India is a land of many religions and festivals. Every festival is marked by a deep philosophical meaning and it is usually dedicated to a Indian deity or important annual event like crop harvesting or welcoming the spring or rain. The Indian calendar is a long procession of festivals characterized by prayers, rituals, colors, enthusiasm, dance and songs. The Indian people are very proud of their cultural heritage and have a great sense of national integrity, and the carnivals held virtually every week, or two, have always been a major attraction for tourists.
The Diwali is the Hindu festival which marks the beginning of the New Year. It is popularly known as the “Festival of the Lights” because during the five day celebrations thousand of small lamps and candles are lit, and the highlight of the show is a spectacle of fireworks in the sky. In Indian culture the sky is a symbol of the triumph of brightness over darkness. Tourists all over the world come together to take part in this warm festival of joy.
Also known as the Govinda festival, Krishna celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna, Lord Visnhu’s eight incarnation. The festival lasts for two days and its occurrence depends on the moon’s cycle, but it usually takes place in August or September. If you are a tourist in India during the festival, the best place to experience it is in Mumbai. The best part of the festival, Dahi Handi, happens on the second day of ceremonies. Hundreds of young Govidans, forming human pyramids, attempt to reach the ceremonial pots containing butter, money and curd. The rest of the days are spent praying, feasting, dancing, playing games and chanting.
Onam is celebrated with beautiful floral decorations on the ground which are meant to welcome King Mahabali’s arrival. The festival has strong roots in the culture and history of India and it is a ten day harvest festival. Other celebrations include wearing new clothes, feasts served on banana leaves, snake boat races and games. If you wish to take part in this unique festival, the best time to visit India is between 29 and 31 august.
I am sure there are many other spectacular festivals which offer a genuine perspective on the Indian traditional background and culture I could talk about., but these three are some of the most cherished events in the Indian calendar. India is a land so incredibly diverse that it seems like a world within a country which reveals itself through its multitude of traditions. If you are planning on a vacation in a world full of mystery, rituals and oriental culture, India is the place to visit! Especially during the splendid carnival months.