Most Popular Festivals of India
India is a country known for non-stop, rambunctious, sensory-busting festivals. It is the only country in the world where there is at least one festival being celebrated in some corner or other. Although these festivals celebrate different things and aspects of life, they have one thing in common- they’re all endearing and spectacles to behold. Here’s the ultimate list of Colourful Festivals in India:
Diwali, The Festival of Lights
Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India. It is the celebration of the triumph of light over darkness or the good over evil. It is essentially the Indian equivalent to Christmas in the sheer grandeur and zest of the celebrations.
People all over the country celebrate Diwali as an occasion to bring the whole family together and reconnect with loved ones. Diyas (lanterns) are lit to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from exile.
- When: Around November each year, though the exact dates may vary.
- Where: Celebrated all over the country.
Holi, The Festival of Colours
Probably the most cheerful and colorful festivals in India, Holi marks the commencement of Spring in the country.
People all over the country celebrate this festival by throwing colored powder and water on one another- Holi is India’s answer to the Tomatina festival in Spain.
- When: Holi is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and falls around March every year.
- Where: All over the country, especially in Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
Navratri is a festival celebrated in India to worship the nine forms of Goddess Durga. One of the major attractions of Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated for 9 days, all throughout which, people dress up in beautiful traditional dresses and participate in Dandiya Raas for hours on end. It is time to put on your dancing shoes and groove with the music in gorgeous dresses.
- When: It starts on the new moon day landing between September 15 and October 15.
- Where: Head to the state of Gujarat to revel in the true essence and flavor of Navratri.
One of the main festivals of Bengalis, Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and glory throughout the country. Huge, beautiful idols are placed in magnificent Pandals, where prayers are performed for 10 days.
These 10 days are celebrated with grand feasts and cultural festivities including songs, dances and dramas, and worshipping of Goddess Durga by people for the health and well-being of friends and family.
- When: Around the last week of October every year.
- Where: Kolkata is the best place to witness Durga Puja in all its grandeur.
Also, referred to as Vijayadashmi, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated every year in India to mark the end of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama. The enactment of the Ram Leela is done for 10 days. It culminates in Ravan Dahan; where towering effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran, and Meghnath are burnt, followed by a grand feast.
- When: Between September and October every year.
- Where: Across the country.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day long affair of festivities in India when huge, beautiful handcrafted idols oh the elephant God Ganesha are installed in homes, public meeting places, and pandals to commemorate the birth of Lord Ganesha. Prayers are offered and pujas performed in the mornings as well as in the evenings.
On the 10th day, Visarjan is performed where the idols are immersed in water, marking the end of the festival, celebrated with cultural activities like dancing and singing as well as activities like Blood donation camps are set up for the benefit of the citizens.
- When: The 4th day of the first fortnight of August
- Where: Visit Pune or Mumbai to catch the fervor and gaiety associated with this colorful festival in all its grandeur.
A festival that celebrates the brother-sister bond, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India in which the sister performs an Arti, applies tilak, and ties a Rakhi on her brother’s arm, praying for his well-being. The brother, in turn, gives his sister a gift, promising to protect her all her life. This festival brings together families over scrumptious food and conversation while celebrating the bond they share.
- When: The full moon day of the month of Shravana, corresponding to August
- Where: Whole India.
A beautiful and significant festival, Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated as a day of praying, dancing, and visiting temples while fasting throughout the day. The fast is broken with a delicious spread at the end of the day and the day of Janmashtami is welcomed by singing bhajans at midnight as it turns into the day of Janmashtami. Little boys dress up as Krishna and girls as Radha and Krishna’s life story is played in jhaankis at temples.
- When: The 8th day of Krishna Paksha, usually falling around August or September
- Where: Religious place of Vrindavan and Mathura
Bihu is a popular festival celebrated in the North East. It is a month-long festival, celebrated with grandeur and joy. Women and men dress up in traditional attires and perform the Bihu dance amidst a lot of pomp and gaiety. The local cuisine consumed during this festival is something you shouldn’t miss- fish pitika and coconut laddoos are to die for.
- When: 14th April
- Where: Plan a trip to Assam, if you want to enjoy and witness the Bihu festival in its full beauty.
Hemis is a two-day long cultural festival. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Ladakh each year. The festivities involve bedecked priests dancing to tunes unanimous with the festival, celebrating the birth of the Tibet Tantric Buddhism.
Do not forget to check out the Hemis monastery while you are there.
- When: Around June or July
- Where: Ladakh
India is a land of a variety of religions, their cultures and their traditions coexisting harmoniously. It is a country that never ceases to amaze you with its rich history and the variety it has to offer.
So, go ahead and plan your next holiday around these and many such festivals that take place in the country that celebrates a festival every day to build up memories and experiences you will never forget.