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The Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

5 Famous Fairs in India

The breathtaking ecological and cultural diversity of India, has the beautiful and colorful fairs, and festivals, sprinkled all over it. The fairs are celebrated by people of all religions of the country, and are the fabrics around which the Indian cord of secularism, love, and harmony has been woven. Every few hundred kilometers of travel in India, opens up for you a new cultural neighborhood, and the fairs and festivals of the region offer a quick insight into the different and eloquent aspects of the region’s civilization.

Here Are The 5 Famous Fairs of India

1. The Goa Carnival, In Goa

The Goa Carnival, In Goa
Photo by Retinafunk, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Goa Carnival was introduced by its Portuguese rulers. The unique and exclusive festival is the precursor to the Lent, and was started in the 18th century. The 3 day (held in February) Christian festival is also attended by the people from other religions. The drinking, feasting, and merrymaking days lay before the strict 40 days of the Lent. Floats, bands, and dances roll on the roads of the whole state. The huge parades during the day, the grand dance balls, and serious parties during the nights are memorable and vibrant. Don’t miss the last day “Red and Black” dance, which is held in the capital Panaji.

2. Jaiselmer Desert Festival, Rajasthan

Jaiselmer Desert Festival, Rajasthan
Photo by Manoj Vasanth, CC BY 2.0

The Jaiselmer Desert Fair and Festival is celebrated in the month of February, at the Sam Dunes (some 42 kilometers away from the unique golden city of Jaiselmer). It is organized by a public state run corporation that relates to tourism. The colorful and vibrant festival processions (begin at the Jaiselmer Fort), the extravaganza at the Poonam Singh stadium, and the beautifully colored locals take the spotlight a capture your attention. Enjoy the native songs, dances, costumes and traditions, and explore real Rajasthan at the events. Other attractions of the fair, include the Kalabaz/Nat gymnastic acts, and the ballads and recitals sung by the Manganiars and the Bhopa Langhas. You can also witness here the camel polo, and the Air Force display, among other unique and thrilling events.

Those who want to explore more of Rajasthan, and its magnificent deserts can try the Desert Safari, and the authentic Rajasthan food that is served here.

3. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala
Photo by Ronald Tagra, CC BY 2.0

The single day sports event, Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a fair that draws crowds from both India and abroad, and is arguably one the most popular and thrilling fairs in India. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is organized in the Punnamada Lake, of town Allapuzha, on every 2nd Saturday of August, each year. The coveted Nehru trophy goes to the boat club that wins the Chundan Vallams, or the snake boat race. The thrilling events take place around the 1.4km water stretch of the lake, and each 100 to 120 feet long canoe has around 90 to 110 rowers. The vibrant and eye-catching sight of the boats, moving like snakes through the water channels, is quite attractive for the tourists.

4. The Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

The Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
Photo by Vikramjit Kakati, CC BY-SA 4.0

Celebrated each year from 1st to the 7th of December, the unique cultural panorama, Hornbill Festival, is one of the most breathtaking efforts undertaken by the Nagaland Tourism Department, and brings to light the cultural ornate that adorn the majestic Naga hills. The festival is an exhibition of the Naga songs, dances, food, and the native customs. As the Naga hills are inhabited by several tribes, the cultural event and fair has a lot of hues, and the vivid and enthralling presentations. Enjoy here the cultural medley of dances and songs, sports like archery and wrestling, the unique flower shows and much more. You can also explore Naga art forms here, as the wood carvings, paintings and the fascinating sculptures on exhibition are all made by indigenous tribes.

5. Kumbh Mela, At Multiple Indian Cities

Kumbh Mela, At Multiple Indian Cities
Photo by Paul, CC BY-ND 2.0

The Kumbh Mela holds the largest human gathering at a single place, and is one of the biggest fairs of the world. It is held in 4 Indian cities, and 2 consecutive events are separated by a time interval of 3 years. The festivals are celebrated, in the Indian cities of Ujjain, Benares, Allahabad, and Haridwar. Hindus from across the world arrive at these cities during the holy months, to take a holy dip in the rivers on the banks of which these cities are located. Much more than spirituality, the fair has musical concerts, ballads, spiritual sermons, and also have the art and handicraft exhibitions, among other tourist delights.

Fairs in India are refreshing and inviting. Nothing brings to you closer to the Indian culture and its people, than witnessing the gala fairs.