Footprint’s Ultimate
Festival Guide

If you took a time-lapse of India from the air, you’d probably notice different parts of the country erupting in colors almost everyday! This ‘Land of Festivals’ is always in celebration but we have highlighted the most pompous and grand of festivals below. Click on the tiles to read more.

Sunburn is a commercial EDM (electronic dance music) Festival held in India every year. It is Asia’s largest music festival. The festival is an amalgamation of Music, Entertainment, Food and Shopping, and was ranked by CNN in 2009 as one of the Top 10 Festivals in world. Spread over 4 days, the festival has multiple stages with artists playing simultaneously.

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A Punjabi harvest festival that marks the end of winter and celebrates the new year. It is believed that Lohri is the longest night of the year. On this night family and friends gather together and celebrate around a big bonfire, dancing and singing.

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The Sun, the Cow and the Farmer are a celebrated trifecta in the agrarian economy. Every year in January, the line between villagers and urban populace is blurred as everyone comes out in their festival regalia to pay their respect in traditional fashion. The high point of the celebration is signified by an overflowing pot of milk, which just happens to be your cue to join in and yell “Pongal O’ Pongal!”.

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The locals come out in throngs and crowd around terraces. Whizzing kites and their colorful tails from all around the world fly high up in the air! Children and adults alike are in stiff competition to see who outlasts them all!

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Khajuraho dance festival, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, is a one-week-long festival of classical dances held annually against the spectacular backdrop of the magnificently lit Khajuraho temples in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

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The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India. On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath, which are performed as a tribute to India; its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage.

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The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an annual festival, nine days long, commencing always on the first Saturday of February and closing always on the second Sunday in February, in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai, India. From its inception in 1999, the Festival has grown in stature and popularity, attracting visitors and participants from other parts of the country, and the world.

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In celebrating the various cultures of India, you can never miss the sweet gestures of the traditional dance of a state so saturated in the arts. A typical performance of Odissi, Kathak and
Bharathanatyam in the foreground, coupled with a gallery of temple sculptures, sand art exhibitions and crafts fairs in the background will give you the experience of a lifetime.

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Out of the bosom of the Himalayan range, the practice of yoga was born. Today, the who’s who of the yoga world from all across the globe participate in the Annual International Yoga Festival set in the rolling mountains. Here you’ll find the line between the mystic and the spiritual blurred. Through countless forms of yoga, transcend the worldly at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram.

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Powders in every hue imaginable adorn passers-by as the fun filled festival of Holi begins at Barsana. Unlike other celebrations of the same, this is a tribute to an episode from Lord Krishna’s childhood where he not only smeared colour on everyone’s face but was chased after by the gopis (cowherd-women) with sticks in hand! Seems like a scary prospect, doesn’t it? Trust us, it’s all on the up and up.

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The streets and homes of Kochi come alive with art in this rare festival of sorts. Initially celebrated once every two years (hence the name), lucky artists and curious visitors can now experience this art explosion every year! You can find everything from graffiti walls to paper mache busts and wrought iron sculptures. You need only ask, and you’ll discover the true nature of art – ever pervading as a silent weed.

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The sweet fragrance of hundreds of species of flowers envelope you in a hard-to-shake-off scent. While horticulturalists are raring to visit one of the most sought after Flower Festivals in the world, regular Joe, nature lovers can also gain insight on the many ways to foster the flora right in your backyard. But if not for anything else, you shouldn’t miss this for the numerous colours on display.

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Broadway shows with their tap dancing and quirky tossing of umbrellas could probably take a note or two from the swaying gait of the gentle giants and the nimble toss of umbrellas larger than the creatures by the men atop! Traditional drummers lead the fore setting the soul alive with their fearless rhythms and enchanting choreography, in one of the longest celebrations in India. Keep your eyes peeled for the next Pooram parade!

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Built out of stone to house the only wooden Hindu idols in India, the Jagannath temple in Puri is a magnificent structure. The temple also holds the mantle of ‘Biggest Hotel in the World’ for feeding thousands daily, and the food is quite good we hear. But pilgrims don’t just come here for the food. Every year, in July millions gather to witness the largest chariot festival in India, and to be in the middle of it is an intriguing experience to say the least!

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The Hemis Festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) venerated as the Dance Performance at Hemis Monastery representative reincarnate of Buddha. The most esoteric of festivities are the mystic mask dances. The Mask Dances of Ladakh are referred collectively as chams Performance. Chams performance is essentially a part of Tantric tradition, performed only in those gompas which follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings and the monks perform tantric worship.

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The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular Vallam Kali held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India. Vallam Kali or Vallamkali literally means boat play/game, but can be translated to boat race in English. The most popular event of the race is the competition of Chundan Vallams (snake boats). Hence the race is also known as Snake Boat Race in English.

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The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August–September) in the Hindu calendar.Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrate God’s playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of curd and break it.

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The festival is celebrated by families at home, by people at their places of work and in public. The public celebration involves installing clay images of Ganesha in public pandals (temporary shrines) and group worship. At home, an appropriately-sized clay image is installed and worshiped with family and friends. At the end of the festival, the idols are immersed in a large body of water such as the sea, river or a lake. The clay idols disintegrate over time in the water.

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Onam is the most important seasonal festival celebrated in the state of Kerala in India.In Kerala, it is the festival celebrated with most number of cultural elements such as Vallam Kali, Pulikali, Pookkalam, Onathappan, Tug of War, Thumbi Thullal, Kummati kali, Onathallu, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Onapottan, Atthachamayam etc. Onam is reminiscent of Kerala’s agrarian past, as it is considered to be a harvest festival.

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The Ziro Festival of Music is an outdoor music festival held in the Ziro valley in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It showcases the independent music scene in India. The festival has featured artists like Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Louw Majaw, Sha’air n Func, Indus Creed, Peter Cat Recording Co, Menwhopause, Guru Rewben Mashangva, and Barmer Boys among others.

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Durga Puja festival is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of bright lunar fortnight (shukla paksha) in the Bikram Sambat Calendar month of Ashwin. Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura .Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil. In Bengal, Durga is worshipped as Durgotinashini, the destroyer of evil and the protector of her devotees.

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Mysore Dussehra is the Nadahabba (state-festival) of the state of Karnataka in India. It is also called Navaratri (Nava-ratri = nine-nights) and is a 10-day festival with the last day being Vijayadashami, the most auspicious day of Dasara.The city of Mysore has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival with utter grandeur and pomp to mark this day and the festivities there are an elaborate affair, attracting a large audience including foreigners.

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Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed.

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Rann Utsav is an awesome festival of Kutch, Gujarat, India. It is a Carnival of Music, Dance, nature beauty of White Rann and much more then that when visit under the full Moon. Kutch Rann Utsav is the shimmering landscape that gives the enchanting moments of this Fest, which feels like as Heaven On Earth during Festival Time. In fact, it’s a Family holiday destination to explore fun moments and store in cameras for life time.

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The Dev Deepavali (“the Diwali of the Gods” or “Festival of Lights of the Gods”) is the festival of Kartik Poornima celebrated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River, from Ravidas Ghat at the southern end to Rajghat, are lit with more than a million earthen lamps (diyas) in honour of Ganga, the Ganges, and its presiding goddess.

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The days of cannibalism in the far corners of Nagaland may be a thing of the past. But feathered headdresses and quilted skirts are not. Every year at Kohima, 16 indigenous tribes gather to participate in a showcase of their grand traditions, making it the perfect place for you to catch a glimpse of the state in its essence. You can also dig into the deliciousness that comes in tow at the many stalls around the fair grounds.

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The Dance and Music festival is celebrated in Margazhi month of Tamil calendar which coincides with the time duration of mid December to mid January. The festivity of the Carnatic Music and classical dance is idolized at various places in the capital city Chennai and attracts a host of performing art enthusiasts. Taking into consideration the indigenous belief of revering the Almighty through musical rhymes and mystical dance steps, the festival is performed at several fascinating venues like venerated temple complexes, heritage bungalows and renowned auditoriums.

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Many Christians in India celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth on on Christmas Day, which is annually held on December 25. The celebrations are most noticeable in states where there are many Christians. Christmas Day is a gazetted holiday in India. Some stores and malls put up Christmas decorations and have actors playing Santa. Christmas celebrations in tourist areas and hotels may be created to emulate how Christmas Day is celebrated in the countries where tourists and travelers are from.

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