“There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place.” – Keith Bellows, Former National Geographic Traveler Editor. Well, he was absolutely right in saying so about the world’s biggest Democracy and the second-most populated nation in the world. In fact, what makes visiting India more interesting are its world famous festivals & traditions. The magnanimous way of celebrating some of these occasions publicly further encaptivates one towards this country.
Here are 4 famous festivals of India that are celebrated with grandeur by one and all. Reading about them will surely compel the traveller in you to pack your bags and leave for this country!
#1. Ganesh Chaturthi/ Ganpati Mahotsav in Mumbai:
Mumbai the business capital of India and the dream city for thousands of acting aspirants is the first city you need to visit. Ganesh or Ganpati is the elephant God from Hindu mythology who is worshipped before starting any auspicious events in India. The public celebrations of one of the most famous festivals of India mark this God’s arrival on earth.
Ganesh Chaturthi became a huge success after freedom fighter, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, initiated the public celebrations with the hidden motive of uniting local people and do a gathering which was banned in British rule. As a part of this celebration, Ganpati Idols are set up in a pandal and is worshipped along with other cultural programs by groups of people. On the 10th day, the idols are emersed in the Arabian Sea. Of lately, more and more people are switching to eco-friendly idols for the same.
Tentative Travel Month: Bhadrapada (August–September), once every year
#2. Holi Celebrations of Vrindavan & Mathura
These two places in the state of Uttar Pradesh bear the honour of being the birth and growing up places of Lord Krishna. So it is an important place for Hindus, especially followers of Vaishnavism. These places literally have the legends & reverence for Lord Krishna in the air. The same devotion reaches its full cultural richness during the festival of Holi.
Lathmaar Holi is world-renowned and thousands of people come to witness the same. Every year men from Nandgaon (that is claimed to be the original village of Krishna) visit another small town, Barsana near Matura in the memory to recreate the Radha-Krishna style of Holi play as it is written in the scriptures. It is a very old tradition and still continues to be practised by the local people there with much enthusiasm.
Another kind of Holi celebration which gives this famous festivals of India a new liberating dimension is that of Holi played by widows who live in Vrindavan. Widows were asked to refrain from enjoyment of such type in ancient India. This kind of Holi celebration that started in 2013 is a powerful voice of women liberation from this part of India!
Tentative Travel Month: Around March, once every year
#3. Durga Puja/Pujo in Kolkata
Kolkata the capital city of West Bengal comes alive a few days before the actual festivities begin of Durga Puja. This festival is for commemorating the win of Goddess Durga over demons and it is also celebrated as the homecoming of the same Goddess along with her children. During this 10 day-festival prominent rituals that are worth witnessing are Sandhi Puja, ‘Bhog‘ where small girls are welcomed at home and served with food, Sindur Khela where married ladies where white & red border saree and smear each other and Goddess with vermillion before emersion of the statue. A typical dance named Dhunuchi naach is also performed during worshipping of Goddess in these days. There is a lot of crowd and excitement all around but truly this is one of the festivals that speak volumes about the importance of Indian culture.
Tentative Travel Month: Around October each year
#4. Janmashtami in Mumbai:
Janmashtami is better known in Mumbai as Dahi-Handi. This festival is celebrated to observe the birthday of Lord Krishna who according to Hindu scriptures loved eating cream and curd (dahi) along with his friends. As a remembrance to the same human pyramids are formed to reach a certain height where dahi handi (curd in an earthen pot) is placed. The topmost climber (Govinda) needs to break the handi to secure the team’s win. It actually becomes very exciting for younger people. This festival is largely celebrated in this style in Mumbai only but with the same enthusiasm in economically poor & rich classes of people making it one of the interesting and famous festivals of India.
Tentative Travel Month: August- September, once every year
Hope this list gave some positive motivation for travelling to India on these occasions. Have you been part of any of the above celebrations do share your experience in the comment box!
Happy & Responsible Travelling!
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