India is a land of many cultures, religions and communities. Religion plays a pivotal role in the country with mythical epics, legends, thousands of gods and goddesses. Idol worship is an elemental part of the Hindu religion, manifested in the millions of small to majestic temples and shrines that dot the whole country’s landscape.
Although Hinduism is the most followed religion in the country, India houses many more religions owing to its diverse population. Buddhist monasteries perched atop the Himalayas, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques and Sikh Gurudwaras in the northern part of India, Jain and Dravidian temples in the south, churches across the country… India is suffused with places of worship.
A unique way to travel across India is by visiting the numerous festivals that take place almost every day. It is said that at least one festival is being celebrated in some part of India on any given day in a year
. Indian festivals are punctuated with colours, customs, dancing, music, chanting, deities, and lights. The dates of religious festivals in India are based on the Hindu calendar, which is centered on lunar positions, thus it is common for the festivals to be celebrated on different dates each year. These are some of the popular festivals celebrated in India, most of them nationally.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated typically in the month of August. The festival signifies the love between a sister and brother. Customarily, a sister ties a band around a brother’s wrist and the brother gives her a gift in return. It is nice ceremony to celebrate sibling love, so this would be a great day to be in North India on a family trip.
Janmastami is Lord Krishna’s birthday and it is celebrated particularly in Northern India. The towns of Mathura and Vrindavan in North India, known to be the birthplace of the mythical god, are throbbing places of festivity during this day.
This day rejoices the birthday of Hindu god Ganesh. The part elephant part human deity is celebrated on this day throughout Maharashtra and most parts of South India.
Onam Harvest Festival
The Onam festival is an annual harvest fair that is the most important festival in South India, particularly Kerala.
According to the mythical epic of Ramayana, this is the day that Lord Ram destroyed the evil demon Ravana. This day signifies the victory of good over evil, and is celebrated widely across India in many forms.
The birthday of the founder of free India, Mahatma Gandhi is a national holiday in India. All schools, banks, shops and offices are shut on this day.
Unarguably the biggest festival in North India, Diwali is known as the festival of lights.
This day is celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra.
Pushkar Cattle Fair
The largest camel fair in India is hosted by the lake town of Pushkar in Rajasthan every year in the months of September/November. It has become a huge tourist attraction over the years and is fascinating to attend.
North India, particularly Punjab, celebrated Guru Nanak Jayanti, which marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.
Known as the festival of colours, this is one of the most exciting occasions celebrated particularly in North India.
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