Rajasthan, is a colourful desert. The unconvincing Thar Desert and
with it all the barren land of Rajasthan has much to offer through the
plethora of celebrations. Festivals and fairs, music and dances, turns
the land to a creative fertile basin. Season heralded with a festive
fervour and cattle marts turn into delightful fairs.
Festivals hold an unusual lure for the Rajasthanis and they have any
number of reasons to celebrate. Pageantry is in the form of weddings
or rituals, or to promote trade. Each region has their own form of
Folk entertainment, own Traditions, own dialect adding to the Indian
diversity. Pushkar Fair, Desert festival, Elephant Festival and Camel
festival are internationally famous and are not to be missed.
These festivals born out of age-old traditions, adorns the golden land
and unveils the best with vulnerable colours. Colours that are alive
and unrestricted, and unifies each soul who visits this magic land.
There's a rhythm, there's a jest, a passion, a spirit of romance, a
valour, a feel of being one with the blonde landscape. This spirit of
celebration is like Desert Rains, hidden in the Aravalli bosom,
unfolding its feather with each festival.
(Bikaner, January) A unique celebration highlighting camel & cultural
heritage of northern Rajasthan. The camel festival begins with a
colourful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone
backdrop of the Junagarh fort, the festivity advances to the open sand
spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the
tug of war contest, camel dances & acrobatics. The camels dance
gracefully to the slightest direction of their trainers their
bejeweled necks, jingling anklets cast a magical spell.Glorious
Gorbandh dance, local folk performs and dazzling fireworks offer a
different tenor & tempo altogether.
(Nagaur. Jan.-Feb.) Essentially an animal fair is one of the largest
in the colmtry. The fair is renowned for the trading in cows,
bullocks, camels & horses Mirchi Bazar is the main attraction and
wooden items, iron craft & leather accessories are available in plenty
during the fair. As the Sun goes down, a joyous atmosphere is created
by the folk musicians whose voices echo far & wide across the tranquil
desert sand. Nagaur is well connected to the mal or tourist centers of
Rajasthan. The nearest airport is Jodhpur (135 Km.).
(Jaisalmer, Jan.-Feb.) A unique three day show on the sands, when the
desert blooms with the riotous colour of Rajasthan 's desert heritage.
The traditional dances (famous Gair & Fire dances) backed by high
pitched music take the folk dances and the audience on an Euphoric
trip. The turban tying competition & Mr. Desert contest coupled with
camel race & acrobatics add a touch of excitement to the celebrations.
One can enjoy the pleasure of a camel ride to the sand dances and view
musicians & dancers performing.
(Baneshwar Dungarpur,Jan.-Feb.) A religious festival with simple &
traditional rituals. Quaint rhythms conjure up the tribal cultural
identity of the Bhils of Rajasthan, Gujarat & M.P. Baneshwar means the
master of the delta and this name was given to the Shiva linga. The
Beneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som & Mahi
& prayers are offered toLord Shiva locally named as Baneshwar. The
fair resounds with the gaeity of traditional folk songs, folk dances,
Raslila, animal show, magic shows acrobatic feats. Adding to the
excitement are me joy ride." on merygo rounds & swings.
(Jaipur, March) A magnificent spectactle, it unveils the majesty and
grandeur of elephants celebrated around Holi. The Mahavats or owners
proudly decorate their elephants with bright colours, jhool., (saddle
cloth) and heavy jewellary. A royal procession of decorated elephants,
a match of elephant polo, an elephant race and playing Holi on
elephants are main events.
(Bharatpur, March) Held on the eve of Holi in honour of Lord Krishna,
this festival is marked by verve & east Villagers, in gay, multitude
attire can be seen singing and performing the Raslila dance the
immortal love story of Radha & Krishna.
(Jaipur, MarchApril) A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the
consort of Lord Shiva. Ishar & Gangaur are the divine male and female
ho embody marital love. Dedicated to goddess Gauri (Parvati), the
festival commences on Holi/ Young girls pray for ;rooms of their
choice while married women seek a long life for their husbands. rhe
ladies decorate their hands and feet )y drawing designs with Mehendi
(Myrtle Jaste). On the evening of the 7th day after -ioli, unmarried
girls go around singing songs of ghudlia (earthern pots with numerous
holes all around with a lamp lit aside) carrying the pots on their
hands. )n their way they collect small presents ,f cash, sweets,
jaggery, ghee, oil etc. The women do these while chanting hymns to the
Goddess. Festivities continue for 18 days culminating with the arrival
of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home. A grand process Ion with the
ideal of Gauri in beautifully decorated gold and silver a palanquin
caparisoned elephants, camels, horses, dances, drummers & joyous
children, goes through the city streets. In Jaipur procession forms at
the Palace Gate known as T ripolia and moves on the city streets on to
Talkatora. A vast gathering of jaipurites & villagers from nearby
areas witness the procession. A sweet dish called Ghewar
characteristic of the Gangaur festival is distributed among friends &
relatives. In Jodhpur early in the morning thousands of maidens, clad
in their best attire, singing melodious songs, bring water and durba
grass in silver or brass pots to a place known as Girdikot. In Udaipur
the images of Isar & Gauri are taken in a procession to the Pichola
lake there after in a boat for an hour they go around the lake and the
ceremony comes to an end with a display of fireworks on the banks. The
Girasia tribe eligible boys & girls in Sirohi, Mount Abu region during
Gangaur festival select their life partners & elope with them. This
form of marriage has the sanction of the community.
(Jaipur , July-August) The festival celebrating the reunion of Shiva &
Parvati, is celebrated at the onset of the onsoon. Teej is the
festival of swings. Young girls & women dressed in green clothes sing
songs & swing in celebrating the advent of the mansoon. An elaborate
procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days with
ornately dressed elephants, horses & camels, bands, performing artists
& coluorfully dressed people Goddess Parvati is invoked to bless her
worshippers with conjugal harmony & bliss.
(Udaipur, MarchApril) Coinciding with the festival of Gangaur the
Mewar festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. Once the
religions part of the festival is over it is time for potrayal of
Rajasthani culture through songs, dances and other programmes. The
festival culminates with an impressive fire works display.
Kaila Devi Fair
(Mt. Abu, June) The steep rocks, tranqillake, mango grooves, bauhinia
trees & thickets of wild berries cover this hilly mount. The three day
festival is a feast of folk & classical music and a window to the
tribal life & culture of Rajasthan. Cail; Choomar & Dhap folk dances
enthrall the spectators. Sporting events such as the boat race on the
Nakki lake add variety to the festival. Udaipur (185 Kms.) is the
nearest airport and Abu Road (29 Kms.) is the nearest Railway station
and, there is a good network of bus services connecting Mount Abu to
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur & Ahmedabad.
(Pushkar-Ajmer, November) Excitement, gaiety and a keen sense of
competition fill the air as the long journey to Pushkar begins. The
only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma (the creator) is located at
Pushkar. The Pushkar lake is surrounded by 52 flights of steps called
ghats. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu appeared at the Varah ghat in
the form of a boar. Brahma took a bath here and performed yagna at the
Brahma Ghat accompanied by Vishnu & Mahadev. The ashes of Mahatma
Gandhi (Father of the Nation) were immersed at the Gandhi ghat.
Pushkar is among the five principal places of Hindu pilgrimage. People
consider the water of the Pushkar lake to be very sacred and the
ritual of taking dips in the holy water IS believed to bestow
salvation. It I s customary to float lighted eastern lamps ed on
pattals (plates made of leaves) on the waters of lake. This creales a
spectacular view when the sacred lake takes on a mystical tint
sprankled with twinkling spots of light. In conjunction with he
religious fair, a cattle fair is also organised. The ancient town of
Pushkar is transformed into a spectacular fair ground. The fair
grounds reverberate with festivity and woman folk shop for bangles,
clothes, utensils, sundry household items & leather goods. The
highlight of the Pushkar fair is the trading in camels. The camel,
horse & donkey races are events that draw huge attendance. Body
tatooing is yet another favourite activity. Come dusk, and the rich
strains of haunting music are carried across the desert sands as the
merrymaking continues deep into the night.