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Indian Fair & Festival
 

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.

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!

The Fairs and Festivals in India celebrated round the year showcase the resplendence of its arts and crafts tradition.

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 festivals of the South India the immersion of Ganesh in Mumbai, Ratha Yatra, the car festival of Puri, snake-boat races in Kerala, Republic Day celebrations in Delhi….. every region, every faith has something to celebrate. Let us look at them month wise

January/February

  • Republic Day: - 26th January of every year.
    (A spectacular March Past by armed forces/cultural tableau/folk dances)

  • Beating The Retreat Ceremony - 28th January of every year.
    A poignant event at sun set with the back drop of the Presidential building.

  • International Kite Festival of India: - at Ahmedabad in Gujarat,

  • Bikaner Festival in India: - in Rajasthan,

  • Pongal: or Harvest Festival of India

  • Mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka - usually on 15th Jan every year

  • Vasant Panchami: - the advent of Spring celebrated mainly in Eastern India

  • Float Festival of India: - elaborately illuminated barge carrying decorated temple deities at Madurai and few other temple towns of South India on the Full moon of Jan/Feb

February/March

  • Surajkund: - Craft Mela (Surajkund near Delhi), from 1st to 14th February of every year

  • International Yoga Week: - (Rishikesh),

  • Desert Festival of India: - (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan), full moon of January/February every year.

  • Taj Mahotsav: - (Agra - Uttar Pradesh),

  • Nagaur Fair: - (Nagaur - Rajasthan),

  • Deccan Festival: - (Andhra Pradesh),

  • Maha Shivratri: - (worship of Lord Shiva, Special celebrations at Chidambaram, Kalahasti - in South India, Khajuraho,Varanasi and Mumbai), new moon of February / March of every year.

  • Holi: - Mainly in North India, full moon of March of every year. Popularly called the festival of colours. Advent of spring.

  • Lively festival with much throwing of colored water and powders. (Public Holiday).

  • Mardi Grass: - Goa, mainly three days before the commencement of Lent.

March/April

  • Khajuraho Dance Festival: - (Khajuraho),

  • Mahavir Jayanti: - National; Jain festival in India, birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara, full moon of April every year.

  • April/May

  • Baisakhi: - Northern India, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu; Hindu Solar New Year. Known as Bihu in Eastern India - Orissa and Assam. Ushering Summer Celebration and Dances Almost always on the 14th of April every year

  • Pooram: - Trichur, New Moon of April/May. Spectacular sight of large number of elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas going round the temple; midnight firework display,

  • Id-ul-zuha: - (Bakri id), Muslim, National.The most celebrated Islamic festival in India, commemorating the sacrifice of Issac by Abraham,

  • Id-ul-fitr: - (Ramzan id), Muslim, National. Celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan,

  • THE ABOVE TWO FESTIVAL OF INDIA WILL VARY ACCORDING TO THE MUSLIM CALENDAR

  • Meenakshi Kalyanam: - Madurai, Marriage of Meenakshi with Lord Shiva. Colourful temple festival. Deities borne by colossal chariot. Ten day festival, ending with the float festival In April May accordiong to the constellations

  • Fair Rajasthan, Urs Ajmer Sherif: - Ajmer, 6 days religious, cultural and commercial extravaganza dedicated to the Sufi.

  • THIS DATE WILL ALSO VARY ACCORDING TO THE MUSLIM CALENDAR..


June/July

  • Hemis Festival: - (Leh-Ladakh), DATES DETERMINED ANNUALLY BY THE TIBETAN CALENDAR

  • Rath Yatra: - Mainly Orissa. Greatest festival in honour of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe). Three colossal chariots drawn from Puri temple by thousands of pilgrims. Similar festivals, on a smaller scale, take place at Ramnagar (near Varanasi), Serampore (near Calcutta) and Jagannathpur (near Ranchi).Mostly in July

July/August

  • Teej: - Rajasthan - Particularly Jaipur, Procession of the Goddess Parvati to welcome monsoon; elephants, camels, dancers, etc. Women wear colorful clothes.

  • Raksha Bandhan: - Northern and Western India. Legendary reenactment, girls tie 'rakhis' or talisman on the wrist of their brothers for protection. Full moon of July /August

  • Nag Panchami: - Mainly in Rajasthan and Maharashtra, dedicated to the thousand-headed mythical serpent called Sesha. The day is also observed in different ways in many other parts of Western and Eastern India,

  • Amarnath Yatra: - Lidder Valley, Kashmir on the full moon of July/August. Pilgrims visit the place where Lord Shiva explained the secret of salvation to his consort Parvati .

August/September

  • Nehru Trophy Boat Race: - Kerala, 2nd Saturday of Aug.

  • Independence Day: - 15th August of every year. The Prime Minister of India addresses the people of India from Red Fort, Delhi.

  • Janmashtami: - Eight day after the full moon of August celebrated all over India particularly in Mathura and Brindhavan the supposed birth place of Krishna.

  • Onam: - Kerala's Harvest Festival; spectacular snake boat races in many parts of Kerala, full moon of August/September

  • Ganesh Chaturthi: Fourth day after the New Moon of August. Celebrated all over India particularly in a grand manner particularly in Maharashtra


September/October

  • Dussehra - The most popular festival in the country, celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In the north and particularly in North India, where it is known as Ram Lila, plays and music recall the life of Rama; in Kullu considered the land of Rama, the festival is an equally colorful celebration. In Bengal and many parts of Eastern India it is known as Durga Puja, and in the South as Navratri - the nine nights dedicated to the Mother Goddess.

  • Fair, Himachal Pradesh: - Kullu Valley to coincide with Dussehra (10 days),

  • Gandhi's Birthday: Mahatma Gandhi's birthday - 2nd October of every year.

  • Diwali: - One of the most lively and colourful festivals in India. In some parts, it marks the start of the Hindu New Year. In Eastern India, the goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil is particularly worshipped. Elsewhere, it is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, who is venerated. Everywhere there are magnificent illuminations and fireworks.

November/December

  • Sonepur Mela: - (Sonepur-Bihar),

  • Hampi Festival: - (Hampi-Karnataka),

  • Muharram: - Muslim. Commemoration of Imam Hussain's Martyrdom. Tiger dancers lead processions of colourful replicas of martyr's tomb. Colourful, particularly at Lucknow .  DATES CHANGE ACCORDING TO THE MUSLIM CALENDAR

  • Cattle Fair, Bihar: - Largest cattle fair in the world; lasting one month in Sonepur, Patna; on banks of Ganges. Full Moon of November

  • Pushkar Mela: - Pushkar, near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Important and colourful. Camel and cattle fair attended by people from miles around. Camel races and acrobatics etc.Full Moon of November.

  • Shilpgram Crafts Mela: - Udaipur-Rajasthan - dates are announced annually.

  • Kurukshetra Festival: - Kurukshetra, Haryana - dates are announced annually.

  • Konark Dance Festival: - Konark-Orissa- dates are announced annually.

  • Gurpurab: - The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhism spiritual teacher or preceptor of Sikhism,. Full moon of November

  • Christmas Day: - Celebrated all over India on 25th December every year

Special Events/Fairs
Kumbh Mela: - The oldest and most important of the Hindu festivals. It takes place once in three years, at one of the four great holy cities; Nasik on the banks of river Godavari, in Maharashtra, Ujjain on the banks of River Sipra in Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad on the banks of the confluence of rivers Ganga and Yamuna ,and Haridwar on the banks of the river Ganga .
Allahabad and Haridwar are in Uttar Pradesh. Kumbha Melas are attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy bath in these sacred Rivers

As you will notice - all Festivals and Fairs of India fall on the lunar cycle-the New Moon and the Full Moon playing an important role. Hence, dates vary from year to year.

The fascinating fairs and festivals of India reflects the expression of joy and happiness.

 
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