Exploring India: Festivals and fairs in March

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This month is not all about holi.  Sure, a lot of colours are about to be thrown around, but there’s also a yoga festival in Rishikesh, a water festival in Rajasthan and a Buddhist ritual  in enjoy in Sikkim.  Find out more inside.

Natyanjali Dance Festivals from 27th February until 3rd March

Taking place in the amazing Shiva template at Chidabaram (which is around 100km from Pondicherry), this five day festivals draws in India’s finest dancers and devotees who pay homage to Lord Nataraja – the dancing Shiva.

Jaipur Photo Festival, from 24th Feb until the 5 March

Stroll through the pink city and enjoy the photography exhibits that internationally renowned curators have set up at outdoor sites around Jaipur.  What a joy.  Find out more at this link.

International Yoga Festival, Rishikesh, 1st – 7th March

Held on the banks of the holy River Ganga, the International Yoga Festival brings Yogis, the faithful and practitioners from all around to world to worship the sun, the Lord and stretch their muscles.  Find out more at the festival website.

Phoolon wali holi (Flowers’ Holi), Vridnavan, 8th March

The Banke Bihari Temple is the site of a selection of holi linked festivals.  Phoolon wali holi, which sees flowers thrown rather than colours, is the most famous.  There’s also a Widow’s holi, Holika Dahana as well as the main event.  To find out more head over to the temple Facebook Page.

Brij Festival, Bharatphur on the 7 – 8th March

Dedicated to Lord Krishna and his love for Radna.  Prayers are offered at Radha Krishna temple, devotees immerse themselves at the Banganga river ghats to cleanse their sins.  You’ll also see the The Raslila, a dance showing the love between Krishna and Radna.  And, as it is near holi, colours are thrown too!Head to Deeg and Kaman too.

Masimagam Festival, Pondicherry, 10 and 11th March

A Hindu Festival celebrated sees deities from temples in brought to the Karikal district in grand processions on full moon day. Devotees bathe in the sea to wash away their sins.  Pondicherry, a former French Colony, , shows off its strong Hindu traditions at this annual festival.

Dang Darbar Fair, Gujarat, 12 March

Dang Darbar, in the Saputara Hills, Gujarat, is used to honour the traditional rulers of tribal areas.  Famed for its dances, the festival sees tribal people gather in numbers to honour the former rajas.  For more information, go to the Gujarat Tourism website.

Holika Dahana, also called Chotti Hol i (Little Holi) on the 12th March

Takes place the evening before Holi and is another festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.  People light fires, offer prayers and perform rituals in the hope that their problems will be consumed by the flames.  There’s a whole lot more to it than that, so why not check out this link to get a better understanding.

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Holi, across Northern India, 13th March

Everyone is fair game.  The festival of colours is celebrated across North India, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding what to do.  Local neighbourhood associations come together to play colours, warehouse and open air parties are organised for young people and the revelry brings everyone together.  If you want to know what it is all about, then take a look at this link.

Bhumchu Festival, Tashiding monastery, Sikkim from the 20th – 27th March

The Festival of the Holy Water, celebrates Guru Padmasambhava sanctifying a vase from which holy deities emerged.  Find out more about Brumchu here and head to Facebook for more information about the festival.

The Bhoramdeo Mahotsav Festival, Chaattisgarh, 25th – 31st March

Held at Bhoramdeo temples, called the  Khajuraho of Chattisgarh, is around 135km from Raipur. On the banks of the River Sakri, the site is famed for its 11th century temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva.  Arts, crafts, music and dance for a week.  Find out more at the Chaattisgarh tourism website.

Mewar Festival and Gangaur Fair, Udaipur, from 13th – 31st March 2017

Celebrating the arrival of spring, the Mewar festival will see a procession of old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts and performance artists travel from the city palace to the Gangaur Ghat, Lake Pichola. The procession ends with the immersion of idols of Gana (Lord Shiva) and Gauri (Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife.  Gangaur is celebrated for 18 days with main days falling on the 30th and 31st March.

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Last Chance: Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, Kerela, taking place until 29th March 2017

This international contemporary art exhibition is set in 12 unique spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands.  Shows are held in existing galleries, halls and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.  Find out more at this link

Kampil Fair, Uttar Pradesh from 27th – 31st March

An annual Jain Festival taking place at Tehsil Kasganj, Etah district, situated on the banks of the Ganga.  Tehsil Kasganj is birthplace of the 13thTirthankar, Brahlan Vimal Nath and was also visited by Lord Mahavira.

Ajmer Urs, Rajasthan, 29th March until 6th April

Devotees head to Ajmer to pay their respects to Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti, also known as Gharīb Nawāz, the “Benefactor of the Poor.”  Urs, which means death anniversary in Urdu.  Moinuddin Chisti Urs is held on the first six days of the seventh Islamic month.

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One thought on “Exploring India: Festivals and fairs in March

  1. Pingback: Your Delhi Diary: Here’s what’s on this week | Namaste New Delhi

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