Nothing is more delightful than the change in weather at this time of the year that also heralds in a change of mood making everything seem chirpier and brighter. What adds sprinkles of joy to it all are the number of festivals and celebrations that the almanac brings along. We’ve lined up some of the major ones for you. Take a look:
International Yoga and Music Festival
When: Nov 1-7
Where: Rishkesh, Uttarakhand
Against the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, Rishikesh will be hosting the International Yoga and Music Festival. Yoga enthusiasts can gather to be part of the event that is organized by the Nada Yoga School every year since 2008. It features yoga professionals from India and abroad conducting sessions that explore the myriad holistic aspects of yoga through seminars, workshops, etc. Evening time is for relaxation with programmes on Indian classical music.
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When: Nov 1 onwards
Where: Great Rann of Kutch
Visitors often confess that hearing about the Rann of Kutch’s salt fields is one thing but seeing them first-hand is another. Set against the white salt sands and marshes, visitors get to witness some wonderful folk song and dance performances, pick up dexterously made handicrafts and yes, try out the cuisine that’s so unique to the region. Hot air balloon rides giving a bird’s eye view, visits to some of the imposing monuments around including the Dattatreya Temple on Kalo Dungar are all fascinating experiences.
When: Nov 3
One of the most important festivals in Bihar, and Nepal too, Chhath sees the worshiping of the Sun God and Chhathi Maiyya who is regarded as His younger wife. Devotees flock to water fronts both at sunrise as well as sunset to take a ritualistic holy bath and offer prayers to the Sun regarded as a healer of many health problems and seek blessings for a happy and healthy life. A lot of women fast during the day and do not even consume water.
Pushkar Camel Fair
When: Nov 4-12
This is a two-pronged affair on the sands around the holy land of Pushkar where, on one hand, devotees take a dip in the town’s lake on Kartik Purnima, and on the other, cattle owners assemble for animal trading. What started out as a local fair has over the years became a spectacular event with thousands coming in not just to admire the fair’s activities but also to watch many entertaining events such as camel shows, cultural programmes besides other enjoyable activities like the longest moustache and turban-tying contests, tug-of-war, etc.
When: Nov 12
All those who witness this beautiful festival cannot remain unmoved by the surreal sight that it unfolds- of thousands of diyas floating on the waters of the Ganges. Dev Deepavali is believed to be the day when Gods come down to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, yet again. Through the day, devotees throng to take a dip in the Ganga and stay on for the evening aarti that sees the holy chants resounding beautifully all across the ghats.
Guru Nanak Jayanti
When: Nov 12
Where: All over India
This major festival of Sikhs celebrates the birth of the revered Guru Nanak. At the crack of dawn, devotees get ready for the Prabhat Pheri procession in which the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, is carried out in a palanquin with the ‘panj pyaras’ or the five armed guards leading the spectacular parade. Besides visiting gurdwaras to be part of holy recitations, devotees also enjoy the special ‘karah prasad’ and ‘langar’.
When: Nov 12 (goes on for a month)
Where: Sonepur, Bihar
If the camels reign at the Pushkar fair, at Sonepur that is touted as one of Asia’s largest cattle fairs, it’s the turn of the elephants. Held close to the confluence of the River Ganga and the Gandak, the fair, believed to go back thousands of years, is believed to have also attracted kings who would pick up powerful pachyderms and even well-bred horses from here. Endless rows of a variety of animals that also include buffaloes, oxen, donkeys, ponies, goats, etc present an unforgettable sight.
Cherry Blossom festival
When: Nov 13-16
Whoever says cherry blossoms look beautiful only in Japan needs to visit Shillong where the flower has been celebrated for long, especially in the month of November when they grow in all their glory all across the countryside. It is at this time that visitors are invited to enjoy the beauty of this flower at its venues like the Polo Second Ground, JN Stadium, Ward’s Lake and Tara Ghar. Adding flavour to the festival are rock concerts, traditional folk music and unplugged music sessions.
India Art Festival
When: Nov 14-17
Held at the Thyagaraj Stadium, this meeting point of modern and contemporary art has, ever since it was founded in 2011, been bringing together Indian artists, galleries, collectors and art lovers on the same page. Besides enjoying the exhibits, visitors can also be part of its art education programmes that include guided walks by experts and panel discussions on art.
When: Nov 15-17
Known for its age-old beautiful miniatures, the Bundi region of Rajasthan also offers a festival that gives visitors a dekko at its art and culture, traditions and folklore. Called the Bundi Utsav, it commences with a beautiful procession and the events that follow in the three days of the festival include a variety of rural sports, exhibitions, folk/classical music and dance programmes. A display of fireworks brings the festival to a close.