As the monsoon season comes to an end in most parts of India and the sky gets clearer, the holiday season kick-starts in the month of October. This is a very cheerful and joyous time, as the festive season is in full swing in India. Coming to India in the month of October gets you a chance to celebrate a good number of fairs/festivals and events filled with dance, music and colorful-lights.
Here’s a list of festivals/fairs and events celebrated all over India during the month of October.
When: September 8 to October 8, 2014.
Where: Ramnagar, Uttar Pradesh.
This is the world’s oldest Ramlila, and the tradition of performing the Ramlila at Ramnagar, Varanasi was started by Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh in the year 1830. The Ramlila staged at Ramnagar is a cycle of plays which recounts the epic story of Lord Rama, and is performed every evening for 31 days and it is attended by an audience ranging from a few thousands to 100,000.
Today, several regions in India have developed their own distinctive form of Ramlila and there are numerous variants of presentation, but the most prominent among them is Ramnagar Ramlila known for its lavish sets, dialogues, costumes and visual spectacles.
Over the years permanent structures have been built and several temporary structures are also added each year which serves as a set, to represent locations like Panchavati, Ashok Vatika, Janakpuri, Ayodhya, Lanka etc. during the performance. Hence the entire city of Ramnagar turns into a giant open-air set, and the audience moves along with the performing actors with every episode to the next location.
This Ramilila takes place for over a month and this is a must-see event for all tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh at this time as it gives an insight of the rich culture and heritage of India.
When: September 25 to October 3, 2014.
Where: Celebrated all across India, but particularly in the state of Gujarat and cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, and Mysore.
Navratri, which means ‘nine nights’ is one of the most celebrated Hindu festival in India and it is devoted to Goddess Durga a symbol of purity and power. The nine day festival combines ritualistic Puja and fasting and is complemented by a series of dazzling celebrations for nine days and nights seeped in traditional music and dance. On the tenth day the festival concludes with Dussehra, the victory of good over evil.
In India, the state of Gujarat is the focus of Navratri celebrations and during this time tourists flock to Gujarat to experience and enjoy a blend of live band music, singing and dancing with the natives who are dressed in traditional made-to-order, bright costumes.
Jaipur Shopping Festival.
When: September 25 to October 23, 2014.
Where: Various locations in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Known as India’s biggest shopping festival, the Jaipur Shopping Festival will be celebrating its third edition this year and it’s surely going to be huge. This annual, month-long festival will showcase the festive spirit of the city as it gears up to welcome visitors from all over the world.
This event is a combined effort of various entities and for over a month, major markets in Jaipur city are decorated in a theme of the Royal Maharajas of Rajasthan. A host of Indian and International celebrities are invited to this fair and they lend grandeur to the event.
This festival features retailers from the most renowned markets of India and also showcases top quality handicraft items made by local as well as artisans from all over India. Apart from shopping, This year JSF will organize a series of thrilling events, a host of fun events, music, entertainment, celebrations, discounts, lucky draws and many other notable events which includes Rajasthani plays, music, folk-dancing, folk-singing, photography-competition, fashion shows, horse-polo and extravagantly choreographed fireworks.
For more detailed information about the Jaipur Shopping Festival and events please visit http://www.jaipurshoppingfestival.com
When: September 29 to October 4, 2014.
Where: Kolkata, West Bengal
Dedicated to the worship of the most revered Hindu goddess Durga, Durga Puja is a festival which is celebrated over the last five days of Navratri and this festival exemplifies the triumph of Good over Evil.
In India, Durga Puja is mainly celebrated in the state of West Bengal and principally in the Bengali Hindu society, where it is not simply a festival but an important socio-cultural event. This Pan India celebration is additionally celebrated with much enthusiasm and devotion in other parts of India like Orissa, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Tripura, Kerala and Maharashtra to name a few.
Out of love and appreciation for the warrior goddess Durga, devotees install beautifully handcrafted statues of Durga on beautifully decorated podiums in almost every prominent lane of the cities across India during this festival. Both old and young flock to the streets to view the goddess statues amidst mesmerizing light shows, drum beats and aromatic fast food stalls. On the final day of the Durga Puja festival, the idols of the goddess are paraded around the city before being submerged in a river.
When: October 3, 2014.
Where: Celebrated particularly in the northern parts of India.
Dussehra falls on the tenth day of the Navaratri festival and it is dedicated to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
Amid these 10 days numerous plays and dramas focused around the Hindu epic Ramayana are performed. Out-door fairs and huge parades with effigies of Ravana are a common sight. Performing artists dressed as Rama, Sita and Rama’s sibling Lakshmana re-enact the last snippets of the fight to free Sita from Ravana. Rama then shoots a burning arrow at the effigies and the crowd cheers as the effigies explode with fireworks.
The Ramlila ground in Delhi is a set venue for the Dussehra festival and every year it draws a huge crowds from all over India and the preparations here are made in advance for the burning of effigies, fireworks and cultural programs.
When: October 2-3, 2014.
Where: Alwar, Rajasthan.
The Matasya festival is held every year in the city of Alwar in Rajasthan. It is considered as one of the most popular and important festivals of Rajasthan showcasing the rich social and cultural heritage of the region and by celebrating this festival the natives of this region pay respects to their forefathers and to their rich culture and heritage.
Held over a period of two days, many events during this festival take place simultaneously and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Attractions include traditional folk music, songs and dances, traditional games and competitions, exhibitions, etc. Tourist can also indulge in adventure sports such as Para-sailing, experience a ride on a hot air balloon or a Zorb rolling ball.
Every year the Matasya festival is attended and celebrated by the natives, nationals and international tourists with at lot fun and enthusiasm.
When: October 7 – 8, 2014.
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
The Marwar festival in Rajasthan is devoted to the great men and to the rich culture and heritage of the Marwar region. During the two day festival local folk artists bring to life the myths, legends and folklore of the Marwar region.
In the month of October every year the Blue city of Jodhpur comes alive during the Marwar Festival. The imposing Mehrangarh fort transforms into one big stage where cultural performances of music and dance are the order of the day.
Besides the traditional songs and dances, the audience is entertained with Rajasthani folklore that keeps the myths and beliefs of yester years alive.
Apart from local level competitions, activities like horse riding, horse-polo, magic shows, puppet shows to bizarre events like camel tattooing complete the scintillating event.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival.
When: October 8 to 12, 2014.
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
This is an annual music and art festival organized to promote traditional Rajasthani folk music and art and it is held at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, in Jodhpur for a period of 4 days and 3 nights.
This festival provides a perfect platform to all folk artists and musicians from India and across the globe to showcase their talents. The show starts after sunset, and more than 250 musicians and artist from Rajasthan, India and Overseas get together and celebrate the traditional folk music and art heritage in grand style.
This festival is graced every year by renowned artist from all over the world and they together to create innovative collaborations, which is an exciting fusion of International and Indian folk music accompanied by some great performances.
Apart from the concert, Tourist can explore the Mehrangarh Fort and have a look at the Maharajas antic collection of weapons, books, exclusive manuscripts, paintings or wander around the beautiful gardens of Chokhelao, or party and have a great time in this beautiful city.
For complete program details of Rajasthan International Folk Festival:
When: October 21, 2014.
Where: Celebrated throughout India
Dhanteras is an integral part of Diwali celebrations and its celebration sets off the upbeat and joyous mood of Diwali, which is eagerly awaited by everyone in India.
For Hindus the Dhanteras festival is an auspicious occasion for purchasing gold and silver coins, along with steel utensils which in a way signifies the grace of goddess Lakshmi in their lives and at the same time drives the market place and malls across India into a hectic pace of activity.
There is a general wave of gaiety and joy amongst people during Dhanteras as the divine light pervades through everyone’s life. But beyond the emphasis on material success, Dhanteras festival also encourages the idea of spirituality and human bonding amongst the people of India.
When: October 23, 2014.
Where: Celebrated throughout India.
Known as the ‘festival of lights’, Diwali is the most well-known festival celebrated in India by Hindus and enjoyed by people of all communities. This festival signifies the start of the Hindu New Year and is celebrated as the victory of light over darkness. The festival of Diwali involves the lighting of a series of small clay lamps filled with oil. These lamps are kept lit during the night and people keep their house clean and decorated, in order to welcome goddess Lakshmi or the goddess of wealth.
The significance of Diwali is different to people across India. In the northern parts of India Diwali is celebrated because of Rama’s homecoming that is his return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and his coronation as king; In Gujarat the festival honors goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Bengal, it is associated with worshiping of the goddess Kali. Diwali signifies the renewal of life, so on this day people wear new clothes, similarly, it indicates the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season in India.
During Diwali people offer sweets and gifts to family members and friends this is an age old ritual. A common scene synonymous with Diwali throughout India is that of children and adults burning firecrackers and sparkles. A new trend among youngsters in India during Diwali celebrations these days is a Diwali party, where friends gather and celebrate this day.
When: October 23, 2014.
Where: Celebrated in Bengal, Orissa and Assam (and other Eastern States of India).
A major festival of eastern India is celebrated in honor of the dark Goddess ‘Maa Kali’. On this day the people living in eastern India welcome the goddess Kali and offer prayers to the goddess, in order to help them eliminate all troubles and miseries from their lives.
The festival of Kali Puja coincides with the festival of Diwali, and the Kali Puja (prayer) rituals are performed during midnight. People of eastern India celebrate this festival with lots of joy and enthusiasm. Numerous lamps and diyas are lit by devotees in honor of ‘Maa Kali’ and ‘Maa Lakshmi’. Beautiful marquees and pandals are decorated by the devotees throughout the city and they visit the temples to make special offerings to ‘Goddess Kali’.
The most famous temples of Maa Kali in West Bengal (Kolkata) are the Kalighat Kali Temple and Dakishneswar Kali Temple. Tourist visiting Kolkata during this time must visit these temples to get a glimpse of the art and culture of the people living in the eastern part of India.
When: October 27 to 29, 2014.
Where: The banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi is an excellent place for tourist to see it.
Chhath Puja is a very ancient Hindu festival which has been celebrated in India since the Vedic period (1750–500 BCE). This is a festival associated with the worship of the Sun God or ‘Surya’ who represents the permanent source of life and sustenance on this earth.
This is a typical north Indian festival celebrated by people from the state of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. But in modern times it is celebrated in all major cities of India like Mumbai and Delhi which have a sizeable population of north Indians.
The rituals associated with this festival are pretty demanding and are celebrated over a period of four days, which includes holy bathing, fasting and refraining from drinking water, while standing in the water for long periods of time, and offering Prashad(religious offering) to the setting and rising sun on the banks of holy river like Ganga, Yamuna or any clean river. Being part of the Chhath Puja rituals and singing Chhath songs is an experience in itself.
Pushkar Camel Fair
When: October 30 to November 6, 2014. The focus of the festival shifts to religious celebrations from November 3 to 6, 2014.
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan.
Every year the sleepy town of Pushkar in Rajasthan comes alive with a splash of colors and a hysterical burst of activities, the occasion: The Pushkar Camel Festival.
Apart from being an important pilgrimage center for the Hindu devotees, Pushkar hosts one of the world’s largest fairs for trading camels and other livestock and it lasts for about a week.
A camel race kick-starts the festival, followed by traditional songs, music, dance, competitions and exhibitions. During late evenings the celebrations include folk dances, puppet shows and bizarre events like camel-dressings, camel-tattooing and beauty contest. It’s indeed an entertaining sight.
Both Indian and foreign tourist visit Pushkar every year in large numbers to enjoy this fair and it is an experience to remember for a lifetime.
For more details about the Pushkar Camel Festival schedule visit: http://www.pushkarcamelfair.com/dates-2014/
Hope you enjoyed reading this article and hope you make the best of your time in October in India.