Indian Festivals You’ll Want to Time Your Holidays With Banyan Tours & Travels
April 1, 2020 by Hidden Doorways
India is a vibrant destination. At once, colorful, chaotic and infinitely magical, it’s one of the most culturally rich places in the world. And with that culture comes an annual roster of beautiful festivals, each with their own meaning and significance for locals. From fireworks, to dance performances, and musical gatherings, India’s celebratory side is a sight to behold—colorful, energetic and inspiring. Time your visit later this year or in 2021 with one of our many festivals and experience the subcontinent at its most lively with curated itineraries with Banyan Tours & Travels.
Hemis Festival, Ladakh
The Ladakh season runs between the months of May to September. A number of festivals of religious and cultural significance make an appearance on social calendars at this time. But of these, timing your visit to the much-revered Hemis Festival is highly recommended. A colorful two-day affair, it marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava— an 8th century Buddhist master worshipped by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. Held at the Hemis Monastery, the extravaganza includes performances by mystical masked dancers and priests playing music with long horns, drums and cymbals. The festival attracts a number of pilgrims and travelers, adding a palpable energy to an otherwise desolate Himalayan landscape. Hemis festival take place between 30th June – 1st July, 2020. To witness the grand spectacle and travel through this incredible Himalayan wilderness view Banyan Tours & Travels classic 7-day itinerary.
Jodhpur Riff, Rajasthan
Over the years, the Jodhpur RIFF festival in India’s ‘Blue City’ has established itself as the go-to event to catch Rajasthani and global folk music. Set in the magical surrounds of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, the festival features over 250 artists of global and local repute. Spread over five days, performances take on an almost spiritual form with RIFF dawn featuring bhakti music to the jogi music in the afternoon and the Sufi artists taking over later on. Energetic and mesmeric, the roots musicians bring a deep, wholesome and vibrant presence to each performance. Running this year from October 29th to November 2nd, 2020, the festival is timed to coincide with “Sharad Purnima” the brightest full moon of the year in north India.
Every year, in autumn, all of India turns into a spectacle of light, colour and a crescendo of fireworks during the time of Diwali. A celebration of light over darkness and good over evil, the festival is of significance to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists world-wide. But nowhere are the celebrations grander as they are in India. The most anticipated time of year and one of the most beautiful too, homes and streets are lit up with oil lamps and sparkling fairy lights, colorful rangolis (intricate patterns made using flowers and colored powders) decorate hallways and foyers, gifts and sweets are exchanged between families and friends and the whole country is gripped by good vibes and a celebratory mood. Diwali falls on November 14th, 2020 this year and is best celebrated in places like Amritsar, Varanasi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
World Sacred Spirit Festival, Jodhpur
What began as the World Sufi Music Festival in 2019 is now the World Sacred Spirit Festival. An annual event held in Jodhpur in the month of February, it brings together talent from different parts of the world and showcases the spiritual significance of music—transcending communities, cultures and religion. Held at the majestic Meherangarh Fort, the festival showcases thousands years of spiritualism brought to civilization though dance, music and singing. Starting with dawn concerts at the Jaswant Thada Memorials just below the fort, to performances and dances in the many courtyards and open spaces of the Meherangarh Fort and the main concert at night, it is two days of exceptional performances and a feast of music and dance.
Holi is India’s festival of colours. Marking the end of winter and the start of spring season, it’s all about new beginnings, good vibes and a riot of colour. A significant celebration on the Hindu calendar, the festival always lands on the day of the full moon. A bonfire is lit the night before for the main day for Holika Dahan. A symbolic fire, it is a cleansing that is meant to burn away evil and all that no longer serves us. The next day everyone joins in in ushering positivity with a joyous celebration that is all about having fun with your family and community. People take to the streets or attend private celebrations to throw colours at each other, eat sweets, and celebrate life. Holi will be celebrated in 2021 in the month of March.
Beneshwar Tribal Fair, Udaipur
Every year in the small village town of Beneshwar in Udaipur, Rajasthan, the Bhil Tribal people gather with the purpose to immerse the ashes of their ancestors in the small delta formed by the Soma River. A week-long gathering, it also includes tribals from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. This large and fascinating cultural affair, decades old, opens a window to various scared and devotional rites and also features locals selling eclectic indigenous wares, tattoo artists, an incredible selection of regional and street food, a ferris wheel pulled by cows and other spectacular sights, making it an extraordinary and unmissable event for anyone traveling to India. Although the fair’s exact dates are yet to be announced for 2021, it is set to take place in February next year.
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