line on the Delhi-Mumbai route. Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar are all easily accessible by road from Kota. Nearest airport is Jaipur. The post monsoon period and the winter season are the best time to visit this destination.

Champakulam Boat Race
Destination: Alleppey, Kerala

Duration: 22 Jun 2024

Champakulam Boat Race is held every year at the Champakulam Lake in Alappuzha, Kerala. This is the first boat race of the harvest season of the state. The race is organized in the Malayalam month Midhunam on the moolam day, the day of the installation of the deity at the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. Champakkulam Boat Race is the most popular and oldest snake boat race of Kerala. This race is associated with a legend. On the advice of a royal priest, Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri built a temple at Ambalappuzha. But, just prior to the installation of the deity, the king came to know that the idol was inauspicious. The ministers of the king told a solution to the problem. They suggested to bring the idol of Shree Krishna, presented to Arjuna by the Lord Krishna himself, from the Karikulam temple of Kurichi. The ministers went to the place to bring the idol. While returning from the temple they spent a night at Champakulam to perform a puja. From there, boats of the entire area accompanied the idol in colorful, ceremonial procession through the lake to the temple. Celebrating that moment, the whole procession is enacted every year with the same enthusiasm. A line of boats festooned with colourful parasols and performing arts delights the spectators before the Champakulam Boat Race. After that, a proper race is organized in various stages for different categories of boats. The song of the oarsmen, the Vanchipattu, and the breathtaking Chundanvallom race are the other attractions of the event.

Chandrabhaga Fare
Destination: Jhalrapatan

Duration: 14 Nov 2024 - 16 Nov 2024

The Chandrabhaga fair is held every year at Jhalrapatan (6 kms from Jhalawar) in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov).
The River Chandrabhaga runs here and is considered holy by the people residing in this part of Rajasthan. On the Full moon night of 'Kartik Purnima', thousands of pilgrims take a holy dip in the river. The fair, held on the last day of Kartik, attracts devotees who bathe in the holy waters at this spot which is known as Chandravati.
Big cattle fair which blends religion with commerce is held here. Livestock like Cows, horses, buffaloes, camels and bullocks are brought from distant parts for sale. Traders from various parts of Madhya-Pradesh and Maharashtra converge here and brisk trading takes place. The fair provides an opportunity for the tourists to acquaint themselves with the people of this region and their rituals and traditions.
Ramganj Mandi is the nearest Railway Station (25kms). Jhalawar is well connected to Kota, Bundi and Jaipur. National Highway No.12 passes through Jhalawar. Buses are available from all major cities.

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