Indian cities, temples, and landmarks are best known for their distinctive features. The tales of history and spirituality sparkle the essence of Indian living. Just as festivals talk of grandeur and cultural values, let’s also uncover the unusual traditions in India. It’s all astonishment when you talk about twisting babies mid-air or beating oneself to impress god!
That’s exactly the elegance of India, where traditions and rituals have deep-rooted meanings. It is now time to walk through the unique stories of time that still keep alive the true charm of places and customs. Moreover, Treebo hotels in so many locations make it an easy job for you to get done with hotel bookings. Here is your guide to exploring the unusual yet bizarre traditions in India.
12 Bizarre Traditions in India are –
1. Camel Fashion Show, Pushkar
Fashion shows are famous across the globe for interchanging outfits and styles; however, one of the traditions in India lets you explore the beauty of the Camel Fashion Show! Yes, you heard it right! Camel Fashion Show is a part of Pushkar Mela organized in Rajasthan.
Just like any other fashion show, camels are transformed into beautiful models with intricate jewellery and colourful fabrics. It literally becomes so competitive that each Camel displays something unique about their journey in the desert.
The owners make camels walk and display their posture for audiences, and that’s how you get to enjoy the vibe of the festival. Look for affordable hotels in Pushkar for a comfortable time.
2. Buta Kola, Karnataka
Imagine witnessing special music and dance only to awaken the spirits and ancestors. As spooky as it sounds, Buta Kola is one of the renowned festivals in certain communities of Karnataka.
It is believed the festival helps people seek guidance for health and family well-being from the spirits. It is one of the preserved traditions in India, which is a significant part of communities to connect with the spirits.
The festival includes a Buta Kola practitioner who enters a trance-like state to get solutions to the problems. The locals meanwhile indulge in art, music and dance that add power to the connection between practitioner and spirits.
3. Garudan Thookkam, South India
The minute you think of the extreme, think of Garudan Thookkam. This tradition is widely followed in various parts of Kerala and other cities in South India. Being one of the top traditions in South Kerala, you can visit any of the Kali temples to witness it.
Here, locals dress as Garudans (a mythological character) and indulge in dance, music and performances. The main Garudans then begin with the tradition wherein metal hooks are pierced on their backs. Your eyes are certain to be shocked when you see these Garudans hanging on chariots or wooden carts simply by the support of metal hooks.
It is believed that after the victory, Goddess Kali was extremely thirsty. That’s when Lord Vishnu sent a Garudan for Goddess to drink blood and quench her thirst. Since then, locals dress as Garudans to offer their blood. Bizarre yet so true!
Hold the bull’s hump for as long as you can. Sure, you wouldn’t want to put yourself in danger so easily. However, one of the traditions in India takes you through an unbelievable ride of adventure and astonishment.
Jallikattu is basically a bull-taming festival where locals participate with all their high spirits. The bulls here have tied flags on their horns and might also have gold or silver coins attached to them. Participants then try to hold the hump of the bull for the longest time possible.
They need to remove the flags and the participants to hold the hump for the longest to win the prizes. Even the winning bulls are praised and used for breeding. Though it sounds absurd, it is what it is!
5. Kambala Race, Karnataka
Events also turn into traditions in India as people attach emotions to them. Kambala Race is one such popular event where buffaloes decide the destiny of their riders.
The race generally begins in a paddy field with two buffaloes and one person as a team. The crux of the event is to train these buffaloes and make them run the fastest in the Kambala Race.
The tradition also involves splashing water, and the rider to splash it highest also receives recognition. Not just the people, you can see how buffaloes are appreciated and given prizes upon their victory in the race.
6. Mandooka Parinaya
Be ready to witness grandeur and royalty at the amazing wedding of frogs! Strange, right? Mandooka Parinaya is one of the entertaining traditions of India which is followed in many states.
As per the mythology, a sage prayed for the birth of a son; however, he received 1 male and 1 female frog. When the frogs grew up, they wanted to marry, and despite the difficulties, they got married.
Since then, Mandooka Parinaya has become a booming tradition where 2 frogs are made to tie the knot. It is believed that marrying them invites the monsoon rains after heavy summers. Also, every state has a twisted version of this story, and you might hear something even more interesting!
7. Dhinga Gavar, Rajasthan
With so many different traditions in India, let’s see the unique tradition where women dress up as figures of deities. Celebrated in Jodhpur city, Dhinga Gavar is all about women disguising themselves in the forms of different gods and goddesses.
It is believed that Lord Shiva once disguised as a cobbler to meet Goddess Parvati. This 16-day festival includes the placement of idols in different parts of the city, and the last day is marked as the day of patrolling. Women also carry sticks to beat up men during the procession.
You can witness a blend of art, dance and cultural performances throughout the festival. It truly defines the elegance of womanhood and how smartly they take charge of patrolling the city of Jodhpur!
8. Lathmar Holi, Uttar Pradesh
Playing Holi with sticks? That does sound too new and unusual! Celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, Lathmar Holi actually means beating men with lathis (stick) during the Holi festival.
As per the legend, there are two villages named Nandgaon and Barsana. Nandgaon is dedicated to Lord Krishna, and Barsana is associated with Goddess Radha. While Lord Krishna and his friends were firm in applying colours to Goddess Radha and her friends, they couldn’t do it due to lathis.
Goddess Radha and her friends playfully started hitting the men and created an environment of joy. From then, tourists from all over the world visit here to witness the playful exchange of love and gratitude.
9. Banni Festival, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Wouldn’t it be shocking if one of the traditions in India involves killing or getting killed? As strange as it may sound, the Banni Festival is one of the weirdest rituals in Andhra Pradesh, as well as Karnataka. Be ready to witness an immense fight as devotees line up to beat each other as a way of pleasing god.
During this festival, idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are brought down to the vicinity of Neraneki from above the hill. Devotees from different regions act as protectors and hijackers. While devotees of Devaragattu region protect the idols, devotees of rival villages try to divert the procession by hitting people which is also considered auspicious.
The bloodshed is often considered as their devotion to the Lord and a celebration of the destruction of the demons. As unbelievable as it sounds, locals happily take part in dance, music and other performances.
10. Thimithi, Tamil Nadu
Traditions in India are all connected to mythology and legends of the past. Thimithi is one such bizarre festival where you can witness a blend of adventure and devotion. Celebrated in various parts of Tamil Nadu, the main theme of the festival is walking on fire.
This is specifically done to offer prayers to Draupati, along with rhythmic prayers and chants. The festival begins with digging a pit in the temple premises and igniting it with many natural ingredients.
Most locals participate in this and follow a priest throughout their way. You are certain to feel a sense of empathy and so many emotions looking at the devotion of people.
11. Cannibalism in Aghoris
Cannibalism is a large term which includes the consumption of human flesh. It is believed that Aghoris settled in the ghats and other places following a set of rare traditions in India.
Aghoris are often found near the cremation ground, and guess why? They use human bones and ashes in some of their rituals. Aghoris are devotees of Lord Shiva and believe that everything on the planet is meant for the good, including the dead bodies.
Some of their traditions might include eating the dead; however, they differ from one to another. Different groups of Aghoris indulge in distinctive practices, and witnessing it might simply be a life-changing event!
12. Koovagam Festival
India stands out as you think of the strangest customs here. Koovagam festival is one of the famous traditions in India involving transgender. It is celebrated in a few parts of Tamil Nadu and all for the right reasons of mythology.
According to mythology, Aravan, son of Arjuna, desired to experience a marital life before sacrificing his life for the victory of Pandavas in the Mahabharata. The exception was that Aravan had to give up his life the following morning. Due to this, no female wanted to marry him, and that’s when Lord Krishna blessed one of the transgenders to take the appearance of a woman.
The transgender woman agreed to marry Aravan and that is how Aravan sacrificed his life the next morning for the triumph of Pandavas. In this festival, transgenders show their sadness and also marry the deity Aravan to celebrate the avatar of Mohini. Rhythmic music and dance are also a part of this festival.
A plethora of traditions in India are certain to astonish you. While you do not know why these traditions are practiced or what is their exact significance, some things better be a mystery deep inside the roots of Indian culture. Probably, that drives you to travel, uncover and take home secrets of the unknown!