The Colourful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs - as diverse as the land, is an eternal expression of the spirit of celebration. Observed with enthusiasm and gaiety, festivals are like gems ornamenting the crown of Indian Culture. They are round the year vibrant interludes in the mundane routine of life. Every season brings along new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of the rich traditions followed for time immemorial. That's not all! The birthdays of Gods and Goddesses, saints and prophets, great historical happenings and the advent of the New Year, all find expression in colourful festivities. The same festival, though celebrated differently in the various parts of the country, exhibits an eternal harmony of the spirit of celebration. Packed with fun and excitement, festivals serve as an occasion to clean and decorate houses, to get together with friends and relatives and to exchange gifts. New attire, dance, music and rituals- all add to their joyful rhythm. It is a time for prayer, for pageantry and procession…a time to rejoice, in celebration of life.Click here to view the Calendar of Festivals.

 
 
Mewar Festival, Udaipur

The Marwar Festival is held every year in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan. The festival is held in the month of Ashwin (Sept-Oct) in Jodhpur, for two days during the full moon of Sharad Poornima. Originally known as the Maand Festival, this festival features folk music centred on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan's rulers. This festival is devoted to the music and dance of the Marwar region and offers a good opportunity to see the folk dancers carrying pots on their heads and singers who assemble here and provide hours of lively entertainment. These folk artistes provide a glimpse of the days of yore, of battles and valiant heroes who still live on in their songs. The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The women folk gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. Other attractions at the festival are the camel tattoo show and polo. The impressive Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh fort, which are symbols of might and valour, provide the ideal venue for the cultural extravaganza an integral part of the festival Jodhpur is well connected to all important places in India by rail, road and air.

 
 
Elephant Festival, Jaipur

The Elephant Festival is an inimitable event held annually in Jaipur. Groomed flawlessly, rows of elephants do a catwalk before an enthralled audience liked best fashion models to make this festival an amazing one. The elephants move with poise in pageant, run races, play the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. It is festival time with elephants typically celebrated one day before the Holi, Indian festival of colours. Staged at Jaipur Chaugan Stadium elephants put up a variety programme and the arena is brought alive with musician and dancer. The crowd, which includes sizable presences of foreign and Indian tourist, electrify the atmosphere. The festival starts with an impressive procession of the majestic animals lovingly painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets. There are deadly and fierce elephant fights. A ceremonial procession is recreated with caparisoned elephants, lancers on horses, chariots, camels, cannons, and palanquins. Elephant is the centre of attraction in the many races and beauty pageants. Most of the participants are female elephants. The mahouts (elephant keepers) take great care to decorate the elephants painting their trunks, foreheads, and feet with floral motifs and adorning them from tusk to tail with interesting trinkets. Female elephants wear anklets with and make music as they walk.The game of polo forms the highlight of the festival. Dressed in saffron and red turbans, the teams try to score goals with long sticks and a plastic football. Finally, the tourists are invited to mount the elephants and play Holi. Participants dance with great vigour and the excitement rising to a crescendo.
The Rajput kings had extraordinary implication for elephants not only during war but also during the royal festivities-a must at royal pageant. Nishan-ka-hathi, the flag bearer, led the procession. The king always mounted a caparisoned elephant. Special hunting programs and elephant fights were organized to entertain the royal guests. Jaipur was a favourite spot with the important personalities of the British Raj and the Maharajas always arranged for their guests of honour elephant rides up to the Amber palace. Even today, the mahouts take tourists up to the Amber Palace on elephant back like shuttle taxis. Rajasthan Tourism revitalized the ritual by including the Elephant Festival in the cultural calendar. The present-day pageant, originated only a decade ago, was worked out especially with the tourist in mind. The inclusion of the game of polo is more recent, being inspired by a cartoon in Punch magazine that showed the Indian polo team atop an elephant after it won all the international tournaments. Every year on Holi, the old stadium at Jaipur, the Chaugan (originally planned for elephants), makes the setting for a stunning fete.

 
 
Urs Ajmer Shariff

The lakeside city of Ajmer is located in central Rajasthan, and is held in great reverence by devotees of all communities who call it 'Ajmer Sharif' (Holy Ajmer). It is here that the mortal remains of the highly respected Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti lie buried.
The Khwaja came from Persia and established the Chishtia order of fakirs in India. He is popularly known as Gharib Nawaz (protector of the poor) because he dedicated his entire life to the service of mankind. His spartan life spanned almost a hundred years and he embraced death in solitude while he had withdrawn to his cell for six days, asking not to be disturbed. The Dargah Sharif in Ajmer is the place where the Saint's mortal remains lie buried and is the site of the largest Muslim fair in India. More than five lakh devotees belonging to different communities gather from all parts of the subcontinent to pay homage to the Khwaja on his Urs (death anniversary) during the first six days of Rajab (seventh month of the Islamic calendar.) The pilgrims who come to seek the blessings of the Khwaja make rich offerings called nazrana at the holy spot where the saint has been entombed. The offerings of rose and jasmine flowers, sandalwood paste, perfumes and incense contribute to the fragrance that floats in the air inside the shrine. Also offered by devotees are the chadar, ghilaph and neema, which are votive offerings for the tomb. These are brought by devotees on their heads and handed over to the khadims inside the sanctum sanctorum. Outside the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah, professional singers called qawwals in groups and sing the praises of the saint in a characteristic high pitched voice. People gather around them and listen attentively, sometimes clapping to the rhythm of their instruments.
The Urs is initiated with the hoisting of a white flag on the dargah by the Sajjada Nashin (successor representative) of Chishtis. It is done on the 25th of Jamadi-ul-Akhir (sixth lunar month), with the accompaniment of music. On the last day of the sixth month, the Jannati-Darwaza (gateway of heaven) is flung open early in the morning. People cross this gate seven times with the belief that they will be assured a place in heaven. On the 1st of Rajab, the tomb is washed with rose water and sandalwood paste and anointed with perfumes. This ritual is called ghusal. The tomb is then covered with an embroidered silk cloth by the Sajjada Nashin. An interesting ritual is the looting of kheer (milk-pudding) which is cooked in two large cauldrons called degs and distributed to the devotees as tabarruk (blessed food). On the 6th of Rajab, after the usual mehfil and the sound of cracker-bursts accompanied by music, the Sajjada Nashin performs the ghusal of the tomb. Fatiha and Salamti are read. A poetic recitation called mushaira is arranged in which poets of all communities arrive to recite compositions dedicated to the Khwaja. The Qul (end-all) on the 6th of Rajab marks the end of the Urs. At night, religious assemblies called mehfils are held in the mehfil-khana, a large hall meant for this purpose. These are presided over by the Sajjada Nashin of the dargah. Qawwalis are sung and the hall is packed to capacity. There are separate places reserved for women who attend the mehfil. The mehfil terminates late in the night with a mass prayer for the eternal peace of the Khwaja in particular and mankind in general. The Dargah is located at the conjunction of three bazaars. There are a number of restaurants around the Dargah where visitors can choose from a variety of dishes most of which are non-vegetarian preparations. Guest houses on the road leading to the Dargah offer accommodation that ranges from economical to luxurious. Many other guest houses are strewn across the city. The shops in the market around the Dargah sell flowers, prayer mats, rosaries, textiles, and general merchandise as well. Ajmer is 132 kms. south-west of Jaipur and 198 kms. east of Jodhpur. It is connected by road to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur and Kota. Ajmer is a railway junction on the Delhi-Ahmedabad section of the Western Railway. During the Urs, special buses ply from cities all over India carrying people to Ajmer and back.

 
 
Summer Festival, Mount Abu

Hill Station of the Rajasthan in a festive mood with the Summer Festival, held every year in the month of June. The steep rocks, tranquil lakes, picturesque locations and the pleasant climate of Mount Abu make it an ideal location for the festival. The three-day festival is a feast of folk and classical music and a window to the tribal life and culture of Rajasthan. The festival begins with the singing of a ballad which is followed by folk dances which enthral the spectators. Sporting events such as the boat race on the Nakki lake add variety to the festival. The Sham-e-Qawwali is a much-awaited musical extravaganza, as renowned qawwals from all over the country can be heard regaling the audience. The grand finale of the festival is a display of dazzling fireworks which adds to the tourist's delight. Udaipur (185 kms.) is the nearest airport. Abu Road (29 kms.) is the nearest railway station. Taxis and buses are available from both the airport and the railway station. There is also a good network of bus services connecting Mount Abu to important places like Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur etc.

 
 
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur

This eight days fair held every year during the month of Jan-Feb, is popularly known as the Cattle fair and is the second largest in Rajasthan. Nagaur Town is the most picturesque of Rajput townships. Nagaur is a sea of animals, trading over 70,000 bullocks, camels and horses every year. The bullocks are known for their fleetness. Not only are the animals lavishly decorated, even their owners flaunt wearing colourful turbans and long moustaches. Sports like tug-of-war, camel races, bullock races and cock fights; jugglers; puppeteers, story-tellers; and exciting campfire evenings are held to entertain the tourists. Folk music of the Jodhpur variation echoes the tranquil desert sand. Nagaur is well connected to the major cities by road and rail. Nearest airport is Jodhpur, some 135kms away. Shearing sheep, handsome marwari horses to spices all compiled in one fair. Attractions include the mirchi bazaar (largest red-chilly market of India), wooden items, iron-crafts and camel leather accessories.
 
 
Baneshwar Fair, Dungarpur

The name Baneshwar is derived from the revered Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. "Baneshwar" means the 'master of the delta' in the local Vagdi language and this name was given to Shiva Linga.The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima during Shivratri. (Jan-Feb).
The Baneshwar fair, in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs: one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Baneshwar fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils. They revere Baneshwar Mahadev as well as Mavji. The majority of the gathering is from the Districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara. The temple of Baneshwar Mahadev remains open from 5.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. during the fair. In the morning, saffron is applied to the Shiva Linga after it is bathed and an aarti of burning incense is waved before it. In the evening, bhabhut (ash) is applied to the Linga and an aarti with a fine-wick lamp is waved. Devotees offer wheat flour, pulses, rice, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash. The Bhils attending Baneshwar Fair sing traditional folk songs in high pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the programme. The fair resounds with the gaiety of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats. Adding to the excitement are the joy rides on merry-go-rounds and swings. The fair site is at a distance of 6.5 kms from Sabla, a village on the Udaipur-Banswara-Dungarpur bus route which is at a distance of 123 kms from Udaipur 53 kms from Banswara 45 kms from Dungarpur and 22 kms from Aspur, the Tehsil headquarter. On normal days, one has to reach Sabla from Baneshwar on foot or on private carts. However, buses go right up to the bank of the river Som during the fair.


 
 
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur

The Gangaur Festival is the colourful and most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the State with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva during July-Aug. It is the celebration of monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity in Jaipur. Gan is a synonym for Shiva and Gaur which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolises saubhagya (marital bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good husbands, while married women do so for the welfare, health and long life of their spouses and a happy married life. The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of 18 days and eat only one meal a day. Images of Isar and Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every year by reputed painters called matherans on the eve of the festival. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej and Gangaur is that the Idol will have a canopy during the Teej Festival while the Gangaur idol would not have a canopy. The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with mehendi (myrtle paste). The figures drawn range from the Sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.
Ghudlias are earthen pots with numerous holes all around and a lamp lit inside them. On the evening of the 7th day after Holi, unmarried girls go around singing songs of ghudlia carrying the pots with a burning lamp inside, on their heads. On their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for 10 days i.e. upto the conclusion of the Gangaur Festival when the girls break their pots and throw the debris into a well or a tank and enjoy a feast with the collections made. The festival reaches its climax during the last three days. Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and make them look like living figures. At an auspicious hour in the afternoon, a procession is taken out to a garden, tank or a well with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of married women.

 
 
Pushkar Fair

The famous Pushkar Fair is a great tourist attraction. People from around the globe come to the ancient religious town of Pushkar which is transformed into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik. People bathe, worship and delight in the dazzling wares of roadside stalls. Camels are bought, sold, beautified, raced and parade. Most unusual are the small groups of men and women seen busy tattooing their hands and other parts of the body. The fair is predominantly a rural gathering. Villagers come from different parts of the state and bring their cattle with them. On spectacular sanddunes camel, horse and bullock races are great crowd pullers. All roads lead to the lake, which is flooded with pilgrims. The movement of the crowd is like a tide of colour with currents of crimson, yellow and turquoise. Evenings at the Pushkar Fair have their own charm. The silent night is pierced by calls of camels. Ballads are sung by actors in passionate tones. Folk dramas, skits and folk dance are organised for the entertainment of the tourists. The tourist village is self sufficient and specially designed to complement the natural beauty of the site. It has a Coffee Shop and Dining Hall which can cater to 1 500 guests at a time.
The village is arranged in blocks of tents, each with its own identity, being named after the famous dances of Rajasthan. The village also has huts with attached western style toilets and running water. One can also stay in Sarovar Hotel, Pushkar and Khadim Tourist Bunglow at Ajmer.

 
 
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS CALENDAR 2006 - 2010 A.D
Fair & Festival 

Place

2006

2007

2008

2009 

2010

Camel Festival

Bikaner 

13-14 Jan.

2-3 Jan.

21-22 Jan

10-11 Jan.

31 Dec- 1 Jan

Brij Festival

Bharatpur

2-4 Feb. 

2-4 Feb. 

2-4 Feb. 

2-4 Feb. 

2-4 Feb.

Alwar Festival

Alwar 

10-12 Feb. 

9-11 Feb. 

8-10 Feb. 

13-15 Feb.

 12-14 Feb.

Nagaur Cattle Fair 

Nagaur 

4-7 Feb. 

25-28 Feb. 

13-16 Feb. 

2-5 Feb. 

22-25 Feb

Desert Festival

Jaisalmer

10-12 Feb.

31 Jan-2 Feb

19-21 Feb. 

7-9 Feb.

28-30 Jan.

Baneshwar Fair 

Banes- hwar 

8-12 Feb. 

29 Jan.- 2 Feb. 

17-21 Feb. 

5-9 Feb.  

26-30 Jan.

Elephant Festival

Jaipur 

14 March 

3 March 

21 March 

10 March 

28 Feb.

Shitala Ashtami

(Chaksu Oaipur) 

23 March 

12 March 

28 March 

19 March 

8 March

Keladevi Fair

Karauli

1-2 April 

21-22 March 

8-9 April 

29-30 March 

18-19 March

Gangaur Fair

Jaipur

1-2 April 

21-22 March

8-9 April 

29-30 March 

18-19 March

Mewar Festival

Udaipur

26 March 

16 March 

3 April 

23 March 

12 March

Mahaveei Fair

Mahaveei

7-13 April 

27 March- 2 April

14-20 April

3-9 April

24-30 March

Summer Festival

Mount Abu

11-13 May 

30 April- 2 May 

18-20 May 

7-9 May 

26-28 May

Teej Fair

Jaipur

28-29 July 

15-16 Aug. 

4-5 Aug. 

24-25 July 

12-13 Aug.

Kajli Teej

Bundi

11-12 Aug. 

30-31 Aug. 

18-19 Aug. 

8-9 Aug. 

26-27 Aug.

Gogamedi Fair

Goga- medi 

9 Aug-7 Sept. .

28 Aug-  26 Sept. 

16 Aug-15 Sept. 

5 Aug- 4 Sept. 

24 Aug-23 Sept

Ramdeora Fair

Pokaran  Oaisa- lmer

2-3 Sep. 

21-22 Sep. 

9-10 Sept. 

29-30 Aug. 

17-18 Sept

Marwar Festival

Jodhpur 

6-7 Oct. 

25-26 Oct. 

13-14 Oct. 

3-4 Oct. 

21-22 Oct.

Dussehra Festival

Kota 

30 Sept-2 Oct. 

19-21 Oct. 

7-9 Oct. 

26-28 Sept. 

15-17 Oct.

Pucker Fair.

Pushkar (Ajmer) 

29 Oct.-5 Nov. 

17-24 Nov. 

5-13 Nov. 

25 Oct.-2 Nov. 

13-21 Nov

Chandra-
bhaga Fair

Jhalawar 

4-6 Nov. 

23-25 Nov. 

12-14 Nov. 

1-3 Nov. 

20-22 Nov.

Kolayat Fair 

Kolayat (Bikaner) 

1-9 Nov. 

20-29 Nov. 

9-18 Nov. 

29 Oct.- 7Nov.

17-26 Nov.

Winter Festival 

Mount Abu 

29-31 Dec.

29-31 Dec.

29-31 Dec.

29-31 Dec.

29-31 Dec.

 
 
 
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