India is a land of myriad festivals, known worldwide for its customs, rituals, fairs and festivals. India celebrates every occasion like changing cycle of the seasons, sowings and harvesting period, birth and death anniversaries of legends, religious festivals etc. All these fairs and festivals lend color and gaiety to life and Indian calendar is marked by plethora of such big and small occasions. These festivities mark the liveliness of the people and reflect the diversity of the land.
There is a whole large list of Fairs and Festivals celebrated in India with enthusiasm and zeal. Some of the important of them are listed out:
Makar Sankranti - is celebrated throughout the country. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, it is the time to witness the extravaganza of Kite flying, which is celebrated as International Kite Festival. Sankranti is termed as 'Pongal' in Tamilnadu and is also celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is a colorful harvest festival celebrated.
Holi is a very popular festival of colors, celebrated mainly in North India. This festival is associated with Lord Krishna and marks the advent of spring.
Muslims celebrate Id-ul-Zuha and Id-ul-Fitr on national level. Christmas and Easter is also celebrated nationwide.
Puri Rath Yatra is held at Puri in Orissa. It is one of the greatest temple festivals celebrated in the honor of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe). Three colossal chariots are drawn from the Jagannath temple by thousands of pilgrims.
Teej is celebrated in north India particularly in Rajasthan and marks the onset of the monsoon. In Jaipur, processions of elephants, camels, dancers etc., are taken out. It is a colourful festival especially for women.
Onam is a harvest festival of the State of Kerala. The main feature being the spectacular snake boat races.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated mainly in the states Maharashtra and Orissa. Giant models of lord Ganesh are taken out in a procession and immersed in the sea or rivers. It is a colorful festival and worth visiting on the Day of Immersion in Mumbai.
Dussehra is a nation wide 10-Day festival, celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. On the 10th Day effigies of Ravana the king of Lanka are burnt amidst fireworks.
Diwali is a nation wide festival that comes 20 Days after Dussehra. It is one of the most lively and colorful festivals in India. In some parts of the country, it marks the start of the Hindu New Year. In Eastern India, goddess Kali is particularly worshipped; elsewhere, it is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, who is venerated. Everywhere there are magnificent illuminations and fireworks.
Kumbha Mela is the oldest Hindu festival. It takes place every three years, at one of the four great holy cities - Nasik (Maharashtra), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Prayag/Allahabad and Haridwar (both in Uttar Pradesh). It is attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy dip in the holy rivers.
Pushkar Fair is an annual Cattle Fair held at Pushkar, Rajasthan. It's a colorful fair attended by people from all over the world. Camel and cattle trading is also done in this Fair. Camel races, acrobatics, folkdance and music are some of its highlights.
Nagaur Cattle Fair is held in Nagaur, Rajasthan. This animal fair also organizes some of the local sports and offers opportunity to participate in them too.
Urs is celebrated at Dargah Sharif at Ajmer, Rajasthan. It is a 6-Days religious, cultural and commercial extravaganza.
Goa Carnival is a non-stop 3-Day festival of fun- 'n' -frolic, song, music and dance.