Festivals In Rajasthan
The people of Rajasthan live life to the hilt and nobody can really match the gay abandon with which the Rajasthani surrenders himself to the numerous fairs and festivals that are celebrated here.There are animal fairs, to mark the chanting seasons. In fact, celebrations occur almost round the year and provide the visitor with a splendid opportunity to gain an insight in to the life of the Rajasthani. There is dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and other community activities that can enthrall the visitor.
Some of the more important fairs and festivals are the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer (held in January- February), Pushkar Fair, held in Pushkar, near Ajmer (November), Gangaur Festival, Jaipur (Murch- April ), Marwar Festival, Jodpur (October), Camel Festival, Bikaner (January), Mewar Festival, Udaipur.
Listed here is a very small selection of the countless number of exciting events that are held in Rajasthan throughout the year.
Kite Festival (Held on JAIPUR in Jan.)
When they tell you to ‘go fly a kite‘ in Jaipur, they actually mean it. And in January, that means sharing the sky with thousands of other kites. Coinciding with the Makar Sankranti celebrations, Jaipur’s International Kite Festival is held every year in the capital city of Rajasthan. As you’ve probably guessed, this is one day when the skies above the city come alive with kites – in a hundred different colours, shapes and sizes, fluttering and darting above the rooftops, triumphantly cutting another kite’s string, and soaring way up above the earth. The Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation organise the International Kite Festival at a local stadium, where kite enthusiasts from all across the world show off their skills. A kite market is held, alongside which are food stalls, cultural performances and special kite displays at night, when illuminated kites – known as Tukals – are flown.
Camel Festival- ( Held on BIKANER in Jan.)
Bikaner Camel Festival is an annual festival dedicated to the surly, hardy animal without which the desert would be incomplete – the camel. Organised by the Department of Tourism of the Rajasthan Government, the festival is an ideal event for those who wish to witness Rajasthan in its full colourful glory. The celebrations include folk performances by the local artistes. The festival opens with a parade of beautifully bedecked camels which in itself is a colourful spectacle against the red backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. The celebrations include camel races, camel milking, fur cutting design, the best breed competition, camel acrobatics and camel beauty pageants (let the least ugly camel win!). Camel traders and craftsmen who come from across Rajasthan converge on Bikaner for the festival, and there’s plenty of scope for eating, souvenir-shopping and taking some great photos. Other festivities include the skirt-swirling dancers, the fire dancers, and fireworks lighting up the fortified Desert City.
Desert Festival- ( Held on JAISALMER in FEB.)
One of the most popular of all festivals it is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. A true show on the sands which attracts even the much traveled visitor. Highly recommended. Be there. A three-day long extravaganza of dances, music, handicraft fairs and interesting competitions- including really unusual ones like a ‘Mr Desert’ pageant, a ‘turban-tying’ contest and a ‘best moustache’ contest- the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is organised by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation. It’s a fantastic showcase of all things Rajasthani, and is justifiably popular with tourists, both Indian and foreign. Besides the food, the music and the cultural performances, there are camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war. All of it is held against the backdrop of the awesome Jaisalmer fort. Fireworks displays at night light up the area, and the fort is illuminated too.
Gangaur Festival- ( Held on JAIPUR in Apr.)
Rajasthan may be India’s driest and most arid state, but when it comes to sheer colour and exuberance, it’s hard to beat. And Rajasthan is best seen in all its colours at the time of Gangaur, the spring festival dedicated to the goddess of abundance, Gauri (Parvati). Gangaur is a largely female-centric festival, in that most of the festivities and pujas are conducted by women. The fortnight leading up to Gangaur is marked by fasting, daily pujas of Gauri, and on the day of the festival itself, a bejewelled and beautifully clothed idol of the goddess is the centrepiece of an elaborate procession. Although Gangaur fairs are held throughout Rajasthan, some towns in particular are known for the fair: Udaipur (where a boat procession makes its way across the Pichola Lake), Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Nathdwara. Among the Girasia tribals of the Sirohi – Mt Abu region, Gangaur festivities carry on for more than a month, when devotees carry decorated idols of the goddess from village to village, finally returning to the village they started from. During this period, unmarried men and women of the tribe choose their mates and elope – a custom which has prevailed through the ages and is more or less expected during Gangaur.
Mewar Festival- ( Held on UDAIPUR in Apr.)
An exhilarating welcome to spring, this festival is a visual feast with Rajasthani songs, dances, processions, devotional music and firework displays. It is celebrated in the romantic city of Udaipur during the Gangaur Festival. A procession of colorfully attired women carrying the images of the goddess Gauri make their way to the lake Pichola. An unusual procession of boats on the lake offers a fitting finale to this splendid celebration.
The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur, and has a unique charm about it. The festival of Gangaur is very significant for women of Rajasthan.
Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display. Like other fairs and festivals celebrated throughout the state, there is a lot of activity, which keeps the participants in a joyful frame of mind, eager to enjoy every moment.
Teej Festival- ( Held on JAIPUR in Aug.)
The Hindu festival of Teej is organized on July / August and symbolized the union of Shiva and Parvati. It is a three day festival, where women pray for blessings their marital bliss. The teej festival is marked by colorful parties, especially by the womenfolk, who enjoy songs, dance and swing rides. Young girls and married women apply henna tattoos on these festivals. Women wear beautiful saris and jewelry, and visit temples to offer their special prayers to goddess Parvati.
Ghewar is a special sweet prepared, distributed and after offered to the deities.
But Teej is not just a religious festival; it also is a time to celebrate the coming of the rains- a time for renewal and rejuvenation. Teej ‘melas’ or fairs are fixtures at villages and towns, where thousands come to eat, drink, buy, sell, and generally enjoy themselves. The celebrations include music and folk dances, as well as the hanging of swings from trees, where groups of women and girls gather to swing.
Marwar Festival- ( Held on JODHPUR in Oct.)
The Blue city of Jodhpur celebrates the memory of the heroes of Rajasthan every year in the month of Ashwin. Ashwin is a Hindu month that falls between the months of September and October. Marwar festival is the most popular festival of this city. Marwar festival was originally known as the Maand Festival. ‘Maand’ is a traditional way of folk music that focuses on the romance and courteousness of the rulers of Rajasthan. Celebrated during the full moon of Sharad Poornima, the Marwar festival of Jodhpur goes on for two days.
Folk music, that in particular focuses on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan’s rulers, is the main attraction of Marwar festival, with the music and dance being the main theme of the festival. Along with this, various fun activities such as the Camel Tattoo Show, Horse Riding, Magic Shows, Puppet Shows and Horse Polo also take place during it. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh Fort are the venues of the Marwar festival.
Pushkar Fair- ( Held on Pushkar in Nov.)
The name ‘Pushkar Fair’ and “Pushkar ka mela” gets many buyers both in India and the World as a whole. India, being a country of age old religions, countless temples and shrines and the rituals attached to them is home to thousands of fairs that occupy every season in a calendar year. Pushkar fair is one of the most biggest event in india. And for a fair in India, it takes to be much more than just average to stand out. The significance of Pushkar Fair is many faceted which is closed intertwined with the unique features of the town of Pushkar. Situated near the famous city of Ajmer in Rajasthan, Pushkar is far away from the din and bustle of a modern city. On record, Pushakar fair is World’s largest camel fair where Around 50,000 camel are gathered.
Pushkar fair is organized on October / November, which celebrated with vigor by locals. Every year the fair gathers thousands of travelers. Pushkar Camel fair is a traditional event in Rajasthan with activities such as musical events and cultural activities, thrilling camel safari tours and staying in the traditional camps.
The fair sole aim of trading cattle includes horses, cows, goats, sheep, camels etc, it is a show for public displays. Once the trading is completed, they decked up the animals with dazzling ornaments and beautiful clothes for public displays.
Winter Festival- ( Held on MOUNT ABU in Dec.)
Winter Festival is held every year in the month of December at Mount Abu. Mount Abu known as the summer capital of Rajasthan is the only hill station in the entire North West India. It is attributed as “Oasis in Rajasthan”.It celebrates the happiness and cheerfulness among the people of this picturesque hill station. Tourists are welcomed here during the festival with great enthusiasm and they celebrate the festival with great joy and happiness. The colorful festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism and Municipal Board of Mt. Abu.
Three main ingredients of the Festival that have given it a world platform today are the hospitality of the people, their colorful culture and exotic location. The processions ultimately end at the Nakki lake Chowk. Followed by the magnanimous procession there are folk songs and dances performed by troupes coming from Punjab, Rajas than, Gujarat and other nearby states and places.Along with these cultural activities water sports also form part of the festivities. Rowing competitions are held on the lake and Cricket matches are organized. The grand finale of the festival is made brighter by a display of dazzling fireworks on three days.