Fairs and Festivals
The fairs and festivals are major attractions of India. Reflecting the vibrant culture of the country, these events occupy a prime place in the Indian tourism industry. They find their roots in the traditions, religious beliefs, myths and the seasons of the country. The fairs and festivals either celebrate the change of seasons or are of a religious nature. A large number of fairs are also held in India from time to time. People from far and wide come to take part in these fairs. Jubilant Travel assist the clients in planning the itineraries in accordance with these fairs and festivals.
Lohri / Makar Sankranti
This is the famous the Hindu festival which falls regularly on the 14th of January every year. Like many other festivals in India, Lohri or Makar Sankranti is also related to the agricultural activities of the farmers. It marks the harvesting season and the end of the winter season. The main event is making of a huge bonfire which is symbolic of the homage to the Sun God for bringing in warmth. Makar Sankranti or Lohri is an individual's function but celebrated collectively. On the day of the festival, with the setting of the sun, the bonfire is lit with people singing and dancing to the tune of Lohri songs. The festivities include the boisterous Bhangra dance and chanting of mantras around the fire. The munching of seasonal goodies like ladoos made with til (seasame seeds) and jaggery, popcorn, rewari, peanuts and sugar cane forms an integral part of the celebration. Fistfuls of these goodies also find their way into the fire, as an offering to the Sun God, the giver of all life.
Goa Carnival is the most famous festival in the state and has been celebrated since the 18th century as a precursor to the abstinence of Lent. It is an annual event held in February. The streets of Goa come alive with colour for three days and nights just before Lent. The carnival epitomizes fun-loving culture, characteristic to Goa. During these three days, Goa is gripped by the pulsating rhythm of guitars and folk songs. The revelers in their colourful improvised fancy dresses, dance and sing in the streets, with King Momos, Lord of the Carnival, presiding over the scene. Although, the three-day festival is primarily celebrated by Christians, it has also absorbed Hindu tradition revelry, western dance forms, and turned into a pageantry of sorts. Though it started as a celebration enjoyed only by the local population, it has today crossed the state frontiers and attracts thousands of people from all over the country.
Desert Festival, Jaisalamer
The popular Desert Festival is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer which coincides with the full moon in February. For three days, the otherwise barren land of Jaisalmer comes alive and is clustered with hordes of colourfully dressed people.
You will get to see Cultural events, camel races, turban tying competitions etc. Everything is exotic in the Desert festival, amidst the golden sands of the Thar Desert. With a final musical performance by folk singers under the moonlit sky at the dunes in Sam, just outside Jaisalmer, the festival comes to its end. The rich culture of the region is on display during this three daylong extravaganza.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur
The Elephant Festival is an annual event held every year during holi at Jaipur the capital city of Rajasthan. As the name suggests elephants are the centre of attraction at the Elephant Festival Jaipur. Elephants are specially decorated for the elephant festival, with chunky elephant jewellery, large anklets decked with bells grace their feet, their bodies are painted with traditional Indian motifs, gold embroidered velvet rugs grace their backs along with silver and gold plated Howdahs and gold embroidered velvet parasol’s . The large ears of the elephants are adorned with ear danglers and brightly coloured brocade scarfs. Even their tusks are ringed with gold and silver bracelets and rings. Richly embellished head-plates adorn the Elephants foreheads. The mahouts are also all dressed up in their brocade jackets and bright coloured Safa’s or turbans. At the Jaipur Elephant festival there is a prize for the best decorated Elephant and its Mahout.
The Elephant Festival Jaipur offers the perfect opportunity to see these royal and regal creatures in all their splendor as they parade before you to the beating of the Nagara and the blowing of the Bankiya, followed by rows of decked up camels, horses with lanced Riders, Horse drawn chariots, cannon carts and porters carrying palanquins followed by performances of the folk dancers all creating a scene reminiscent of the past and celebrating the Majesty of the Elephant and the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
Holi is one of the major festival of India and is the most vibrant of all. The joys of Holi knows no bound. The festival is celebrated across the globe. The festival is filled with so much fun and frolic that the very mention of the word 'Holi' draws smile and enthusiasm amongst the people. Holi also celebrates the arrival of Spring, a season of joy and hope. Holi festival begins with lighting up of bonfire on the holi eve.
Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali
Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali or the Aranmula Boat Race is the oldest known boat race event which takes place in Kerala. The boat race takes place during the festival of Onam, which occurs during the Malayalam month Chingam (August - September). The boat race is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The boats which are used for racing are huge. They have four helmsmen, 100 rowers and 25 singers who sing Vanchipattu songs throughout the race. The traditional snake boats which are especially used here for racing are called ‘Palliyodams’ by the natives. Each boat is decorated with a golden lace. Along with these decorations every boat has a flag and two or three ornamental umbrellas. The event that attracts tourists from all over the world.
Durga Puja is the one of the most famous festival celebrated in West Bengal and particularly in Kolkata, in honor of Goddess Durga during the period of Navaratri. It is celebrated for 10 days, however starting from the sixth day till the ninth day, the Pandals with grand idols of Goddess Durga are open for visitors. The tenth day, also known as Dashami marks the Visarjan (immersion in water) of the idol with grand celebrations and processions. According to the Hindu Mythology, Goddess Durga emerged from the collective energy of all Gods as an embodiment of Shakti or divine feminine power, to destroy demon Mahishasura; who was blessed to not be defeated by any man or god. The name Durga in Sanskrit means ‘the impenetrable’; she exists in a state of self-sufficiency and in ultimate power. This powerful form of Mother Goddess is highly revered in Kolkata which is why her return is celebrated with much grandeur and ceremonies.
Dussehra is a popular festival celebrated by Hindus all over India, albeit with different names. It is also known as Vijayadashmi ('Vijay' meaning 'victory' and 'Dashmi meaning 'tenth day), as it is believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama killed the demon-king, Ravana and rescued his abducted wife - Sita. In other words, it signifies the triumph of good over evil. The legendary triumph is reenacted to the day. In the northern parts of India, huge effigies of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath are placed in vast open grounds. Fireworks and crackers are placed inside the effigies.
Diwali the "festival of lights“ is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. Diwali is the biggest and the brightest festival in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Thousands of traditional clay lamps are lit in houses all over the country. Lakshmi -the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped. The houses are cleaned and decorated with designs drawn on the floor. It is believed that Lakshmi only enters homes that are clean and spotless. People wear new apparel, consume a rich and sumptuous feast and burst crackers.
Pushkar Camel Fair
An astonishing 50,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town of Pushkar, in India's state of Rajasthan, for the annual Pushkar Fair. It's a fascinating and peculiar sight, and a great opportunity to witness an old traditional style Indian festival. This cultural and trade cum religious fair is an attractive and lively spectacle with Rajasthani men and women in their colourful traditional attire, saffron-robed and ash smeared Sadhus (holy men) and thousands of bulls, cows, sheep, goats, horses and camels in richly decorated saddles. Perhaps the largest cattle fair in the world, it attracts more than one lakh people, from all over Rajasthan as well as tourists from different parts of India and abroad.
Trading of cattle, camel races and dazzling displays of bangles, brassware, clothes, camel saddles and halters make the fair colourful. Necklaces of glass beads from Naguar, pottery, printed textiles from Jodhpur and Ajmer are all on sale here. Farmers, cattle traders and breeders buy and sell their animals, leather whips, saddles etc. There are facilities for camel rides also.