India is a diverse country where every vibrant culture celebrates its traditions. It is only in India that a wide variety of cultures can be experienced. The unique diversity of 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 a large number of traditions existing in 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 in 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 rotational schedule of the mela dictates the scheduling of dates based on the alignment of Jupiter, the sun, and the moon.
During the mela, millions of Hindu pilgrims, including devotees, 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 Maha Kumbh Mela, celebrated at Prayagraj, holds the distinction of being the most significant among all Kumbh fairs. The event takes place once every 144 years and draws a multitude of people to this auspicious and grand occasion, which is considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
2. Pushkar Fair
Pushkar Mela is one of the biggest fairs in Rajasthan and the largest livestock fair in the world. Organised in October and November, it is a traditional camel fair that was once a trading event. Thousands of tourists and vendors pay a visit to the deserts of Pushkar, where the fair is held.
This fair is renowned for being an exotic event in the beautiful town of Pushkar. The riveting and vibrant culture of Rajasthan surrounds the mela, allowing one to experience the nomadic lifestyle of the state.
Surrounded by musicians, traders, animals, devotees, and photographers, there are endless things to see. Although the trade in camels has slowed down, several vendors keep people entertained. You can enjoy various unique events such as camel races, camel parades, elephant and camel rides, folk dances, music performances, acrobat and puppet shows, and more.
Among tourists, the competitions held in Pushkar Mela, such as the longest Moustache and ‘Matka phod’, have risen in 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 Hemis Monastery commemorates the fair on the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava.
Hemis Fair has a special significance in the Buddhist community of India. Fascinating ceremonial dances referred to as lamas mark it. This mask dance is accompanied by instrumental music, worshipping, chanting, and signing. The people performing lamas dress up in colourful clothes and masks.
The Hemis Gompa Fair is a great event to understand the Buddhist community and its distinctive culture in Ladakh.
4. Surajkund Crafts fair
Organised in Surajkund, Haryana, this fair celebrates the traditions, cuisines, culture, and artisans of India. It takes place in February and receives international acclaim 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 colours, handlooms, and other traditional art. National and international artists, as well as cultural groups, perform folk dances and sing on 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 exclusively dedicates itself to offering multi-ethnic cuisines from around the world, a feature that immensely appeals to visitors.
5. Sonepur cattle fair
The Sonepur cattle fair, organised near Patna in Bihar, is Asia’s largest cattle fair. People have celebrated it since the Mauryan Empire, dating back to a thousand years ago. Held in November, you can observe the sale and purchase of different livestock, including birds, goats, buffalo, donkeys, and horses.
But the main attraction remains the Hathi Bazaar, or Elephant Market, where hundreds of elephants line up near the banks of the Ganga. Many people bring their elephants to boast about and exhibit to visitors as well.
In the past, hundreds of traders used to frequent the Sonepur cattle fair and actively participate in it to purchase livestock. Today, the fair is visited more for entertainment than to buy cattle. Nevertheless, people from all around the world are fascinated by a fair that 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 organised 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 glamorous carnival is similar to the Latino carnival, where one can see colourful masks, live music, dancing, and people having a gala time. The extravagant three-day celebration attracts millions of tourists and focuses on continuing Portugal’s heritage. The streets are full of people dressing up in costumes and participating in parades.
The carnival starts in 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 cuisine, 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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