Festivals in India
India is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world. What makes India’s culture more significant are its festivals. Festivals in India are colorful, full of lights and history. People here celebrate festivals with zest and enthusiasm.
Here, we are going to list few of the famous festivals celebrated around the country which can help you in planning your trip to India around that time so even you can enjoy and get the taste of Indian culture.
Diwali- Festival of lights
Significant features- Diwali is known as the festival of lights which marks the history of triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It is celebrated as Lord Ram defeated Raavan and returned home after fourteen years of exile. It even marks the beginning of Hindu New Year. Diwali is one of the popular annual holidays in India with significant preparations.
People clean their houses and decorate them for the festivities. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in India. People buy new clothes for themselves and family, as well as gifts, household appliances and even expensive items and gold.
Places to visit- Diwali are celebrated across India, but Rajasthan is the place where it is celebrated in full swing. Though Rajasthan being a big state, its capital Jaipur is the place you must visit during Diwali. In North India, it is celebrated quite extensively.
Huge aartis are conducted in Varanasi and other parts as well. Usually, Diwali is celebrated all over India with lights, crackers, and sweets. People forget all their worries and religious differences and celebrate this festival with love and harmony. Melas (funfair) are found in small towns and villages.
The state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Diwali is celebrated as the seven most important festivals. In Karnataka, it is a five day festival with the third and fourth day called as Thali Deepavali. In Maharashtra, the preparations start before the festival. It falls on the 12th day of the 2nd half of the Marathi month Ashvin.
When it takes place- The dates depend on the moon calendar and usually falls in October and November. The festival is celebrated extensively for five days, with the third the being the New Year, the day of Diwali.
In India, Diwali is considered to be the annual holidays. So if you wish to plan your trip for Diwali you should book the tickets well in advance.
Diwali 2019- 27th of October
Holi- Festival of Colours
Significant features- The festivities usually usher in spring, with Holi celebrated as a festival of Love. People bathe in dry and wet colors, enjoy rain dances, and drink bhang and thandai ( Indian drinks). Traditionally, people gather around a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil, which includes prayers which signifies that any evil inside of them is destroyed.
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of a bonfire and pray that their internal evil is destroyed like the way Holika, the sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The morning marks the celebration of Holi- the festival of colors where people smear each other with colors.
The history of Holi is quite interesting, so to know the entire story and enjoy the festival you should visit India during Holi.
Places to visit- Holi is celebrated colossally in North India. Cities like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (Mathura, Vrindavan) and metros like West Bengal, Mumbai and Delhi, offers unique and colorful experience of Holi. Places in the South also have religious ceremonies but only on a small scale at certain temples.
During Holi people are usually in high spirits, so it’s advised for women not to get amongst huge crowd of boys and men sighting women safety. It is your choice but staying at a safer side is better. The only way to enjoy this colorful festival is to stay safe and let yourself get drenched in the color of love and harmony.
When it takes place- It is usually celebrated the day after the full moon in March.
Holi 2019- 21st of March
Holi 2020- 10th of March
Eid ul Fitr
Significant features- Eid is one of the major festivals in India for the Muslim community. People wear new dresses and attend special community prayer in the morning and then visit relatives and friend. Children are usually given gifts and idi (money) by elders.
Places to visit- Some places in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad are lit up with lights and fun fair and various savories. Well! If you are for Eid then don’t miss out the Sheer korma, which is a sweet
When it takes place- It is celebrated after the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan.
Eid ul Fitr 2019- 4th of June
Onam in Kerala
Significant features- It is South India’s harvest festival with flower decorations on floors outside the houses. It is meant to welcome the mythological King Mahabali. The significant features of this festival are the snake boat races.
Places to visit- Onam is celebrated on a large scale in Kerala. The Thrissur’s festivities with its Tiger Play (Puli Kali) are fun to attend. Make sure to book your tickets in advance if you’re traveling to Kerala during Onam.
When it takes place- Onam starts in the first month of Malayalam calendar and lasts for thirteen days. The tenth day is most celebrated.
Onam 2019- 1st of September
Significant features- It is for celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is the Hindu God with an elephant head and is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is a 10-day long festival. He is honored at the start of the rituals and ceremonies and he’s considered as the God of beginnings.
During this festival, idols of Ganesha are brought home or placed in public stalls and worshipped for few days. The statue is to be immersed in water symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his home in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.
Places to visit- It is celebrated usually in the state of Maharashtra. The biggest idols and procession takes place in Mumbai. The festival is celebrated with loud music, chants and different Ganesha idols sculpted beautifully in the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Huge crowd gathers new Chowpatty in Mumbai at the time of Visarjan(immersing of the idol). Ganesh Chaturthi is a great time to visit Mumbai as you can witness the festival in high spirits and lots of zings and enthuse.
When it takes place- The festival falls on the 4th day of the New moon in August or September and lasts for 10 days.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2019- 2nd of September
Significant features- Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura and emerging victorious over the evil. The demon King performed severe austerities and prayers for years to seek Lord Brahma’s boon of immortality. The festival epitomizes the victory of good over evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation.
During the festival, family and other social gatherings, shopping and gift-giving, feasting, pandal visiting, lighting, decorations, cultural events and idol immersion is observed.
Places to visit- It is popular in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bangladesh and also in Nepal where it is known as Dashain. Kolkata celebrates Durga Puja like no other city. In Kolkata, there are enchanting decorations, mesmerizing music and an enthusiastic crowd to attend. Other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati and Patna also dazzle during Durga Puja.
When it takes place- It is a four-day festival and is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja 2019- will begin on 4th October and ends on 8th October
Pushkar camel fair
Significant features- It is a fifteen-day long camel trading fair held in Pushkar which is near Ajmer in Rajasthan. It is less of a festival and more of an interesting get together of camel owners and cattle merchants. People attend this festival to see the huge amount of camels in one place. The first five days are for camel trading and activities. Camels are brought at one place and camel beauty pageants, dancing contest, races take place.
Places to visit- Pushkar near Ajmer Rajasthan. The last days are used for pilgrimage activities where Hindus come to the city and take dips and conduct rituals in the holy lake. On the last night, the lakes are lighted up with oil lamps and fireworks take place while thousands of people attend the celebrations.
When it takes place- It takes place according to the Hindu Lunar calendar and lasts for 12 days.
Pushkar 2019- 4th – 12th of November
Are you planning for Indian trip during this festival and looking for assistance, we at Plan India Visit make sure that you experience and enjoys to the fullest and understands the exotic culture and festivals of India. We Invite you to be our Guest in India.