& Festivals of Rajasthan
Rajasthan, is a colourful desert. The unconvincing Thar Desert and with it
all the barren land of Rajasthan has much to offer through the plethora of
celebrations. Festivals and fairs, music and dances, turns the land to a
creative fertile basin. Season heralded with a festive fervour and cattle
marts turn into delightful fairs.
Festivals hold an unusual lure
for the Rajasthanis and they have any number of reasons to celebrate.
Pageantry is in the form of weddings or rituals, or to promote trade. Each
region has their own form of Folk entertainment, own Traditions, own dialect
adding to the Indian diversity. Pushkar Fair, Desert festival, Elephant
Festival and Camel festival are internationally famous and are not to be
These festivals born out of age-old traditions, adorns
the golden land and unveils the best with vulnerable colours. Colours that
are alive and unrestricted, and unifies each soul who visits this magic
land. There's a rhythm, there's a jest, a passion, a spirit of romance, a
valour, a feel of being one with the blonde landscape. This spirit of
celebration is like Desert Rains, hidden in the Aravalli bosom, unfolding
its feather with each festival.
(Bikaner, January) A unique celebration
highlighting camel & cultural heritage of northern Rajasthan. The camel
festival begins with a colourful procession of bedecked camels against the
red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh fort, the festivity advances to the
open sand spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition,
the tug of war contest, camel dances & acrobatics. The camels dance
gracefully to the slightest direction of their trainers their bejeweled
necks, jingling anklets cast a magical spell.Glorious Gorbandh dance, local
folk performs and dazzling fireworks offer a different tenor & tempo
(Nagaur. Jan.-Feb.) Essentially an animal fair is one of the largest in the
colmtry. The fair is renowned for the trading in cows, bullocks, camels &
horses Mirchi Bazar is the main attraction and wooden items, iron craft &
leather accessories are available in plenty during the fair. As the Sun goes
down, a joyous atmosphere is created by the folk musicians whose voices echo
far & wide across the tranquil desert sand. Nagaur is well connected to
the mal or tourist centers of Rajasthan. The nearest airport is Jodhpur (135
(Jaisalmer, Jan.-Feb.) A unique three day show
on the sands, when the desert blooms with the riotous colour of Rajasthan 's
desert heritage. The traditional dances (famous Gair & Fire dances)
backed by high pitched music take the folk dances and the audience on an
Euphoric trip. The turban tying competition & Mr. Desert contest coupled
with camel race & acrobatics add a touch of excitement to the
celebrations. One can enjoy the pleasure of a camel ride to the sand dances
and view musicians & dancers performing.
(Baneshwar Dungarpur,Jan.-Feb.) A religious festival with simple &
traditional rituals. Quaint rhythms conjure up the tribal cultural identity
of the Bhils of Rajasthan, Gujarat & M.P. Baneshwar means the master of
the delta and this name was given to the Shiva linga. The Beneshwar fair is
held at a small delta formed by the river Som & Mahi & prayers are
offered toLord Shiva locally named as Baneshwar. The fair resounds with the
gaeity of traditional folk songs, folk dances, Raslila, animal show, magic
shows acrobatic feats. Adding to the excitement are me joy ride." on
merygo rounds & swings.
(Jaipur, March) A magnificent spectactle, it unveils the majesty and
grandeur of elephants celebrated around Holi. The Mahavats or owners proudly
decorate their elephants with bright colours, jhool., (saddle cloth) and
heavy jewellary. A royal procession of decorated elephants, a match of
elephant polo, an elephant race and playing Holi on elephants are main
(Bharatpur, March) Held on the eve of Holi in honour of Lord Krishna, this
festival is marked by verve & east Villagers, in gay, multitude attire
can be seen singing and performing the Raslila dance the immortal love story
of Radha & Krishna.
(Jaipur, MarchApril) A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of
Lord Shiva. Ishar & Gangaur are the divine male and female ho embody
marital love. Dedicated to goddess Gauri (Parvati), the festival commences
on Holi/ Young girls pray for ;rooms of their choice while married women
seek a long life for their husbands. rhe ladies decorate their hands and
feet )y drawing designs with Mehendi (Myrtle Jaste). On the evening of the
7th day after -ioli, unmarried girls go around singing songs of ghudlia
(earthern pots with numerous holes all around with a lamp lit aside)
carrying the pots on their hands. )n their way they collect small presents
,f cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. The women do these while chanting
hymns to the Goddess. Festivities continue for 18 days culminating with the
arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home. A grand process Ion with the
ideal of Gauri in beautifully decorated gold and silver a palanquin
caparisoned elephants, camels, horses, dances, drummers & joyous
children, goes through the city streets. In Jaipur procession forms at the
Palace Gate known as T ripolia and moves on the city streets on to
Talkatora. A vast gathering of jaipurites & villagers from nearby areas
witness the procession. A sweet dish called Ghewar characteristic of the
Gangaur festival is distributed among friends & relatives. In Jodhpur
early in the morning thousands of maidens, clad in their best attire,
singing melodious songs, bring water and durba grass in silver or brass pots
to a place known as Girdikot. In Udaipur the images of Isar & Gauri are
taken in a procession to the Pichola lake there after in a boat for an hour
they go around the lake and the ceremony comes to an end with a display of
fireworks on the banks. The Girasia tribe eligible boys & girls in
Sirohi, Mount Abu region during Gangaur festival select their life partners
& elope with them. This form of marriage has the sanction of the
(Udaipur, MarchApril) Coinciding with the festival of Gangaur the Mewar
festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. Once the religions
part of the festival is over it is time for potrayal of Rajasthani culture
through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an
impressive fire works display.
Kaila Devi Fair
(Mt. Abu, June) The steep rocks,
tranqillake, mango grooves, bauhinia trees & thickets of wild berries
cover this hilly mount. The three day festival is a feast of folk &
classical music and a window to the tribal life & culture of Rajasthan.
Cail; Choomar & Dhap folk dances enthrall the spectators. Sporting
events such as the boat race on the Nakki lake add variety to the festival.
Udaipur (185 Kms.) is the nearest airport and Abu Road (29 Kms.) is the
nearest Railway station and, there is a good network of bus services
connecting Mount Abu to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur & Ahmedabad.
(Jaipur , July-August) The festival celebrating the reunion of Shiva &
Parvati, is celebrated at the onset of the onsoon. Teej is the festival of
swings. Young girls & women dressed in green clothes sing songs &
swing in celebrating the advent of the mansoon. An elaborate procession is
taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days with ornately dressed
elephants, horses & camels, bands, performing artists & coluorfully
dressed people Goddess Parvati is invoked to bless her worshippers with
conjugal harmony & bliss.
(Pushkar-Ajmer, November) Excitement, gaiety and a keen sense of competition
fill the air as the long journey to Pushkar begins. The only temple
dedicated to Lord Brahma (the creator) is located at Pushkar. The Pushkar
lake is surrounded by 52 flights of steps called ghats. Legend has it that
Lord Vishnu appeared at the Varah ghat in the form of a boar. Brahma took a
bath here and performed yagna at the Brahma Ghat accompanied by Vishnu &
Mahadev. The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation) were immersed at
the Gandhi ghat. Pushkar is among the five principal places of Hindu
pilgrimage. People consider the water of the Pushkar lake to be very sacred
and the ritual of taking dips in the holy water IS believed to bestow
salvation. It I s customary to float lighted eastern lamps ed on pattals
(plates made of leaves) on the waters of lake. This creales a spectacular
view when the sacred lake takes on a mystical tint sprankled with twinkling
spots of light. In conjunction with he religious fair, a cattle fair is also
organised. The ancient town of Pushkar is transformed into a spectacular
fair ground. The fair grounds reverberate with festivity and woman folk shop
for bangles, clothes, utensils, sundry household items & leather goods.
The highlight of the Pushkar fair is the trading in camels. The camel, horse
& donkey races are events that draw huge attendance. Body tatooing is
yet another favourite activity. Come dusk, and the rich strains of haunting
music are carried across the desert sands as the merrymaking continues deep
into the night.
(Ajmer) The urs, acommomerative celebration is held in the solemn memory of
Khwaja Muin-nddin Chisti, a prighly respected sufi saint fondly revered as
the benefactor of the poor, popularly known as Gareeb Nawaz. The Dargah
Sharif in Ajmer, is the place where the Saints mortal remains lie burried
and is the site of the largest Muslim Fair in India. Chadar; Ghilaph &
Neema which are votive offerings for the tomb are offered by several hundred
thousand devotees. Mehfils & Qawwalis are held and mass prayer calls for
the eternal peace of the mankind. An interesting ritual is the looting of
Kheer (Milk Pudding) which is cooked in two large cauldrons called Degs and
distributed to the devotees as tabarruk (blessed food).
where all the country's similes and metaphors appear to have come together.
Sand dunes, wooded hills and amazing lakes, palaces and rugged forts, men
and women in colorful turbans and skirts, bustling towns and quiet villages,
camels, elephants and tigers, harsh sunlight and the cool evening breeze -
are all there in abundance.
But they form only part of an
intricate tapestry. Beneath the surface, expect to find many contradictions.
Where ever you travel, particularly when you escape from the popular tourist
destinations you will come across the unexpected, whether it is a local fair
or breathtaking view.
The mood and the rhythm of the country side changes from one region to
another, and from season to season. It is a land of surprises; it is a land
of amazing natural beauty that can fascinate even the most seasoned
A magical sojourn reverberating with age old culture
and traditions, the state enfolds in its lap a diverse kaleidoscope of
breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating art-de-facts. The range is
unparalleled even while it is sophisticated in its simplicity.
It has something for almost every kind of traveler, revealing a vast range
of arts and crafts, which is a treat for the visuals and are ready to be
picked. The Bazaars spill with products and there is a magnificent glow of
colours all over.
Intricate work carved on handicrafts or the
wonders of gems and stones, it has it all and even more like the colours
dancing on the textiles and fabrics with silver or gold threads settings and
complimented with the variety of Silk-threads, Beads, Gota, Zari, Zardosi,
Banarasi, etc. designed by the age old families of skilled artisans.
The amazing use of clay in the form of sculpture and decorative arts,
the paintings from different schools like Miniature, Mughal and the
different Rajasthani shailis (school of art) and more are piled up,
revealing the medieval splashes and recording historic and dramatic events.
Almost capturing the senses!
The age old art of dyes and colours hold the centre of attraction.
Every part of the state, every town, every village is associated with
the rich heritage of craftsmanship so particular to Rajasthan. Entire
villages practice crafts - sometimes a vast spectrum, on other occasions
just a single skill that can range from dhurrie weaving to terracotta
These traditions once helped to form the different
layers of a self-supporting society in villages and towns, and it is this
that has ensured their survival. Most crafts are still practiced because
they find use in local society - the painters, for example, still do frescos
on temple walls, and the village cobbler makes thick-soled shoes for the
farmers, reserving the more delicate versions for visitors.
Today, Rajasthan's markets spill with an exciting array of goods: paintings,
jewellery, fabrics and textiles, soft-as-gossamer quilts, clay pottery and
blue pottery, dhurries and carpets, wood, metal and stone sculpture,
leatherware and terracotta...
Little bells dance in the breeze,
puppets dangle from strings, embroidered footwear brightens up stores,
lights glow in huge glass candelabra and gemstones spill across pavements:
in Rajasthan's treasure-trove, you could spend days simply exploring the
world of the artisan.