Indian Fair Festival Calendar 2010

Allthebest By Allthebest, 15th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2ddb_wbh/
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India is a legitimate secular land of colors and festivals where one can eulogize assortment of different festivals and fairs all round the year.

Indian Fair Festival Calendar 2010

It's no secret: Indians don't need a reason to celebrate. Whether it is taking a holy dip in the Ganges or dancing in the Himalayas, we simply love to let our hair down. And the fact that we have so many cultures and religions co-existing makes India an even merrier place to live in.Below is the lists out some of the best-known festivals and fairs that are to be held through 2010 in India. JANUARY
The Kumbh Mela (Haridwar, Uttarakhand)
January 14 to April 28
Perhaps the largest religious (or otherwise) gathering in the world, the Kumbh Mela is a festival that is most revered of all festivities in India. Sages and pilgrims from across the country gather at Haridwar and take a holy dip in the Ganges to wash away their sins. The Mela consists of many 'snans' or holy dips, the first of which happened on January 14 and the fair is currently underway.Even as it is one of the most pious of all the festivals, the concept of the Kumbh Mela has become something of a joke in pop culture thanks to Bollywood movie characters who often refer to it (with tongues firmly in their cheek) as the place where they lost their sibling. Republic Day (New Delhi

January 26

A colourful, military parade and floats from each state move down Rajpath, New Delhi, and daredevil fly past, attended by the President and prime minister marks the celebration of India's statehood every year on January 26. Officially, the festivity ends on January 29, with the Beating of the Retreat.

Art, culture and desert festival
Jaipur Literary Festival (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

January 21-January 25
It's where the best-known minds of contemporary literature meet and debate. Sure you may argue that the debates don't lead anywhere but hey imagine bumping into Salman Rushdie over lunch or VS Naipaul over tea! Not such a bad way to start the year, is it? Hampi Festival (Hampi, Karnataka

January 27-January 29
Built on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, Hampi was the capital city of the Vijayanagar Empire and is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.The festival of Hampi with dance, music, fireworks, Luxury and processions hopes to recreate the splendour of city against its ruins. Usually the festival is held in November but this year is the 500th anniversary of the coronation of the much-revered king of the Vijaynagar Empire, Krishna Devaraya (1509 to 1529), and hence the January festivities.

Desert Festival (Jaisalmer)

January 28-January 30
Colourful bazaars, camel races, traditional puppet shows, fire dance and folk music and dance programmes, the desert definitely doesn't get more interesting in India than this.Some of the highlights of this competition include turban tying contests, the sound and light show and folk artists performing against the sand dunes in Sam.

FEBRUARY: Surajkund Mela, Khajuraho fest and more
Surajkund Crafts Mela (Haryana)

February 1-February 15
The popular mela or fair is a platform for folk artistes and artisans from across the country to display their talent. A shopper's paradise, the Surajkund Crafts Mela has a state for a theme each year. This year will be Rajasthan's turn. With the growing the number of states in India, the mela sure won't run out of states to feature.

Khajuraho Dance Festival (Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh)

1 February - February 7
Home to India's most erotic sculptures, the Khajurahotemple grounds play host to an exhilarating Festival of Dances each year.The festival is hosted by the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation and showcases the most prominent exponents of various Indian classical dances.

Mahashivratri (Across India)

February 12, 2010
It is supposed to be the night Lord Shiva danced his frenzied tandava or celestial dance of destruction. On this day Shiva temples across the country are crowded as devotees flock for the blessings of the deity. If you're in Mumbai and are adventurous enough you could try and visit the Babulnath Temple in South Mumbai. The Mahakaleswar Temple at Ujjain also sees a special celebration as does Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

A carnival and cultural festival
Goa Carnival (Panaji, Goa"

February 13-February 16
It's officially the last day of festivity and celebrations before Lent. The Goa Carnival is held in Panaji, the capital of Goa. Fancy dress balls, floats, parades and a frenetic round of dancing, drinking and feasting mark the celebrations as highlight of the festivities 'King Momo' the officially appointed festival ruler parades through the city streets.

Taj Mahotsav (Agra, Uttar Pradesh)

February 18-February 27
The festival is organised at Shilpigram, which is close to the Taj Mahal. It's where some 400-odd artisans display their art. Taj Mahotsav also has a lot of cultural festivities where performers from across the country display their folk and classical art forms. With the Taj Mahal as the backdrop, surely nothing could be better, could it?

MARCH: Welcoming spring

Holi (Across India)

March 1
Holi the festival of colours is celebrated across the India with a few variations here and there. But if there is a place to be in India during Holi it is the village of Barsana near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.Barsana hosts something called the Lath mar Holi where women beat up men with sticks. Of course the men protect themselves with shields. But it's a sight to watch sari-clad women having the time of their lives in this rather amusing ritual. After all no one's going to sue you if you miss a stroke.

Nauchandi Mela (Meerut, Uttar Pradesh)
A classic example of religious tolerance is the Nauchandi Mela, a festival that is held near the Hindu Nauchandi temple and the Muslim shrine of Bala Mian.Legend has it that the month-long fair that starts soon after Holi, first started as a one-day trade fair for cattle traders back in 1627. Since then it has been each year growing in stature except in 1858 when the city saw the revolt against the East India Company.

Gudi Padwa (All over Maharashtra)
March 16
The New Year's Day in the Marathi calendar, Gudi Padwa is supposed to mark the beginning of spring. Maharashtrians consider this day as one of the three and a half most auspicious days when every moment is favourable to start a new activity.It is celebrated throughout Maharashtra with families decorating a stick with a bright coloured cloth and a pot turned upside down resting on the top of the stick. The traditional Gudi Padwa meal is shrikand (a sweet dish made of yogurt) and puri.

Royal splendour
Gangaur Festival (Rajasthan)

March 18 to March 19
Celebrated in the honour of the goddess of abundance, the Gangaur festival is when young girls pray for a spouse of their choice. The festivities include a procession being taken to the closest water body with the women carrying images of the goddess on their heads.The places to be (and to see pretty Indian girls dressed in their traditional best) include Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer. And just in case you're wondering what happens to these girls when they get married, well they simply pray for their husbands!

Elephant Festival (Jaipur)
March 24
Should pretty much tell you what it is and where, shouldn't it? Processions of elephants decorated and groomed before a stunned audience displaying the splendour of the royal state of Rajasthan. Not to be missed also are the elephant polo matches and the elephant races.

APRIL: Celebrating new beginnings Easter (Across India)

April 4
Although Easter is celebrated all over the country, Goa is considered to be one of the most popular Easter holiday destinations in India. Expect lots of celebrations in this former Portuguese colony with song, dance and carnivals.

Baisakhi (Punjab)
April 14
It is a festival that marks the solar new year and the sowing of the new crop for most communities in India. The date varies from state to state. Baishakhi falls on April 14 in Punjab and is the Punjabi New Year and the start of the harvest of wheat in the state. The traditional Punjabi dance, Bhangra that is performed on this day all over Punjab is the harvest dance of the state.

Nobo Borsho / Boishakh (West Bengal)
April 14
Nobo Borsho or the New Year is the beginning of the New Year for Bengalis. The month that follows is called Boishakh, an auspicious time for marriages.It is also perhaps the best time to visit Kolkata because there are tons of fairs being held in and around the city. Of these, the most popular is the Bangla Sangit Mela a music festival that is conducted by the state government.The thing to do is to get yourself invited to a wedding. That shouldn't be much of a hassle since we Indians are so warm to begin with. Or else you could simply gatecrash into one of them.

Vishu (Kerala)
April 14
This is supposed to mark the first day of the Malayalam year and is also the harvest festival of Kerala. North Kerala traditionally has seen more fireworks and celebrations than the rest of the state. However it's always great to be in a place of festivities in any part of the world, isn't it?

Bohag or Rangoli Bihu (Assam)
Mid-April
This festival marks the new year, beginning of Spring and is also an agricultural festival of Assam. Cattle is worshipped and festivities include paying homage to elders and having meals consisting of Chira, curds and sweets.Bohag Bihu is one of the three Bihus that celebrate the three seasons -- spring, summer and winter.

Chitra Festival (Madurai Temple, Tamil Nadu)
From April 14
Chitra Festival at the Madurai Temple commences on April 14. A showy festival that lasts for nearly a fortnight, it begins on the Tamil New Year. Chitra celebrates the marriage of Meenakshi to Shiv and brims with pomp. Festivities include a spate of dramas depicting Meenakshi's life history.On the eighth day a procession of elephants and chariots transport the nuptial pair through the town streets and to the banks of the Vagai River to meet Meenakshi's brother Lord Kallalagar (an avatar of Vishnu) who is transported there from his hilltop abode at Algarkovil, outside Madurai. This ceremonious meeting -- the logistics of which are mind-boggling -- has more than its usual quotient of Indian-style pandemonium.
MAY: Festival of flowers Sikkim Flower Festival (Sikkim)
Held near White Hall, the governor's residence in Gangtok, the flower show displays some of Sikkim's famous orchids, gladioli, roses, alpine plants, ferns, rhododendrons etc. A food festival, river rafting and Yak safaris are other attractions at the festival.

Moatsu Mong (Nagaland)
First week of May
North-East India Tours is arguably the most untouched part of the country. Rituals of the seven sister states are unknown to most Indians.Moatsu Mong provides a great opportunity to give you a glimpse into an aspect of the culture -- that of Nagaland. The Sping festival usually falls in May and goes on for over six days. Folk dances, songs, tribal chants and indigenous games are all part of this festival -- a must-see for all city-bred folks who think their city limits are the end of the world.

Ooty Summer Festival (Ooty, Tamil Nadu)

May
Pretty much like most other summer festivals, the Ooty version has the regular cultural programmes that include fashion shows, flower arrangement exhibitions, boat races and the works. Visit the Botanical Gardens for the spectacular flower show. Critics of the hill station will probably tell you that the place is getting to be crazily crowded. But hey, tell us a city that isn't!

Buddha Purnima (Bodh Gaya, Bihar)
May 27
Bodha Gaya is the place where Buddha attained Nirvana. It is a prominent Buddhist tourist spot and is the most sacred of the four Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country -- the other three include Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh) and Ajanta (Maharashtra).

JUNE: Celebrating the Ganga Badrinath-Kedar Festival
This is an important music festival. The location of the festival in the snowy Himalayan towns of Badrinath and Kedarnath makes the event quite memorable.

Ganga Dusshera (Varanasi and Haridwar
June 11
Glenn Beck might've called Ganga a disease. Sure the river's been polluted quite a bit but the Ganges will always remain India's most favourite river. Celebrating it's descent and presence on earth, folks in Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayag, Rishikesh etc celebrate the Ganga Dusshera along the river's banks. For ten days there are celebrations, pujas and aartis performed as a mark of respect for the holy river. How's that for a disease, Beck?

Shimla Summer Festival (Shimla, Himachal Pradesh)
Early June
A time for celebrations and cheer in what used to be the summer capital of India during the days of the Raj. The Shimla festival has something to offer for everyone. Popular singers and local artistes rub shoulders here and fashion shows, flower display and film festivals are organised for entertainment.

Sindhu Darshan Festival (Leh-Ladakh, Jammu)
Early June
The festival celebrates one of the world's longest rivers -- the Sindhu. Expect some breathtaking cultural festivities that aim to promote peace, harmony and are a celebration of the country called India. As a symbolic gesture performing troupes from across the country carry waters from the other rivers in pots and immerse them in the Sindhu.

Hemis Festival, (Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir)
June 20
Held in the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, the Festival is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Expect dances, plays and music from drums, cymbals and long horns. For the compulsive shoppers there some exquisite handicraft from the region for sale.

JULY: Puri's Chariot Festival and more
Mango Festival (New Delhi)

It's a dream come true most kids (and many adults too). With over 500 varieties of mangoes on display New Delhi is a paradise for mango lovers. Expect some lip-smacking competitions and some killer mango products at this festival that is held in the capital in July every year since 1987 and is jointly organised by the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, the National Horticultural Board and the NDMC.

Splash 2010 (Wayanad, Kerala)
First week of July
The Wayanad Tourism Organisation or WTO as they like to call themselves organise a carnival in the Wayanad district of Kerala to promote the area as a tourist destination around the time when the heavens open up.Apart from the usual song-n-dance festivities by local artistes, you could also try out their adventure sports that include 'mud football', a marathon, a slow cycle race and tons of other fun stuff.

Jagannath Yatra (Puri, Orissa
July 13 onwards
This is the famous chariot festival of Puri, Orissa. A procession of chariots bearing the presiding deities of the main temple -- Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are pulled by hordes of devotees to their 'summer cottage' the Gundicha temple, one mile away over a period of 24 hours.The word juggernaut in the English language gets its meaning from this festival. Music, elephants, royalty, plenty of colour and organised anarchy are a sideshow to this unmissable event which is repeated nine days later when the Jagannath family returns home from their vacation.Legend has it that the journey of the Jagannath trio symbolises or mimics Krishna's journey -- Jagannath is an avatar or reincarnation of Vishnu, as is Krishna -- from Gokul to Mathura to kill his wickedly powerful uncle, King Kans. Areas of Bengal and Bihar also celebrate their own home grown version of the festival.

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