Considering its vast size and enormous population, it’s no surprise that India is an incredible diverse country home to many different ethnic groups and religions. And with each of these groups celebrating their cultural and spiritual heritage, India can truly be called the land of festivals. Here we focus on five Hindu festivals of India not to be missed.
Hindu festivals of India: Ganesh Chaturthi 2019
2 – 12 September 2019: Head to Mumbai for its biggest birthday party of the year when clay idols and giant statues of one of the most revered gods in the Hindu pantheon – Lord Ganesha, the famous deity with the elephant head – are paraded in a huge procession full of colour and music. Being one of the most popular festivals in India, the birth of Ganesha is celebrated all over the country, both amongst families in homes and publicly on the streets. The son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Pravati, the beloved Ganesha also happens to be the patron god of travellers – so here’s another incentive for a trip to India come next September.
Hindu festivals of India: Durga Puja 2019
29 September – 8 October 2019: Known as the Carnival of the East, Durga Puja is one of the most prominent festivals for Hindu Bengalis and the biggest event of the year in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Spread over more than a week, Durga Puja celebrates the victory of good over evil and sees lots of colourful processions with elaborately crafted idols of the 10-armed goddess Durga. The clay idols – from small representations to giant statues – end up immersed into a lake or river in this deeply religious ritual. As Durga Puja is also about renewal, houses are cleaned and new clothes are bought while there are lots of music concerts, dances and, of course, elaborate festive meals.
Hindu festivals of India: Diwali 2019
27 October 2019: India’s biggest festival is also its most beautiful when thousands of little candle lights decorate houses, streets and markets. Diwali India – also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights – celebrates the spiritual triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Join millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists commemorating the return of the Hindu deity Lord Rama and his wife Sita to Ayodhya after more than a decade of exile – an event that has grown into India’s most anticipated holiday. Expect thousands of atmospheric lights, plenty of fireworks and mouth-watering food and sweets.
Hindu festivals of India: Pushkar Camel Fair 2019
4 – 12 November 2019: What do you get when you combine a camel beauty contest, thousands of devoted Hindu pilgrims, and a carnival of snake charmers, dancers, acrobats and tourists? The Pushkar Camel Fair is India’s biggest tribal gathering where tens of thousands of camels and cattle are paraded and exchanged between traders, while Hindu devotees from Rajasthan and nearby states immerse themselves in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake on Karthik Purnima – one of the Hindu lunar calendar’s holiest days. A huge fair with Ferris wheels, a handicrafts bazaar, camel races, acrobatics and camel beauty contests provide for plenty of colourful spectacle in this chaotic but most memorable and popular event.
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Hindu festivals of India: Holi 2020
9 – 10 March 2020: Holi festival India, named after the destruction of the female demon Holika, is undoubtedly India’s most colourful and joyous festival. Marking the end of winter and the arrival of the spring harvest season, this exuberant event sees hundreds of thousands of people across the country dousing each other with water and coloured powders or gulal. Beloved by young and old alike, Holi is a no holds barred riot of fun, laughter and partying. Larger cities such as Delhi and Mumbai also have special Holi events featuring Indian and international music DJs and other performers. Come prepared.
Accommodation in India during Hindu festivals
Make sure you book your hotel well in advance as festival times are busy periods. To find the best accommodation and flights to India, enter your dates in our flight and hotel comparison engine to search hundreds of sites for the best deals:
For a full list of festivals and events throughout the year in India
Visa for India
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Cover photo: Pushkar Camel Fair.