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Festivals and Fairs

Festivals and Fairs          Indian Festivals 2003

 

 

The Indian calendar is a long procession of festivals; if you can find yourself in the right place at the right time, it is possible to go through your visit with a festival each day. The harvest festivals of the south, the immersion of Ganesh in Bombay, the car Festival of Puri, snake-boat races in Kerala, Republic Day in Delhi... every region, every religion has something to celebrate. Below is a selection of the major ones, but there are countless others; enquire at local Government of India Tourist Offices for details.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY
Sankranti / Pongal :
Mainly Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 3 days and colourful : Tamil harvest festival. Republic Day : National : establishment of Republic 1950. 26th January. Grand Military Parade and Procession of dancers etc. Delhi. Vasant Panchami : National (Mainly in the Eastern region) : Hindu - dedicated to Saraswati the beautiful Goddess of Learning. Women wear yellow saris. Floating Festival : Madurai : Birthday of local 17th century ruler; elaborately illuminated barge carrying decorated temple deities at the Mariamman Teppakulam Pool amids chanting hymns.

FEBRUARY / MARCH
Shivaratri :
National : Solemn worship of Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Fasting and chanting. Special celebrations at Chidambarum, Kalahasti, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Bombay. Holi : Mainly northern, popularly called the festival of colors. Advent of Spring. Lively and much throwing of coloured water and powders. Public Holiday. Mardi Gras : Goa : Mainly three days during lent. Unique celebrations at this carnival. Ramnavami : National : Birth of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu. No processions. Plays and folk theaters. Mahavir Jayanti : National : Jain festival; birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara. Easter : Good Friday / Easter Sunday National.

MARCH / APRIL
Kumbh Mela :
The oldest and most important of the Hindu festivals. It takes place every three years, at one of the four great holy cities; Nasik in Maharashtra, Ujjain (MP), Prayag (Allahabad) and Hardwar (both in UP). It is attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges River.

APRIL / MAY
Baisakhi : Northern India, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu; Hindu Solar New Year. Bhangra dancing. Women wear yellow saris. Pooram : Trichur : New Moon. Spectactular sight of large number of elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas going round the temple; midnight fireworks display.

Id-Ul-Zuha : (Bakrid) : Muslim, National: The most celebrated Islamic festival in India, commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham. Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramzan Id) : Muslim, National: Celebration to mark the end of the month of Ramadan. Meenakshi Kalyanam : Madurai. Marriage of Meenakshi with Lord Shiva. Colourful temple festival. Deities borne by colossal chariot. Ten day festival. Fair : Rajasthan : Urs Ajmer Sharif. Ajmer, 6 days. Religious cultural and commercial extravaganza dedicated to the Sufi. Music; no procession.

JUNE / JULY
Rath Yatra :
Mainly Orissa. Greatest temple festival in honour of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe). Three colossal chariots drawn from Puri temple by thousands of pilgrims. Similar festivals, on a smaller scale, take place at Ramnagar (near Varanasi), Serampore (near Calcutta) and Jagannathpur (near Ranchi).

JULY / AUGUST
Teej :
Rajasthan- Particularly Jaipur : Procession of the Goddess Parvati to welcome monsoon; elephants, camels, dancers etc. Women wear green saris. Colourful.

Raksha Bandhan :
Northern and Western India. Legendary reenactment, girls tie rakhis or talismen to menís wrists. Colourful build up. Naag Panchami : Mainly Jodphur, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Dedicated to the green thousand-headed mythical serpent called Sesha. The day is also observed in many other parts of Western and Eastern India. Amarnath Yatra : Hindu : Lidder Valley, Kashmir at full moon. Pilgrims visit the place where Lord Shiva explained the secret of salvation to his consort Parvati.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER
Independence Day : (15th August). National: Independence Day. Prime Minister delivers address from Delhiís Red Fort.
Janmashtami : National, particularly Agra, Bombay and Mathura; Lord Krishnaís birthday.
Onam : Keralaís Harvest Festival; spectacular snake boat races in many parts of Kerala.
Ganesh Chaturthi : Mainly Pune, Orissa, Bombay, Madras, dedicated to elephant-headed God Ganesh. Giant models of the deity processed and immersed in water. Colourful, and a particularly worth visiting on the Day of immersion at Bombay.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER
Dussehra
 National : The most popular festival in the country, celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In the north and particularly in Delhi (where it is known as Ram Lila), plays and music recall the life of Rama; in Kulu, the festival is also very colourful celebrated. In Bengal and many parts of Eastern India it is known as Durga Puja, and in the South as Navaratri.
Fair, Himachal Pradesh : Kulu Valley to coincide with Dussehra (10 days).
Gandhi Jayanti : National : Mahatma Gandhiís birthday. No processions.
Diwali : National : One of the most lively and colourful festivals in India. In some parts, it marks the start of the Hindu New Year. In Eastern India, the goddess Kali is particularly worshipped; elsewhere, it is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, who is venerated. Everywhere there are magnificent illuminations and fireworks.
Gurpurab : Mainly in northern India. Anniversaries of ten gurus, spiritual teachers or preceptors of Sikhism. No procession.

NOVEMBER
Muharram :
Muslim. Commemoration of Imam Hussainís martyrdom. Tiger dancers lead processions of colourful replicas of martyrís tomb. Colourful, particularly at Lucknow.
Bihar : Largest cattle fair in the world; 1 month Sonepur, Patna; on banks of the Ganges.
Pushkar Mela : Pushkar, near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Important and colourful. Camel and cattle fair, attended by Rajputs from miles around. Camel races and acrobatics etc.

DECEMBER
Christmas Day :
National : Most exuberantly celebrated in Goa, Bombay and Tamil Nadu.

Note
: Besides the above festivals there are hundreds of festivals and fairs which are of regional significance, celebrated with equal pomp and colour. The most authentic of these are the following : (1) The Temple Festival in South India, a list of which if often available at Govt. of India Tourist Offices, (2) The many festivals at Ladakh in Kashmir. (3) The many festivals in Rajasthan at a time when a festival of some kind is not either in Progress or about to take place.

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Indian Festivals 2003

01/01 2003 New Year's Day
  Pausa 11
 
09/01 2003 Guru Govind Singh's Birth Day
  Pausa 19
 
13/01 2003 Bhogl (South India) January 13
  Pausa 23
 
14/01 2003 Makara Samkranti, Makradi Snana,Pongal(South India)
  Pausa 24
 
15/01 2003 Mattu Pongal (South India)
  Pausa 25
 
19/01 2003 Floating Festival
  Pausa 29
 
23/01 2003 Netaji's Birth Day
  Magha 03
 
26/01 2003 Republic Day
  Magha 06
 
06/02 2003 Basant Panchami/ Sri Panchami
  Magha 17
 
12/02 2003 Idu'Z Zuha (Bakrid)
  Magha 23
 
16/02 2003 Guru Ravidas's Birth Day
  Magha 27
 
19/02 2003 Shivaji Jayanti
  Magha 30
 
26/02 2003 Birth Day of Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Founder of Arya Samaj)
  Phalguna 07
 
01/03 2003 Maha Shivaratri
  Phalguna 10
 
05/03 2003 Birth Day of Shri Ramkrishna
  Phalguna 14
 
05/03 2003 Ash Wednesday
  Phalguna 14
 
14/03 2003 Muharram
  Phalguna 23
 
18/03 2003 Holika Dahana
  Phalguna 27
 
18/03 2003 Dol Yatra (Observed in West Bengal)
  Phalguna 27
 
19/03 2003 Holli
  Phalguna 28
 
21/03 2003 Jamshedi Naoraj (Pars!)
  Phalguna 30
 
22/03 2003 Indian New Year's Day
  Chaitra 01
 
02/04 2003 Telugu New Year's Day
  Chaitra 12
 
02/04 2003 Chaitra Sukladi (Gudi, Padava, Ugadi, Cheti Chand)
  Chaitra 12
 
04/04 2003 Gangaur (Gauri Tritiva)
  Chaitra 14
 
11/04 2003 Rama Navami
  Chaitra 21
 
11/04 2003 Vaisakhi (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Prades, Delhi and Orissa)
  Chaitra 24
 
14/04 2003 Meshadl
  Chaitra 24
 
14/04 2003 Tamil New Year's Day
  Chaitra 24
 
14/04 2003 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's Birth Day
  Chaitra 24
 
15/04 2003 Mahavir Jayanti
  Chaitra 25
 
15/04 2003 Vishu (Kerala)
  Chaitra 25
 
15/04 2003 Vaisakhadi (Bengal), Bahag Bihu
  Chaitra 25
 
18/04 2003 Good Friday
  Chaitra 28
 
19/04 2003 Easter (Holy) Saturday
  Chaitra 29
 
09/05 2003 Birth Day of Rabindra Nath
  Valsakha 19
 
11/05 2003 Pooram (Trichur Pooram)
  Valsakha 21
 
12/05 2003 Meenakshi Kaiyanam
  Valsakha 22
 
14/05 2003 Milad-Un-Nabi or Id-E-Milad (Birth Day of Prophet Mohammed)
  Valsakha 24
 
16/05 2003 Buddha Purnima
  Valsakha 26
 
29/05 2003 Ascension Day (Holy) Thursday
  Jyaistha 08
 
06/06 2003 Jamatri Sasthi (Bengal)
  Jyaistha 16
 
12/06 2003 Fatiha Yazdahum
  Jyaistha 22
 
01/07 2003 Ratha Yatra
  Asadha 10
 
01/08 2003 Feef (Madhusrava Pritiya)
  Sravana 10
 
02/08 2003 Naga Panchami
  Sravana 1 1
 
12/08 2003 Raksha Bandhan
  Sravana 21
 
12/08 2003 Amar Nath Yatra
  Sravana 21
 
13/08 2003 Gayatri Japam
  Sravana 22
 
15/08 2003 Independence Day
  Sravana 24
 
19/08 2003 Sri Krishna Jayanti
  Sravana 28
 
19/08 2003 Janmashtami (Smartha), Jnamashtami (Valsnava)
  Sravana 28, Sravana 29
 
20/08 2003 Gokulashtami
  Sravana 29
 
21/08 2003 Parsi New Year's Day
  Sravana 30
 
31/08 2003 Ganesh Chaturthi
  Bhadra 09
 
31/08 2003 Vinayaka Chaturthi
  Bhadra 09
 
08/09 2003 Onam (Thiru Onam Day)
  Bhadra 17
 
10/09 2003 Hajarat Ali's Birth Day
  Bhadra 19
 
17/09 2003 Biswakarma Puja
  Bhadra 26
 
25/09 2003 Mahalaya Amavasya
  Asvina 03
 
26/09 2003 Maharaja Agrasen's Jayanti
  Asvina 04
 
27/09 2003 Jewish New Year's Day
  Asvina 05
 
02/10 2003 Mahatma Gandhi's Birth Day*
  Asvina 10
 
02/10 2003 Durga Puja (Maha Saptami)
  Asvina 10
 
03/10 2003 Durga Puja (Maha Ashtami)
  Asvina 1 1
 
04/10 2003 Durga Puja (Maha Navami)
  Asvna 12
 
04/10 2003 Ayudha Puja
  Asvina 12
 
04/10 2003 Vijaya Dasami, Dussera, Ramilla
  Asvina 12
 
05/10 2003 Vijaya Dasami, Dussera (Bengal)
  Asvina 13
 
09/10 2003 Kojagori Lakshmi Puja.*
  Asvina 17
 
10/10 2003 Maharsi Valmiki's Bith Day
  Asvina 18
 
12/10 2003 Shab-l-Barat
  Asvina 20
 
24/10 2003 Kali Puja
  Kartika 02
 
25/10 2003 Lakshmi Puja
  Kartika 03
 
25/10 2003 Deepavali (Dewali)*
  Kartika 03
 
25/10 2003 Govardhana Puja
  Kartika 03
 
26/10 2003 Kartika Sukiadi
  Kartika 04
 
26/10 2003 Bhai Duj/ Bhratri Dvitiya
  Kartika 04
 
30/10 2003 Chhat (Bihar)
  Kartika 08
 
02/11 2003 Jagadhatri Puja
  Kartika 1 1
 
08/11 2003 Guru Nanak's Birth Day*
  Kartika 17
 
08/11 2003 Pushkar Fair
  Kartika 17
 
21/11 2003 JumatUIVida
  Kartika 30
 
22/11 2003 Shab-l-Qadr
  Agrahayana 01
 
26/11 2003 Idu'l Fitr*
  Agrahayana 05
 
28/11 2003 Guru Teg Bahadur's Martydom Day
  Agrahayana 07
 
24/12 2003 Christmas Eve
  Pausa 03
 
25/12 2003 Christmas Day*
  Pausa 04
 
29/12 2003 Guru Govind Singh's Birth Day
  Pausa 08
 

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Government of India.

 

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