India is a land with enchanting beauty, contrasting landscapes, geographical diversity, magnificent water bodies, and surreal experiences. Fairs and festivals are an integral part of Indian culture and heritage. Packed with fun and frolics, colorful aura, interesting commodities, diverse customs and traditions, these fairs and festivals signifies the essence of Indian society. People from across the country attend these incredible fairs to enjoy the rich traditions and the largest conglomeration of assorted events. So no matter what, these unbelievable big fairs in India will compel the traveler inside you to live through some of the best events in the world. Add these big and famous fairs to your bucket list for marvelous adventures and experiences.
World Book Fair, New Delhi
Organized by National Book Trust, India, New Delhi World Book Fair is one of the highly-sorted events held annually at Pragati Maidan in January/February. It is a paradise for bookworms and bibliophiles where they can enjoy purchasing and reading books on different genres. Over 500 popular and new publishers participate in the fair with different aims. Some intend to promote their brand and increase sales while others wish to introduce the habit of reading.
The world book fair gives an opportunity to book industry so that publishers can introduce their latest editions, publications, journals and books to the crowd. It also opens up a gateway to the publishing and intellectual world of South Asia apart from promoting literacy and reading habit among youth and children. The fair is recognized as the biggest book bonanza awaited by students, scholars, authors, teachers, intellectuals, librarians and book lovers. You can spot these noted publishers in the World Book Fair: Penguin, Macmillan, Black Swan, OM Books, S.Chand, Harper Collins, Pearson, Mc Graw-Hill and many others.
India International Trade Fair, New Delhi
The capital of the country, New Delhi hosts some of the biggest events among which India International Trade Fair (IITF) gathers a humongous crowd from every nook and corner of Delhi-NCR. IITF is the major event for the business community that gives a platform to manufacturers, traders, exporters and importers to showcase their products or services to the world.
The fair is organized in November every year at Pragati Maidan and hosts more than 6000 exhibitors including foreign ones. It displays a wide variety of products and services including kitchen appliances, cosmetics, bodycare and healthcare products, processed food, textiles, garments, sporting goods, toys, home décor and so much more.
The presence of millions of people in the fair speaks volumes about this gigantic event. If you fancy foreign products, you can visit the exhibits by foreign trade delegations and enjoy the fair. India International Trade Fair is a perfect place for shopaholics where they can buy the coolest items at amazing prices.
Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest festivals which is also known to be the oldest festival (over 2000 years old) depicting the rich cultural heights of India. It is the largest gathering of Hindu pilgrims celebrated every 12 years rotating between four different places along the sacred rivers- Nashik on river Godavari, Ujjain on river Shipra, Haridwar on river Ganga and Prayag at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Each of the 4 sites is celebrated upon based on the unique planetary positions of the SUN, the Moon and the Jupiter. When these astrological positions align perfectly, Pilgrims and devotees take a bath in these rivers believing the holy water to cleanse them of their sins.
Attendees come from all the sections of the Hindu religious life including Naga Sadhus, priests, ardent devotees of Shaivism tradition, Vaishnavism and monks from different Akhadas inclusive of Udasis and Nirmalas. Kumbha Mela can be traced back to the scriptures of Indian Mythology. Taking a dip in the holy waters of the rivers is believed to help people attain salvation. Witnessing this massive conglomeration of humans is no less than an adventure.
Pushkar Mela, Rajasthan
Pushkar camel fair is an annual five-day event attracting tourists from across the world to witness the buying and selling of livestock. Apart from being one of the world’s largest camel fairs, Pushkar mela is also recognized for its interesting competitions like ‘matka phod’, ‘longest mustache’, ‘bridal games’, ‘hot air balloon ride’ among others. The fair portrays the vibrancy of Rajasthan and its culture in a beautiful and organized manner where people get a platform to buy/sell their livestock including horses, camels, cows, goats and sheep. Handicraft stalls are another attraction to buy accessories and colorful traditional fabrics. On top of it, tourists get the choice to reside either in a palace or tented camp to add fun to their adventurous trip. Sounds enticing, right?
Surajkund Mela, Haryana
Arts and craft lovers always find a way to get inspired. One of which is Surajkund crafts fair that portrays the rich, colourful and diverse culture of Haryana and gives local artisans a platform to showcase their talent and items. Surajkund mela is not any regular crafts fair. It is an internationally acclaimed fair involving local participant as well as foreign ones. You can find fantastic handloom items, finest handicrafts, and traditional arts in the fair. The mela is a tempting destination for shopaholics where they can buy mind-blowing traditional items at fair prices. Moreover, folk dance and singing performances make your travel experience all more enjoyable and memorable.
Rath Yatra, Odissa
Rath Yatra is one of the grandest festivals on earth with millions of devotes attending a week-long journey of their deities. It is an important event for the Vaishnavite sect involving a public procession with a chariot with deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra on the rath adorned with the celestial wheel sudarshan chakra. During this event, deities are taken out from the precincts of the temple and placed on their respective chariot for a journey accompanied by the public. After 7 days, the deities are returned to their abode. Many noted sages, poets and Indian scriptures have repeatedly glorified the sanctity and piousness of the festival. It is said that whoever gets a glimpse of Lord Jagannath is blessed with a prosperous and happy life. Even touching the ropes or the chariot is considered pious enough to cleanse sins.
The name ‘Goa carnival’ gives you a clear picture of what it enfolds. Goa is a popular destination of tourists primarily known for its vibrant nightlife, pebbly shores, pristine beaches, shacks and huts and laid-back vacation. Goa carnival, a 4-day festival takes the meaning of fun to the next level. The festival is an annual cultural event where live music, huge parades, colorful masks and dance add a magical charm to this happening place. If you wish to feel the electric vibe of ‘brazil’ in India, Goa is the place to be especially during March when the Goa carnival is held. No matter if you want to dance on the streets with the crowd like no one is watching or enjoy a sophisticated ball dance in the evening, Goa carnival is not going to disappoint you.
Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
Nagaland is one of the offbeat destinations in the country that is abundant with raw natural beauty encompassing gigantic mountains, eye-soothing waterfalls, greenery, wildlife and rich culture. The lack of knowledge of Nagaland’s gorgeousness made the government take initiatives w.r.t ‘Hornbill festival’ to bring the world’s attention to this mesmerizing event. Hornbill is a multi-day festival celebrated in December in Kohima where all nagas come under one roof and showcase their best through fold dance, music, handicraft skills, handloom items, archery skills and much more. Also known as the ‘festival of festivals’, Hornbill is attracting tourists from across the world. Why should you miss it then?
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
It’s a multi-day event organized typically in February amidst the sand dunes of the famous Thar Desert. Folk-dance, folk song, interesting competitions form the highlights of the event. Desert Festival is the time of the year that breathes fresh life into the city and celebrates the culture and traditions of the nomadic life in the desert.
People of the desert dance their heart out whilst dolled up in brilliantly hued costumes and sing haunting tales of romance, courage and tragedy. Camels play a pivotal role in this festival and are beautifully dressed. This exhilarating festival ends with an enthralling sound and light show in the sand dunes under the moonlight. The festival makes the magnificent Thar Desert come alive with colors and happiness. If the idea of dancing freely without caring about your left-feet excites you, plan your trip beforehand for an experience of a lifetime.
Tarnetar Mela, Gujarat
Tarnetar mela is a carnival representing Gujarati folk–dance, music, costumes and arts that is focused around tribal women and men seeking marriage partners. It’s a place where history meets mythology pumping romance and excitement in the air that is beyond anyone’s imagination. The circular movement of dancers in their colorful costumes is a sight to behold. The marital status of a woman is indicated through her costumes where a black skirt means she is married.
Tarnetar fair give the opportunity to unmarried male/female members of the society to find love. Beautiful handicraft stalls selling equally fascinating jewellery, accessories and fabric add charm to the fair. There are plenty of things to enjoy in Tarnetar mela such as merry-go-round rides, photography, magic shows, tattoo artists and so much more. Attending the fair is an adventure itself where you can spot men trying to woo women owing to which it’s rightly called ‘marriage mart’.