India is unarguably one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The best way to immerse in the rich cultural heritage of this nation is by partaking in the many vibrant festivals celebrated throughout. And needless to say, there are many. Here are some of the most famous, colourful and captivating festivals of India. Have a read:
Most Famous Festivals in India
Calling Diwali the biggest or most significant festival of India would not be an exaggeration. This Festival of Lights symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama returned to his home, Ayodhya, after 14 years long years of exile. To commemorate his return, the people of Ayodhya lit up their homes with lamps. The tradition of decorating homes and lighting candles and lamps is followed in most parts of India. It is usually observed in October or November.
Dussehra or Vijayadashami is observed 20 days before Diwali and people burn huge effigies of the demon king, Ravana, and his two brothers. For 10 days before Dussehra, people re-enact the epic Ramayana and huge crowds turn out to attend the same. Mysore or Mysuru is among the best places to observe Dussehra. Mysore Palace is decorated like a bride, as it is truly a sight to behold.
Durga Puja is celebrated with great fervour by Bengalis throughout India. It marks 10 days of fasting and feasting accompanied by ceremonies to worship Goddess Durga. People also sing cultural songs and carry out dance performances as a sign of their devotion to the Goddess. Kolkata is the best place to be at during Durga Puja and this must be on your bucket list.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day affair wherein people worship idols of Lord Ganesha at their homes or in public pandals. On the last day of the festival, these idols are immersed in a water body. Cultural activities including singing, dancing, theatre and more are carried out during this time.
It is one of the most significant Sikh festivals of India. Homes are lit up with lamps and candles and crackers are burst to celebrate the event. Processions are carried out wherein people distribute Prasad. Gatka, the Sikh martial art, is also performed amidst these processions.
Not just in India, but Eid-Ul-Fitr is the most significant festival for the Muslim community throughout the world. People wear new clothes and attend a special morning prayer on this day. Gifts are exchanged with family and friends and special meals are also organised. It marks the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast.
Pongal is a 4-day harvest festival observed in the southern parts of the country. It is traditionally observed with dancing, singing, cattle races and sweets. If you want to be a part of it, then make a air ticket booking for Tamil Nadu and fly over for an extraordinary experience.
Holi is another Hindu festival which is famous all over the world. This festival is celebrated by throwing water and coloured powder called ‘gulaal’ on each other. On the eve of Holi, people make bonfires and dance around it. The festival marks the arrival of the spring season and the victory of good over evil.
Janmashtami is also among the most important and beautiful festivals of India. It is celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm in Mathura and Vrindavan. People in India fast throughout the day for this amazing festival and break it with a special meal at midnight to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Visiting temples, dancing, praying, and singing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna is part of celebrations. Images and pictures depicting Krishna’s life events can be seen in the “jhankis” in temples.
Raksha Bandhan is a famous festival celebrated majorly among the Hindus. The festival signifies the strong bond between brother and sister. During Rakhi, the sister applies tilak and ties rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist and prays for his well-being, while the brother vows to protect his sister forever in return.
Onam is among the vibrant festivals of South India. People dress themselves in traditional wear in this festival and adorn their houses with Pookalam (floral designs). An elaborate meal of 13 dishes, known as Onasadya, is prepared in celebration of Onam. Fun events like Vallamkali (snake boat race), Kaikottikali (clap dance), Kathakali dance, and Pulikali are held as part of the celebrations.