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Fair and festivals of Rajasthan

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Rajasthan international folk festival, Jodhpur

Hailed as a “People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development” and patronised by the Maharaja of Jodhpur and Sir Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, RIFF is an annual music and art festival for the promotion of traditional folk music and arts. It is celebrated around Sharad Purnima, the brightest full moon night of the year and is a unique celebration of Indian as well as international music at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh fort. More than 200 musicians from around the globe attend this festival, making it an absolute treat for music and art lovers. It coincides with the Marwar festival.


Desert festival, Jaisalmer

A three-day event organised by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation in the month of February, it is an absolute bonanza that celebrates the delights of the desert. The atmosphere is alive with song and dance, with the artists dressed in bright colours and traditional finery, depicting the tragedies and accomplishments of the desert. A showcase of desert rituals and life, camel races, gymnastic stunts, several competitions like longest moustache, turban tying, Mr Desert etc, delicious food and interesting stalls selling handicrafts and other souvenirs will make it a memorable 3 days of your life.


Pushkar festival, Pushkar

The Big Daddy of all desert festivals, Pushkar Fair is a spectacular five-day camel and livestock fair held in the town of Pushkar, on the banks of the Pushkar lake in Rajasthan. It also coincides with the religious celebration of Kartik Ekadashi, when the Pushkar lake was supposed to be created by Lord Brahma. Primarily a livestock fair for the buying and selling of camels, the Pushkar fair attracts hordes of tourists making it a true cultural bonanza of art, music, dance, puppet shows, gypsy dance, races, competitions with a host of vendors selling delicious snacks including camel milk cheeses and cakes, jewellery, shawls and other titbits. The entire festive and spiritual atmosphere completely lights up the desert in these five days.


Teej festival

One of west India’s biggest festivals, Teej commemorates two things – a woman’s love for her husband and the advent of the monsoon season. The festival is marked by colourful celebrations where the womenfolk observe fasting and apply mehndi designs on their hands, enjoy long swing rides, song and dance with other women, tell stories and deck up in festive attire to celebrate the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The markets and bazaars of Jaipur are filled to the brim with attractive clothes, jewellery and sweets like Ghewar and Malpua. A procession of a decorated idol of Goddess Parvati is carried through Jaipur, and thousands of devotees and tourists throng to see the procession and the antique palanquins, chariots, bands, folk music and dance and soak in the cultural revelry.


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Gangaur festival, Jaipur

Another festival that commemorates the goddess Parvati and her home-coming, it is celebrated with huge fanfare in Rajasthan by women. Processions of a decked up Goddess Gauri are carried all over the city and everyone participates in these processions, often accompanied by elephant processions, old palanquins, chariots, folk song and dance and often ends with fireworks. It coincides with the Mewar festival in Udaipur.


Jaipur literature festival, Jaipur   

Perhaps not as glamorous as some of the other festivals on this list, JLF is the world’s largest free literary festival. Nobel laureates, Booker prize winners, debut novelists – the who’s who of the literary world come together for five days of readings, discussions and debates at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur. A great platform that provides access to some of the greatest authors and thinkers on this planet and gives courage to young minds to dream and imagine, it is not a chance anyone should miss.


Nagaur fair, Nagaur

The second largest fair in the country, it is essentially a cattle fair that attracts more than two lakh animal owners to bring their horses, cows, bullocks, oxen, camels etc. to be a part of a large trade show. A lot of animal races and cockfights in the day, followed by some dance and music in the nights attracts tourists and animal owners alike. Organised by the Department of Animal Husbandry, it brings out the true Rajput flavour of Rajasthan.


Kite festival, Jodhpur

A 3-day festival to celebrate the spirit of Makar Sankranti, the Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival, is simply put, a kite-flying competition. In reality, it is a colourful and extravagant spectre of kites, of myriad shapes, colours and sizes that deck up the desert sky. A number of helicopters release kites in the sky and children release balloons, making it a truly magnificent and spectacular event.


Camel festival, Bikaner

Organised in the honour of the ship of the desert, the Camel Festival is a spectacular festival celebrated in Bikaner. Just like the other celebrations of Rajasthan, this festival kicks off with great pomp and show. Celebrated every year in the pleasant January, the Camel Festival is a two-day long affair with a colourful parade of the decked up camels against the backdrop of the magnificent Junagadh Fort. It includes camel race, camel games and other cultural performances. Though celebrated to glorify the camels of Rajasthan, this festival also includes the traditional Rajasthani folk performances. The festival concludes with an awe-inspiring display of fireworks, illuminating the majestic skies of Bikaner.


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Mewar festival, Udaipur

The city of Udaipur comes alive with colours of festivities during the Mewar Festival which marks the advent of spring in the region. It is a major festival of Rajasthan and people from all over the globe flock to Udaipur to witness the glory of the town during this time. The whole town is decorated with bright lights and a joyous mood reigns in the air. This festival includes a number of practices, like dressing the idols of Isar and Gangaur and carrying them in a traditional procession through various parts of the city. People also engage in the cultural dance and songs, revealing the colourful culture of Rajasthan.


Urs festival, Ajmer

Usually held in the month of May and June, the Urs Festival is one of the major festivals celebrated at the venerated Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Hordes of pilgrims travel to this town, located to the West of Jaipur to visit this holy shrine. The Urs Festival commemorates the death anniversary of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the revered Sufi Saint. The fair is held for six days because it is believed that the Khwaja Moinuddin cooked for six days before he left his mortal remains. His followers from all over the world throng Ajmer to seek his blessings during these six sacred days.


Brij Holi, Bharatpur

The most loved festival in India is celebrated in a grand and elaborate style, a few days ahead before Holi, in Bharatpur located in the Brij region of Rajasthan. The spirit of the city comes alive during this festival, with people dressed in their brightest attires and singing colourful songs. Lord Krishna is worshipped in this festival, thus the entire love story of Krishna and Radha is showcased in the form of a dance, which is the unique feature of this festival. The entire region is immersed in the colours of Holi during this time and the people are at their merriest self. Tourists from far and wide come to Bharatpur to experience the out of the world festivities.


Kota adventure festival, Kota

Combine adventure with spirituality and you have the Kota Adventure Festival! It is one of the fascinating festivals of Rajasthan, held during Dussehra in the month of October. During this festival, adventure sports are organised which beckons people from every part of the country. The main aim of the festival is to boost the tourism of the state. It is a week-long haven for adventure enthusiasts since the key events include rafting, windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking rock climbing, trekking, angling and rural excursions. The main highlight of the festival is kite flying. Name any adventure sports and you would probably find it at the Kota Adventure Festival.


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