India is a land of diverse culture where different cultural festivals are celebrated to take the blessings of God. The festivals are celebrated with dance, music, sweets and new clothes. People whitewash their houses and decorate them with the beautiful floral designs. Here is a list of top best festivals in India and feasting plays a vital role in this. A glimpse of the festivals attracts the visitors to come and indulge in an exciting experience. A nutshell of all the Indian festivals excites the globetrotters to come and enjoy the festival. Festivals are celebrated different state that varies according to the tradition, theme and rituals. Different cultural festivals in India give a palatial experience to the locals and tourists which remain in their lifetime memories.
Diwali is one of the biggest Indian festivals which is celebrated on Kartik Amavasya. On this day, Lord Rama return to Ayodhya from exile after 14 years with his younger brother and beloved wife after defeating demon Ravana. People wear new clothes, worship goddess Lakshmi and Children burst crackers. Homes are decorated with the colorful light, candles and Diyas. An auspicious festival is very close to the heart of all the Indian. It is believed that goddess Lakshmi brings prosperity and fortune. An endearing festival is a perfect combination of divine, fun and spirituality.
- Key attractions: To decorate homes with lights, candles, rangoli and Diyas. Burst fireworks and crackers.
- Time to celebrate: Celebrated on the Kartik Amavasya which falls in October or November.
- Region: It is celebrated all over the country.
Dussehra is a Hindu festival that symbolizes the victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. The festival is also known as Vijayadashami and ends with the process of Ravana Dahan. People across the country prepare the statues of Meghnad, Kumbhkarana and Ravana to burnt them which shows the end of evil from the society. Dussehra is celebrated in India 20 days prior to Diwali with great hustle and bustle. People perform different Ram-Leela acts and ran to the open areas to see the amazing festival.
- Region: Across the India
- Time to celebrate: 10th day of the Ashwin of lunar month which falls in the month of September or October.
- Key attractions: Beautifully decorated markets, Ram-Leela acts and statues of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran.
Holi is a festival of colors which is dedicated to the victory of devotion and purity. One of the famous festivals in India where people make Holika bonfire and also pray for the good harvest season. People drink bhang on this day and also play gambling. It is said that Lord Krishna do pranks with the villagers by applying color, water balloon and water over them. This amazing festival is celebrated all over the country which has great importance in our lives.
- Key attractions: Holika bonfire, drink bhang and playing with balloon, colors and water.
- Time for celebration: Celebrated on the Purnima of the Phalgun which falls in the March month.
- Region: This festival is celebrated across the country, North states in India are the major areas.
4- Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivratri is the festival to devote prayer to Lord Shiva who drank the poison to stop spreading it on the earth. A fight occurs between the demons and gods for the nectar of life and different things came out of the sea. When there was a pot of poison, both sides refuse to accept it and after the humble request, Lord Shiva drinks the poison. On this auspicious day, devotees go to Shiv temple, recite prayers and also do fasting to please Lord Shiva.
- Key attraction: Bhang, smear bodies with holy ashes and recite prayers of Lord Shiva
- Time to celebrate – Feb or March and July or August
- Region: All over the India but a preferable area is Ujjain.
Eid Ul Fitr is an Islamic festival which falls at the end of Ramadan. On this auspicious day, families gather in open areas to see the new moon and wish each other “Eid Mubarak”. One of the major festivals in India which is dedicated to Muslim community where children get money or gifts from their elders. A festival where all the members of the family indulge in feasting, forgiveness and enjoyment.
- Key attractions: Markets and mosques are decorated beautifully, the sound of Namaz at the mosques in the morning and sweet dishes.
- Time to celebrate: It falls in July at the end of Ramadan.
- Region: Muslim community celebrates this festival.
6- Krishan Janmashtami
Krishan Janamastami is a beautiful Indian festival that is celebrated on the birth ceremony of Lord Krishna. The sweet sound of mantras and singing can be enjoyed at the beautifully decorated temples. Lord Krishna was known to be a mischievous child who was the lover of milk, butter and ghee. Dahi Handi competition is also celebrated in some areas and all the participants are called Govindas. It is believed that Lord Krishna took birth to kill his maternal uncle Kans and save people from the evil actions that are done by him.
- Key attractions: Beautifully decorated temples, enchanting mantras and Amazing Jhaankies of Lord Krishna.
- Time to celebrate: This festival falls in August or September.
- Region: Celebrated across the country but Mathura and Vrindavan are main areas for this festival.
7- Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a festival of Hindus which is a reflection of a true bond of affection between brother and sister. On this day, brother took a pledge for the protection of their sisters from the harm and evil. In return, sister ties a beautifully decorated thread on the wrist of their brother and pray to god for their long age. One of the most famous festivals which has great importance for the Indians.
- Key attractions: Beautifully decorated thread for the brothers, gifts, sweets and bond of affection.
- Time to celebrate: On the day of Shravan Purnima which falls in August.
- Region: Almost every state in India.
8- Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj is the Indian festival of true love between Brother and Sister. On this day, sister prays for the good of their brother and apply tilak on their foreheads. In return, brother promise to protect them from all the evils and give gifts to their sisters. It’s a symbolic festival of love and devotion that comes a day after Diwali.
- Key attraction: True love and affection between brother and sister, gifts and sister’s pray for their brother.
- Time to celebrate: A day after Diwali.
- Region: Almost all over the country.
Navratri is an amazing festival of Hindus which lasts for 9 days. During these days, people do fasting and devote a pray to impress goddess Durga. In Gujrat, the first day of Navratri starts with the prayer of Maa Durga and fasting. Energetic dance performances, Garba and Dandiya Rass can be enjoyed in traditional dresses. People celebrate this festival as per their rituals and traditions.
- Key attractions: Full enjoyment with Dandiya rass, Garba, traditional dresses and cuisines.
- Time to celebrate: This festival is celebrated twice in Year in the month of Chaitra and Ashwin according to Hindu calendar.
- Region: It is celebrated across the country but Gujrat and Maharashtra are the major regions.
10- Durga Puja
Durga Puja is the grand feasting celebration which is related to the worship of Goddess Durga. Chiefly considered as the important festival, accompanied by the cultural dance, praying and dramas. The spiritual festival has great importance for all the Indians and people wear traditional clothes on this day. People participate in the religious ceremonies with full enthusiasm.
- Key attractions: Enchanting mantras, incredible idols of Maa Durga and the puja ceremonies.
- Time to celebrate: This festival is celebrated in the months of Chaitra and Ashwin.
- Region: All over the country, Preliminary areas are Bengal and Kolkatta.
11- Ganesha Chaturthi
Ganesha Chaturthi is the authentic Indian festival which is devoted to the birthday of Lord Ganesha- the son of Lord Shiva. A Large number of clay or metal statues of Ganesha are prepared and welcome Lord Ganesha with great pomp and Show. After the ritual ceremonies, the statues are immersed in the sea, well or river. Siddhivinayak temple is the epicenter of the huge celebration.
- Key attractions: Beautifully crafted statues of Lord Ganesha, prayer ceremonies and sweets.
- Time to celebrate: 4th day of Bhadrapada which falls in the months of August or September.
- Region: This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Mumbai.
Baisakhi is the harvest festival of Punjab which is also known as a new year for the Sikhs. This day is known as the founding day for Khalsa Panth and thousands of people visit Gurudwaras to devote their prayer. On this day, 5 Sikh came before the people wearing turbans and garments in saffron color. Surprising acts and activities are performed by the Sikhs with open swords which are known as Panj Piara.
- Key attraction: Acts of Sikhs with bare swords and crowd in Gurudwaras.
- Time to celebrate: 13th of April
- Region: Punjab state
13- Bihu in Assam
Bihu is a popular harvest festival in Assam which is celebrated with dance and folk shows. Young men and women dressed in traditional clothes, perform Bihu dance and eat delicious cuisines. On this auspicious day coconut laddoo, pitika, til and pitha is prepared that really liked by all the people. People perform thanksgiving ceremonies for the good harvest and express their happiness by dancing and feasting.
- Key attractions: The Bihu dance and the local cuisines.
- Time to celebrate: 13th or 14th
- Region: Assam is the most liked area to celebrate Bihu.
14- Onam in Kerala
Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala which lasts for the 10 days and attracts thousands of tourists to witness the amazing festival. It highlights the culture and heritage where people decorate their houses with flowers. Onam is celebrated with the homecoming ceremony of King Mahabali with great enthusiasm. Creative art, decorations, floral designs and delicious feasting is the major attractions of the festival.
- Key attractions: Delicious cuisines, dance and snake boat race.
- Time to celebrate: It falls in the month of August or September.
- Region: Celebrated in all the cities in Kerala.
15- Camel Festival in Pushkar
Pushkar camel festival is very popular in Rajasthan where camel trade, races, magic shows and activities can be enjoyed. A small village located in the Thar Desert which offers a chance to buy or sell camels. Thousands of globetrotter come to participate in the fair. Pushkar also comprises a holy lake which is considered to remove the sins of people. Religious ceremonies, music and festival inspire the visitors.
- Key attraction: Races, camel trade, magical shows and traditional music.
- Time to celebrate: It falls in the month of October or November.
- Region: Pushkar, Rajasthan is the place to organize this fair.
16- Nag Panchami in Maharashtra
Nag Panchami is one of the important Indian festivals related to the worship of snakes. With a combination of rituals and processions people take snakes to the temples, enchant mantras and sprinkle flowers over them. Snakes are fed with the honey and milk. People carry snakes in pots and dance to the tune of music. It is considered bad to beat the snakes during Nag Panchami.
- Key attraction: Worship of snakes, enchant mantras & feed snakes with milk and honey.
- Time to celebrate: 5th day of the Lunar month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar.
- Region: Major devotion can be seen in Maharashtra and Nagaraja temple in Kerala.
17- Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest festivals in India which begins at Makar Sankranti and ends at Maha Shivratri. Millions of people come to enjoy the pilgrimage of the festival which is organized on the bank of river Ganges, Godavari, Yamuna and Saraswati. This festival has been defined in different categories – Maha Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh Mela. Thousands of devotees come to enjoy the fair in the more auspicious way. The pilgrimage festival has the mythological inferences which never fails to inspire the devotees. Enchanting mantras, recite of bhajans and meditation of Sadhus can be seen at every corner during the Mela.
- Key attraction: Religious Rivers and enchanting mantras.
- Time to celebrate: Kumbh Mela comes after every 12 years.
- Region: Nasik, Ujjain, Haridwar and Allahabad.
18- Jagannath Yatra
Jagannath Yatra is the amazing festival in Orissa which is celebrated with color, dance and music. Lord Jagannath is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and a gigantic chariot is pulled by thousands of devotees to travel in Puri. The spiritual process to carry Gods from the temple to the garden palace on a beautifully decorated chariot that looks like a walking temple on wheels. For the yatra, statues are made of wood which are brought back to the temple after visiting the different destinations. Jagannath Yatra which is the most spiritual amongst all the festivals which is enjoyed by national and international devotees with great enthusiasm.
- Key attraction: Beautifully decorated chariot, walking temple and crowd during the yatra.
- Time to celebrate: The festival lasts for 9 days and yatra can be enjoyed in the month of June or July.
- Region: Jagannath Yatra is performed in Orissa.
19- Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is the amazing harvest festival which has great significance and importance in our lives. It is believed that the God Sun walks towards the Northern direction to visit his son Shani. On 14th of January, the day is celebrated and people go to religious places to take a dip in the holy rivers. Enchanting of Gayatri mantras can also be heard. In Gujrat, the day is known as the Kite Festival and many colorful kites can be seen in the sky. The preparation for kite festival starts a month earlier at the homes in Gujrat. Everywhere different kites can be seen flying in the sky. Competitions on a large scale can also be held in Gujrat and winners are given handsome prices. Authentic feasting, fun and religious importance make the festival unique and special for all the Indians. This amazing festival is known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and uttrayan in Gujrat.
- Key attraction: Kite festival in Gujrat, dip in Holy River and feasting delicious cuisines.
- Time to celebrate: Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January.
- Region: This festival is celebrated all over the India but known with the different names.
20- Pongal in Tamil Nadu
Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu which is one of the most liked festivals of India. Celebrated in South India with a bonfire, dance, sweets, cattle races and savories. Floors are decorated beautifully with colored powder, flower petals and rice. This festival is celebrated for thanksgiving ceremony to nature by representing the first harvest of the year. A 4-day festival starts on 14th of January when the sun starts its journey to northwards. The famous Indian festival which is celebrated by Tamil Community with great enthusiasm.
- Key attractions: Beautifully decorated floors with floral designs, cattle races and sweets.
- Time to celebrate: 14th to 17th January.
- Region: Celebrated by Tamil community in India, Tamil Nadu is the preliminary state to celebrate this festival.
Christmas is one of the most famous festivals of the Christian community which has great Significance. This is the amazing festival for children which is celebrated not only in India but also across the world. Children curiously wait for the surprise gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas and churches are beautifully decorated. This day is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ and children wear dresses like Santa Claus. In schools, this day is celebrated by decorating Christmas tree and performing different exciting activities.
- Key attractions: Christmas tree decoration, gifts from Santa and birthday of Lord Jesus
- Time to celebrate: 25th December
- Region: Christmas is celebrated across the country.
22- Guru Purab
Guru Purab is the most important festival of Sikhs which is celebrated in Gurudwaras. Special assemblies and langars are organized at the gurudwaras and Krah Prasad is distributed among all the devotees. Gurbani and Kirtan can also be enjoyed on this auspicious day. People enlightened their homes with lamps, candles and children burst crackers. This festival is very popular in Sikhs community and celebrated with great enthusiasm. The festival has a great significance that it is celebrated on the birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh Gurus and a large number of people can be seen visiting Gurudwaras to take the blessings.
- Key attractions: Bhajan-Kirta, Gurbani, Langar and the Karah Prasad.
- Time to celebrate: Guru Purab is celebrated in the Kartik Purnima as per the Hindu calendar which falls in the month of November.
- Region: Sikh community celebrate this festival, major cynosure is Punjab for Guru Purab.
Hemis is a religious festival in Ladakh that attracts local and foreign visitors. The festival is celebrated with cham dance which is performed by the priests. Monks play traditional music, drums and trumpets during the festival and priests are dressed up in masks. The amazing festival highlights the good prevailing over the bad and it is celebrated with the amazing dance performances. The famous festival is said to purify the soul of the people and represents the divine powers. The festival highlights the victory of legends over the demons. The best experience for the adventure seekers, travelers and photographers where unique handicrafts are the major attractions of the festival.
- Key attractions: Cham dance and traditional music.
- Time to celebrate: The festival falls in the month of June or July.
- Region: Jammu – Kashmir and Ladakh are the major regions to celebrate Hemis.
24- Hanuman Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti in India is celebrated to devote the prayer to Lord Hanuman who bestows power and strength to all the people. This festival is commenced as the birthday of Hanuman – the powerful Monkey God who played a vital role in the fight against the demons. Hanuman is known to have some mythical powers to help the devotees from the evil and harm. It is considered good to apply red Sindur on the feet of Hanuman.
- Key attraction: Devote prayer to God Hanuman and apply sindur on his feet.
- Time to celebrate: Celebrated on Chaitra Purnima.
- Region: Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are the major cynosures.