Monday, February 9, 2009

Upcomming Fair Festivals in March

Khajuraho Dance Festival

When: 25 Feb - 2 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Khajuraho
The annual Khajuraho Dance Festival fills the amazing temples of Khajuraho with India's finest classical dancers, who present styles including Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Manipuri.The western group of temples acts as the exquisite backdrop for the Khajuraho Dance Festival's performers - usually the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

International Yoga Festival

When: 1 - 7 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Parmarth Niketan
Get your asanas sorted during Rishikesh's International Yoga Festival at the Parmath Niketan Ashram. The "yoga capital of the world" is an appropriate setting for a whirlwind tour of the major types of yoga and an awesome place to visit.This annual festival always attracts great yogic masters from all over the world, who arrive by the banks of the Ganges to demonstrate and explore the major traditions of yoga (hatha, raja, karma, bhakti, mantra, laya and jnana). The town boasts numerous yoga schools to view (of varying standards of ethics and expense), as well as plenty of places to visit when your chakras are fully aligned.Apart from the yoga schools, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the many ashrams in Rishikesh that offer courses on meditation, yoga and Hindu philosophy. The hatha yoga and pranayama meditation classes at Sri Ved Niketan Ashram are well known. The Shivananda Ashram, opposite the Shivananda Jhula, is also a favourite - but needs booking well in advance. Other well-known ashrams include the Yoga Niketan Ashram, the Omkarananda Ashram, the Vanmali Gita Yogashram and the Dayananda Vedanta Ashram. We don't recommend these above any others - they are just pointers for research.

Elephant Festival

When: 10 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Jaipur
Elephants. India Tourism Office
Held each year in Jaipur, the Elephant Festival is a celebration of these large animals, royal mounts from time immemorial and a symbol of strength and wealth.Groomed to perfection, glittering in gold, you'll stumble across numerous elegant elephants during this very noisy day. The annual bash also proves that they can move surprisingly gracefully in procession, run races and even play polo. A lot of tourists are attracted, but it's also a great occasion for all elephant lovers.


When: 11 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: India
Holi Festival. Destination India
During Holi, Holika Dahan, or the festival of colour, Hindu India celebrates good harvests and the Earth's fertility. It is a joyful festival when all is forgiven and everyone lets themselves go.
Huge bonfires are made on the eve of the festival (one explanation being that they drive out Dhunda, a female demon, from participating villages), while the actual day is marked by loud processions, singing, dancing, traditional songs - and a whole lot more.The celebrations pay tribute to Hindu god Krishna, and are associated with his love for Radha. The young Krishna would moan to his mother about why Radha was so fair and he was so dark. His mother advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. The celebrations still explore this idea.If you're a visitor to the Holi celebrations, it's probably a good idea to take some old clothes with you - no-one is exempt from the festivities. You'll find people running on the streets and smearing each other with brightly coloured powders (gulal) and coloured water - an interesting development on the theme of smearing gulal on friends' foreheads.While the aim of Holi is apparently to develop an increased appreciation of beauty and cultivate good taste, people get away with almost anything on this day - including squirting coloured water on passers-by...

Holla Mohalla

When: 12 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Punjab
Cost: Free
Opening Hours: All day
The ancient Sikh festival of Holla Mohalla is celebrated in the month of Phalguna, the day after Holi, and is a time for Sikhs to reaffirm their commitment to the brotherhood of man and their dedication to the Khalsa Pantha.Back in 1757, when the tenth Guru Govind Singh was around, it was felt that Holi - the festival of colour and happiness - had lost its original meaning amidst growing decadence and mayhem. Not one to tolerate such behaviour, the reformist Guru decided to re-establish the essence of Holi while restoring the Khalsa traditions. The result was the Holla Mohalla.Many colourful processions mark this festival, and they are particularly spectacular in Anandpur, Sahib and Muktsar. Sikhs dress up in traditional martial costumes (especially the Nihangs or the "Order of the Blue-Clad Farmer-Warriors") and celebrate the day with competitions in archery, fencing, horse riding and shooting. In some areas, battles are re-enacted and cannons fired as a salutary reminder of the traditional warring trait of the Sikh religion. Although clearly a spectacular performance, watching is a risky affair... these men battle hard, even in jest!

Dangs Darbar

When: Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Ahwa
Originally revolving around tax payment, the Dangs Darbar in Ahwa dates back to the age of the Raj and features five days of lively celebration by local tribespeople, with not a fiscal fee in sight.
The Dangi tribals, or adivasis, live high up in the Saputara hills in a beautiful area known as the Dangs. Every year, just before Holi, they flock in thousands to the local capital of Ahwa for a joyful fair filled with dancing and singing.The tradition of the "darbar" dates back to the time of the British, when the political agent used to pay an annual subsidy to the local rulers, the Rajas and Naiks, for the right to their lands in a placatory gesture to these fierce native tribes. To this day the District Collector still officiates here.In modern times the festival has become one long celebration of local folk culture, with spellbinding dances symbolic of birds or animals as well as a garba programme and lots of songs and dramas. Merchants come from all over the state to sell their wares and people take a lot of trouble over their appearance, wearing traditional and colourful dress, the women laden down with heavy silver jewellery.


When: 29 - 30 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Jaipur
Rajasthan folk dance
Gangaur is one of the most important festivals in Rajasthan, held each spring in honour of Gauri, the goddess of purity and patron of unmarried girls. Expect colourful processions and noisy celebrations - especially from the women.Although celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm, the celebrations in Jaipur and Udaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer are especially festive. Colourful decorated images of Gauri are taken out in processions with huge fanfare. Traditionally, the youth grabbed this opportunity of meeting each other freely, and some would select partners and marry by eloping!

In Hindu mythology, Gauri is generally the unmarried goddess Parvati, before she married Lord Shiva. She underwent extreme penances and purifications in order to attain the glory of marrying the ascetic and emotionally invulnerable god.

Mewar Spring Festival

When: 29 - 31 Mar 2009 (annual)
Where: Udaipur
Sunset at Udaipur, India
The Mewar Spring Festival coincides with the Gangaur festival and is celebrated all over Rajasthan. In Udaipur, the women dress in their finest clothes and process to Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichola carrying images of the Goddess Gauri (Parvathi).Celebrations include singing, dancing and devotional music. Mewar Spring Festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display and a procession of boats on the lake.