Rajasthan is known as the: ' Land of Celebration '. The fairy-tale forts and palaces sprinkled across its golden sands and backwoods conjure up never-ending, captivating imagery of gallant kings, beautiful princesses and lavish durbars. The mark of royalty is all-pervasive in this desert land; this is seen not only on the flamboyant frescoes and murals of the palaces, but also in the splendor and ceremony of the effervescent people who inhabit this stately land.
Naturally fairs and festivals form an enormous part of Rajasthan culture, and these momentous celebrations usher in a point in time where the desert glitters with the colors of joyous celebration and blissful abandon with every fair and festival that unfolds. There is a celebration for every noteworthy and religious occasion - none is overlooked; every change of season and every harvest is commemorated with zeal and dedication.
Pushkar Fair - October/November
Pushkar rejoices with life and enthusiasm especially in the month of November when it celebrates one of the most exotic festivals in Rajasthan. This unforgettable extravaganza is held during the month of Kartik. Decorated camels, bedecked cattle, awe-inspiring events, jostling rustic crowds, meditating sadhus, holy dips, and vivid stalls, and exotic fairs are but just a few of the many wonders of this joyous fair.
Kartik Poornima Festival - October/November
The hallowed Kartik Purnima festival is celebrated widely throughout Rajasthan and India. It is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Brahma, creator of the universe. The festival is celebrated on the full moon night in the Hindu month of 'Kartik'. On this day, ritualistic bathing on the ghats of Pushkar Lake, in Pushkar begins at dawn. The waters of this placid lake are said to possess curative powers; they are believed to wash away the sins of a lifetime. As the day draws to an end and the moon begins to shine at its brightest, devotees visit the Pushkar Brahma temple to relinquish their transgressions and receive his consecrated blessing.
Holi Festival - March
It is the most boisterous of all Hindu festivals. Observed all over India - particularly in Rajasthan and northern India - it heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring. People celebrate this point in time by blithely throwing colored water and powders at one another. Singing and dancing also greatly enhance the jovial spirit of this wonderful celebration.
Diwali Festival - October/November
The Diwali Festival - otherwise known as the Festival of Lights is one of the most dazzling of Indian festivals. It comes 21 days after Dussehra - a popular Hindu festival - and celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after his 14-year exile. Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed to everyone and thousands of lamps lit in households all over the country making it a night of merriment and enchantment.
Teej Festival - July
Marking the onset of the monsoon season in July, the Teej festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is the festival of swings which are decorated with flowers and hung from trees. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon.
Camel Festival - January/February
The Camel Festival is held in January every year in Bikaner. The festival begins with a colourful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh fort. Bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and camel shadows, cast a spell on the audience and in the evenings a traditional rendezvous of renowned Rajasthan artists and folk performers unfold.
Mewar Festival - March/April
This 18-day festival is celebrated to welcome the dawn of spring and coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur. It is a significant event for the women of the state, as it is a pivotal time for them to dress in their finest garments. The women gather to dress the images of the idols: Isar and Gangaur; they are then carried - in a ceremonial procession - through different parts of the city. The procession terminates at Pichhola Lake , where the idols are transferred to special boats amidst singing, praise and incantations.
Marwar Festival - October
Held in October in Jodhpur, this annual two-day event attempts to showcase the art and culture of the Jodhpur region. It is devoted mainly to singing and dancing. Originally known as the Maand festival, the folk dancers provide a glimpse of the days of battles and valiant heroes who still live on by their songs. Other attractions are camel tattoo shows and polo.