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Not-to-miss Indian festivals and events this winter

There’s a plethora of interesting things to do in winter to make sure you don’t hibernate through the colder months. Take a look at these exciting events and festivals taking place across the country.

When: December 28 to 31, 2016
Where: Pune

The tenth edition of one of the biggest music festivals in Asia is going to be held in Pune instead of Goa. Sunburn receives some of the biggest names from the Indian and international music circuit and caters to fans of electronic music across genres, with stages for house, techno, trance, psychedelic trance, dubstep. This year they’ve got a line-up of bands and artists such as Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and many more.

When: December 12 2016 to March 29, 2017
Where: Kochi

Kochi has become a public art landmark playing host to works by some of the most highly acclaimed artists in the world as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. This year, 97 artists from 31 countries will participate in the 108-day art extravaganza that started on 12th December. Theatre practitioners, installation artists, musicians, poets, cartoonists, painters, performers, sculptors, muralists, and writers will take part. Besides the main biennale, there will be a ‘students biennale’ comprising works of 450 students from 54 art institutions across the country.

When: December 15 to 18, 2016
Where: Kolkata

The seventh edition of the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival, the largest in Asia, will be held from at ICCR, Kolkata. The festival will feature Kevin Loh, Leon Loudelak, Shyamant Behal and Ekachai Jearukul among others. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Celebrating Asia’.

Image courtesy: Serendipity Arts Festival

When: December 16 to 23, 2016
Where: Goa

The festival celebrates performing, visual and culinary arts through a number of events. Curators include notable names from the fields of art, food, music, dance and theatre, such as founder-director of Seher, Sanjeev Bhargava, drummer, singer and composer Ranjit Barot, classical singer and composer Shubha Mudgal, actor-director Lillete Dubey and chef and restaurateur Manu Chandra.
Look out for Mudgal’s “Living Traditions” project in an open-air theatre in Panaji which will reinterpret Hindustani classical music and showcase compositions that were recorded in the early part of the 20th century when recording technology first came to India.

17 metre kite being flown at Uttarayan Kite Festival.
Image courtesy: ©Tom Robinson/Lonely Planet

When: January 10 to 11, 2017
Where: Ahmedabad

Perhaps no other event is looked forward to in Gujarat as much as the International Kite Festival when the sky is filled with bright-coloured kites. Head to the banks of the Sabarmati (Gandhi to Nehru Bridge) to take part in this. Residents prepare for months, making kites using designs that have been passed down for generations. The festival is tied to Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti), which marks the change of seasons. During the festival, local foods such as undhiyu and til (sesame seed) brittle are served to the people. There will be laser and sound shows, kite making workshops and more.

When: January 15 to 18, 2017
Where: Kolkata


Bringing together the different hues of literature, music and visual arts, this year the festival promises to offer the best to the City of Joy. Events will be held at several heritage sites and also the Oxford Bookstore Kolkata. This time poet and novelist Ben Okri, Anjum Hasan and Australian chef and author Christine Manfield are some of the

When: January 19 to 23
Where: Jaipur

Billed as the ‘largest free literary festival on Earth’, the Jaipur Lit Fest, as its popularly called, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Each year some of biggest Indian and international authors take part in talks, debates, book reading sessions and cultural evenings. It is hosted in the heritage hotel Diggi Palace, and one of the organisers is writer William Dalrymple. Some of the speakers lined up this time are Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Anne Waldman, Narendra Kohli, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Richard Flanagan and many more.

When: February 2 to 5
Where: Delhi

The largest contemporary art event in South Asia will showcase interesting art work of famous and emerging Indian artists. Besides art displays they will have an exciting programme of lectures, screenings and conversations in a wide spectrum of artistic practices.

When: February 4 to 12, 2017
Where: Mumbai

This community celebration of the arts held in the historic precincts of Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai unites art, books, music, cinema and food to create an incredible atmosphere perfect for kids and adults alike. The South Mumbai heritage area will be thrown open to a kaleidoscope of music, dance, theatre, literature, food, street stalls, cinema, workshops, and visual arts, urban design, architecture and heritage walks.

Image courtesy: Goa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.

When: February 21 to 23, 2017
Where: Goa

Come February, the streets of Panjim are filled with a colourful parade and people in colourful dress, great food, and drinks. The floats have themes that vary from science to environment to sports. Some have dancers, people in spectacular costumes, and much dancing and music. Goa’s carnival dates back to the area’s Portuguese heritage and is celebrated before the onset of the Lent season. If you get tired of the noise, join the languid people watching it all on the steps of the church square.

When: March 1 to 7, 2017
Where: Rishikesh

Hone your yoga skills at this annual festival at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. The one-week festival, will have over 70 hours of yoga classes from world-class teachers in multiple styles including kundalini yoga, power vinyasa yoga, Iyengar yoga and kriya yoga. Every day a one-hour yoga class will be held at 6.30am followed by a simple breakfast. At 8.30am, you can join one of several two-hour hour yoga sessions. The evening ends with the aarti on the banks of the Ganga.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Anuradha Sengupta is a freelance writer and founder-editor of Jalebi Ink, an award-winning media collective for children and youth. A compulsive city-walker, she loves exploring urban cultures and is a columnist for NY-based Karta, a collaborative urban mapping project. Her most memorable adventure was in Afghanistan as digital media advisor, setting up citizens' media centres.