In a country that is the cradle of so many different religions and cultures, it’s hardly surprising the calendar is overflowing with festivals in India. Throughout the year, every region has its own festivals and events, and as a visitor it’s an extra colourful travel experience to include one in your journey.
Most of India’s biggest festivals have religious or mythical origins, such as the Hindu festivals Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and Diwali. But many others do not and are no less colourful and interesting, from the indigenous warrior tribes’ Hornbill Festival in Nagaland and the madhouse Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, to huge sports events such as the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Kerala and the International Kite Festival in Gujarat.
There are so many of them that festivals in India take place the whole year round. However, it’s always good to conduct a little research before you go as sometimes it’s even more interesting to arrive a little earlier to watch the event’s preparations unfold, such as a few days before the start of the Hindu Bengali festival of Durga Puja when local craftsman finish their elaborately crafted deity statues.
Food also plays a major role in festivals in India, either as one of its cultural or religious elements, or as a standalone Indian food festival. Food is often one of the best ways to discover the true soul of a place, and with India’s celebrated and incredibly varied cuisine, you’re spoilt for choice – from the National Street Food Festival and the Asian Hawkers Market in Delhi to Ahare Bangla in Kolkata and the Goa Food Cultural Festival at the west coast.
So wherever or whenever you visit the world’s second-most populous country, make sure you include one of the many festivals in India to make your trip truly unforgettable.
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