INDIA HAS A RICH CALENDER OF FESTIVALS UNRIVALED IN SCALE, DIVERSITY AND
SPECTACLE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
They range from the epic month long Kumbh Melas that are the greatest gatherings of humanity on earth when millions of pilgrims converge to take a ritual dip in the Ganges on auspicious days of merit, to intimate long weekend festivals of Sufi and folk music held in romantic desert forts. Some are single days of religious celebration held all over India, like the spring full moon festival of Holi, a riot of colour and dancing in the streets or Diwali, the Hindu new year festival of light when families gather to illuminate a moonless night in Autumn with fireworks and butter lamps. Others are annual seasonal festivals held over many days in spectacular regional locations. In summer the ancient Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh high up on the Tibetan Plateau host elaborate dance dramas performed swirling masked monks. During the harvest festival of Onam in tropical Kerala, ornate traditional snake boats powered by hundreds of muscular oarsmen synchronised to the pulsating rhythm of drums race along the backwaters. The Pushkar Mela attracts thousands of Rajput camel traders, pilgrims and tourists to a scared oasis in the Rajasthan desert for a week of festivities and fairground fun, and the traditional indigenous tribal culture of India’s remote north eastern states is celebrated with dance and music every December at the Hornbill Festival in Assam.
We can easily include an experience of any of these and many more on the itinerary of an Indian journey.