The land of palaces, forts, Havelis and Maharajas, Rajasthan has always been known for all things colorful and bright. Be it the outfits, the handicraft, the culture or the cuisine. But one thing that definitely doubles up the fun of being in the state is its vibrant festivals! It is the folk music, traditional dances, exotic fairs and exuberant locals that add the spice and sweet.
Well, if you are down and out and your life feels like a black and white mute movie then just loosen up yourself and head to one of these festivals. The splash of colors will instantly recharge your battery and bring the fun back to your life. No matter how unwanted you feel, Rajasthan always promises the much-needed hospitality and warmth: Padharo Mhare Des!.
The annual cattle festival held in Pushkar is the biggest festival of its kind in the whole world. Attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle the festival draws nearly 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days. Well, if you are thinking that it’s just a marketplace for traders and farmers then you are unaware of this huge carnival. It’s an extravaganza of art, music, dance, puppet shows, gypsy dance and competitions like such as the “matka phod“, “longest mustache”, and “bridal competition”. Also, there are many other locals from various regions of Rajasthan who out these stalls of traditional jewelry, handicraft, fabric, and food.
When: Each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
Duration: 5 days
Specialty: Cattle, colors, and craft
The Desert festival, also known as Maru Mahotsav, is held amidst the golden sands of the Thar Desert in the month of February. While the festival is dedicated to the deserts of the state, it also captures the traditional culture of the imperial state of Rajasthan. If that doesn’t seem enough the vibrant stalls, snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers will surely catch your eye.
The Desert Festival is held in Jaisalmer as the city is known as the golden city of Rajasthan. Set in the center of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is extremely famous for its golden sand dunes and hence serves as the perfect host for the event. With all the colors, culture, dance and competitions the festival goes on for three days in complete spirits and celebration.
Duration: 3 days
Specialty: Sand, sun, and fun
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
RIFF is an annual music and art festival organized to promote traditional folk music and arts. The festival has been endorsed by UNESCO as a “People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development” and it took off in 2007. Organized in and around Mehrangarh Fort, the festival is your chance to enjoy the vibes of the vibrant state under full moon light. If you are the kind of person who prefers the tent to hotels, well that option is available as well.
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
When: Sharad Purnima, October
Duration: 5 Days
Specialty: Folk music and art
Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival
Makar Sankranti is one festival celebrated widely in various states in various ways. When it comes to Rajasthan, the sky over the majestic palaces is filled with colorful kites of different shapes and style. If you think you are good at it, become a part of this three-day celebration and try your skills. Usually, it is held at the Polo Ground in Jodhpur and Air Force helicopters also release a large number of kites from above. This spectacular visual is a sight to behold with people of all ages participating in high spirits.
When: Makar Sankranti, January
Duration: 3 days
Specialty: Kite flying
Summer and Winter Festivals, Mt. Abu
While it is quite unfair to not mention the second biggest fair in the country- The Nagaur Fair, it would have been equally unfair to not have five festivals of five kinds! So, to give you a variety of vibes here is an outstanding festival in the most outstanding location. Hailed as the one and only hill station of the state, Mount Abu has never failed to please honeymooners, tourists, and travelers.
Every year the month of May and December get even more colorful, lively and exuberant with processions, competitions, folk dance, music and dazzling fireworks. The festival begins with a ceremonial procession and followed by folk performances from states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab & Haryana. The festival reflects and celebrates the warmth and cheerfulness of the people of Rajasthan.
Where: Mount Abu
When: May or June, December
Duration: 3 days
Specialty: procession, folk performances