INDIA IS KNOWN as a land of festivals. At any time of the year, all over the country there will be some festival or fair to celebrate. They may be celebrated in different ways, but they have one thing in common: they are a spectacle to behold. This list of festivals is well worth if you really enjoy the festive time in India during your tour to India.
Here, we are sharing you detail of everything you need to know to start planning your trip.
Diwali is also known as Deepavali) celebrated throughout India but there are regional dissimilarity in celebration. Cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, and Mumbai are the main cities where you can find the lighting, food and crackers effect rocking in full swing.
How to celebrate Diwali
Diwali is mainly a family celebration, just like Christmas. Stay with Indian friends, family or book home-stay / family-run guesthouse to experience Diwali with a family.
2. Holi, Festival of Colors
Holi is doubtless the most well-known and beloved festival in India after Diwali among foreigners. Many foreign travelers want to participate in the festivities - which involves throwing colors and water on each other. It is celebrated in March every year.
Lathmar Holi is very popular in North India and it takes place in Barsana, near Mathura, a few days before the Holi festival. It is interesting to see men beaten up by women with wooden sticks (laths) before playing Holi with colors.
What do you need to know to celebrate Holi?
Holi Festivalis based on the lunar calendar. It is celebrated on the full moon day in either end of February or beginning of March.
Holi can be very uncomfortable for women. The key is to stay off the streets, celebrate it in a well organized place like hotels and some clubs and avoid the bhang lassi (also known as thandai).
Where to celebrate Holi?
The best place to celebrate Holi is certainly Mathura & Vrindavan situated in North India, the birthplace of lord Krishna. The celebrations here are legendary. There are also many private celebrations specially in Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur .
3. Durga Puja
Durga Puja is truly one of the great festivals of India celebrated by Bengali community. It has a lot to offer for visitors. Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) in West Bengal is the best place to celebrate Durga Puja. The festival is celebrated in the honor of goddess Durga. Goddess Durga represents the divine feminine energy or shakti - the force, power and warrior aspect of the divine mother.
It is a five days affair, Kolkata’s many talented pandal artists create pandals - decorated stages that exhibit statues of the goddess Durga. Each night people move from pandal to pandal and admire the art-work and enjoy dance performances and live musics. On the final or last day, the statues of Durga are taken by procession for immersion into the river Ganga (Ganges), known in Kolkata as the Hooghly.
How to celebrate Durga Puja?
The best way to celebrate it is to go along with the crowds and visiting the pandals each evening.
4. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the festival that honors the god Ganesh, elephant-headed son of goddess Parvati and lord Shiva. This festival runs for 11 days in late August or beginning of September. Big Images of Ganesha are displayed during the 10th day of festival. On the day of Anant Chaturdasi (11th day) idols are taken out on the roads, accompanied by singing and dancing, and finally immersed traditionally in water.
How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Lord Ganesha is the symbol of prosperity, wisdom, luck, and the remover of obstacles. Streets are full with people go along with rowdy crowds to enjoy the procession.
Where to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Mumbai is doubtless the best place to experience Ganesh Chaturthi. Countless idols are displayed around the city. Devotees gather at Siddhivinayak Temple and later the procession proceed to the sea for immersion,. It is truly a spectacle to behold.
5. Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar fair is celebrated in a small town called Pushkar in rural Rajasthan. It is famous for the beauty of its lake and Brahma Temple (the only one in India).it is also known as Pushkar Camel fair and Pushkar mela. It is the world’s largest cattle fair celebrated in late October and beginning of November every year.
This year, the Pushkar Camel Fair takes place from November 4 to 12 November. Camel traders and owners come from nearby villages and small town with their decorated camels to buy and sell camels.
How to celebrate Pushkar?
Be in Pushkar 1 or 2 days before the start of the fair to witness the livestock of camel traders. Major highlights of the Pushkar fair are cultural shows, competitions and market place - where handicraft products are showcased and sold. Aerial view of this fair from the hot air balloon ride is a unique experience and one must do it.