are an intrinsic part of the Indian way of life, a golden thread
that runs through its cultural fabric. Given the size of India, the
vast diversity of its people, religions, cultures, languages and
terrain, it is not surprising that there are a variety of
festivals being celebrated all the year round.
all over the country celebrate the coming of the seasons and
harvest time. aspects of fertility and renewal are closely
linked to many of these festivals. Festivals are the occasions
when houses are cleaned and whitewashed. They occur at different
times and vary in their celebrations.
festivals, the feast of saints, prophets, god and gurus are the
most important of Indian celebrations. these are joyous affairs
- a time for prayer and pageantry, music and feasting.
India, festivals are marked by a warmth of participation. Colour
and festivity also provide an occasion for shopping when
overnight small markets appear from nowhere. these sell
trinkets, local souvenirs and colourful apparel. Dance and music
are essential ingredients. Exotic delicacies are a culinary
SANKRANTI, PONGAL, MEHA BIHU -
Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
major harvest festival of India. It is one of the biggest
events in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh. But fights and bullock races are an important
features of the celebrations. Also celebrated in the
eastern region when millions of pilgrims take a holy dip
in the Ganges.
DAY - All
national festival in observed through out the
country to make the inauguration of the Republic day of
India on 26th January 1950. In Delhi, the celebration
include a magnificent parade of the armed Forces, folk
dances and floats from all the different states of India.
festival of spring. On this day people wear clothes in
bright shades of yellow and there is merriment all round.
FESTIVAL (21-23 February 2005)
Desert Festival exudes the delightful spirit of this
desert land. Fort three days, the otherwise barren land of
Jaisalmer comes to life and is clustered with hordes of
colourfully dressed people.
cherished moments of the glorious and illustrious past and
a rich culture are on display. The traditional dancers and
the audience seem to be on a euphoric trip. The Turban
Tying competition and Mr Desert contest add a touch of
excitement to the celebration. The traditional Gair
dancers leave the crowds enchanted by their thrilling
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
On the night of the full moon, in the Tamil month of Thai,
this magnificent festival is held at Madurai. The festival
is celebrated at the huge mariamman Teppakulam tank which
has a little temple on an island at its centre. The temple
and tank are illuminated for the festival, and beautifully
dressed and jewelled images of the goddess Meenakshi and
her consort are brought in procession from the Meenakshi
temple. they are floated on a raft that is decked with
flowers and lamps to the accompaniment of music and
chanting of hymns.
Hindu perform puja of Lord Shiva by fasting on this day.
OF KHAJURAHO - Khajuraho,
A marvellous week-long festival of dances is held every
year at Khajuraho. Some of the best dancers in the country
come to perform amidst the splendour of the ancient
most boisterous of Indian festivals, Holi is associated
with Lord Krishna. Gay crowds fill the streets, squirting
coloured water on people regardless of age, caste or
creed. Greetings and sweets are exchanged
among friends and relatives.
GRAS - Goa
Mainly three days during lent. Unique celebrations at this
CHANDRABHAGA - Konark,
Chandrabhaga yatra is a famous festival on the bank of
river Chandrabhaga near Konark, Orissa. The festival is
dedicated to the Sun God and takes place at the merging
point of the river and the sea. More than fifty to sixty
thousand pilgrims assemble here and take bath chanting
name of the Gods and taking the dip in the sea. The fair
is very well known among the Orissa people and attracts
people from all corners.
of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu. No processions. Plays and
Maharastra and Gujarat
Navroz, new year to the Parsi. The day is also observed as
the Day of Repentence when the members of the community
pray to be forgiven for sins committed in the past year.
Jain festival; birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last
Tirthankara. Pilgrims gather at Jain temples and
shrines all over the country.
Christians all over India celebrate the resurrection of
Christ. Prayers and services are held in churches and
cathedrals on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
FESTIVAL (25 March 2005)
Elephant festival gets underway in the month of Phalgun
(March) on the eve of Holi, the festival of colours, at
festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels,
horses and folk dancers. The sights of mighty jumbos
striding majestically is a treat to watch. The "mahawats"
or owners, proudly decorate their elephants with bright
colours, jhools (Saddle cloth) and heavy
jewellery. Female elephants are made to wear payals
or anklets, which jingle as they walk. Prizes are given
away for the most beautifully decorated elephant.
Polo Match, the Elephant Race, the Tug-of-War between
elephants and men and women prompt applause from the
spectators. The most colourful part of the festival is
Holi played on elephant back.
The Kumbh Mela, one of the India's largest fairs, takes
place in a 12-year cycle at Prayag (Allahabad), Hardwar,
Nasik and Ujjain. The holiest of these is the mela at
Prayag, at the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and
the mythicalSaraswati. Millions of pilgrims at Prayag to
bathe in the Ganga during the mela.
FESTIVAL (11-15 April 2005)
festival of Gangaur is very significant for women of
Rajasthan. It is a time for them to dress up in their best
and participate in the festival.
gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then
carry them in a ceremonial procession through different
parts of the city.
Ornamented elephants, decorated camels and horses with
their bells tinkling, chariots, dancers dressed in vibrant
shades of red, shocking pink and yellow and musicians -
all accompany the palanquin of the goddess Gauri. The
procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake
Pichhola. Here, images are transferred to special boats
amidst much singing and festivity.
the religious part of the festival is over it is time for
cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed
through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival
culminates with an impressive fireworks display.
In Jaipur a colourful procession with the image of Gauri
starts from the palace gate known as Tripolia and moves
through the main streets, passing Chaughan before reaching
VISHU BOHAG BIJU
India, Kerala, Assam
the Hindu new year is celebrated all over India. It is a
very popular festival of Punjab. It is celebrated to mark
the harvesting season. To rejoice the occasion, Bhangra
and Gidha dances are performed all over the Punjab.
Kerala, the festival is known as Vishu. Known as Bohag
Bihu in Assam, the new year is celbrated with music, folk
dances and community feasting.
On this day, the deity is taken out in procession.
Magnificent temple tuskers decorated with gold head
ornaments and surmounted by men holding colourful
umbrellas, yak hair and peacock feather whisks parade to
the throbbing of the temple drums. The festival is noted
for its splendid displays of fireworks late in the
by Muslims to commemorate the prophet Abrahim's offer to
sacrifice his son. The most celebrated Islamic festival in
Celebrated to mark the end of the month of Ramadan, the
Muslim month of fasting. It is an occasion for fasting
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
of Meenakshi with Lord Shiva. Colourful temple festival.
Deities borne by colossal chariot. Ten day festival.
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).
Jammu & Kashmir
Hemis Gompa is the largest Buddhist monastery. Crowds
gather here to commemorate Padma-sambhava, the Buddhist
saint. Dramatic masked dancer swirling around to the music
of pipes, enact the battle between good and evil spirits.
Around the monastery a fair springs up during the festival
where local handicrafts are sold.
festival marks the onset of the rains. The monsoons bring
water to the parched land and women celebrate by singing
and swinging on swings bung from trees. The festival is
dedicated to Goddess Parvati and an elaborate procession
is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days.
& Western India
Celebrated by Hindu's particularly in northern India.
Sisters tie holy thread/Rakhi on the wrists of their
brothers wishing their long life. Brothers take oath to
protect the honour and help them in adversities.
especially cobras are venerated during the festival of
Naag Panchami. This festival is dedicated to the sacred
serpent Ananta, on whose coils Lord Vishnu rested while
creating the universe.
High up in the Kashmir Himalayas, at a height of 3880
metres, is the Amarnath cave with its sacred ice lingam, a
symbol of Lord Shiva. This lingam is a natural phenomemon.
Each year in the month of Shravan, at the time of the full
moon, thousands of pilgrims make the difficult four-day
trek up to the cave.
The anniversary of India's independence won on this day in
1947. Prime Minister delivers address from Delhi’s Red
The birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, celebrated with
great anthusiasm all over India, specially at Mathura and
Vrindavan, which are closely associated with his
Kerala's most important festival, Onam honours the ancient
demon king Mahabali. Homes are cleaned and carpets of
flowers are arranged for all ten days of the festival. It
is harvest time and the season for feasting and fun. Along
the limpid backwaters stately snake-boats with crews of
over 100 men race each other to the rhythm to traditional
& Tamil Nadu
The elephant-headed God Ganesh, the god of wisdom and
success is worshipped at the colourful Ganesh Chathurthi
festival. In Western India, large images of the god are
installed and worshipped for several days after which they
are taken out in procession and immersed in the river or
on the epic story of ramayana the ten days Dussehra
festival signifying the triumph of good over evil is
celebrated all over the country. In north India, the
Ramlila is staged to commenmorate the heroism of Lard Rama.
In Bengal, it is observed as Durga Puja and images of the
warrior goddess Durga are immersed in lakes and rivers
four days of worship.
The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the
nation is celebrated with reverence all over the country.
brightest India festival when every city town and village
is turned into a fairy land with millions of
electric light, candles and oil lamps illuminating homes
and public buildings. A special feature of the festival is
the worship of Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and
The birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of
the Sikhs, is celebrate in the month of Kartik.
- Nalanda, Bihar
a year, in the Hindu month spanning October and November
and in that which spans April and May, in the state of
Bihar women make vows to Surya, the sun god, promising to
perform certain arduous rituals in exchange for special
favours. A festival called Chhatra, lasting several days,
is the culmination of these vows.
the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the
propohet Muhammad, Tazias, symbolic of the Marty's tomb at
Karbala, are carried in morning procession. Muharram as
observed in Lucknow, is famous.
The Birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in India, with the
traditional exchanges of greetings and gifts.
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