The onset of winter marks the beginning of the festivities in India. Though the same festivals are celebrated across the country under different name, some places have achieved a special status because of their fascinating way of celebration. Following are the famous destinations in India that are more popular for their festivals.
Dussehra at Kullu, Bastar and Mysore
Most of us would have heard about the grandeur of the Mysore Dussehra which is a vibrant carnival of ten days that is celebrated at the Mysore palace. These cultural extravaganza is then followed by a procession wherein the royal elephants carry the golden ‘ambari’ and the idol of the goddess all the way till the Chamundeshwari Temple on Chamundi Hills.
A similar interesting procession is held in Kullu . The locals and the tourists from all around the world come together at kullu for the celebration of Dussehra. Each Himalayan tribe wears its own traditional attire and sing the religious songs throughout the procession. The traditional musicians play special tunes praying the deties of Kullu to shower blessings. Owing to its popularity, this festival has been declared as the “International Event” by the government.
If you want to witness the ultimate celebration that continues for 75 days altogether, the tribal region of Chhattisgarh is the best for you. The leading deity here is the Danteshwari Devi in Jagdalpur who is worshipped day and night as per the tribal rituals. Apart from witnessing the unique tribal culture, you can also enjoy the post-monsoon forest beauty. India’s Niagara Falls AKA Chitrakot Falls are also located in the same region.
Dev Deepawali in Varanasi
The night that marks the arrival of the gods is celebrated in the most mesmerizing manner. The already beautiful Ghats of Varanasi are clad in lakhs of earthen lamps the reflection of which can be seen flickering on the waters of the mighty Ganga. The lamps setup creating the symbols of the Hindu religion can be best admired through a boat ride along the ghats. This festival must also be at the top of your bucket list for its never-seen-before element. This festival saga continues with the cultural program performed on the stage floating on the river.
Lohri in Punjab
Probably the most colourful event in Punjab is the harvesting festival of Lohri. The ladies are clad in pretty traditional attires and the men express their happiness with the turbans in variety of colours. This is the perfect time if you are fascinated by Punjabi Folk songs and wish to dig more into this euphoric culture. Bhangda and Giddha performances are also common along with a tempting feast of ‘makke di roti and sarso da saag’. The festival can best be enjoyed at any village surrounded by farms in Punjab.
Nyokum Yullo in Arunachal Pradesh
This festival is still untouched by the commercialization. The ceremonial extravaganza here will take you on a time travel to the days when you read fictional stories about the tribes in the hills. The Nyishi Tribe of Arunachal believes in the concept of spirits that reside in every natural element. The priest here do not study, they are born with the knowledge of unwritten mantras that help them connect with the spirits during the Nyokum Yullo. It is a pre-harvest festival wherein every species of plants and a few animals are worshipped. On the final day, a bull is sacrificed to please the natural spirits who shower blessings of plenty harvests in the coming season. The beautiful girls clad in red and cream and the men wearing the caps studded with the beak of a hornbill is a sight to admire.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Jaisalmer Desert Festival has been an internationally renowned event that usually occurs in the month of November or December. The folk singers and dancers present the utmost rich culture that flourished in the golden desert of Thar in Rajasthan. The Jaisalmer Fort stands shining as the backdrop of the festival ground. This three-days-long festival can be combined with the desert Safari and Jaisalmer sight-seeing tour.
Kutch Rann Mahotsav
The recently started festival bgins with the formation of the white salt carpet called the Rann of Kutch in the month of December. The event continues for almost three months giving you an opportunity to splurge of some handcrafted arts and textile of Kutch. Staying near the white desert in the traditional Kutchi huts called ‘Bhungas’ while witnessing the setting sun painting this white canvas in shades of orange is a must-have experience in a lifetime. The festival can be combined with the local sight-seeing of Dholaveera excavation site, Kalo Dungar and the Ghost town of Lakhpat.
Hornbill Festival in Nagaland
The age-old tribal dressed along with their painted face, some ornamental animal bones, tiger’s tooth, and their hunting equipments look fierce at the first sight. However, their war dance, tribal music and performances make Hornbill Festival famous among the people of every age. People love experiencing the village life of Nagaland by staying in huts and eating the local food during the festival.
Makarsankranti in Gujarat
The International Kite Festival held as a part of Vibrant Gujarat event is awaited even by the international tourists and kite experts. You can see the kites of every size, colour and designs soaring high in the bright blue winter sky. On 14th of January, every household in this First World Heritage City of India echoes ‘Kaipo chhe’ in the loudest voice. The Gujaratis cook their special dish called ‘Undhiyu’ on this day and even most of the restaurants serve this spicy delicacy full of freshly harvested vegetables and grains. Makarsankranti is the time for you to enjoy the vibrant culture of Gujarat and its delicious food. This can be combined with your Gujarat Sigh-seeing Tour.
Garba Festival, Vadodara, Gujarat
It is said that Gujaratis’ love for garba is so crazy that they can do garba even in a rock concert. Well, Garba festival is aptly known as the Sunburn Festival of Gujaratis. The girls and boys of Gujarat recreate the mythological Raas Leela of Shri Krishna by performing the graceful dance in huge circles. The flamboyant costumes and the gujarati folk songs would also make you want to join those garba circles. The United Way of Vadodara is internationally famous for its most traditional way of celebrating this festival. Don’t be surprised on seeing even the foreigners matching their steps with the locals here.