India is a diverse country where every vibrant culture celebrates its traditions. It is only in India where a wide variety of cultures can be experienced. The unique diverse backgrounds, and beliefs can be found in every corner of the country.
Fairs and festivals have always been part of India and celebrate its heritage. It is both beautiful and intriguing to witness an end number of traditions existing under one country. Whether it is the start of the lunar year or a religious gathering, different types of fairs can be seen in every state.
Here are six famous and enjoyable fairs of India that showcase the vibrant country:
1. Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela has an interesting origin rooted in Hindu mythology and is believed to be at least 2000 years old. This religious and peaceful gathering takes place every 12 years at four sites – Prayagraj, Ujjain, Haridwar, and Nashik. The mela follows a rotational schedule and dates are scheduled according to the alignment of Jupiter, the sun, and the moon.
During the mela, millions of Hindu pilgrimages including devotes, sadhus, saints, and others attend the fair. The river Ganga holds a divine and holy spot for all pilgrims to perform the river-dipping ritual to seek salvation.
The most important out all Kumbh fairs is the Maha Kumbh mela which falls periodically every 144 years and is celebrated at Prayagraj. This auspicious and grand fair welcomes many people and is considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
2. Pushkar Fair
Pushkar Mela is one of the biggest fairs in Rajasthan and the largest livestock fairs in the world. Organized in October and November, it is a traditional camel fair that was once a trading event. In the deserts of Pushkar where the fair is held, thousands of tourists and vendors pay a visit.
This fair is renowned for being an exotic event in the beautiful town of Pushkar. The mela is surrounded by the riveting and vibrant culture of Rajasthan where one can experience the nomadic lifestyle of the state.
Surrounded by musicians, traders, animals, devotees, and photographers, there are endless things to see. Although the trade of camels has slowed down, several vendors keep people entertained. Various unique events such as camel race, camel parade, elephant and camel ride, folk dance, music performances, acrobat and puppet shows, and more can be enjoyed.
Among tourists, the competitions held in Pushkar mela such as the longest Mustache and ‘Matka phod’ have risen to popularity.
3. Hemis Gompa Fair
In the northernmost corner of India, the chilly deserts of Ladakh celebrate a 300-year-old annual fair known as the Hemis Gompa fair. The fair is commemorated on the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava at the Hemis Monastery.
Hemis fair has a special significance in the Buddhist community of India. It is marked by fascinating ceremonial dances referred to as lamas. This mask dance is accompanied by instrumental music, worshipping, chanting, and signing. The people performing lamas dress up in colorful clothes and masks.
The Hemis gompa fair is a great event to understand the Buddhist community and their distinctive culture in Ladakh.
4. Surajkund Crafts fair
Organized in Surajkund, Haryana, this fair celebrates traditions, cuisines, culture, and artisans of India. It is held in February and is acclaimed internationally as well. The fair invites various countries to take part and attracts tourists worldwide.
Surajkund crafts fair displays the diversity and richness of India by exhibiting intricately made handicrafts, fabric soaked in vivid colors, handlooms, and other traditional art. National and international artists, as well as cultural groups, perform folk dances and singing in the Mela premises.
The Surajkund crafts fair aims to not only display cultural art but also promote the traditional skills used to make heritage crafts that are fading away due to machines.
Another section of the fair is solely dedicated to providing multi-ethnic cuisines from around the world which is immensely popular among visitors.
5. Sonepur cattle fair
Sonepur cattle fair organized near Patna in Bihar is Asia’s largest cattle fair. It has been celebrated since the Mauryan empire, dating back to thousand years ago. Held in November, you can observe the sale and purchase of different livestock including birds, goats buffalos, donkeys, and horses.
But the main attraction remains the Hathi Bazaar or Elephant market where hundreds of elephants line up near the banks of river Ganga. Many people bring their elephants to boast and exhibit to visitors as well.
In the past, hundreds of traders used to frequent the Sonepur cattle fair and actively participate to purchase livestock. Today, the fair is visited more for entertainment than for buying cattle. Nevertheless, people from all around the world are fascinated with a fair which has a lot to offer.
Visiting the Sonepur cattle fair is a great opportunity to see how ancient people traded back in time.
6. Goa Carnival
The Goa carnival organized in Panjim is vibrant and full of energy. This carnival has been celebrated since the 18th century and commences in May, 40 days before Lent. Across the cities and villages of Goa, this carnival is enjoyed by everyone.
The glamourous carnival is similar to Latino Carnival where one can see colorful masks, live music, dancing, and people having a gala time. The three-day extravagant celebration attracts millions of tourists and focuses on continuing the Portuguese heritage. The streets are full of people dressing up in costumes and participating in parades.
The carnival starts from Panjim and completes a whole round of the state including Mapusa, Vasco da Gama, and others. You can’t miss out on the delicious Goan cuisines, especially the exotic seafood, during your visit to the carnival.
Near the famous Goa beaches, many hotels offer bonfire nights, beach parties, and other similar events.
Due to the characteristic culture and traditions existing in India, one gets to see a wide range of exclusive Indian fairs. Visit any of the fairs listed above and experience the beautiful diversity existing in the country.
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