India is a multicolored country known worldwide for its customs, rituals, fairs and festivals. In fact, the number of fairs and festivals celebrated in India are more in number than the total number of days in a year.
There is a whole large list of festivals celebrated in India with enthusiasm and zeal. Some of the religious festivals of India are Diwali - the festival of light, Holi- the festival of color, Christmas, Onam, Raksha Bandhan, Eid-ul-fitr and so on.
There is another list of seasonal festivals that are celebrated across India like the Teej, Ganguar, Rongali Bihu, Baisakhi the festival of harvest etc
The Pushkar Fair is the amongst the most unique fairs of its kind in the World. It is a combination of an animal fair and human fair. Both the fairs are enchanting and have there own unique aspects and quality in all over World.
Indian Fair & Festivals
Camel Festival, Bikaner
The Camel Festival is organized in the month of January every year by the Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan. It is held in the city of Bikaner, with the magnificent Junagarh Fort forming as its backdrop. The festival is organized to underline the value of camel, the indispensable ship of the desert. Bikaner Camel Festival commences with a splendid as well as colorful procession of camels, festooned and ornamented. The procession then moves ahead to the Polo grounds, where it finally concludes.
The grace and charm of the brilliantly ornamented camels leave the onlookers mesmerized. After the end of the procession, the festival carries on with a number of other activities like tug-of-war contest, camel dance and acrobatics, etc. In the camel dance, you will see camels dancing perfectly to the command of their trainers, flaunting an incredible footwork. With their bridles, ornamented necks and jingling anklets, the camels form amazing shadows on the ground and leave the audience spellbound.
Tourists from far and wide come to the Camel Festival of Bikaner to see the camels in all their revelry. The evenings liven up with the various folk shows by the performers. These performers consist of both the renowned artistes of Rajasthan as well as the local folk artists. Some of the best performances comprise those of the rapturous dancers swirling their skirts with effortless ease and the breathtaking fire dancers. Also, make sure that you do not miss the glittering fireworks concluding the evenings.
Brij Festival, Bharatpur
The Brij Festival takes place a few days before Holi, (the festival of colours) 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. Men and women, young and old, rich and poor-all are touched by the spirit of this festival. 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 (Bikaner - Agra). Agra being the nearest Airport (56 kms.)
Nagaur Cattle Fair
Also called as the Cattle Fair, is the 2nd largest animal fair of India. Thousands of animals are gathered at the cattle fair for trading. Traders come to buy and sell cows, bullocks (Nagauri breed is renowned), oxen and camels.
Various games are organized during this four day festival. Tug-of-war, camel races, cock fights etc. provide entertainment to the tourists and visitors. As the sun goes down, a joyous atmosphere is created by the folk music and dance, whose voices echo far and wide across the tranquil desert sand.
It was bestowed upon Balban as his jagir in 1242. Sher Shah captured Nagaur in 1542 A.D. Nagaur was a sarkar of Ajmer subah during Sur empire and later in Mughal empire. Emperor Akbar built the mosque here, and there is a shrine of the disciple of Mu'inuddin Chishti of Ajmer.
Badal Mahal, Sheesh Mahal & Hadi Rani Mahal are worth seeing. All three have exquisite 18th century frescos on the ceilings. There is also fascinating medieval air cooling system and an ornate old hammam, or bath.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
One of the most popular of all festivals it is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. Held in the month of January - February, the Desert Festival exudes a delightful spirit. For three days, he otherwise barren land of Jaisalmer comes to life and is cluttered with hordes of colorfully dressed people. Infact during these days Jaisalmer gets a chance to paradeits exuberant charm to the world.
Traditional dance backed by high pitched music take the folk dancers and the audience on a euphoric trip.
The turban-tying competition and Mr. Desert contest add a touch of excitement to the festive celebrations The famous Gair dancers and the traditional fire dancers leave the crowd enchanted whenever they perform.
The grand finale is a trip to the sand dunes where one can enjoy the pleasure of a camel ride & at times also view the musicians and dancers performing on the dunes.
Baneshwar Fair, Dungarpur
Baneshwar Fair is organized in the month of January-February from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima. The name of the fair has been kept on the Shiva Lingam in the Mahadev temple of Dungarpur, Rajasthan. Majority of the people attending the fair are Bhils, a tribal community of Rajasthan.
The temple of Mahadev remains open from 5.00 in the morning to 11.00 in the night during the Baneshwar Fair. The morning starts with the bathing of the Shiva Lingam, after which saffron is applied on it and an aarti is performed with burning incense. In the evening, ash is applied to the Linga and an aarti is performed again, but this time with a wick lamp. The night is livened up with the Bhils singing traditional folk songs around a bonfire. Offerings of pulses, rice, wheat flour, salt, jaggery, ghee, chilies, coconut, cash, etc are also made at the temple, by the devotees. The other celebrations of the Baneshwar Fair include magic shows, folk dances, acrobatic feats, animal shows, etc.
This fair organized by Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Rajasthan.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur
the Elephant festival in Jaipur is celebrated every year during the month of March on the day after Holi festivities.
The elephant has a special place in the history of Jaipur and this festival celebrates the might and significance of these imposing pachyderms that have been an inseparable part of Jaipur royal processions, entertainment, war activities and more.
The Elephant festival celebrations in Jaipur begin with a glamorous procession of brilliantly caparisoned elephants. Elaborately decorated horses and camels also accompany the procession though rows upon rows of mighty pachyderms dominate the cultural event.
The history of the brilliant Elephant festival in Jaipur may be traced to the Buddhist Jataka stories that mention an ancient Elephant festival known as Hastimangala. Most of the elephants that take part in the Elephant festival in Jaipur are females and are decorated with utmost care and precision by their respective mahouts.
The Elephant procession proceeds towards the Chaugan or the Polo Field in the old Jaipur city that is the main venue for cultural programs and elephant sports that mark this festive occasion in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
Elephant polo, tug-o-war, folk music, folk dances and more engage your attention during your tours to the colorful Elephant festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The final event that marks the Elephant festival celebrations in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India is the game of elephant polo.
Sheetla Ashtami Fair
The Sheetla Mata Fair is held in March-April, the month of Chaitra, in village Seel-Ki-Doongri (Jaipur). Doongri is a hillock on top of which the shrine of Sheetla Mata stands. The fair is held in her honour every year. The fair attracts hordes of visitors from far and wide. People believe that epidemics spread because of the wrath of Sheetla mata and hence they worship her and make offerings so that she may be pacified. The deity is represented by a red stone.
It is a veritable picnic for the pilgrims attending the fair. It is customary to cook one’s own food at the site, and eat it only after it has been offered at the shrine.
A temporary market comes up at the fair and the rural folk can be seen trading in wares such as shoes, clothes, foodstuff, utensils and agricultural implements.
A cattle fair is also organized during the fair. It is a small affair and lasts for about a week. Bullocks, camels and horses are sold at the fair and prizes are awarded to the best breeders.
Kaila Devi Fair Karauli
The fair of Kaila Devi, (Mahalakshmi or the goddess of wealth), is held at the village Kaila (24 kms to the south west) in Karauli district in the month of Chaitra (Mar-Apr), lasting for a fortnight. The temple of Kaila Devi is located on the banks of the Kalisil River in the hills of Trikut, 2 Kms. to the north-west of Kaila village. Another attraction is the small temple dedicated to Bhairon, situated in the courtyard and facing the shrine of Kaila Devi is a temple of Hanuman locally called 'Languriya'.
Approximately 2 lakh devotees gather during the fair. The ritual of Kanak-Dandotis is observed by staunch devotees. They cover a distance of 15 to 20 Kms to reach the temple, not on foot but by lying prostrate, making lines with their hands in that position, advancing up to the line drawn and repeating this procedure till they reach the temple.
While some eat food and take rest during the journey, others endure the rigours of the ritual without these.
Groups of Mina tribesmen arrive in a spirit of gaiety dancing, singing and creating a lively atmosphere. The spacious courtyard becomes the venue for dances and songs sung in praise of the guardian deity.
The nearest rail-head is Hindaun at a distance of about 48 Kms. Shri Mahavirji is another rail-head of the Western Railway near Kaila. The site is approachable by well maintained roads from Karauli, Hindaun and Mahavirji. During the fair, the State Transport as well as private operators provide bus services keeping in mind the huge inflow of pilgrims.
Gangaur Festival , Jaipur
A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Ishar & Gangaur are the divine male and female ho embody marital love. Dedicated to goddess Gauri (Parvati), the festival commences on Holi/ Young girls pray for rooms of their choice while married women seek a long life for their husbands. the ladies decorate their hands and feet ) drawing designs with Mehendi (Myrtle Jaste).
On the evening of the 7th day after -Holi, unmarried girls go around singing songs of ghudlia (earthern pots with numerous holes all around with a lamp lit aside) carrying the pots on their hands. )n their way they collect small presents , cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. The women do these while chanting hymns to the Goddess.
Festivities continue for 18 days culminating with the arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home. A grand process Ion with the ideal of Gauri in beautifully decorated gold and silver a palanquin caparisoned elephants, camels, horses, dances, drummers & joyous children, goes through the city streets. In Jaipur procession forms at the Palace Gate known as Tripolia and moves on the city streets on to Talkatora.
A vast gathering of jaipurites & villagers from nearby areas witness the procession. A sweet dish called Ghewar characteristic of the Gangaur festival is distributed among friends & relatives. In Jodhpur early in the morning thousands of maidens, clad in their best attire, singing melodious songs, bring water and durba grass in silver or brass pots to a place known as Girdikot.
Mewar Festival, Udaipur
Coinciding with the festival of Gangaur the Mewar festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. Once the religions part of the festival is over it is time for potrayal of Rajasthani culture through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fire works display.
The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The women folk gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city.
The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amidst much singing and festivity. Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display.
Summer Festival, Mount Abu
Hill Station of the Rajasthan in a festive mood with the Summer Festival, held every year in the month of June. The steep rocks, tranquil lakes, picturesque locations and the pleasant climate of Mount Abu make it an ideal location for the festival. The three-day festival is a feast of folk and classical music and a window to the tribal life and culture of Rajasthan.
The festival begins with the singing of a ballad which is followed by folk dances which enthral the spectators. Sporting events such as the boat race on the Nakki lake add variety to the festival.
The Sham-e-Qawwali is a much-awaited musical extravaganza, as renowned qawwals from all over the country can be heard regaling the audience. The grand finale of the festival is a display of dazzling fireworks which adds to the tourist's delight.
Udaipur (185 kms.) is the nearest airport. Abu Road (29 kms.) is the nearest railway station. Taxis and buses are available from both the airport and the railway station. There is also a good network of bus services connecting Mount Abu to important places like Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur etc.
Teej Festival Jaipur
Teej is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Rajasthan. Swings, traditional songs and dancing are the unique features of Teej celebrations in Rajasthan. Women perform traditional folk dance dressed in green colored clothes and sing beautiful Teej songs while enjoying their sway on swings bedecked with flowers.
Teej fairs are held in number of cities in Rajasthan. Most impressive ones take place in Jaipur. Whole city is immersed in the color of the festival. There are number of stalls showcasing the culture of Rajasthan. Handicrafts, traditional Rajasthani dresses and junk jewelry are some of the major attractions for tourists visiting the fairs. Other attractions of the Jaipur Teej fair are the traditional Rajasthani mehndi.
Gogamedi Fair, Gogameri ( Ganganagar )
Gogamedi Fair celebrated each year in gogameri at ganganagar. Gogamedi Fair held in the month of august- September every year. The fair is held in memory of a popular hero of the area known as Goga Veer(gogaji) He is popular as a snake god and almost every village in Rajasthan has a idol in his honour.
In this fair organised cattle fair in which includes camels, Buffalo’s, cow and other animal for trade and handicraft, utensil and food shops etc. also part of this fair. People go to see the fair and enjoy with singing & dancing. It is auspicious time for matches boys and girls by the local folk.
Ramdeora Fair, Pokhran
Ramdeora fair is held every year for ten days in August-September to pay homage to the fifteenth century saint, Shri Ramdeoji. Ramdeora village lies about 13 km from Pokaran, headquarters of a sub-division in Jaisalmer district.
Ramdeoji was a Tomar Rajput. Hindu regard him as an incarnation of Lord Krishna, while Muslims venerate him as Ramshah Pir. There is a story behind the birth of Ramdeoji. In the twelfth century, King Anangpal decided to go on a pilgrimage and as he had no son, he entrusted the administration of his kingdom to Pritviraj Chauhan, his maternal grandson. Prithviraj refused to restore the kingdom to King Anangpal, who had returned from the pilgrimage and the King and his descendant settled in the part of Jaisalimer which is known as Shiv tehsil.
One of Anangpal's descendants Ajmall, was a great devotee of Dwarkadhesh (Lord Krishna). Because of his devotion Dwarkadhesh decided to take birth as his son. The child was named Ramdeo. Ramdeo soon became famous as a saintly man and five pirs from Mecca came to test him , and they were impressed by Ramdeo and paid him obeisance.
Ramdeoji is considered a saint who devoted his life to the uplift of the downtrodden. He buried himself alive. Around Ramdeoji's grave a magnificent temple was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. Wooden toy horses covered with cloth are among the most popular offerings at the temple. It is one of the famous fairs in Rajasthan.
Mewar Festival, Jodhpur
The Marwar Festival is held every year in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan. The festival is held in the month of Ashwin (Sept-Oct) in Jodhpur, for two days during the full moon of Sharad Poornima.
Originally known as the Maand Festival, this festival features folk music centred on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan's rulers. This festival is devoted to the music and dance of the Marwar region and offers a good opportunity to see the folk dancers carrying pots on their heads and singers who assemble here and provide hours of lively entertainment. These folk artistes provide a glimpse of the days of yore, of battles and valiant heroes who still live on in their songs.
Other attractions at the festival are the camel tattoo show and polo. The impressive Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh fort, which are symbols of might and valour, provide the ideal venue for the cultural extravaganza an integral part of the festival.
Dashera Festival Kota
Dussehra is the beloved festival that is celebrated almost all over India but Dussehra in Kota certainly sets it apart with 75 feet tall effigies of the demons Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Meghnath that are burnt here on Dussehra day. Villagers dress themselves in colorful dresses and offer prayers to Lord Rama. There is a dazzling procession that mesmerizes the onlookers that come here from the surrounding villages and provide a ripe opportunity for the traders to display their wares. Cultural Programmes are organized and one can see the scintillating performances by the prominent artistes who come here from all over the country.
Pushkar Fair (The World Famous Indian Fair)
The Pushkar is a holy capital of Rajasthan when come November and the rich tradition of Rajasthan comes alive at Pushkar. A small little hamlet, just around 11 kms from the religious city of Ajmer, Pushkar, is host to an annual event called the Pushkar fair. The fair visited by foreigners and Indian alike is perhaps the largest gathering for a fair from tourists all around the world in Rajasthan. Held in the Hindu month of Kartik or November, the fair is a great crowd puller.The fair end with the full Moon of Kartik ( Poornima )
Synonymous with the world's largest camel and cattle fair, the Pushkar fair indeed is a unique experience. The onset of winters bringing the cool winds from the south west, the golden sand dunes reflecting various colours with every phase of the Sun; adding to the natural colours are not only the vibrantly dressed men and women or the shops selling various colourful goods, but also the decorated and bedecked Camel and cattle which are at sale here. The charm of the fair and also the reason behind it becoming the world famous fair is its original and very rural charm. Here the people spontaneously break into a song or a dance; they forget their daily miseries and enjoy the camel and the cattle races. They buy goodies and make merry. All this adds to the charm of the place and that too with a religious touch to it.
Pushkar has the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Brahma, creator of the three worlds. According to a legend, as Lord Brahma was searching for a suitable place to perform a yagnya, the lotus fell of his hands and the place where it fell sprung out water. Since then the lake of Pushkar was formed. The lake still stands with 52 bathing Ghat on its banks. People throng to these ghat to take a dip in the holy lake and wash away all their sins, as is the popular belief here. It was on the full moon day in the month of Kartik that the lake was formed. This religious reason has given the world an opportunity to be a part of one of the most spectacular fairs of the world.
The dream city of every tourist. (We can’t say more then it).
Rakshabandhan Festival is celebrated both in India and different parts of world with fervour and enthusiasm. The day is celebrated with sister's tying rakhi on their brother's wrist, performing arti and also praying for their long life. In turn, brothers vow to protect their sisters and come for their rescue in times of need. This custom has been there since time immemorial.
Rakhi holds immense significance in Indian cultural ethos. The custom of celebrating Rakhi started in Vedic times and even today brothers and sisters consider it must to celebrate the occasion in traditional manner. When brothers are away sisters send Rakhi to them and express their love. Accepting the Rakhi with grace brothers send Return gifts to their sister. This loving gesture goes a long way in strengthening brother sister relationship and building stronger family ties. The importance of Raksha Bandhan is same as Diwali festival in India.
The Indian festival of Light and wealth. Literally meaning an array of lamps, it is the Festival of Lights and perhaps the only festival that is celebrated along the length and breadth of the country without any diversity as well as amongst Indians all over the world. This is an occasion for the young and old, men and women, rich and poor-for every one, irrespective of their religious and economic backgrounds. This festival is celebrated throughout the country to ward off the darkness and welcome the light to their lives. This festival is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama, his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana, to their kingdom after 14 years of exile. To celebrate their return, the people of Ayodhya are believed to have lit up their houses and streets with lamps and the tradition is followed till date. People also conduct Lakshmi Puja to please the Goddess of Wealth.
The festival of victory on evil, It is the nine days festival, which signifies the victory of Good over Evil. As diverse as India is, it is but natural that Good and Evil take various forms in different parts of the country. Central and North India celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed Ravana. In the East, in west Bengal, this festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. In the state of Himachal, a week long fair at Kullu is a part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in procession to the Kullu Fair ground with a lot of gaiety, music and colour. Down South in the city of Mysore, the exotic and colourful celebration of Dussehra leaves many a visitor enthralled.
The Spring Festival of India, Holi - is a festival of colors. Celebrated in March or April according to the Hindu calendar, it was meant to welcome the Spring and win the blessings of Gods for good harvests and fertility of the land. Holi 2008 will be celebrated on March 22nd. As with all the hindu festivals, there are many interesting legends attached to Holi, the most popular being that of Prince Prahlad, who was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu. It is the second most important festival of India after Diwali. Holi in India, is a festival of fun and frolic and has been associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. The exuberance and the festivity of the season is remarkable.
Unlike all the other festivals of India, hindu holi festival is one such festival where one can put down the social taboos and indulge in the intoxicating drinks and sweets prepared by using opium. It is a festival of romance often represented by the love-play of Radha and Krishna. Brij Holi is famous all over the world for its gaeity in spirit. Each year, young and old, men and women, all indulge themselves in the spirit of colors and for once forget the social taboos. There are mouthwatering delicacies to savor such as 'Gujhias' and 'Papris' and there are interesting traditions and customs of Holi that have their own regional variances. We will also talk about making natural and healthy colors and safety precautions that one must take to enjoy Holi.
Baisakhi, celebrated with joyous music and dancing, is New Year's Day in Punjab. It falls on April 13, though once in 36 years it occurs on 14th April. It was on this day that the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) in 1699. The Sikhs, therefore, celebrate this festival as a collective birthday.
It is celebrated in Punjab with great fervour. It was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa (Sikh brotherhood). The holy book of the Sikhs, Granth Sahib is taken in a procession, led by the Panj Pyaras (five senior Sikhs) who are symbolic of the original leaders. The occasion is marked by lot of feasting and merry making. All night revelries termed Baisakhi di Raat (Night of feasting) or Baisakhi da Mela (Baisakhi Fairs) are held, where men and women dance to the rhythmic beat of drums. In Kerala the festival is known as Vishu. A display of grain, fruits, flowers, gold, new cloth and money, is viewed early in the morning to ensure a prosperous year ahead. Known as Rangoli Bihu in Assam, the festival is celebrated with lively dances, music and feasting.
Hemis Festival, Ladakh
The Hemis festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) venerated as the representative reincarnate of Buddha. He is believed to have been born on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year as predicted by the "Shakia Muni Buddha". It is also believed that his life mission was, and remains, to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings.And so on this day, which comes once in a cycle of 12 years, Hemis observes a major extravaganza in his memory. The observance of these sacred rituals is believed to give spiritual strength and good health.