Organized in the month of January or February every year, the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer is well-known for its colorful events and competitions. In between the beautiful deserts, the festival offers you a short ride to the diverse traditions of the place. This three-day festival gives enough to those who look forward at exploring a region which has completely different customs.
From different camel performances to folk music, the Bikaner Camel Festival has tons to offer. During the festival, you get to see beautifully decorated camels, participating in different performances such as camel rides, races and dances. Also, you get to enjoy Rajasthani music and dances in the evening. The festival ends where you get to see the city Bikaner amid the fireworks.
Rajasthan's second largest cattle fair, the Nagaur Fair is held in Nagaur every year in the month of January or February. Known for its cattle trading including bullocks, oxen, cows, horses and camels, this fair is a must-visit for those who have an interest in regional crafts like iron craft and wooden artifacts. Along with enjoying the folk music and dance performances, visitors can also participate in games like tug-of-war, camel races and many more.
Unique, interesting and completely fun, the Elephant Festival is organized in the honor of the Indian elephants and for the same; they are all groomed and ornamented with the best cloth pieces and gold. With all this, they are presented before the audiences, who can enjoy different games of this event including races, polo matches and the great tug-of-war between the tuskers and men.
Celebrated in Udaipur, the Mewar Festival is organized to welcome the beautiful spring season. Rajasthani women all dressed up in colorful attires with idols and images of goddess Gauri form the true highlight of this festival. As the festival coincides with the Gangaur festival, women carry these idols to the Pichola Lake. The great celebration ends with an unusual procession of decorated boats in the lake with folk Rajasthani ballads in the background.
Also known as the Great Night of Shiva, Maha Shivaratri is a festival which is celebrated with a belief that this day; Lord Shiva performed his cosmic Tandava dance which is known to be the source of the creation, preservation and destruction cycle. On this occasion, Lord Shiva devotees from all over the world, worship in order to get free from the cycle of death and rebirth. Apart from offering prayers at the temples, devotees also chant devotional songs and fast for the whole day.
Festival of colors, Holi is celebrated by throwing colored powder and water on each other. The festival offers great fun to those who love to play with water and colors. Because of the fun element, the festival is celebrated all over India. It is also believed that evil spirits can be warded off by lighting bonfires on this occasion.
Celebrated to honor goddess Gauri who is known as the manifestation of Parvati (Wife of Lord Shiva), the Gangaur Festival is one of the most important festivals of Rajasthan. The goddess Gauri symbolizes purity and austerity. During the celebration of this festival, images of goddess Gauri are decorated with jewellery and they are taken to all the cities and villages along with local bands.
Held every year in the month May on Budhha Poornima, the Mt. Abu Summer Festival is known for regional folk dancing and ballad singing. Different sports activities are organized during this festival such as boat racing and roller skating race. Sham-e- Qawwali is the highlight of this festival and features the best qawwals from all over India. The festival ends with a great firework display.
Organized in the honor of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, the URS Fair Ajmer is an occasion where believers from all over the world come together to offer special prayers at the mosque. Food is offered from big, steaming cauldrons on this occasion which are known to be there from the times of Emperor Akbar. The celebrations of the occasion are completed with quwallis.
Guru Purnima is celebrated in the remembrance of the ancient sage Vyasa who is well-known for writing and editing different holy Hindu scriptures. The day is also used to thank those who have given any spiritual lessons in life. The day holds a lot of importance for the farmers as they celebrate it as a thanksgiving ceremony for the required monsoon.
A much awaited monsoon festival, Teej is a festival commemorating the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women celebrate this by applying henna on their hands and feet. Women after dressing up, join folk singers and dancers to parade around. Elephants, bullock carts and chariots are also added to the parade to make the festival more colorful.
Raksha Bandhan is a beautiful festival reflecting the sweet relationship between a brothers and sisters. It includes sisters tying a sacred thread (Rakhi) on the wrists of their brothers'. In return, they get gifts, money and a promise of lifetime protection by their brothers.
The Marwar Festival is a unique two-day celebration which takes place during the full moon. Dedicated to the folk heroes of Rajasthan, the festival presents different Rajasthani dance and music performances. Competitions such as the regal games of horse riding and horse polo are also organized during the festival.
Dussehra is a popular Hindu festival which is celebrated in different parts of India, North India in particular. In South India, it is celebrated in the form of Durga Puja. This festival is known to mark the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. Also, it symbolizes the triumph of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. During this festival, paper statues of Ravana are set on fire and are followed by games, dance and drama performances.
Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated to mark the homecoming of Lord Rama from exile. During the celebration of this festival, people light up their homes, shops and offices with candles and lights. Also, people exchange gifts and sweets with near and dear ones. The celebration further includes Lakshmi Puja which is performed to get blessings of Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. The Puja is followed by display of fireworks on the streets.
Navaratri is a nine-day long festival which celebrates Mother Goddess in different manifestations. During this festival, people worship and fast for the goddess in the daytime and celebrate the festival by dancing and feasting at night. The festival ends with Dussehra on the tenth day which marks the victory of good over evil.
Also known as the Worship of the Horse, Ashwa poojan is a Rajasthani festival wherein the Mewar royal family of Udaipur honors the relationship between the warrior and the horse. During the festival, royal horses are worshipped by the head of the royal family. This worship is completed with the palace band and lip-smacking Rajasthani cuisine.
Rajasthani International Folk Festival is a unique festival representing the roots of regional arts and music. The festival includes jam sessions, stage performances and interactive educational events. All the performances are given by nationally and internationally recognized dancers, singers, storytellers and instrumentalists.
Offering a unique experience to tourists, the Pushkar Fair is known to present a colorful picture of Rajasthan. This festival is mainly known for its camel races, cattle auctions and camel trading. Different traditional activities are also organized during this festival which include folk music and dance performances. As the festival coincides with the full moon day of 'Kartik Purnima', devotees from different parts of the world come and take a dip in the Holy Pushkar Lake. It is believed that by doing this, one can wash away all their sins.
Also known as the Kapil Muni Fair, the Kolayat Fair is celebrated on the banks of Lake Kolayat. During this fair, devotees take a dip in this lake and wash away their sins. There are 52 Ghats on the banks of this lake which are lit up with oil lamps. Devotees also offer their prayers with sweets and milk on this day.
The Mt. Abu Winter Festival holds the true spirit of Rajasthan tribal life and culture in the cool weather of Mt. Abu. The festival is celebrated with folk performances, competitions like skating races, boat races, tug-of-war and horse races, and fireworks. The festival becomes more enjoyable with the crowd of both locals and tourists.