11 Famous Festivals of India that allure Foreign Travellersby Ripan Choudhary SEO Expert
11 Famous Festivals of India that allure Foreign Travellers
India is a diverse country, a land of colours and festivals, with a variety of different communities living together. Festivals in India are celebrated wholeheartedly with full joy and traditions. Whole year you can feel the festive vibe in India. International tourists can also be a part of this by just obtaining the Indian visa. One can easily apply for Indian visa and obtain it within 2-3 days and also within 24 hours for emergency purpose and enjoy these festivals.
These festivals keep each other intact with one another thus making it a joyful time together with friends and family. These festivals are not only celebrated in India but also in different countries by the Indian communities living abroad. There are many festivals that are celebrated in India but few are the most popular ones. Each state in India has their own number of festivals but some are their which are celebrated in the whole country with full enthusiasm and zeal and those are :-
Holi is the “festival of colours” which is being celebrated with full enthusiasm and colours. Individuals smear different colours also known as “gulal” at each other and also sprinkle water and water balloons at each other. It is celebrated during the month of March each year, it is the celebration of spring. Individuals drink a special drink made with milk, certain portion of cannabis, curd, saffron and other dry fruits called “Thandai” or “Bhaang” which is quite popular during holi.
Holi is celebrated on the full moon in March mostly or February and is based on the lunar calendar. On the eve of Holi people make huge Holika bonfires and sing and dance around it. Holi signifies the victory of good (Prahlad) over evil (Holika).
Holi is played in different ways in different parts of the country like in Barsana “Lathmar Holi” is famous where the women beat up men with stick(lathi) before playing holi with colours; men try to escape from the beating and the unlucky ones have to have women attire and dance like them. One should cover their skin with oil (any hair oil) to prevent colour from staining on your skin for weeks and should use herbal colours. Holi is one of the most vibrant festivals of India and if you are a photographer or love clicking photos then this is the right time for you to get a bunch of memories.
Diwali is the “festival of lights” and is celebrated in the honor of good over evil and brightness over darkness. It celebrates Lord Ram with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman’s return to their kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years exile in the forest following the defeat of Ravana and rescue Sita on Dussehra. During this time everywhere one can see different kinds of lights in the form of candles, fairy lights, diyas lit all over the country. It is one of the most awaited festivals in India. Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps” and this can be seen in each house in India. Fireworks can be seen in the festival so as to guide Lord Ram home from exile. Diwali has five days of festivitie and each day different pujas are done for different deities. It is mostly celebrated during October or November since dates keep on changing due to the lunar cycle and business during this time is at its peak.
Diwali is also a festival where you can photograph the beautiful lights and fireworks done by the people. Earthen lamps known as diyas are lit and together with family sweets and ritual are performed. Rangolis are made with flower petals and colours to decorate the house.
3. Ganesh Chaturthi
Lord Ganesh is the most beloved “elephant headed” god, who is not only loved by the Indians but many foreign tourists also love him. This is the festival which runs for 11 days in late August or September (depending on the cycle of moon) in honour of Lord Ganesha. Statues are made of Lord Ganesha whole year by the artists and during this 11 day festival many people buy it do rituals and then visarjit or drown the statue in the river with rituals. It is believed that when Lord Ganesh comes to any home, it is a blessing as he takes away all your problems with him on his return that is “visarjan” and so many people bring him home and do all the rituals with excitement and welcome him by singing dancing throughout the streets. On the last day that is the 11th day, called “Anant Chaturdasi”, the images, the statue of Lord Ganesh are paraded through the streets with people being accompanied by singing, dancing and then following the rituals Lord Ganesh is immersed in the sea.
Lord ganesh is always thought of as the god of good luck. On any auspicious beginning or safe travels Lord Ganesh is remembered as he is believed to remove all our troubles. One can experience the best of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai wherein Pandals various statues are displayed and compete with each other in terms of music, dance, statues. Lal Bagh’s Lord Ganesh is one of the most popular Ganesha which is being witnessed by many people. One can experience a truly amazing moment during this time. Lord Ganesha’s handcrafted idols are installed in homes, public places and pujas(prayer) are performed both morning and in the evening. It is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesh. On both the first and the last day of Ganesh Chatuthi people together gather and celebrate it with full zeal and it seems like rallies.
4. Pushkar Fair
Pushkar fair is a festive time for people as it is the time when one can enjoy the beauty of its lake, the one and only Brahma temple, the beautiful camels and the sunrise and sunset with a marvellous market place. Pushkar is a small town in rural Rajasthan. This fair takes place each autumn at the time of “Kartik Purnima” which is the full moon festival. In this festival camel traders from far and wide places come here and buy, sell and trade camels and along with that camel racing can be observed. This is the time when you can feel the desert part of India with beautiful colours around you. This is the time when people can enjoy their personal time with the beauty of sand.
This is the most busy time over there so the accommodation charges are quite high but the delicacies that are provided are worth it with different cuisine of Rajasthan, you can savour your mouth with flavours of India. In this fair you can get the best handcrafted products made by special artisan and immerse yourself in the mirage of the Rajasthan desert. One can experience the beautiful culture with folk dance, songs acrobats cattle dressed beautifully, it is the ship of colours in the land of desert. Tented cities pop up in the surrounding fields because of the great influx of people.
5. Durga Puja
Durga Puja is the festival which honours Goddess Durga, who represents the divine feminine energy (shakti) that is the force, the power, the warrior aspect of women that they can fight all the evils. It is celebrated as Durga Maa defeated the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Goddess Durga is also referred to as Maa Durga means Mother Durga. Durga Puja is celebrated all over the country but the best ones you can experience is in Kolkata, West Bengal. Durga puja is tied to the phase of the moon. It is mainly 10 days festival wherein pandals are created and Maa Durga’s idols are exhibited with full decoration and lights and everything is done by talented artists, who go to any length to make Maa Durga look beautiful and the pandals exuberant.
Each day in the morning and evening pujas (prayers) are done by the people who enjoy themselves by singing and dancing and enjoying the art of work by visiting different pandals. On the last day Maa Durga’s idol is immersed into the river with full customs, ceremonial drum beats and chanting. One should at least once attend the durga puja of Kolkata which becomes world’s largest open art gallery during this time showcasing the beautiful Maa Durga in various forms.
6. Krishna Janmashtami (Govinda)
Krishna Janmashtami also known as “Govinda or Gokulashtami” is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna. In this festival different groups of people climb onto each other and form a human pyramid to try and reach the top so as to be able to break the earthen clay pot which is filled with curd or butter also known as “dahi handi” which is strung up high from buildings. The team which reaches the top and break the dahi handi wins the competition and is bestowed with money by the organiser. Dahi Handi is done to commemorate the love of curd and butter by Lord Krishna, who along with his friends would take curd and butter from other’s home with the help of making human pyramid with friends. It is 2 day festal and dahi handi competition is held on the second day. It is celebrated in late August or early September depending on the cycle of the moon.
One can visit the ISKCON temple which are beautifully decorated or can visit Mathura Vrindavan which is the birth place of Lord Krishna. One could see many kids dressed up in the outfits of Lord Krishna. People do fasting on the fast day until midnight when Lord Krishna was believed to be born. People install cradles in the temples and small statue of Krishna is placed on them. Dancing and singing can be seen all over the temples where people representing Krishna and Radha (companion of Krishna) showcase their beautiful love story.
7. Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela of Kumbha Mela “the festival of the sacred pitcher”, is the largest public gathering which is basically mass Hindu pilgrimage but all people can take part in it. It is a collective act of faith in which Hindus and other religion people gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river as it is thought to cleanse a person of all their sins. Khumbh Mela takes place in rotation at four geographical locations in India which keeps on rotating the mela site between one of the four pilgrimages on four sacred rivers:-
Haridwar Kumbh Mela, Haridwar on the river Ganges in Uttarakhand
Ujjain Simhastha, Ujjain on the Shipra river in Madhya Pradesh
Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha , Nashik on the Godavari river in Maharashtra
Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, Prayagraj at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati river in Uttar Pradesh.
Kumbh Mela, is a religious pilgrimage that is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years and which draws tens of millions of pilgrims over the course of 48 days approximately to bathe in the sacred rivers. This human congregation includes Ascetics, Saints, Sadhus,Naga Sadhus who practice ‘sadhana’ and keenly follow a strict path of spiritual discipline, Hermits who leave their seclusion and come to visit the civilization only during the Kumbh Mela, Sadhvis, Kalpvasis, seekers of spirituality, common people practicing Hinduism and pilgrims from all walks of life.
This celebration is based on a distinct set of astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and Jupiter, when these positions are fully occupied, as it is considered to be the holiest time in Hinduism. The science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, and socio-cultural customs and practices, are all encapsulated in one during this time making it extremely rich in knowledge. Ceremonies like the traditional procession of Akharas called ‘Peshwai’ on elephant backs, horses and chariots, the shining swords and rituals of Naga Sadhus during ‘Shahi Snaan’, and many other cultural activities and ceremonies take place during this time which attracts millions of people from around the world. So one get close and personal with radiant saints and yogis of Himalayas, and watch them parade and bathe.
8. International Kite Festival, Gujarat
International kite festival, also known as “Lohri or Makar Sankranti” by the North Indian Hindus and Sikhs and Uttarayan by Gujaratis. This celebration marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring, which means agricultural cycle for farmers, which is celebrated with Dhols, dance, singing and different delicacies like “Bajre ki khichdi” and “til ladoo”.
One can witness the sky in beautiful colours as kites of different colours, shape, design cover the whole sky. One can encounter this delightful view either in Sabarmati Riverfront or the Ahmedabad Police Stadium. This event attracts visitors from different parts of the world who witness the breathtaking sight of kites of different design and colour adorning the sky. Many international participants also take part in this festival. The dates for this are set according to the solar cycle.
9. Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival which signifies the brother sister bonding. In this the sister performs Aarti (prayer), applies tilak, and ties rakhi which is a sacred thread on brother’s wrist wishing his well being. In return brother vows to protect his sister. It symbolises strengthening the bond of kinship, the strong bond of brother and sister.
Now a day one can see different kinds of rakhi in the market and different sweets. It is celebrated on the full moon day of shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar that is during the August month. In this the brother gifts the sister with sweets or other gifts and promises the necessary protection for lifetime.
10. Goa Carnival
Goa Carnival is one of the most lively and exhilarating carnivals where one can witness culture, song, colours dance everything in one and the best is the entry is free. Though significantly smaller than the well-known Rio Carnival, Goa Carnival is the largest in India. It is a 3-4 days carnival where one can witness great energy, enthusiasm among people. Not only people from different states of India but also International tourists visit Goa this time and loose themselves to the madness and crazy vibe of the festival. Their is parade at the end which includes beautiful floats, entertainers and dances which gives it a grand close year as it is held during the month of february. Portugese were the people who brought this festival to Goa 500 years ago. Initially it had portugal flavour but now it has changed to the Goa culture. Beautiful plays, dance , music and different entertainment takes place during this time which is prepared for months.
It is organised before the month of Lent is going to begin when people would have to completely abstain themselves from the consumption of meat. Starting with a grand procession on the Fat Saturday evening, the parade is lead by King Momo who sets out with his entourage of dancers, bands, clowns, acrobats and other entertainers to spread the message of merry making across the state. The festivities end with red and black dance where women and men dressed in red coloured upper garments and black coloured lower garments dance to the beat of the bands in a festooned procession. Ash Wednesday as it is called is the last day of the carnival when the month of Lent begins. Feasting is one of the most important parts of the Carnival so all the foodies out there must visit there to taste the cuisines drinks and enjoy the carnival during this time.
11. Rann Utsav
Rann Utsav also known as the “Kutch Festival” is a festive time in the “White Desert” of Gujarat which welcomes its visitors with colorful exuberance of dancing, singing, and other fun activities. This festival starts from December and is stretched till february wherein colorful fairs are held on the banks of river and activities such as horse riding, camel riding, bird watching, traditional dance, giant chess, paramotoring, net cricket and many other such things takes place which you can be a part of.
White sand with colorful surroundings is a treat to everyone's eye. Visitors from different countries stay in the exquisite white tents bordering the white “Rann of Kutch”. Enjoy the night sky with beautiful folk music and unparalleled beauty of the white desert.
The above are a few of many festivals of India which International travellers can take part in and enjoy the festive environment of the incredible India.
Created on Aug 10th 2019 04:29. Viewed 582 times.