I was quite excited while getting all decked up for Gangaur celebration. It was the first time I was celebrating this festival and that too in Rajasthan. I recalled that I had first heard about this festival in a television show based on Rajasthan. I have always been interested in the colorful festivals and fairs that are an important and integral part of life in India.
India is famous as the land of colors and festivals. Then, how can Rajasthan be left behind? There are more than 20 fairs and festivals that are annually celebrated in this royal state of Rajasthan.
Depending upon the area where a particular festival or fair is celebrated, different elements become a part of the festivities like the local music, songs, dance, food and games etc.
These days such festivals and fairs serve as a platform for the local government and tourism boards to showcase and promote their art, culture and tourism.
Also, it helps the tourists get a chance to have a closer look at the local traditions, cultures and heritage through such events.
Let’s get acquainted with some of the most popular fairs and festivals of Rajasthan.
Gangaur is a festival about marital bliss and conjugal love. It falls during the month of March or April. The festivities last for 18 days. The clay idols of Isar and Gaura (Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati) are worshipped everyday and later on immersed in water on the last day of the festival.
On the eve of Gangaur festival, women apply henna on their palms, dress up in colorful attire and jewelry symbolising marital bliss and perform the pooja rituals. Processions are carried out at various places. Though Gangaur is celebrated all over Rajasthan, head to Jaipur for the most amazing experience. Click here for great deals on the best stays in Jaipur.
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Pushkar Camel Fair
I came to know about the Pushkar Camel Fair through a friend. She was planning to visit Pushkar for this festival and asked me to join. Sadly, I missed that opportunity. It is mainly a livestock trading festival celebrated for a few days in the month of October or November. Since Pushkar has been receiving a lot of visitors, this fair also gained a lot of popularity among travelers throughout the world.
Pushkar comes alive during these days. It often gets difficult to find a good place to stay as all the places are booked during these days. Competitions like longest moustache, matka phod, bridal competitions etc are held to add to the fervour and spirit of the fair.
Teej is a festival that is celebrated in many parts of India. It is celebrated on the arrival of monsoon when mother nature showers its love all around. Women dress up in colourful clothes (green colour and leheriya print is a preferred choice), apply mehendi on their hands, meet their friends, cook and eat delicious food, visit their parental home and have a good time.
They sing the traditional songs, dance together and play on swings. Ghewar is a popular sweet dish cooked and consumed during these festivities. So, basically this is how women used to have some quality time during old days with their female friends.
Jaipur Literature Festival
Jaipur Literature Festival is organized during the month of January. It attracts thousands of tourists, readers, writers and book lovers from the different corners of the world. Famous personalities from different fields of art, politics, business, sports etc come together at this event and engage in conversation.
Readers get a chance to personally meet their favourite writers and many new books are launched. Books are made available to the readers at one place and they get to listen to some famous personalities from all around the world.
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Braj Holi Bharatpur
Braj Holi is a festival dedicated to Lord Krishna. Bharatpur is a part of the region called ‘Braj’. ‘Braj’ or ‘Brij’ is the place where Lord Krishna was born and spent his childhood. It is celebrated a few days before the Holi festival with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm in Bharatpur.
Holi is the festival of color and friendship. People put color on each other and literally paint the whole town in various colors. Raas-leela (dance form depicting the love of Radha and Krishna) is an important part and attraction of this festival.
Urs festival in Ajmer is celebrated to commemorate the death anniversary of sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti. It is celebrated in the seventh month of Islamic lunar calendar. On this day the atmosphere of dargah is filled with the fragrance of incense, flowers, sounds of ‘Badhawa’ (recitation of prayers) and devotees offering their prayers and chadars on the shrine. Lakhs of devotees visit this holy place irrespective of their religion and community.
Desert Festival Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Desert Festival is one that I would love to be a part of. The vibrant culture of Rajasthan coming alive for folk music, dance and performances is a treat for the eyes and ears. This festival is organised for three days during the month of January or February. Puppet shows and camel races are also a major attraction of this festival.
This fair is held during the month of August or September in Ramdevra. Ramdevra is a village located near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. This fair honors the local saint Ramdev or Ramdevra (also known as Ramdev Peer). People from nearby and far-flung areas visit Ramdevra Temple and the lake during this fair. Devotees get together and sing prayers and bhajans on honor of the saint.
The magnificent Kumbhalgarh Fort is the venue for the three day long Kumbhalgarh Festival. Many events are hosted during these days to promote the culture and heritage of Rajasthan. Events include folk and classical dances, songs, exhibitions of traditional jewelry, handicrafts, ethnic wear and more. Interesting games like turban tying, tug of war etc are included to add some fun to the festival.
This festival is organised in Ranakpur in the district of Pali, Rajasthan. Rajasthan Tourism Department organizes this festival during the month of December. The festival gives the visitors an insight into the lives of the local people. It offers many fun activities like walks in the Aravali hills, visit to Ranakpur temple, yoga, classical and folk performances.
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Famous for cattle trading, Nagaur Fair is one the biggest fairs in India. The fair is held during the month of January or February. A huge number of animals like camels, bullocks, cows, goats etc are traded in this fair. Other attractions of this fair are spice market, wood crafts, leather goods, puppet shows, folk music and dance performances. Games and competitions help in keeping everyone engaged and entertained.
Baneshwar festival is celebrated in the Baneshwar temple of Dungarpur. It falls on the full moon day of February. People of the Bhil community gather for the festivities and celebrations. Baneshwar Fair offers a plethora of fun activities including shopping, local delicacies, traditional performances and a closer look at the lives of the locals.
Marking the arrival of spring season, Mewar festival is celebrated in and around Udaipur. Perhaps during the older times, such festivals were an opportunity for women to break the monotony and add some entertainment to their lives.
It is celebrated during the month of March or April. The festivities are similar to Gangaur and last for two days. Processions with the images of Isar and Gaura are carried out in the city.
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Celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and zest for two days, Marwar Festival is a popular annual event of Jodhpur. It falls during the months of September-October. Umaid Bhawan, Mehrangarh Fort and Mandore are the venues for the events held during this festival. Folk songs, music, dance and cultural events are organised for the entertainment of the visitors.
Ghoomar, Kalbelia, Dandi Gair, Bhavai, Chari are some of the dance forms performed at the events. You can also shop for a lot of traditional and handmade items like jewelry and clothes. Experience the amazing hospitality of Jodhpur by staying at one of these top rated places.
Camel Festival Bikaner
Camel Festival is a famous event of Bikaner that celebrates the ‘ship of the desert’- Camel. Camels are very important in the lives of the people living in the desert. They share a special bond with this animal and are cared for like a family member. During this two day festival which is celebrated during the month of January, a lot of fun activities and competitions are held.
Camels are adorned with colorful necklaces and anklets. The procession of camels is a sight to behold. Competitions like camel milking, camel dance, cultural performances, fur cutting designs and competitions between the locals and tourists add to the fun of this event.
If you haven’t heard of Abhaneri step-well ( also known as Chand baori), I’d suggest you read about it first. This ancient architectural beauty is going to amaze you. A festival named after this place Abhaneri is celebrated to promote the local culture and heritage. Abhaneri is a village situated at a distance of about 80 km from Jaipur. The festival is usually celebrated during the month of September or October and lasts for 2 to 4 days. Various cultural performances are hosted at this festival like Kalbelia dance, Bhawai dance, folk songs, music and puppet shows.
During old times there were not many sources of entertainment like we have now. Festivals and fairs provided the common people an opportunity to enjoy, get together and have some fun and entertainment in their lives. These fairs and festivals provide a great opportunity to interact with the locals and experience almost everything about a region’s culture. Make sure to add the ones you like to your bucket list!
For the latest updates about the dates of the fairs and festivals check Rajasthan Tourism Official Website.
frequently asked questions
Many festivals are held in Rajasthan throughout the year. Some of the popular festivals include Gangaur festival, Teej Festival, Pushkar Camel Fair, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival.