When in India, the festivities just never stop! Apart from the festivals like Diwali, Holi, and Navratri, which are celebrated nationwide, the land of vivid exuberance also hosts several unusual celebrations that you must experience at least once in your lifetime. This post is dedicated to some regional festivals of India that will surely fascinate you.
Regional festivals of India which are a sure must-attend!
Planning to travel for leisure and in search of some ideas? You’ve landed at the right place. How about you synchronize your travel plans with some beyond amazing regional festivals of India this time? Take a look at our awesome findings:
Darjeeling’s Ghum Festival
An out-of-the-box activity to do this fall is to attend Darjeeling’s Ghum Festival. This festival has been introduced in the year 2021, to promote the state’s tourism.
On December 5, 1999, UNESCO granted World Heritage status to this famous railway line. An occasion this significant calls for a celebration. One can hop onto the toy trains for joy rides along the dreamy landscapes, ride mountain bikes, or simply enjoy some heavenly tea. The itinerary includes trekathon, karaoke nights, folk dance performances, stand-up comedies, and tours to the local tea gardens.
By celebrating this highly zesty regional festival of India, the government of the state intends to give state tourism a boost.
International Flower Festival at Gangtok
Pay attention, all the nature lovers! This is one of those regional festivals of India that you should not miss for anything. The State Government of Sikkim organizes the International Flower Show every year, where hundreds of species of flowers and plants are showcased.
To cater to varied interests, there are several other activities for one to indulge in, such as the food festival that goes alongside the radiant display of flowers. Try the delicacies prepared at some of the best eateries in the state. The ones who identify as plant enthusiasts can also attend enriching seminars for insight or tips on looking after their greens.
While at Gangtok, the tourists can also indulge in river rafting, hiking, or other adventurous activities to get their adrenaline pumping.
Mahakaleshwar Sawari, Ujjain
Not far from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, at the banks of river Kshipra, is the peaceful city called Ujjain. This city of religious importance has countless temples. The most renowned one is Lord Shiva’s temple called Mahakaleshwar.
Out of all the 12 jyotirlingas in the country, the Shivling found at Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain is the only one that faces Southward. Hence, it’s also referred to as Dakshinamukhi.
On every Monday during the monsoon season, the sacred idol is taken out for a stroll around the city. The Shivling being carried in a palanquin loaded with thousands of flowers is indeed a sight to behold. Lakhs of devotees visit the city to attend the grand procession. On the last Monday of Shravan-Bhado, the parade gets even more lavish.
The idol is escorted by several policemen and followed by school students enacting the scenes from Mahabharata, Ramayana, and other tales of deities. The last Monday is, hence, the best time to attend one of the most stupendous regional festivals of India.
Pushkar Mela, Pushkar
The Pushkar Mela is generally held in the month of November every year, at Pushkar, a town close to Ajmer. This mela is jokingly referred to as the Sunburn festival of Rajasthan. And well, it indeed succeeds in justifying the comparison. Various fun activities and contests are put together to give the tourists an authentic village fair experience.
This festival was earlier held for 5 days. In the year 2021, the events of this festival were scattered over 9 days as the State Government of Rajasthan anticipated a horde of tourists from all across the world at one of the most happening regional festivals of India.
The Harmony Marathon is the showstopper for this gala. From non-competitive events like camel rides to the desert and back, shopping for authentic Rajasthani apparel, jewelry, and handicrafts, magic shows, puppet shows, camel decoration, and Rajasthani folk dances, to the competitive ones like kite flying, cricket, strange kinds of races, musical chairs, and many more, this unusual festival of India has it all.
As the sun sets, one can enjoy some melodious performances by renowned Indian fusion bands. The peaceful aarti at the serene banks of Pushkar’s sacred lake is something no tourist should miss.
Ask us about the unusual stuff at this mela? There’s a mustache competition and a beauty pageant for camels! You heard it right!
Planning to participate in the lively village festivities? Book your stay at a comfy Treebo in Pushkar now!
Curious to know more? Visit the official website of Rajasthan’s Pushkar Camel Fair.
Rose Festival, Chandigarh
The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in Chandigarh hosts thousands of tourists at the Rose Festival, which is held for three days in the month of February every year. As the name suggests, the garden has hundreds of well-landscaped bushes of numerous varieties of rose plants.
To captivate the tourists, many entertaining activities like folk dance performances, contests, dramas, and flower arrangement competitions are organized. The pet lovers can spectate the dog show and swoon their hearts out.
Every year, the organizers choose a social issue as their theme, aiming to raise awareness and sensitize the attendees. In 2019, the theme was chosen to empower the transgender community. While in 2020, it was chosen as an expression of gratitude to COVID-19 warriors.
The garden is a mesmerizing sight in the evenings when the fairy lights are lit up.
Book Treebo hotels in Chandigarh for a pleasant stay.
Kerala Village Fair, Kovalam Beach
God’s Own Country is symbolic of lush tea gardens, spices, and houseboats. What people are less aware of are the unusual festivals that are celebrated in this state of India. One of the most fun and fascinating regional festivals of India is the Kerala Village Fair, known as Gramam in vernacular.
The 10-day festival is celebrated at Ernakulam’s Marine Beach and Kovalam Beach. The traditional houses are decorated with ancient paintings, lights, and swords. From decor to dishes, everything exhibited at this festival will remind you of a rural Keralan village of a bygone era.
Some of the things which you should mindfully check out at this unusual festival are:
Nalukettu: Once upon a time, the privileged classes used to reside in homes that had courtyards in the middle. The local artists set up such homes using wood and other natural materials, which the tourists can take a peek into. These homes are decorated with rustic furniture, artwork, and ornaments that Gen Z has only seen in movies from the 70s.
Chayakada: In layman terms, chayakadas are small tea stalls around the corner where one can find some heavenly tea, along with signature Keralite seafood like the Prawn Curry, Kappa Meen Curry, Kadala Curry, etc.
Kalagramam: Carrying souvenirs to remind you of the beautiful and memorable time spent at a place is an absolute must, right? Find attractive and affordable souvenirs, such as fridge magnets, crockery, decorative items, spices, and other interesting items at the Kalagramam.
Goa Carnival, Goa
The Goa Carnival could easily be one the most sought-after regional festivals of India among the younger population. It’s boisterous and full of life. A perfect stress-buster to help the youth cope with work or college-related tensions. It takes place right before the Mardi Gras fasting begins. In the 4-day long festival, one can indulge in feasting and cocktail parties by the beach, masquerade jamborees, and watch the exuberant float parades. An unmissable event is the Red & Black Dance, where the chicas dress in red and the men in black. A number of popular music bands perform to bring this party to life. It’s usually held the evening before the fast begins, i.e., the last evening of the festival.
Some of the Goan traditions one can witness at this amusing and unusual festival of India are throwing old utensils out of the window (in case you’re wondering, nobody gets hurt), playing with colored powder (somewhat like Holi), dressing up in funny attires, and playing pranks.
The carnival food is so delectable, it’ll make you gluttonous. However, vegetarians may find their spread shorter.
In the year 2022, the festival will be held between February 26, 2022, and March 1, 2022. Planning to drop by at one of the most unusual regional festivals of India? Book your flights and hotel well in advance, and be prepared to take long walks to reach from one place to another.
Champakulam Boat Race, Kerala
The Champakulam Boat Race is one of the oldest regional festivals of India. The tradition has been followed in Kerala for centuries now.
King Chempakassery of Devanarayana was a disciple of Lord Krishna. He built a temple for his deity. The idol in this temple was brought from the Karikulam Temple of Kurichi. As per the legends, Lord Krishna himself gave that idol to Arjuna of Mahabharata.
In the middle of his journey, the king halted at Champakulam to rest for a while. He woke up to find thousands of men in snake boats, waiting to accompany him on his journey back home.
Ever since the snake boat race has been happening as an annual tradition at Champakulam. Several people gather to row gigantic boats at the banks of River Pampa, Champakulam, to commemorate the sacred day of installation of Lord Krishna’s idol in the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple. The festival is celebrated in June or July, every year.
Uttarayan, also known as Makar Sankranti, is celebrated all over the country, but the festivities are the most lavish in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The sky is adorned with colorful kites in multiple sizes and unusual shapes. The competitions take place all over the state, but the grandest one is held in Ahmedabad. All the kite flyers gather in the designated kite-flying zone of the Sabarmati River Front. There’s a separate area for spectators. If one runs short of kites or maanjha, they can purchase it from the makeshift kiosks created for the occasion. One can also shop for souvenirs and food items from this Kite Market.
The festival lasts 7 days, generally, from January 7 to January 15. Kite flying begins at 8:00 AM and goes on till 5:00 PM in the evening. When the sun sets, several sky lanterns gleam in the sky, making it look magical.
This festival is attended by kite enthusiasts from Russia, the USA, China, Japan, France, Vietnam, Malaysia, and several other countries. Experience the best of Uttarayan in India with Treebo. Take a look at some amazing stay options in Ahmedabad.
Hemis in Ladakh
This is one festival you may have seen in the movies, but know nothing about. The regional festival of Ladakh, Hemis, is the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava, a spiritual leader and the founder of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Hemis is generally celebrated in June or July, at the Hemis Monastery. The 300-years old monastery is ruled by Namgyal. The Lamas dress up in colorful costumes to perform Cham, a dance depicting the good defeating the evil. Cymbals, drums, and trumpets are used to produce music.
After all the religious ceremonies, the onlookers can visit the Tibetan fair selling the best of winter apparel, souvenirs, and handicrafts. Take our word! Do experience the exuberance at Hemis, one of the most fun regional festivals of India.
Tarnetar Mela of Gujarat
People of old times resorted to funny ways to find a match for their children. Tarnetar mela is the most amusing concept out of all. The way this mela is set up will remind you of Draupadi’s swayamvara. The event takes place in Surendranagar, a district close to Ahmedabad.
Colour codes are decided for girls and boys looking for a partner. Generally, the groom-hunting girls wear red zimi, and the boys looking for brides dress up in a colorful dhoti, a waistcoat, a turban, and if that doesn’t speak his marital status loud enough, they also have to carry an umbrella.
Those who aren’t visiting for match-making can entertain themselves by watching the Gujarati folk dance performances, striking a pose or two in the traditional outfits, or shop till they drop at this regional festival of India.
Are there any other unusual and fascinating regional festivals of India that you’ve heard of or celebrated? Tell us and enlighten our curious heads.