Travellers are spoiled for choice for festivals in India, and with sop many to choose from how do you decide which festival to attend? Here are the 5 best festivals for traveller in India.
India is one of the most visually and sensory explosive destinations on the planet, with even the most average of trips a feast for the senses, but the best time to visit India is during one of its many varied cultural and religious festivals. With different celebrations happening in different parts of India all throughout the year, travellers really are spoiled for choice when it comes to attending one, and here are just 5 of the best to choose from.
(Late October to early November).
The Festival of Light, as it is known, is special to Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike. It is celebrated over 5 days and has a slightly different flavour depending on where abouts in India you are, but the central tenet is that it is a celebration of the light that exists inside all of us, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. I have been to India a couple of times during Diwali, and one of my most memorable travel moments is seeing the fireworks displays over the sacred Ganges as locals filled the river with candles in little clay boats.
(Late February or March).
If Diwali fills India with light, Holi fills it with colour! This is one of the most famous festivals in India with events where huge crowds plaster each other with powder of every colour or coloured water. Each colour has a different meaning, but by the end of the day you will be covered by every one anyway! A piece of advice if you do go, keep the camera safe in your accommodation.!
(End of September or beginning of October).
Navratri is a Hindu festival meaning ‘nine nights’, starting on the first day of the Hindu month Ashwin, Navratri is held mostly in Gujurat although there are other Hindu states where it is celebrated too. Navratri is a time filled with song, dance, food, drink and brightly coloured decorations everywhere you look, overloading your senses with bright lights, loud music and a joyous sense of celebration, and attending the Garba is like no other experience, seeing tens of thousands of people swarm into one location to dance in unison!
(End of October).
This festival follows Navratri and celebrate its conclusion as good triumphs over evil, where Lord Rama killed the ten headed demon king Ravana after he kidnapped his wife, Sita Mata. It is celebrated slightly differently in different parts of India but in most cases there are a variety of outdoor fairs, parades and effigies of Ravana that are burnt on bonfires in the evening.
(Mid August to early September).
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the homecoming of lord Ganesh, and is a vibrant, colourful celebration to bring happiness and prosperity to anyone who celebrates. This ten day long festival starts with an idol of Lord Ganesh being placed in the home to bless the house, which is then taken at the end of the festival to be immersed in water.
There are of course so many more festivals to choose from in your travels through India, but these will give you a good, varied taste of the explosion of colour, light, smells,sounds, dancing and singing that epitomize Indian celebrations, and then hopefully you can carry on your Indian adventure and discover many more!
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