Indian festivals & fairs: Here’s how to find out what’s on where, when and why

ganesha

If it seems like there’s a never ending supply or festivals and celebrations in India, that’s because there is.  If you want to know what’s happening, where, when and why, this article offers the answers.

Finding out about festivals and celebrations in India isn’t as easy as it first sounds.

When it comes to the big ticket celebrations like Holi, Dusshera and Diwali, it isn’t too difficult.

But when you add in the fact that there are thousands of festivals celebrated in countless different ways, the challenge of documenting everything that is on becomes clear.

Now, add into the mix that festivals dates are determine by the lunar and solar calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar, and figuring out what is going on, on what date, if you are a foreigner moves up a gear (though I reckon Indians also find it a struggle).

So, this Namaste New Delhi guide to Festivls and Fairs and shines a light on the websites that will help you find out about, plan and enjoy as many of Indian’s exuberant festivals and fairs as you choose.

FestivalsofIndia.in

Festivals of India is probably the first place to head too if you want to know what is going on around the Indian subcontinent.

To start with this user friendly website presents festivals and celebrations by month and alphabetically, as well as by religion.

To make life even easier, there’s are also lists important dates broken down by melas and fairs, gods and goddesses and religious spots.  The state wise list is a handy addition too, giving an idea of the different festivals taking place around this diverse country.

There’s also festival calendar to make sure you don’t miss anything, but you’ll have to be able to read Devanagari to work out what is going on.

Drik Panchang – The Hindu Calendar for the world

If there was one word to describe Drik Panchang, it would be comprehensive.

This incredibly detailed website seems to give every date that is important to Hindus, along with an explanation of why it is so.  It even goes to the extent of offering advice to readers on good marriage dates, when it is best to buy cars or property, and more.

You’ll be glad to read that as well as Hindu Calendar of festival and celebrations dates, there’s also an Indian calendar offering important dates in other religions and a list of national days of importance.

Helpfully, the calendar also provides information on festivals and celebrations taking place over the year ahead so you can plan a trip.  To immerse yourself in this immense source of information, click here.

Incredible India: Government’s Tourist Website and Incredible India’s Google Plus page

The central government tourism website that wraps up Incredible India is here (be aware this website can be intermittently out of service).

Also check out the the google plus page, developed by Tourism Department in partnership with the internet giant.  This pulls together many different media channels about what’s happening in and around India.

The Incredible India site focuses in on the big ticket festivals.  It’s far from comprehensive, but gives a good overview when you want to get started on plans to experience Incredible India.

I love India

I Love India is another handy resource offering a list of festivals  by religious persuasion as well as general festivals and special days.

Uniquely I love India also presents festival foods and festival recipes. There’s no excuse now as to why you haven’t cooked up a storm to eat what you are supposed be eating on India’s special festival days.

Indian Holidays

Indian Holidays, a  tourist operator, has a handy run down of festivals by month and by state.

It’s no nonsense, easy to follow guide, can be found at this link.

Based at 70, L.G.F, World Trade Centre, Barakhamba Lane, Connaught Place,New Delhi – 110001 (Phone: +91-11-4242 3100). We reckon Indian Holidays would be very happy to chat about organising adventures for you around India’s festivals.

State Tourist Departments 

Another useful source is State Tourism Departments.  There are differences in standard, some are super and up to date, others need more work.  The full list of what’s available (as of March 2017) is a this link.

Whatever you go and whatever you do, have fun during India’s many varied festivals.

A little word of warning

You may find that festival dates differ depending on the source you consult.  This could be because of geographical location of the event that is taking place, different interpretations of the relative positions of the sun, moon, stars or planets, a difference of opinion, or a simply a mistake. 

So, make sure you spend a little time cross referencing the sources, searching the web and speaking with those in the know to firm up what is happening, when.  Some of this stuff isn’t tailored for tourists, which is what makes it magical, but also means the dates aren’t always clear to those that are not in the know.

 

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