Fairs And Festivals

India Tourism Web site : Prime Travels : Information on the various Fairs & Festivals in India.

Mamallapuram Dance Festival
(Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu)

Once the ancient port of the Pallavas, Mamallapuram plays host to a vibrant festival of dance. exponents of Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Kathakali perform against the magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures.

(Tamil Nadu)

A celebration of the harvest - Pongal is observed for three days in January, in Tamil Nadu. Bhogi Pongal - the first day, is an occasion for festivities at home. Flavoured rice is offered to the Sun God on the second day. Mattu Pongal, the next day, is celebrated in a more boisterous fashion. Village cattle are bathed and decorated and cattle races enliven village festivities.

International Kite Festival
(Ahmedabad, Gujarat)

On Makara Sankranti, Ahmedabad is at its colourful best as kites of all colours, patterns and dimensions soar into the sky. Special kites with little paper lamps fill the night sky with a myriad flickering lights. Special Gujarati cuisine, exhibitions of handicrafts and folk art enhance the festive spirit.

Republic Day
(Delhi and state capitals)

Commemorating the day India became a republic (26th January), the Republic Day is celebrated in Delhi with a splendid parade- a colourful affair with soldiers marching in unison, followed by folk dancers, school children and floats from various states.

he Beating Retreat which marks the end of the celebrations on 29th January, is a moving ceremony with massed military bands playing at Vijay Chowk.

Vasant Panchami
(North India and West Bengal)

The ceremonial welcome to spring when people, colourfully attired, especially in bright shades of yellow, dance, sing and make merry. In West Bengal, 'Saraswati' - the goddess of learning is worshipped. The festival is celebrated with great fervour in the university town of Santiniketan.

Surajkund Crafts Mela
(Surajkund, near Delhi)

A delightful handloom and handicrafts fair is held annually at Surajkund. Skilled artisans from all over the country display the rich crafts tradition of India in the typical setting of a rural Indian marketplace. Cultural programmes and rural cuisine are also a part of this colourful fair.

International Yoga Week
(Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh)

A week-long event to promote Yoga is held in Rishikesh, a picturesque town in the foothills of the Himalayas. Detailed lectures and demonstration of various asanas by prominent exponents of Yoga are the major highlights of the Yoga Week.

Desert Festival
(Jaisalmer, Rajasthan)

A three day long extravaganza of colour, music and festivity at the golden city of Jaisalmer. Gair and fire dancers swaying to traditional tunes, a turban-tying competition and a Mr. Desert contest are part of the fun of the occasion. Camel rides and folk dances at the sand dunes at Sam are an added attraction.

Nagaur Fair
(Nagaur, Rajasthan)

Nagaur bustles with life during its annual cattle fair which is one of the largest in the country. Exciting games and camel races are part of the festivities.

Float Festival
(Madurai, Tamil Nadu)

This magnificent festival is celebrated in Madurai. On the night of the full moon, ornamented icons of goddess Meenakshi and her consort are taken out in a colourful procession to the huge Mariamman Teppakulam. The icons are floated in the tank on a raft decked with flowers and flickering lamps.

Kerala Village Fair
(Kovalam, Kerala)

Every year, in the lush villages around Kovalam (18 km from Thiruvananthapuram), mid-January is the time for cultural events. The traditional thatch houses are decorated during this ten day long festival and are the venue for folk dancers, music and festivities.

Bikaner Festival
(Bikaner, Rajasthan)

Dedicated to the indispensable 'ship of the desert', the festival starts off with a magnificent procession of bedecked camels. There are displays and competitions together with all the colour, music and rhythm unique to a fair in Rajasthan.

Calcutta Festival
(Calcutta, West Bengal)

Held every year in the centrally located maidan area of the city of Calcutta. Ethnic food stalls displaying Bengali cuisine and cultural events make this a lively occasion.

Pattadakkal Dance Festival
(Pattadakkal, Karnataka)

Delicately carved temples rich in detail, stand still at Pattadakkal, the ancient capital of the Chalukyan kings. A festival of dance celebrates this marvelous heritage.

Elephanta Festival
(Mumbai, Maharashtra)

This festival is held across the Mumbai harbour, on the Elephanta Island, near the world renowned Elephanta Caves (A World Heritage Site). This feast of music and dance, celebrated under the stars, transforms the entire island into a large auditorium.

Deccan Festival
(Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh)

Every year gracious Hyderabad comes alive during the Deccan Festival. There are cultural programmes with ghazal nights, qawalis and mushairas, typical of the city. A pearl and bangle fair displays creations in lustrous pearls and multi-hued bangles that are local specialties. A food fest serves the best of Hyderabad's fames cuisine to visitors.

Taj Mahotsav
(Agra, Uttar Pradesh)

A ten day event that starts on 18th February each year in Shilpgram, the Taj Mahotsav is a much awaited event. India's extensive arts, crafts and culture are on display. Folk music, shayari and classical dance performances along with elephant and camel rides, games and a food festival, all add to the excitement of the occasion.

Goa Carnival

Goa's 100 km coastline has some of the world's most beautiful beaches. The exuberant Goa Carnival is an annual feature here. Held in mid-February, just before Lent, the weeklong event is a time for lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars and graceful dances.

Garden Festival

A spectacular flower show held in Delhi, where varieties of flowers and exotic plants are on display. This annual event is indeed a horticulturist's delight.

Chapchar Kut

A lively festival in Mizoram celebrates the arrival of spring. It is an occasion for dance, music and feasting.

Rose Festival

The biggest Rose Show in the country is held at the famous Rose Gardens at Chandigarh. Varieties of magnificent roses are on display during this two-day festival.

Island Tourism Festival
(Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands)

A ten day long festival of dance, drama and music. Exhibitions, displaying arts and crafts, flora and fauna and marine life, are part of the event. Aqua sports, telegames and parasailing are added attractions

Khajuraho Dance Festival
(Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh)

The thousand year old temples at Khajuraho, built by the Chandella kings, are majestic structures sculpted in stone. Only 22 of these temples remain today, to bear testimony to the craftsmanship of Chandella builders. Every year in March, these splendid temples come alive during the week-long festival of classical dances.

(All over India)

All over the country, Shivratri is observed as the night, when Lord Shiva danced the "Tandav" - his cosmic dance. Fasts and prayers mark the day and devotees throng the temples. The major Shaivite temples at Varanasi, Kalahasti (Andhra Pradesh) and Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu) are noted for their special celebrations.

Shivratri Natyanjali Festival
(Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu)

Shivratri is the occasion for a five day long festival of classical dance and music at Chidambaram. The magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built a thousand years ago, provides a beautiful backdrop for the event.

(All over North India)

In March, during spring, comes Holi - the festival of colours. Celebrated all over North India, Holi is a time to make merry. People smear each other with coloured powder. Singing and dancing add to the gaiety of the occasion.

In Anandpur Sahib, Sikhs celebrate a special festival Hola Mohalla on the day after Holi. The display of ancient martial arts and mock battles, are part of this unique Sikh festival. The Holi celebrations in Mathura and the small towns of Braj Bhoomi - the land of Sri Krishna, are spectacular. The Rang Gulal Festival is celebrated for over a week with exuberant processions, songs and music. Especially famous is the Lathmaar Holi of Barsana and Nandgaon.


The most important local festival in Rajasthan, Gangaur celebrations last for eighteen days. It is dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of goddess Parvati. The festival is celebrated by girls and married women throughout Rajasthan. the images of Gauri are ornamented and offerings are make. This is also an auspicious day for young people to select their life partners. Colourful processions with the town band playing, horses and elaborate palanquins make it a fascinating spectacle.

Mewar Festival
(Udaipur, Rajasthan)

An exhilarating welcome to spring this festival is a visual feast with Rajasthani songs, dances, processions, devotional music and firework displays. It is celebrated in the romantic city of Udaipur during the Gangaur Festival. A procession of colourfully attired women carrying the images of the goddess Gauri make their way to the Lake Pichola. an unusual procession of boats on the lake offers a fitting finale to this splendid celebration.

(Thrissur, Kerala)

The colourful Pooram festival is held in Thrissur at its fine Vadakkumnathan Temple-Processions of beautifully caparisoned elephants provide a magnificent spectacle. The festival is rounded off at night by dazzling firework displays.

(Ajmer, Rajasthan)

The Urs are held every year at the dargah of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, commemorating his symbolic union with God. Pilgrims from all over the world gather here to pay homage. Qawalis and poems are presented in the saint's honour. At the huge fair that springs up at this time, religious objects, books, rosaries, embroidered carpets and silver ornaments are on sale.

International Flower Festival
(Gangatok, Sikkim)

A rare show of exotic varieties of flowers, orchids and other plants native to Sikkim. Held every summer during the peak flowering season, this is a spectacular event, attracting people from all over India. River rafting and a Yak Safari are added attractions.

Hemis Festival
(Leh, Ladakh)

The courtyard of Hemis-the biggest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, is the stage for the famous 'Hemis' Festival, that celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Splendid masked dances are performed to the accompaniment of cymbals, drums and long horns. a colourful fair, displaying some beautiful handicrafts, is the special highlight of the festival.

Rath Yatra
(Puri, Orissa)

This spectacular chariot festival is held at the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri. Images of Lord Jagannath- the Lord of the Universe, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra are taken out in procession in three immense chariots. The main chariot is 14 meters high and 10 meters square with 16 wheels. Thousands of devotees pull these chariots to Gundicha Mandir, a temple 1.5 km away.

(All over India)

The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great fervour all over the country. In Mathura and Brindavan - where Lord Krishna sp-spent his childhood and youth, the Janmashtami celebrations are quite elaborate. The Krishna Leela - stories of his eventful youth are enacted. In Maharashtra, earthen pots of curd and butter are hung high up over the streets. Young men enacting an episode from Krishna's childhood form human pyramids by climbing on each others' shoulders and try to break these pots.

(Rajasthan and Chandigarh)

This swing festival welcomes the advent of the monsoon. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Women, colourfully attired, swing on them and sing songs in celebration.

Independence Day
(All over India)

Commemorating the day India Attained freedom (15th August), Independence Day is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes in the sate capitals. The Prime Minister's speech at the Red Fort in Delhi is the major highlight.

Raksha Bandhan
(North India)

Brothers and sisters reaffirm their bonds of affection on this day. Sisters tie colourful threads or rakhis on their brothers' wrists. The brothers in turn promise to protect their sisters and give them gifts.

Tarnetar Mela

An exciting and unique fair held annually at Tarnetar in Saurashtra. The fair coincides with festival at the Trineteshwar Temple, celebrating the wedding of the legendary Mahabharat hero, Arjuna with Draupadi. The fair is a kind of marriage market for the local tribals - the Kolis, Bharwads and Rabaris. The traditional costumes, exquisite jewellery and lively folk dancers - garba, ras, haro, are the special attractions of the fair, not forgetting the wonderful Tarneter "Chhatris"- umbrellas with intricate embroidery and mirror work.

(All over India)

Celebrated to mark the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama, Dussehra symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. The Ramlila - an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day, larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son and brother - Meghnath and Kumbhakarna, are set alight.

In West Bengal, puja pandals have beautifully decorated images of the goddess Durga and people gather here in large numbers to enjoy the festivities. In South India, houses are decorated with displays of toys and clay images of gods. Relatives and friends visit each other to exchange greetings. In Gujarat, the exuberant Navaratri celebrations include dancing the lively garba and dandiya ras. In Himachal Pradesh, a week-long fair in the hill town of Kullu, is a part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in procession to the 'maidan' in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji. Mysore - the city of Palaces, celebraes the ten day Dussehra in a royal style. The Mysore Palace is illuminated with a myriad lights. Majestic processions, a torch light parade and dance and musical events enliven the tranquil city.

Ka Pomblang Nongkrem
(Shillong, Meghalaya)

The most important festival of the Khasis in Meghalaya. This five day long festival, held annually near Shillong, is an occasion for thanksgiving for a good harvest and the time to pray for peace and prosperity. Khasi men and women, dressed in traditional splendour, perform the famous Nongkrem dance.

Lucknow Festival
(Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)

This festival celebrates Lucknow's living culture. The capital city of Uttar Pradesh is alight with excitement during this ten day long event. Colourful processions, traditional dramas, Kathak dances in the style of the famous Lucknow gharana,sarangi ad sitar recitals alongwith ghazals, qawalis and thumri create a festive atmosphere. Exciting events like ekka races, kite flying, cock fighting and other traditional villages games recreate an atmosphere of Avadh's nawabi days.

Shilpgram Crafts Mela
(Udaipur, Rajasthan)

Some of the magnificent crafts of Rajasthan are on display at a colourful festival, held in the royal city of Udaipur.

Vishnupur Festival
(Vishnupur, West Bengal)

The festival celebrates the rich heritage of the town of Vishnupur, noted for its beautiful terracotta temples and elegant silk sarees.

Kurukshetra Festival
(Kurukshetra, Haryana)

The festival coincides with Gita Jayanti, signifying the birth of the Srimad Bhagvad Gita. Pilgrims gather here to take a dip in the sacred tanks of Brahma Sarovar and Sannehit Sarover. Week-long Bhagwad katha, dance, dramas and 'deep daan' are part of the religious festivities.

Elephant Festival
(Jaipur, Rajasthan)

A festival where elephants are the centre of attraction. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels and horses, followed by lively folk dancers. Elephant races, elephant-polo matches and a most interesting tug of war between elephants and men, are all part of this spectacular event.

Hoysala Mahotsava
(Belur-Halebid, Karnataka)

The dance festival held at Belur and Halebid is a magnificent event. The splendid Hoysala temples with their sculptural extravaganza, make the perfect venue for this cultural feast.

Pataliputra Mahotsava
(Patna, Bihar)

Patna, an ancient city with a glorious past, celebrates its rich heritage with this lively festival.

Jhansi Festival
(Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh)

This week-long, annual event is a display of the arts, crafts and culture of a splendid city - Jhansi. the cultural programmes include folk songs, dances, mushairas and ghazals.

Good Friday
(All over India)

Good Friday is observed by Christians nationwide with special services in the churches.

Ellora Festival
(Aurangabad, Maharashtra)

The magnificent rock-cut caves at Ellora-34 in number, were excavated between 600 and 1000 AD. They include Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves. Every March, a festival of dance and music is organised here with the caves forming a splendid backdrop.

(All over India)

The Hindu New Year finds expression in this exuberant festival, celebrated throughout India. Baisakhi celebrations in Punjab are spectacular, as this is a very special day for the Sikhs. It was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa. Robust revelry and feasting mark the celebrations and dancers perform the vigorous Bangra to the rhythmic beat of the drums.

In Kerala, the festival is known as Vishu. 'Vishu kani' - a display of grain, fruits, flowers, gold, new cloth and money, is viewed early in the morning to ensure a prosperous year ahead. Firework displays and the buying of new clothes are a part of the festivities. Known as Rangali Bihu in Assam, the festival is celebrated with lively dances, music and feasting.

Mahavir Jayanti
(All over India)

The birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is observed by the Jain community. Special prayers are offered at temples and shrines.

(All over India)

The anniversary of Lord Rama's birth is celebrated as Ramnavami by the Hindus. The epic 'Ramayana' is read for eight days preceding the festival.

(All over India)

The festival marks the end of 'Ramzan' - a month when Muslims fast throughout the day and eat only at night. Prayers, family get-togethers and feasts are the major highlights of the celebrations.

Buddha Purnima
(North India)

This festival commemorates the birth of Lord Buddha - 'the enlightened one'.

Summer Festival
(Major hill stations)

The advent of summer in the major hill resorts ushers in colourful festivity. Lively cultural events, flower shows, regattas and exhibitions brighten the summer season at the picturesque hill stations of Ooty, Shimla, Darjeeling, Mount Abu, etc.

Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id)
(All over India)

This Muslim festival is celebrated all over the country. Prayers are offered in the mosques and special delicacies are prepared and served among family and friends on the occasion.

International Mango Festival

Savour innumerable varieties of mango-the king of fruits, at the unique Mango Festival in Delhi. Cultural programmes make this a lively event.

Nag Panchami
(West Bengal, maharashtra and South India)

This festival, which is usually celebrated in West Bengal, Maharashtra and South India, venerates snakes.


Kerala's most important festival is celebrated in the honour of the ancient asura king Mahabali. the occasion also heralds the harvest season. The decorating of houses with carpets of flowers, a sumptuous lunch and songs in praise of the golden reign of Mahabali, mark the ten day long festivities. A major attraction of the Onam celebrations are the famed snake boat races along the backwaters at Champakulam, Aranmula and Kottayam.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Alappuzha is famous for its annual boat race, held on the second Saturday of August every year. The long elegant snakeboats, with crews of over hundred men vying to win the coveted trophy, attract spectators from all over.

Amarnath Yatra
(Jammu & Kashmir)

In the month of Shravan, thousands of pilgrims make an arduous trek up to the Amarnath cave in the Kashmir Himalayas. They come to worship the sacred ice lingam - a symbol of Lord Shiva, which is a natural phenomenon.

Ganesh Chaturthi
(Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka)

This day is dedicated to the Lord Ganesh,the elephant-headed god of all good beginnings and success. Held annually, this festival is a ten day long event. The images of Lord Ganesha are installed and worshipped and on the last day these are taken in processions to be immersed in flowing water. The sea front t at Mumbai, packed with people, is a spectacular sight.

Ganesh Festival
(Pune, Maharashtra)

Celebrated with a lot of merrymaking and gaiety, the Ganesh Festival is dedicated to the Lord Ganesha - the harbinger of good fortune and success. This cultural feast is held to coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi. With classical dance and music performances, a theatre and film festival and folk dances, this is the most popular festival in Pune.

(All over India)

Commemorates the martydom of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson -Imam Hussein. Tazias, glittering, replicas of the martyr's tomb, are carried in procession through the streets. The tazias of Lucknow and Hyderabad are noted for their splendour.

Marwar Festival
(Marwar, Rajasthan)

The festival celebrates the 'Maand' style of folk music - an evolved classical style that describes the romantic life of Rajasthan's rulers. Held during Sharad Purnima, the folk artistes bring alive the legends and folklore of earlier times.

(All over India)

This festival of lights is the prettiest and the most eagerly awaited occasion in India. It celebrates the return of Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, to Ayodhya after a fourteen year exile. The flickering lights of the traditional clay lamps or 'diyas' illuminate the houses and fireworks resound through the night. The goddess of wealth and prosperity - Lakshmi, is worshipped on this day. Houses are white washed and elaborate designs drawn at the thresholds to welcome the goddess. The exchanging of gifts and sweets among friends and relatives and playing of games of chance at night, are all an integral part of the celebrations.

Gandhi Jayanti
(All over India)

The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi - the 'Father of the nation' (2nd October). The President and Prime Minister, along with other eminent political leaders, pay homage at Raj Ghat - the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. All the offices and schools, throughout the country, remain closed on this day.

Rajgir Mahotsav
(Rajgir, Bihar)

This colourful festival of dance and music is held at Rajgir, the ancient capital of the Magadha kings - the land where the Buddha meditated and preached.

Sonepur Mela
(Sonepur, Bihar)

Asia's biggest cattle fair is held at Sonepur, on the banks of the River Ganga. During this month-long fair, cattle, decorated for the occasion, throng the venue.

Republic Day
(Delhi and state capitals)


Pushkar Mela
(Pushkar, Rajasthan)

Tranquil Pushkar is transformed into a spectacular fair ground for twelve days in the month of Kartik. Trading of cattle, camel races and dazzling displays of bangles, brassware, clothes, camel saddles and halters are the major attractions of this colourful event. Devotees come in their thousands to take a ritual dip in the lake on the day of the Kartik Purnima and to worship at the Brahma temple.

Guru Purab
(All over India)

The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak - the first guru of the Sikhs, is celebrated with great fervour. The 'Akhand Path' - recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib, is held in gurdwaras all over the country. taking the holy book out in procession, is also an integral part of the celebrations.

Hampi Festival
(Hampi, Karnataka)

The magnificent ruined city of Hampi, once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, comes alive once again during this lively festival of dance and music, held in the first week of November.

designed as the chariot of the Sun God, drawn by seven exquisitely carved horses, stands in solitary splendour on the beach at Konark. This is the venue of a joyous festival of classical dance and music which is held annually. A host of celebrated dancers from all over the country perform in the open air auditorium. The sound of ghungroo bells, flute and pakhauj fill the air and a marvelous crafts mela, with a variety of handicrafts and delectable cuisine, adds to the festive mood.

(All over India)

Christmas is celebrated in India with great fervour. All the major Indian cities wear a festive look. Shops and bazaars are decorated for the occasion and offer attractive bargains. Carol singing, get-togethers and the exchanging of gifts enhance the Christmas spirit. Christmas parties launch off celebrations for the New Year, thus retaining the festive mood for at least a week.

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