Spread across India from the Tulip Festival in Srinagar to the Dasara Flower Show in Mysuru, these flower festivals are a splendid gateway into the culture of the states they are organised in.
Cutting across states and seasons, these flower festivals are a gateway into the beauty of the country, and how sometimes an hour or more spent in the company of nature is all you need to refresh yourself.
Here’s a look into eight such festivals that you cannot afford to miss out on this year, along with the months in which you can experience these! If you’ve missed the boat on some, you can always add them to your wish list for next year.
1. Tulip Festival, Srinagar
“A grand affair of natural beauty” is how many who have experienced this festival for themselves term it. What’s more, is that you can experience it right now!
Spread across 30 hectares, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is one of the largest in Asia. It is during the months of March to May that the tulip buds begin to bloom, flooding the area in a beautiful flush. In fact, not just tulips, but a variety of hyacinths and roses fill the seven terraces that have been constructed here.
Take a moment to drink in the beauty of standing at an altitude of 5,600 ft with nothing but over 15 lakh tulips being your view!
Best time to visit: April
2. Rose Festival, Chandigarh
An annual event celebrated every year in February, the rose festival is a way of paying tribute to these glorious flowers. It is organised by the Department of Tourism in the state.
The festivities are kicked off at the Zakir Hussain Rose Graden which spans 30 acres of land. The story goes that it was one man Mohinder Singh Randhawa, a historian and botanist, who was so interested in horticulture and gardening that he conceptualised this festival. It not only gives tourists a chance to admire the display of roses but also the light and sound show put up for the occasion.
Best time to visit: Last week of February
3. International Flower Festival, Gangtok
Have you ever walked through a maze of rhododendron flowers or stopped amidst a field of orchids and just taken a moment in time?
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Well, you’d be able to do just that at the International Flower Festival in Gangtok. It not only allows guests to get a good view of numerous varieties of flowers — such as gladioli, ferns, conifers and more — but also partake in lectures by seasoned botanists who come to the festival. Marvel at the magnolias whilst you get a taste of the local dishes of Sikkim at this festival.
Best time to visit: May
4. Lalbaugh Flower Show, Bengaluru
The show which usually takes place on Independence Day and Republic Day every year, fascinates its onlookers with its 240 acres of flowers that house over three lakh flower pots.
This show features flowers from various states around the country and is hosted by the Department of Horticulture at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, enthralling its guests with rare types of flora under one roof. The Republic Day of 2023 was also the 213th flower show and was based on the theme ‘Bengaluru’s history & evolution’.
Best time to visit: Independence Day and Republic Day
5. Kurinji Festival, Tamil Nadu
Known as the flower that only blooms once in 12 years, the kurinji flower is native to the hills of South India. And at the auspicious times it does bloom, it bathes the Kodaikanal Palani area in a blue glow that rivals everything else.
This unusual bloom is because of the time of flowering that the species requires. But it is worth the wait, and nothing short of a magical experience, as the deep green of the hills takes on a blue avatar. The flower is believed to have religious significance and has found a place in the hearts of hopeless romantics, as Lord Muruga gifted it to his lady love.
If you’re looking to watch the beauty unfold, the Kurinji Garden, along the slopes of Coaker’s Walk in Kodaikanal is the best spot to witness it.
Best time to visit: The next bloom is expected to be in 2030
6. Phool Dei, Uttarakhand
Spanning between March to April, the Uttarakhand communities belonging to Garhwal and Kumaon come together to celebrate the commencement of spring.
The name Phool Dei also stems from a tradition followed on this day, wherein dei (a ceremonial pudding made from jaggery) is served. Children spend the festival gathering flowers that have bloomed and offering these at the entrances to their homes to invite prosperity in. Mustard flowers, also known as pheonly, are the most common choice.
Best time to visit: April
7. Bathukamma Flower Festival, Telangana
Over time, the flower festival Bathukamma, which translates to ‘the festival of life’ has become synonymous with Telangana’s cultural heritage.
Celebrated by the women of the state, the festival is an ode to Goddess Parvati and her blessing on a king and queen who prayed for a child. The girl was named Bathukamma and legend says she jumped into a fire once when insulted by a demon.
Till today, the people of Telangana pay her tribute by making stacks of flowers and dancing around these during the nine days of Navaratri. The flowers in the stack include the ones blooming at the time, such as marigolds, chrysanthemums, katla, teku and more. Following this tradition, the women carry the stacks of flowers to the water body where ‘Bathukamma’ is immersed.
Best time to visit: September
8. Dasara Flower Show, Mysuru
The flower show, organised by the State Horticulture Department, is a chance for flora enthusiasts to come to marvel at the collections whilst also showcasing their own.
In addition to the usual roses and orchids, there are also bonsais, anthuriums and more to be seen here. Interestingly, Nishat Bagh, where the festival is held, was an ornamental garden owned by the royal family which later transferred it to the Horticulture Department. Scores of flowers in all their beautiful colour the landscape of the gardens, allowing guests to immerse themselves in an experience unlike any other.
Best time to visit: September
Edited by Pranita Bhat