Rann Utsav, Hampi Festival, Hornbill Festival, Losar Festival and many more. Which of these 14 events tops your list? Pack your bags and get ready to experience some of the most amazing carnivals in India this year!
1. Magh Mela Festival
Magh Mela is known for bathing of hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus in the rivers. Organized on the banks of Sangam (the meeting point of Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati) in Allahabad, Hindu mythology considers the origin of Magh Mela to be the beginning of the universe. Organized every year in the month of Magh (January-February), this festival is also known as the mini Kumbh mela. While the Kumbh mela, considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world, is organized once every three years, Magh mela is an annual event. If you want to get a glimpse of what the Kumbh looks like, you should not miss the Magh mela!
Dates: January 5, 2015 to February 17, 2015
2. Desert Festival of Jaisalmer
When the beautiful deserts of Jaiselmer call you for a three-day extravaganza, you have to visit the golden land. Camel polo and dance, a turban tying competition, some of the most amazing performances on traditional instruments, some unbelievably long moustache displays, puppetry, folk performances, moonlit concert and what not! Get ready for an amazing experience.
Dates: 1 Feb 2015 – 3 Feb 2015
3. Pushkar Camel Festival
This annual five-day (af)fair with lots of cultural events is much more than just a livestock fair. Held in Pushkar town of Rajasthan, it is one of the largest camel fairs in the world. Every year, lakhs of visitors witness the amazing carnival full of colour and celebrations. Amusing competitions like “matka phod”, “longest moustache”, etc. are some of the interesting attractions. Pushkar lake, where the event is held, attracts a large number of tourists during this festival.
Dates: November 18, 2015 – November 25, 2015
4. Torgya Monastery Festival, Tawang
Celebrated by the Monpa tribe at the Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, this three-day annual festival is all about dances, amazing performances and grand celebrations. The festival signifies the destruction of evil spirits and harmful forces. A group of monks dressed in splendid robes and masks perform the choreographed dance in the courtyard of the monastery. Chamm, a choreographed sacred dance, is the main attraction of the festival followed by the amazing feast.
Dates: January 17 – 19
5. International Kite festival, Ahmedabad
One of the most famous events in the country, the International Kite Festival is an annual event that attracts kite connoisseurs from across the world. The festival marks the day when winter ends, which is known as Makar Sankranti. It is considered to be one of the most important harvest days in India. Also called Uttarayan, Ahmedabad has been hosting this magnificent festival since 1989 and has seen some of the most amazing kites in its sky. A master kite maker and flyer, Rasulbhai can even fly 500 kites on a single string. Various kite making and painting competitions and workshops are other attractions of the day. The rooftop of every house is crowded and there are so many kites flying that you can barely see the clear sky.
Dates: January 7 – January 15
6. Hampi Festival
Here is yet another opportunity to pack your bags and travel. Not just because the festival is amazing but also the place is mesmerizing, and you should not miss out on its beauty. Puppet shows, folk dance, mud wrestling, classical music performances are some of the amazing events at the festival. Water sports, rock climbing and rural sports are gradually finding a place in this carnival too. This three-day event is the largest festival in Hampi and is definitely worth attending.
Dates: January 9 – January 11.
7. The Story Of Light Festival, Panjim
This unique and probably India’s first science-meets-art festival in Goa will host 45 artists and scientists from around the world who will put up installations in the public spaces of Goa. The festival will be full of visual play, dance performances, installations with light and colour, photography workshops, and live projections. It aims to raise awareness about the breakthroughs in light science, its applications and its importance to mankind. In an effort to unravel all the mysteries of light, scientists and artists from all over the world are congregating in Panjim for the unusual event.
Dates: January 14 – 18, 2015
8. Khajuraho Dance Festival, Madhya Pradesh
The perfect combination of culture and heritage, Khajuraho Dance festival organized by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad at the splendid Khajuraho temples is a week-long annual festival. The event features classical dance performances like Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali. Even if you are not very well versed with classical dances, this is an event worth experiencing for its sheer beauty.
Dates: February 20 – February 26
9. Bihu Festival
The Bihu festival is organized in three parts every year in Assam – Bhogali Bihu, Rongali Bihu and Kongali Bihu. Considered to be the most important festival of the region, it involves Bihu folk dance and songs and represents three different sets of culture. People of Assam come together for this festival irrespective of their caste, religion and faith.
Bihu 2015: Thursday, Jan 15
Bhogali Bihu: Jan 15, 2015
Rongali (Bohag) Bihu: April 14, 15, 16, 2015
Kongali Bihu: Mid October
10. Hornbill Festival
The most popular festival of Nagaland, the Hornbill festival showcases the stunning beauty of the state and the rich culture worth witnessing. Organized in the first week of December, it is also called the “festival of festivals”. The festival is named after the bird, Indian Hornbill, and the aim of this festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. Colourful performances, displays of art and craft, cultural shows, Naga wrestling and traditional archery are just a few of the activities in this grand carnival.
Dates: Dec 1 – Dec 10
Read all about the Hornbill Festival here: The Hornbill Festival – A Visual Treat
11. World Sacred Spirit Festival
If you want to go on an extra ordinary musical journey, this event is for you. Organized in mesmerizing Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and the Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur, the splendid sufi performances by world famous artists will take you to the spiritual and musical journey like you have never experienced before.
Nagpur: February 9 to February 11
Jodhpur: February 13 to February 15
12. Rann Utsav
This is not like any other festival which lasts for a few days and bids goodbye. Rather, the the Great Rann of Kutch hosts the Rann Utsav for a whole three months on its amazing white land. The glowing white Rann in the full moon night with various cultural performances, handicrafts and outdoor activities make this a must-go destination. A perfect combination of adventure and leisure, you can visit the Rann of Kutch with your family and rest assured that you will have the experience of a lifetime.
Dates: December 1, 2014 – March 7, 2015
13. Goa Carnival
This four-day festival full of music, dance, colour and celebrations is not like other conventional festivals in India. Streets are filled with people wearing costumes, huge parades, musicians, street shows, etc. Celebrated throughout Goa, the festival is enjoyed by people of all communities and it brings out the vibrant culture of Goa. The carnival adds to the already beautiful Panjim. You have to attend this festival to see Goa in its brightest form!
Dates: February 14 – February 17
14. Losar Festival
Ladakh never fails to amaze you with its splendid beauty. But what adds to the splendour of the ravishing land is its Losar festival. It marks the beginning of the new year in Ladakh with various ancient rituals, dance performances, stage fights between good and evil and amazing music. Ladakhi Buddhists make religious offering before their deities in the domestic shrines or Gompas. The preparations for this most-awaited festival start months before this fifteen-day long event.
Dates: The festival’s dates are tentative but it is likely to begin on February 18-19