Is the festival season in India gone? Ask anyone and they’ll say – Yes. Is Diwali gone? — long ago; Dusshera? – yup; Christmas – gone. But wait, the festivities are just beginning for tourists in India. The February brings a host of festivals for you to indulge in — 12 of ‘em to be precise. No matter what your taste or preferences are, no matter where you want to travel, and no matter when you want to travel, you’ll find one that fits your bill. Read on….
Indian Derby Weekend
Where: Mumbai, Maharashtra
When: February 1
The McDowell Indian Derby is a horse racing event held on the first Sunday of February at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, India. The Indian Derby Weekend is one of the biggest events on the Mumbai social calendar. The event is fun packed sporting one, which attracts around 25,000 people. There are many attractions to this event other than only the horse racing, like international aerial ballet, professional salsa dancing and live bands playing tributes to bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard.
The Desert Festival is a 3-day extravaganza of colour, music and festivity, held at the golden city of Jaisalmer. Gair and Fire dancers swaying to traditional tunes, a turban tying competition and a Mr. Desert Contest are a part of the fun and frolic. A parade of camels and fancily dressed locals, camel races and polo matches, turban tying competitions, competitions for the finest facial hair, acrobats, puppeteers, and jugglers are all part of the festival. The grand finale is a trip to the Sam Dunes where one can enjoy the pleasure of a camel ride and even watch the folk dancers and musicians perform.
The Mela showcases the finest handlooms, handicrafts, authentic fragrances and flavours of rich Indian cuisine. As winter turns briefly into spring, many talented artists come from India and across the world to showcase their handlooms, handicrafts, traditional handicraft items of their respective states. Not only this but to entertain and amuse large audience at Surajkund Mela 2015 many shows, cultural events, dance shows, folk music shows, are also organized at the venue.
This festival revolves around the old painted havelis (mansions) that the Shekhawati region is famous for, particularly in Nawalgarh. For a broad-based discovery of Shekhawati’s culture, the festival is spread over a number of venues – Nawalgarh, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu. The programs include a one day tour of the region, camel and jeep safaris, farm visits, rural games, cultural programs, art, mehendi and cultural competitions and fireworks.
Sufi Sutra is an annual festival of peace music held at Kolkata. Sufi Sutra brings about a convergence of ideas about truth, harmony, self belief and peace through the common language of music, song and dance. At Sufi Sutra, more than one hundred singers, dancers and musicians from Denmark, Hungary,
Azerbaijan, Morocco, Egypt and India celebrate the quest for the Divine through love. People have the opportunity to interact with the musicians during workshops held during the day. Sufi music is qualified as “soul music” for Muslim mystics. It is often used to transcend the physical realm into the spiritual one.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a community celebration of the arts within one of the most beautiful and historic precincts of Mumbai, The Kala Ghoda Art District. The sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks, special events for children and a vibrant street festival. Venues include The Jehangir Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Modern Art, the David Sassoon Library, Max Mueller Bhavan, Elphinstone College, the K R Cama Institute, the M C Ghia Hall, and the street area of Rampart Row. The great thing about it is that it’s all free!
February heralds the carnival at Goa. For three days and nights the streets come alive with colour. Held in mid February, the week long event is a time for lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, graceful dances and of non-stop festivity. It culminates with the Red and Black Dance, a formal ball in Panaji, where the dress code is red and black. One of the more famous of the Indian Carnivals, the Goa Festival is a complete sell out in terms of tourism capacities.
The charismatic town Alwar is the Gateway of Rajasthan. The Alwar festival is an occasion to have lots of fun and enjoyment for three-days. The festival provides the best opportunity to showcase the folk culture, music, handicrafts and colourful traditions of the region.
A ten day event, the Taj Mahotsav at Agra is a culturally vibrant platform that focusses on arts, crafts, Indian culture and recreates the Mughal era. It commences with a spectacular procession that includes elephants, camels and drummers. India’s extensive arts, crafts and culture are on display. Folk music, shayari (poetry) and classical dance performances as well as elephant and camel rides, games and a food festival, all form a part of the festivities.
The sun temple in Konark is famed as a world heritage site. The exquisite ‘Natyamandir’ or the ‘dancing hall’ of this 700-year old shrine is an architectural wonder with well-adorned sculptures in Odissi dance poses. This is the venue of a joyous festival of classical dance and music which is held annually on December. A host of celebrated dancers from all over the country perform in the open air auditorium. The festival is a celebration of the much appreciated Odissi, Bharathnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau Dance – a lavish feast for the eyes and ears. The sound of Ghungroo bells, flute and Pakhauj gives it a festive mood. There is also a crafts mela, with a variety of handicrafts and tasty cuisine during the festival.
Once the religious capital of Chandela dynasty, one of the powerful Rajput dynasties of Central India, Khajuraho is now famous for it’s enchanting temples and it’s legendary Khajuraho dance festival. This cultural festival highlights the richness of the various Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali with performances of some of the best exponents in the field. The dances are performed in an open-air auditorium, against the spectacular backdrop of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, belonging to the western group.
This Kerala temple festival is dedicated to the Goddess Kali. In the evening, be delighted by rituals and folk art performances under the glow of traditional temple lamps. The highlight of the Uthralikavu Pooram is an all night elephant pageant, backed by resounding traditional drumming.