Take a cultural vacation in India and get to celebrate the incredible Indian festivals
Festivals and fairs related to temples in India are an integral part of the country’s ancient traditions and cultures. Festivals are always an inclination for people in India. The attendees spend all day at the temple, enjoying them and the temple officials arrange for a special worship and prayer times for the festivals. People enjoy at the elaborate and exotic celebrations comprising huge processions, fairs, and musical and dance events.
To get a deep understanding of India’s rich, vibrant and colorful customs, here is a list of the 8 best temple festivals and fairs in India:
- Attuvela Mahotsavam, Kerala: Celebrated in the months of March-April, the festival is a 2 days long event and is held at the ‘Elankavu Bhagavathy Temple’ in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The festival is celebrated as a welcome ceremony of a goddess who comes to meet her sister every year. During the celebrations, one can see several small lit up canoes in the form of temple replica carrying the deity of Goddess floating on the water accompanied with temple percussion music.
- Navratri Temple festival of Bihar: Being one of the major Temple Festivals of Bihar, the idol of Durga is worshipped for nine continuous days and then it is taken to the river and immersed into it. Dusshera celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana. Huge colourful paper and a wooden dummy of Ravana’s is filled with fireworks and burnt during Dussehra. The actual Puja takes place in temples of Lord Rama.
- Karaga Festival, Karnataka: This is one of the oldest festivals of Karnataka and is held every year for nine days in Bangalore. This festival is an accolade to great Goddess Draupadi. On the last day, the chosen man of the Tigala community is dressed in a feminine attire to represent Draupadi and carries the pyramidal floral structure on his head without touching it. Bare-chested men hit their chests with swords and dance bare-foot over the live charcoals.
- Vaikunth Chaturdashi Mela, Uttarakhand: Vaikunth Chaturdashi, one of the auspicious days for Hindus is celebrated in a grand way during the months of October-November at the ‘Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple’ in Srinagar. People do not sleep all night and pay tribute to Lord Shiva with lighted ‘diyas’ in their hands. It is believed that standing and praying all night with a diya in hand on this day can fulfill the wish of a child for childless couples.
- Kaila Devi Fair, Rajasthan: In Karauli district of Rajasthan during months of March-April, the famous Kaila Devi Fair is celebrated in the “Kaila Devi Temple”. During the fair, prayers are offered to Devi Kaila who is the presiding deity of the temple. Some believers go to the temple covering a total distance of about 15 – 20 km. by dragging themselves lying flat on the route. Attending the festival can provide you an insight into the true Rajasthani culture.
- Chithirai Thiruvizha Festival, Tamil Nadu: Celebrated in the month of April at the ‘Meenakshi Amman’ Temple, the ‘Chithirai Thiruvizha’ festival is the biggest temple fair in Madurai that continues for about 2 weeks. This festival celebrates the wedding day of deity Meenakshi.
- Kotappakonda Temple Fair, Andhra Pradesh: Every year on the eve of Maha Shivratri in February, thousands of believers throng the Kotappakonda Hill near Narasaraopet in Andhra Pradesh with decorated and lighted prabhas (huge lamps) as a benefaction to Lord Shiva, the presiding spiritual being of the temple. Believers additionally get their heads barbered throughout the celebrations as a belief that their prayers are listened by God on waiving the hairs.
- Ambubasi Mela, Assam: ‘Kamakhya Devi Temple’ in Guwahati, Assam, is the temple dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya who represents Mother Earth. An annual 3-days fair called the ‘Ambubasi Mela’ is organized in the month of June when it is believed that Goddess Kamakhya goes through her cycle of menstruation. Temple remains closed during these 3 days and on the final day, Goddess is bathed by temple priests.
These temple festivals give a fair idea of the beliefs and customs prevailing in the Indian society. Someone’s cultural vacations to India would be incomplete without getting a glimpse of these festivals. So make sure one of these places is a part of your coming trip.