There is popular saying that there are more festivals
in India than days in a year! Every region, every community has its own
celebration. The people of India can truly overwhelm you on festive
occasion. And festive occasions come ever so often. There is ritual in even
daily events, special days for women to wash their hair, weekly religious
days on which a fast is kept, occasions when a vegetarian diet is
prescribed, a time when buying new things for the house is not considered
..A brides homecoming, the birth of a child, the first day
of school, full moon Nights...these become special occasions and family,
friends and the neighbourhood participates in these events in a happy
People gather together to sing and dance to celebrate these formal
Indian festivals. An exchange of gifts marks most occasions. People dress in
festive best to prepare the best of the season. Houses are painted; women
buy new ornaments, and children play together. Ritual designs are painted
before the entrance of the home and auspicious oil lamps lit. There are some
principal festivals that are celebrated all over the county with equal
Holi is one such Indian festival, quite literally a symphony of colours. On this
spring day, people hurl powdered and water colours on each other in a deep
spirit of companionship. Get extensive information on Holi
Diwali, celebrating the victory of good over evil, marked by illumination
of homes and public buildings, and the joyous bursting of firecrackers, is
one celebration that embraces all India in a Festive mould. Sweets are
exchanged, people wear new clothes and a spirit of bonhomie marks the
This festival of india is celebrated in different ways in different regions. Caparisoned elephants
lead an impressive parade in Mysore; mega-effigies of the demon king Ravana
are set aflame in Delhi; the region's gods gather in the charming valley of
Kullu in the Himalayas for ten days of celebration.
Puja (In Kolkota)
It is a time when the goddess is propitiated in the major pandals, festive
all-night cultural celebrations are held, and she is finally bid a tearful
farewell at the culmination of ten days, with images being immersed in the
waters of the Hooghly.
This Indian festival is celebrated with traditional fervour, amity and exchange of gifts. A dish
of seviyan is specially cooked and served on the occasion.
Tazias of wood, bamboo and tinsel are made artistically and move down the
streets of India in ceremonial processions.
Republic Day Parade
Who can forget the pageantry of the impressive Republic Day Parade
celebrations in Delhi? The birthdays of gods such a Shiva and Krishna and
anniversaries of Sikh Gurus and national leaders too are celebrated with
This festival of India is a splendid occasion with a procession so huge it has given rise to the
word juggernaut in the English vocabulary (from the god, Jaganath).
Christmas is celebrated with mass in churches, tinsel covered Xmas tree, special fare
and an exchange of gifts and cards. Celebrations occur round the calendar,
and even traditional festivals take a unique aspect in India, making them
occasions truly of great joy and fun. Know more on
Other than the regular festivals, the Government of India, Department of
Tourism with the state governments is highlighting aspects of Indian
celebrations through a unique programme of theme festivals. A selection of
these is detailed here:
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan This popular festival celebrates the colourful dances
and the music of the desert with the Golden Fort as its impressive backdrop.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu the culture of South India comes to the fore with
festive performances, traditional highlights and a gourmet taste of the
regions special cuisine for the occasion.
Know more on Pongal Festival.
International Kite Festival
Ahmedabad, Gujarat Maker Sankranti is a time when competitive kite flying
marks the occasion all over India. But in Ahmedabad, the sky is a swarm with
kites; there are demonstrations of overseas kites, a display of the rich
crafts of the state, and a simultaneous regional food festival.
February heralds the carnival at Goa. For three days and nights, the
legendary king Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with
colour. The weeklong event is a time of festivity. It occurs on three days
in February or early March. Meant to be a feasting-drinking-merrymaking orgy
just before the 40 days of Lent. It is Goa's most famous festival and has
been celebrated since the 18th Century.
Konark, Orissa a celebration of the art forms of the state, and
particularly the dance form of Odyssey, against the spectacular backdrop of
the Sun Temple.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh The lifestyle of Lucknow-erstwhile Avadh is
leisurely, with its formal mannerisms, its rich cuisine, with a tradition of
appreciation for verse, dance and music. An exposition of these is put
together in this unusual festival.
Festival Of Dances, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
To the magnificent backdrop of the Khajuraho temples, the celebrated
dancers of India entertain a discriminating audience with riveting
Jaipur, Rajasthan Primarily a festival for women, its highlight is a regal
procession through the streets of Jaipur carrying the idols of Shiva and
Top Most International Spice Festival
Cochin, (April) Kerala is India's spice capital, and its rich variety of
spices will be celebrated by means of educational seminars, tours to spice
growing areas as well as a food festival.
International Flower Festival
Gangtok, Sikkim (April/ May) It is the peak flowering period in Sikkim and
you will have a good chance of seeing several of its 400 species of orchids,
240 varieties of ferns, 240 species of birds and 150 kinds of gladioli. And
you also have the promise of flower arrangement demonstration, nature
photography, driftwood sculpture and a choice of treks.
International Mango Festival
Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh (July) India grows over 500 varieties of this
king of fruits, and they will be on display here with a food festival,
cultural shows and river rafting too!
Puri, Orissa A mammoth gathering of people will witness the short chariot
journey of the idol of Jagannath, and will pay obeisance at temples.
Non-Hindu visitors must watch proceedings from outside the temple precincts.
Jaipur, Rajasthan the oncoming of the monsoons is celebrated by women who
carry images of Parvati in procession accompanied by drummers and musicians.
Pune, Maharashtra This lovable, elephant-headed Indian god is propitiated,
through street performances and competitions, rural entertainment, yoga
demonstrations and an exposition of regional cuisine
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh In the valley, idols of gods from neighbouring
temples are carried on palanquins to come together to pay homage before Lord
Raghunath. For a week, there is singing and dancing, and exciting things to
buy from the local fair.
Vadodara, Gujarat In this western state, the festival of the nine nights is
celebrated with the beat of rural music and the excitement of the garba
dance, a festival of food, music and handicrafts.