India’s culture is famous for its beauty in celebrating everything. If there is a change in the lunar cycle, there is a festival for it. Whenever the season changes, a festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of the new season and there is a long list of cultural festivals with or without a religious background. The country has endless festivals and fairs and here are the top celebrations of the land that you should not miss.
This festival was once called the Uttarardh Mahotsavor. Celebrated within the grounds of the famous Modhera Sun Temple, this festival is famous for introducing the cultural beauty and heritage of the land to the viewers via folk dance, music, and other performances.
This three-day festival is celebrated in the third week of January as an indication of the end of winter and welcoming Sun God. Apart from cultural performances, the festival is also famous for unique rituals, stalls around the temple, legendary story narration, art exhibitions and much more.
Also Read : Major Fairs and Festivals in India in January
This is one of the largest dance-based cultural celebrations in the land. This festival is celebrated on the grounds of the famous Konark Sun Temple. This festival is celebrated at the beginning of February. Top attractions to enjoy in this temple are dance, music, and cultural performances.
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During February, this festival is celebrated in Jaisalmer of Rajasthan. During this festival, you can find numerous local performances like fire dance, gair dance, jugglery, folk musical performances, and others. Camel race, turban tying contest, best mustache contest, and other games will be conducted.
The region will be crowded with stalls, where you can buy interesting items like handloom, leather articles, paintings, and others. Puppet shows, camel safari, and other attractions will be conducted.
Get Complete Info : About Jaisalmer Desert Festival – The Most Awaited and Famous Cultural Event
Suggested Tour : 8 Days - Rajasthan Tour from Delhi
Goa is famous for its party element and the Goa carnival is one of the most important festivals that attract party lovers to the land. This festival takes place for three days and you can find numerous entertainment activities during this festival.
The main attraction of the festival is the large parade of the land, which takes place in major regions of Goa like Margao, Panjim, Mapusa, and Vasco da Gama. You can find stalls filled with souvenirs, cultural performances and much more. The hotels and resorts in the region offer bonfire and other party options for visitors of the Goa carnival.
Get Complete Info : About Goa Carnival
Suggested Tour : 4 Days - Goa Beaches Tour
Also called the Vallam Kali, this boat race is conducted on the Punnamada Lake of Alappuzha. This annual boat race takes place with traditional snake boats. The boat race takes place for 1.4 km of the channel and the boats will hold more than 100 rowers, each. Many tourists and locals visit the banks of this lake to watch this adrenaline-pumping boat race. This festival usually takes place on the second Saturday of August. However, the date varies from year to year.
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Suggested Tour : 4 Days - Kerala Backwater Tour Package
Pushkar Mela or Pushkar camel festival is celebrated in November of every month. The festival lasts for five days in the small cultural town, Pushkar. This is one of the largest camel fairs, where you will find cultural activities like dance, music, and other performances, local games, a beauty contest for camels, exhibition, camel race, and many other attractions in Pushkar.
Souvenir hunting is also an important activity apart from photography, delicacy tasting and enjoying the cultural performances. Some people camp in the grounds of the fair overnight to enjoy nature and watch the early morning activities.
Suggested Tour : 9 Days - Golden Triangle with Pushkar Tour
Hornbill is a seven-day festival celebrated in December in Nagaland. This festival is celebrated with many colorful cultural events like dance performances, local games, floral galleria, carnival activities, music events, and others.
The warrior log drum performance is the most significant of all. Many stalls will be erected around the region where you can buy local craft items and other souvenirs. This is also the best festival to enjoy the local attire, delicacies and other elements of their culture.
Also Read : Major Fairs and Festivals in India in December
Puri Rath Yatra, As the name indicates this festival is celebrated at Puri Jagannath Temple. This is a car festival (chariot procession) of the temple. This festival takes place in the month of June or July. During this festival, the deities of the temple are taken on a procession on a large chariot from Puri Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple.
Devotees pull the chariot through the streets towards the temple. During the procession, you can find numerous musical performances, dance performances, and unique rituals. You can also find an enormous number of stalls around the temple for souvenir hunting.
The festival is celebrated in the Hemis Monastery of Ladakh. This festival takes place in June for two days. Although it is a religious festival, numerous tourists visit this place for cultural experience. The main attraction of this festival is the famous masked dance performed by the monks.
You can enjoy traditional music performances with instruments like trumpets, cymbals, and others, which are played by the monks. Religious artifacts and scrolls from the monastery are put out for display. This festival celebrates the birth of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism and an important spiritual leader.
Suggested Tour : 6 Days - Best of Ladakh Tour
This festival takes place in the Diggi Palace of Jaipur in January. This festival is the largest free literary celebration in the world. Many events, exhibitions, lectures and seminars related to the literature genre are conducted. Many book shows and other activities are conducted by budding writers too. More than 300 speakers will be entertaining the audience during this festival.
Suggested Tour : 8 Days - Rajasthan Tour from Jaipur
Elephant festival is celebrated on the day of Holi (February or March) in Jaipur. This festival is celebrated as a tribute to the elephants of the land. Many Elephant based activities like Elephant dance, elephant polo, and others will be conducted. A large procession will be conducted with folk dancers, camels, elephants, horses and others.
People sprinkle colored powder on the elephant as they walk in the procession. An elephant beauty contest is also conducted and you can find many elephants wearing accessories.
Get Complete Info : About Elephant Festival in Jaipur
Suggested Tour : 2 Days Jaipur Tour
This festival is celebrated for more than two months, starting from November to the beginning of February. This festival is celebrated in the salt desert of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. This is a cultural and heritage-based festival.
A temporary city is erected in the middle of the desert to offer numerous culture and adventure-style activities like folk dance performances, handicraft sales, adventure sports, camping, cultural shows, puppet shows, food stalls, and others.
The full moon nights are the most exquisite times to visit this festival. Since its beginning in 2006, this festival has been attracting tourists from around the world.
This festival is celebrated in March or February in Madhya Pradesh’s Khajuraho Group of Temples. This festival is conducted to celebrate the dance forms of the land. This festival takes place for a week and numerous dancers from around the country come to perform interesting local art forms like Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and others.
You can find numerous international tourists during this festival. An open-air market is conducted right outside the monument, where you can find interesting craft items and souvenirs made by the locals.
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Do not confuse it with the Mewar Festival of Udaipur. Marwar Festival is a cultural celebration conducted to honor the bravery and valor of warriors and kings of the land. Many folk dance and music performances will be conducted to highlight the heritage beauty of the land. Many folk performances for narrating major wars of the past can be enjoyed.
This festival falls in September or October and it is conducted for two days. This festival is celebrated in different venues across Jodhpur like Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and others.
Also Read : Top Festivals in September and October, India
Suggested Tour : 10 Days - Rajasthan Tour with Only Luxury Hotels
This is a 16-days festival celebrated in March or April by Hindus. This festival is observed for Goddess Gauri. This is one of the most colorful festivals, where you can find interesting rituals, processions, delicious delicacies and much more.
The last day procession is the top highlight of the festival. The procession starts from Zaani-Deodhi of City Palace and reaches Talkatora after passing through Gangauri Bazaar, Chhoti Bazaar and Chaugan stadium. Ghevar is the major delicacy of the festival.
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Suggested Tour : Full Day Jaipur Private Tour Guide
Teej festival is celebrated to welcome the rainy season. This festival is celebrated in July or August. Swings are built under trees and women dress up in green to swing and dance to welcome the rain. This festival is also celebrated to enjoy the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This festival is celebrated for two days and a large procession is conducted where the idol is taken around the streets with folk dance, musical instrument performances, and others.
Get Complete Info : About Teej Festival in Jaipur
Suggested Tour : 5 Days - Private Golden Triangle Tour with Homestay
When it comes to entertainment and color, Holi always catches the first place on the list. This festival is celebrated to spread love. This is also celebrated as a reminder that the Good will always win Evil. The celebrations start on the eve of Holi when people create bonfire and dance around it.
This ritual represents the fall of Holika, a she-demon. On the day of Holi, people drench each other in colors. Many interesting rituals take place in the temples of Krishna.
Top places to visit during Holi are Mathura and Vrindavan. If you are looking for different styles of Holi, visit Barsana to enjoy Holi enjoy with sticks and shields. In Manipur, the festival is celebrated as Yaoshang Festival.
Also Read : Famous Festivals in India in March
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most famous Hindu festivals celebrated throughout the country. The cream of celebrations and activities can be enjoyed in Maharashtra. This festival usually fallsin the months of August or September. This festival is a ten-day celebration.
On the first day, people buy or make idols of Elephant God and pray to it for the next nine days. These nine days involve creating pandals, celebrating with cultural activities, rituals and sharing delicacies. On the tenth day, the idols are taken to any water body and immersed and dissolved in water, representing the circle of life. Many local games and cultural performances are conducted during this festival.
Get Complete Info : About Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in India – A Complete Guide
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On the last day of Navratri, the tenth day is celebrated for remembering the epic battle between Lord Ram and Raavan. This festival is also a celebration of victory of good over bad. Durga Pooja is celebrated throughout the country under various names but, the best entertainment and cultural activities are celebrated in Kolkata.
This festival falls in September or October. In Kolkata, this festival is celebrated for four days and it concludes on the tenth day of Navratri. The best part of Durga Pooja in Kolkata is pandals where dance, music, musical instruments, plays, storytelling, and other cultural activities take place every day. Numerous delicacies are served each day.
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Although this festival is celebrated throughout the country by Hindus, the state of Gujarat has the most fun and colorful way to celebrate these 9 days. This festival is celebrated for honoring the nine forms of Goddess Shakthi and the battle that killed Mahishasura. For the nine days, people fast, offer prayers and perform rituals.
In the evening, many pandals will be erected where cultural performances, plays, and other stage activities will be conducted. Top places to visit during Navratri are Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Delhi. This festival falls in September or October.
Diwali is the iconic festival of Hindus. This festival is famous for bursting crackers, fireworks and a long list of delicacies, which are shared with each other. This festival marks the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom after his exile.
People decorate their homes with earthen lamps and perform many rituals to deities. The best of all is watching the night sky as it is colored with fireworks from all directions. This festival is celebrated in October or November, throughout the country.
Christmas is celebrated throughout the world by Christians. This festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Jesus. This festival focuses on sharing gifts and delicacies. The churches of India will conduct special masses, feasts and cultural performances.
You can also find Santa Claus in different churches and even malls. Many Christmas Trees will be erected with beautiful decoration. The best places to visit to enjoy Christmas are Goa, Kerala, Daman and Diu, Mumbai and others. This festival is celebrated on 25th December.
Also Read : Best Places To Celebrate Christmas in India
This is an annual celebration, which takes place for 9 days in the Kala Ghoda region of southern Mumbai. This festival focuses on expressing the art beauty of the land like dance, theatre, literature, music, cinema, and others. Apart from cultural performances, you can find heritage walk, stalls, art galleries, lectures, workshops and much more. This cultural festival is more focused on uplifting the lifestyle of the Kala Ghoda region.
Get Complete Info : About Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai
Suggested Tour : Full Day Mumbai Sightseeing Tour
Each festival in the country is celebrated to recognize an event, element or religion. The best way to get to know India is by visiting it during festivals. There is no scarcity for festivals in the land. No matter when you visit the land, there is always a festival around the corner. This is not the exclusive list of celebrations and you will find much more, indigenous to a region, religion, ethnic group and so on.