India is a land of many cultures and traditions. And what’s a better way to paint our soul with its myriad hues, than witnessing its various fairs and festivals!
Brace yourself up to experience the cultural extravaganza of a new place, and plan your next trip keeping in mind these upcoming fairs and festivals of India between November to February.
Rann Utsav (Rann of Kutch) – Gujrat
The white salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch hosts the Rann Ustav every year in winters. To call Rann Utsav a celebration of life is no exaggeration.
This four month long festival, in one of the most geographically unique places of the country – is an experience no traveler can afford to miss! Exhibition showcasing the culture of Kutch, enormous dining halls serving authentic Kutchi cuisines, bike rides in the desert and of course, the famous tent stay – the list of offerings are too long to be summarized here.
While the entire Bhuj district is a part of the celebration, the tent city comes up in the Dhordo village, 86 kilometers from Bhuj. Try to plan your trip around a full moon night – the white desert radiating the glow of the full moon is an ethereal sight!
- Dates – 1st November to 20th February, 2019
Hampi Utsav – Karnataka
Perhaps no better way to experience the heritage of Hampi than the Hampi Utsav. In the three days extravaganza of the Hampi Utsav or the Vijaya Utsava, the ruins of the Vijanayanagar empire come alive with music, dance and color.
Of late, adventure and rural sports have become an added attraction. The Hampi Utsav is organized every year, but the celebration alternates between November and January.
- Dates – 3-5th November, 2018
Pushkar Mela – Rajasthan
The town of Pushkar in Ajmer district annually hosts the Pushkar ka Mela or Pushkar Camel Fair. Held around the time of Kartik Purnima, the Pushkar Fair is the world’s largest cattle fair.
Owners dress their cows, camels, horses in colorful attires and bring them here for sale and purchase. The fair also has a strong religious significance for the locals.
The fair offers wide ranging experiences – cultural performances by acclaimed artists, a taste of local flavors, handicrafts, hot air ballooning, luxury camping and even a half marathon.
The Harmony half marathon that begins at Dargah Ajmer Sharif and ends at the Pushkar stadium ground is a sight not be missed if you are attending the Pushkar fair.
- Dates – 15th to 23rd November, 2018
Kumbhalgarh Festival – Udaipur – Rajasthan)
Witness Rajasthan’s folk performances with the majestic Kumbhalgarh fort in the background during the Kumbhalgarh Festival. Travelling with your kids to Udaipur for the celebrations? Then do not miss the puppet making workshop that is organized during this fiesta.
And while you are there to enjoy the performances, do not forget to explore the fort area. Especially during the night, when the fort is aglow with soft yellow lights.
- Dates – 1st to 3rd December, 2018
Hornbill Festival – Nagaland
Has a trip to the mesmerizing North-East India been long overdue for you? Wait no more, as the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is round the corner.
Every year, this week long festival brings together all the Naga tribes and gives them a chance of cultural assimilation. The festival is named after the bird hornbill that occupies a prominent place in the Naga Folklore.
The cultural jamboree takes place in the Naga Heritage Village of Kisama, at a distance of 12 kms from Kohima. Come here and understand the unique position of Nagaland in Indian culture; immerse yourself in the music, dance, art, food and traditional sports of different Naga tribes.
- Dates – 1st to 7th December, 2018
Mammalapuram Dance Festival – Mahabalipuram – Tamil Nadu)
The three week Mammalapuram Dance Festival is more than a chance to experience the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. Performances of various Indian dance forms against the magnificent Pallava rock sculptures of Mammalapuram or Mahabalipuram is the ultimate feast for your eyes!
- Dates – 25th December, 2018 to 15th January, 2019
Island Tourism Festival – Andaman
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands buzz with tourist activity around the time of New Year. Adding to the touristy delight of frolicking along the pristine beaches is the offering called Island Tourism Festival.
While performing arts by different troupes and tribes are the main highlight of the event, there are opportunities for adventure sports as well. The Nicobari Hodi race and the Floating restaurant are the other not-to-be missed experiences of the festival.
- Dates – 6th – 15th January, 2019
Modhera Dance Festival – Gujrat
The Sun temple of the East, in Modhera of Gujarat, is an architectural wonder of the Solanki Empire. Its splendor comes alive when dancers from different parts of India perform their art in its environs during the Modhera Dance Festival. Also called Uttarardh Mahotsav, it is organized every year after the festival of Uttarayan.
- Dates – 19th -21st January, 2019
International Kite Festival – Gujrat
Kite flying on the day of Makar Sankranti has been a tradition in different parts of India. But perhaps, no other state than Gujrat observes this tradition with such zeal!
The International Kite Festival sprinkles the blue sky of Ahmedabad with kites of as many different shapes and colors as you can imagine! Participants from all over the world arrive here to display their kite flying prowess.
The Patang Baazar opens 24 hours before the festival starts, and you can buy yourself a kite here as you head to the Sardar Patel Stadium, the official venue for the event.
- Dates – 6 January to 14th January, 2019
Kila Raipur Sports Festival – Punjab
Reach Kila Raipur near Ludhiana for the Rural Olympics of India – yes, we are talking about the Kila Raipur Sports Festival that attracts visitors from different parts of the globe.
One can witness major Punjabi rural sports like gatka (martial art), cart race, rope pulling, kabaddi, wrestling, tractor race, tirinjen, kikli, etc. during the festival.
The participants vary from teenager to pensioners, and you might see men here displaying unusual talents- like balancing themselves on two riding horses simultaneously!
- Dates – 1st to 3rd February, 2019
Konark Dance and Music Festival – Orissa
The Konark Festival is treat for music and dance lovers. Performances of Odissi, Kathak, Gotipua, Bharatnatyam along with Hindustani Vocal, Violin Recitals, Rajasthani folk music and dance have been announced for the 2019 edition.
Expect an exhibition of temple sculptures, a sand art exhibition and crafts fair to be the cherry on the cake.
- Dates – 19th to 21st February, 2019
Taj Mahotsav – Agra – Uttar Pradesh
The lovely sight of the Taj Mahal has been iconic of tourism in India since several decades. If you still haven’t uttered the words ‘Waah Taj’ in front of the monument of love, the time has come to plan your Agra trip.
The Taj Mahotsav, which is held every year at Shilpgram near the eastern gate of Tajmahal – with music, dance and art as its main highlights.
Shop for handmade carpets, blue pottery or silk products here, or relish some local flavours straight from the heart of Uttar Pradesh. Your kids will be happy to have accompanied you, for there shall be merry go rounds and train rides to keep them occupied.
- Dates – 18th to 27th February, 2019
While there is no dearth of festive fervor in a country like India, proper planning can go a long way in enriching your experience. All the fairs and festivals listed here are organized by the Tourism department of the respective states. So do reach out to the State Tourism Corporations for the detailed itineraries.
Be a part of these amazing celebrations – explore a new place, learn about a new culture of a new state or a region, and have a super gala time! Keep watching this space for more updates on upcoming fairs and festivals in the country.