Festivals & Fairs of India

Indian Festivals, celebrated by varied cultures and through their special rituals, add to the colours of the Indian Heritage. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings, saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the New Year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion.

Many festivals celebrate the various harvests; commemorate great historical figures and events, while many express devotion to the deities of different religions.

Every celebration is centered around the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasting.

In India every region and every religion has something to celebrate. The festivals reflect the vigour and life-style of its people. Vibrant colours, music and festivity make the country come alive throughout the year.

The emphasis laid on the different festivals differs in different parts of the country. For instance, Navaratri is celebrated with maximum fervour in West Bengal as compared to that in other parts of the country. Holi is celebrated with gusto in the north, and although it is also observed in the western and eastern parts of India, in the south it is almost unknown. There are also a few regional festivals like Pongal in Tamil Nadu; Onam in Kerala and the various other temple festivals devoted to the specific patron Gods and Goddesses of the temples, which are celebrated exclusively in those areas, which may be limited to one or a few villages. This galaxy of festivals that exist do contribute in inter-spicing Indian life with gaiety and colour as also in giving the country the distinction of having the maximum number of holidays.

The portal for Festivals of India, www.FestivalsofIndia.in, is the stage drafted to endow the browser with rituals, traditions, legends held behind different festivals, vis-à-vis providing an interactive media to seek the suggestions, guidance and knowledge of our viewers. The portal has a month-wise listing of different festivals celebrated throughout India with great enthusiasm, from January to December schedule of all the festivals.

Pan India Internet Pvt. Ltd. has taken the initiative to provide www.FestivalsofIndia.in as one interactive platform that could open the door to the vivid festivals of India, providing the detailed information regarding the rituals, traditions and legends of the festivals.

Religionwise Festivals - One India many Religions

Hindu Festivals

Christian Festivals

Muslim Festivals

Buddhists Festivals

Sikhs Festivals

Sindhis Festivals

 Jains Festivals

Parsi Festivals

Fairs / Melas

Top 100 Melas of India

State Wise List

State

Fairs / Melas

Location

District

Month

Duration (days)

Assam

Raasmela

Bilasipara

Dhubri

Nov

30

 

Netaji Mela

Karimganj

Karimganj

Jan

15

 

Rashmahotsav

Harimandir

Nalbari

Nov

11

Andhra Pradesh

Brahamotsavam

Tirupati

Chitoor

Sep/Oct

10

 

Netaji Mela

Karimganj

Karimganj

Jan

15

 

Pyditthallamma Utsavam

Vijayanagram

Vijayanagram

April/May

NA

Bihar

Sonepur Mela

Sonepur

Patna

Nov

30

 

Sorath Mela

Sorath

Madhubani

June

15

 

Vaisakh Purnima

Bodh Gaya

Gaya

April/May

15

 

Shivratri Mela

Sayal

Hazaribagh

Feb

15

Gujarat

Vautha Fair

Vautha

Ahmedabad

Nov

2 days

 

Somnath Fair

Patan

Junagarh

Nov

6

 

Rajim Mela

Rajim

Raipur

Feb

30

 

Dassera Mela

Jagdalpur

Bastar

Oct

7

 

Narsinghji Fair

Gomitpur

Ahmedabad

Nov

1

 

Bhavnath Fair

Junagarh

Junagarh

Feb

1

 

Navratri Fair

Ambaji

Bansakantha

Sep

10

 

Lilipari Krama Fair

Junagarh

Junagarh

Nov

5

 

Manekthari Poonam
Fair

Dakor

Kheda

Sep

1

 

Gokulasthami Fair

Surat

Surat

Aug

7

 

Bhadrapada ambaji mela

Ambaji Village

NA

Sep

1

 

Manektari Punam Fair

Dakor

Kheda

Sep

1

 

Shamlaji Fair

Shamlaji

Sabarkantha

Nov

5 days

Haryana

Pihowa Mela

Pihowa

Kurukshetra

Mar

30

 

Pathri Mata Ka Mela

Pathri

Panipat

Mar/July

30

 

Gangor Mela

Sirsa

Sirsa

April

3

 

Kapalmochan Mela

Bilaspur

Yamunanagar

Nov

5

 

Surajkund Mela

Surajkund

Faridabad

Feb

15

 

Kisan Mela

Karnal

Karnal

Sep

9

 

Dehati Mela

Ladana

Kaithal

Oct

7

Himachal Pradesh

Minjar Fair

Chamba

Chamba

July

9

 

Dussherra

Kullu

Kullu

Oct

10

 

Phulaich fair

Kinnaur Valley

Kinnaur

Sep

1

 

Sair Fair

Shimla

NA

Sep

1

 

Hamir Utsav

 

Hamirpur

Nov

 

 

Lavi Fair

Rampur

 

Nov

4 days

 

Renuka_fair

 

Sirmur

Nov

3 days

J&K

Jhiri Mela

Jhiri

 

Nov

 

Jharkhand

Kolhaiya Mela

 

 

Nov

 

 

Kundri Mela

 

 

Nov

 

 

Kunda Fair

Pratappur

chatra

Feb

1

Karnataka

Dassara

Mysore

Mysore

Oct

10

 

Sangameswara Jatra

Harihar

Chitradurga

Mar

7

 

Mahadeshwara Mela

Kollegal

Mysore

Nov

5

 

Havanoor Mela

Havanoor

Dharwad

Jan

3

 

Dasara Fair

Mysore

Mysore

Sep

28

 

Yellamma Devi Fair

Saundatti

Belgaum

Oct

1

 

Godachi Fair

Godachi

Belgaum

Nov

 

 

Hampi Festival

Hampi

 

Nov

3 days

Kerala

Pooram Festival

Trichur

Trichur

April

21

 

Onam

Trivandrum

Trivandrum

Aug

10

 

Koratty Muthy

Koratty Village

Koratty

Oct

NA

 

Makara Vilakku

Malappuram

Malappuram

Mar

NA

 

Chirappu

Kottayyam

Kottayyam

Nov/Dec

NA

 

Feast Of St Sebastain

Chertala

Ernakulam

Jan

NA

 

Shivratri Vilakku

Aluva

Ernakulam

Feb/Mar

NA

 

Omallor Fair

Omallor

Ernakulam

Mar

NA

 

Magara Jyoti

Sabarimala

Idukki

Jan

10

 

Sri Sundareswar

Kannur

Kannur

April

NA

 

Utsavam

Vadakkekara

Malappuram

Mar

NA

 

Aranmula Vallamkali

NA

Aranmula

Sep

1-2

 

Kerala Village Fair

NA

Kovalam & Ernaculam

Jan

10 days

Madhya Pradesh

Kartik Mela

Ujjain

Ujjain

Nov

30

 

Kadam Mela

Kharagpur

Tikamgarh

Nov

15

 

Gwalior Trade Fair

Gwalior

Gwalior

Jan

30

 

Maker Sankranti

Barman

Ujjain

Jan

NA

 

Nimar Utsav

 

Maheshwar

Nov

3 days

Maharashtra

Kumbh Mela

Nashik

Nashik

Once In 12 Yrs

NA

 

Sharda Utsav

Nagpur

Nagpur

Oct/Nov

10

 

Ganesh Festival

Sangli

Sangli

Aug/Sep

NA

Orissa

Rath Yatra

Puri

Puri

July

10

 

Joranda Mela

Joranda

Dhenkanal

Feb

7

 

Dhanu Jatra

Bargarh

Bargarh

Jan

11

 

Bali Yatra

Cuttack

Cuttack

Oct

5

 

Chatar Yatra

Kalahandi

Kalahandi

Oct

2

Festival Calendar 2012

JANUARY / FEBRUARY

Sankranti / Pongal: Mainly Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 3 days and colourful: Tamil harvest festival.

Republic Day: National: establishment of Republic 1950. 26th January. Grand Military Parade and Procession of dancers etc

Vasant Panchami: National (Mainly in the Eastern region): Hindu – dedicated to Saraswati the beautiful Goddess of Learning. Women wear yellow saris.

Floating   Festival: Madurai: Birthday of local 17th century ruler; elaborately illuminated barge carrying decorated temple deities at the Mariamman Teppakulam Pool amids chanting hymns.

FEBRUARY / MARCH

Shivaratri: National: Solemn worship of Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Fasting and chanting. Special celebrations at Chidambarum, Kalahasti, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Bombay.

Holi: Mainly northern, popularly called the festival of colors. Advent of Spring. Lively and much throwing of coloured water and powders. Public Holiday.

Mardi Gras: Goa: Mainly three days during lent. Unique celebrations at this carnival.

Ramnavami: National: Birth of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu. No processions. Plays and folk theaters.

Mahavir Jayanti: National: Jain festival; birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara.

MARCH / APRIL

Kumbh Mela: The oldest and most important of the Hindu festivals. It takes place every three years, at one of the four great holy cities; Nasik in Maharashtra, Ujjain

(MP), Prayag (Allahabad) and Hardwar (both in UP). It is attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges River.

APRIL / MAY

Baisakhi: Northern India, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu; Hindu Solar New Year. Bhangra dancing. Women wear yellow saris.

Pooram: Trichur: New Moon. Spectactular sight of large number of elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas going round the temple; midnight fireworks display.

Id-Ul-Zuha: (Bakrid): Muslim, National: The most celebrated Islamic festival in India, commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham.

Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramzan Id): Muslim, National: Celebration to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.

Meenakshi Kalyanam: Madurai. Marriage of Meenakshi with Lord Shiva. Colourful temple festival. Deities borne by colossal chariot. Ten day festival.

Fair: Rajasthan: Urs Ajmer Sharif. Ajmer, 6 days. Religious cultural and commercial extravaganza dedicated to the Sufi. Music; no procession.

JUNE / JULY

Rath Yatra: Mainly Orissa. Greatest temple festival in honour of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe). Three colossal chariots drawn from Puri temple by thousands of pilgrims. Similar festivals, on a smaller scale, take place at Ramnagar (near Varanasi), Serampore (near Calcutta) and Jagannathpur (near Ranchi).

JULY / AUGUST

Teej: Rajasthan- Particularly Jaipur: Procession of the Goddess Parvati to welcome monsoon; elephants, camels, dancers etc. Women wear green saris. Colourful.

Raksha Bandhan: Northern and Western India. Legendary reenactment, girls tie rakhis or talismen to men’s wrists. Colourful build up.

Naag Panchami: Mainly Jodphur, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Dedicated to the green thousand-headed mythical serpent called Sesha. The day is also observed in many other parts of Western and Eastern India.

Amarnath Yatra: Hindu: Lidder Valley, Kashmir at full moon. Pilgrims visit the place where Lord Shiva explained the secret of salvation to his consort Parvati.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER

Independence Day: (15th August). National: Independence Day. Prime Minister delivers address from Delhi’s Red Fort.

Janmashtami: National, particularly Agra, Bombay and Mathura; Lord Krishna’s birthday.

Onam: Kerala’s Harvest Festival; spectacular snake boat races in many parts of Kerala.

Ganesh Chaturthi: Mainly Pune, Orissa, Bombay, Madras, dedicated to elephant-headed God Ganesh. Giant models of the deity processed and immersed in water. Colourful, and a particularly worth visiting on the Day of immersion at Bombay.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER

Dussehra: National: The most popular festival in the country, celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In the north and particularly in Delhi (where it is known as Ram Lila), plays and music recall the life of Rama; in Kulu, the festival is also very colourful celebrated. In Bengal and many parts of Eastern India it is known as Durga Puja, and in the South as Navaratri.

Fair, Himachal Pradesh: Kulu Valley to coincide with Dussehra (10 days).

Gandhi Jayanti: National: Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. No processions.

Diwali: National: One of the most lively and colourful festivals in India. In some parts, it marks the start of the Hindu New Year. In Eastern India, the goddess Kali is particularly worshipped; elsewhere, it is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, who is venerated. Everywhere there are magnificent illuminations and fireworks.

Gurpurab: Mainly in northern India. Anniversaries of ten gurus, spiritual teachers or preceptors of Sikhism. No procession.

NOVEMBER

Muharram: Muslim. Commemoration of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom. Tiger dancers lead processions of colourful replicas of martyr’s tomb. Colourful, particularly at Lucknow.

Bihar: Largest cattle fair in the world; 1 month Sonepur, Patna; on banks of the Ganges.

Pushkar Mela: Pushkar, near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Important and colourful. Camel and cattle fair, attended by Rajputs from miles around. Camel races and acrobatics etc.

DECEMBER

Christmas Day: National: Most exuberantly celebrated in Goa, Bombay and Tamil Nadu

Note: Besides the above festivals there are hundreds of festivals and fairs which are of regional significance, celebrated with equal pomp and colour. The most authentic of these are the following:

(1) The Temple Festival in South India, a list of which if often available at Govt. of India Tourist Offices,

(2) The many festivals at Ladakh in Kashmir.

(3) The many festivals in Rajasthan at a time when a festival of some kind is not either in Progress or about to take place.

INDIA TOURISM - THE MOST RECOMMENDED ITINERARIES