India is a country of dynamic culture, and every Indian celebrates many festivals wholeheartedly throughout the year. Every festival is unique in its way. Celebrating them while you pay a visit to the country is a great chance to explore the prosperity of Indian culture and heritage. Listed below are some of the amazing festivals and events in India that will compel you to revel in it –
Rath Yatra – The Rath Yatra is the grand festival celebrated in Puri. The temple deities, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, of the main Jagannath temple of Puri, are removed with the celestial wheel and taken to their respective chariots. The chariots are then taken to the grand avenue of the Gundicha Temple. Lakhs of devotees take part in this Yatra. Foreign channels also provide live telecast of this Yatra.
Holi – The most vibrant of all the festivals, the Festival of Holi is also referred to as the Festival of Colors. Holi gets its name from Holika, the demoness sister of evil King Hiranyakashyap in Hindu mythology. As the story goes, the villainous king tried to forbid his son Prahlad from worshiping one of the Hindu gods, Vishnu, but Prahlad persisted despite his father. So, the king ordered Prahlad and Holika (who was immune to fire) to sit on a pyre, a wooden structure for burning a body as part of a funeral or execution. When the flames struck, Holika burnt to death in spite of her immunity to fire, and miraculously Prahlad prevailed because he called on the help of Lord Vishnu. So, Holi celebrations serve as a reminder of the triumph of good over evil, reflecting the Hindu belief that faith and devotion leads to salvation that can be attained by everyone who believes. Legend also holds that after being cursed with blue skin by a demon, Krishna worried that his fair-skinned consort, Radha, would no longer love him. When he complained to his mother Yashoda, she teasingly replied for Krishna to paint Radha’s face whatever color he chose, so he did. The flying multihued pigments, called gulal, remind of the story of Krishna. Families across India lovingly prepare gujiya, a dumpling-like sweet that filled with dried fruits and nuts spiced with cardamom. Countless variations exist, but common fillings include pistachios, cashews, coconut, and raisins, which everyone enjoys during fiery HolikaDahan.
Diwali –Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important festivals in Indian religions. It symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance". The festival is widely associated with conflagrations between good and evil entities. Diwali is a post-harvest festival celebrating the bounty following the arrival of the monsoon in the subcontinent. It is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar months of Ashvin (according to the amanta tradition) and Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). In Hinduism it generally lasts five or six days. Diwali is connected to various religious mythical events or personalities. The day Rama returned to his kingdom in Ayodhya with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana after defeating the demon, Ravana. Birth of Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity). Ganesha (God of wisdom and the remover of obstacles). Other regional traditions connect the holiday to Sita and Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, Durga, Shiva, Kali, Hanuman, Kubera, Yama, Yami, Dhanvantari, or Vishvakarman.
Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) – Mumbai Film Festival is organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI). In 1997, a group of film industry stalwarts founded the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image as a not-for-profit Trust. The main intention was to organize an annual International Film Festival of which the film industry and the country can be proud of. MAMI aims to foster a climate of good cinema. Appreciation of good cinema, stripped off all the limiting labels of art and commercial, can only come about through exposure to the best of films the world has to offer. The festival is the first step in that direction.
International Kite Festival – The International Kite Festival (Uttarayan) is one of the biggest festivals celebrated. Uttarayan is such a huge celebration that it has become a public holiday in India lasting two days. During the festival, local food such as Undhiyu (a mixed vegetable including yam and beans), chikki (sesame seed brittle) and jalebi are served to the crowds. Days before the festival, the market is filled with participants buying their supplies. Every year, Gujarat celebrates more than 200 festivals. The International Kite Festival (Uttarayan) is one of the biggest festivals celebrated. Months beforehand, homes in Gujarat begin to manufacture kites special box kites for the festival. The festival of Uttarayan marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer, according to the Indian calendar. It is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season, Makara Sankranti/Mahasankranti, is approaching. This is considered one of the most important harvest days in India as it also marks the end of winter and the beginning of the harvest season. Many cities in Gujarat organize kite competitions among their citizens.
Onam –Onam festival is a legendary harvest festival of Kerala celebrated with great enthusiasm in different parts of Kerala. The festival is celebrated for 10 days with the arrival of Mahabali. To relish the successful harvest, Malayalee people decorate their house entrance with floral rangoli, wear new traditional clothes, women cook delicious food, and celebrate with traditional music and dance.
Pongal – Pongal is another name for Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated during the same time in various cities of Tamil Nadu. This is a thanksgiving celebration where people express their deep gratitude to mother nature for the produce of the year. This is one of the most colorful harvest festivals of India celebrated for 4 days. It is amongst the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu. The first day is the Bhogi Festival devoted to Lord Indra for an abundance of rain. On the second day, newly harvested rice and milk are cooked outdoor and offered to Sun God. The third day is for cattle worship and on the fourth day, Pongal or traditional colored rice is offered with turmeric, betel leaf, and betel nuts.
Eid-ul-Fitr – The holy festival of Ramadan consists of month-long fasting. It is believed that fasting makes a man give up his vices which bring him closer to Allah. Muslims form an essential part of cultural strata in India hence Eid is celebrated with holy fasting and offering prayers. It ends with joyful feasting.
Kumbh Mela – Ever witnessed a stampede of thousands of people? well, that's Kumbh Mela for you. Held once in every 3 years at Allahabad, Varanasi, Haridwar and Ujjain, the festival is one of the largest pilgrim gatherings around the world. Considered as the most spiritually enlightening festival in the world, Kumbh Mela is a venue of devotees taking a dip in the river to become holy. Although at certain places it's celebrated every 3 years, it's held once in 12 years at some places based on the Vikram Samvat calendar. The number of people that visited Maha Kumbh Mela has crossed 30 million a day over the past years.
NH7 Weekender – Conceptualized and organized by OML Entertainment, NH7 is one of the largest music festivals of India that has witnessed an extensive escalation in the number of attendees in the past ten years. Started in 2010, this festival has now become one of the hottest music festivals that has earned its place in the Indian calendars. Hosting some of both locally and internationally renowned artists such as Vishal Dadlani, Vishal Bhardwaj, MUTEMATH, Dry the River, The Vaccines, Nightmares On Wax, Imogen Heap, and many others, NH7 Weekender is all about the feet-stomping music that leaves the visitors overwhelmed.
Sunburn Festival – Asia’s biggest and most loved EDM festival, Sunburn, was started in 2003 in Goa. The grand music festival is organized annually in Vagator, Goa and lasts for 3-5 days. From renowned international artists to esteemed Indian artists, the most celebrated music festival has been successful in bringing the zeal and enthusiasts of music lovers together under one roof. Over the years Sunburn has expanded internationally and toured the majority of Top 100 DJs in the world, including: Swedish House Mafia, Hardwell, David Guetta, Axwell, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Paul Van Dyk, Marshmello, Chainsmokers, Afrojack, Pete Tong, Tiesto, Armin van Buren, DeadMau5, Carl Cox, DJ Snake, Skazi, Martin Garrix and so many more. With myriad genre of music playing superfluously, you will be spoiled for choices. The festival attracts more than 3 million people every year.
Jodhpur RIFF – The festival primarily takes place in Mehrangarh Fort—the most popular tourist attraction in the city. There are also various venues around the fort, including the beautiful Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, Jaswant Thada and Veer Durga Das Memorial Park.The festival is genre-independent, so you can expect a mix of various kinds of music, both Indian and international. Not many may know that Mick Jagger is the international patron for RIFF. As a result, several international artists, like Manu Chao, Pete Lockett and Maya Kamaty got a platform in India through RIFF. The festival also includes jam sessions with local Rajasthani folk musicians that take place at night.
Ganesh Chaturthi – It is celebrated as a grand public festival in the states of a href="/places/maharashtra">Maharashtra, a href="/places/goa">Goa, a href="/places/gujarat">Gujarat, and a href="/places/chhattisgarh">Chhattisgarh. Mandaps and Pandals are set up with the idols of Ganesha. Many cultural activities like singing, dancing, theatre and orchestral performances take place. The festival is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi in a href="/places/tamil-nadu">Tamil Nadu. Ganesha idols are made out of clay. In a href="/places/thiruvananthapuram">Thiruvananthapuram, a href="/places/kerala">Kerala, procession marches involving great idols of Ganesha take place from Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Temple to Shankumugham Beach and the icons are immersed in the sea. Modak is the primary sweet dish of the festival.