Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan reflects the vigour and life style of its people. Vibrant colours, music and festivities make the golden sands come alive. Veiled, bejeweled women sing and dance to devotional rhythms. Itinerant bards render ballads of valour of the heroes of yore. Alongside, brisk trading of consumer goods, cattle and grain is carried on. Nomadic tribes and traditional entertainers- minstrels, jugglers, puppeteers and performers come together at these fairs seeking livelihood. Rajasthan has a fair for every religious occasion, for every change of season and for every harvest. In fact, anytime of the year is festival time in Rajasthan. The festivities are marked by folk dances and music played on a variety of locally made instruments. All the fairs & festivals are widely attended by people from all over the world & all walks of life. Celebrations in Rajasthan range from the religious to the popular, linked with commerce, as in the case of the camel and cattle fairs. In more recent times. the tourism industry too has initiated a number of tourist fairs in an attempt to showcase the life, culture, traditions & performing arts of Rajasthan.
There is no region in Rajasthan without its cattle fairs. Nagaur, Merta, Tilwara, Parbatsar. Jhalarpatan, Gogamedi and Pushkar are full of colour and gaiety. These are held each year on certain fixed dates of the lunar calendar, which have specific religious significance. These activities sat the fair are diverse: livestock is sold, village produce and handicrafts find a ready market and even matches are arranged for eligible boys and girls by the kinfolk gathered together. With nightfall, comes singing & dancing and a variety of entertainment.
Held in Bikaner in January, this celebration is a recent introduction in the desert city with only Camel Breeding farm in the country. Not unexpectedly, most of the events are staged around Camel, with Camel dances & races. There are also several folk performance, and this may also be your chance to experience the rare fire dance staged at late night.
Nagaur awakens to bustling life every year with the thronging of cattle, horses and camels accompanied by their turbaned owners and eager buyers. This cattle fairs held annually is supposed to be one of the largest in the country. The Nagaur bulls are renowned for their fleet-footedness and therefore, attract buyers from all over. The day starts with buyers and sellers engaged in earnest bargains. Once the price of horse, bullock or probably a camel has been settled, the day draws to a close with fun and festivity. Games, tug of war, camel races and strains of ballads create a joyful atmosphere with the setting sun in background.
For three days Jaisalmer gets a chance to parade its charms to the world. Some chosen and cherished moments of its glorious past and rich culture are on display. The traditional dances accompanied by high pitched music on instruments take the folk dancers one step back into time. The famous Gair dancers and the fires-dancers steal the show whenever they perform. There is further excitement afoot with the "Turban Tying Competitions" and Mr. Desert contest. The grand finale is a trip to the sand dunes at Sam where on can enjoy. and have the pleasure of the a camel ride and at times also view the musicians and dancers performing on the dunes.
Held in the Dungarpur district of Rajasthan, the fairs derives is name from the reserved Shiva Linga of that area. Predominantly a tribal affair with more than half the congregation being Bhils thousands gather near the confluence of the Mahi and Som rivers to worship, sing and dance. A silver image of Mavji, a reincarnation of Kalki, an avatar of Lord Vishnu is brought on horse back. Magic Shows, acrobatic displays and merry-go-rounds add fun and frolic to the religious celebrations.
On the occasion of "Holi" ~ the festival of colours in Jaipur, this festival of pachyderms includes several interesting attractions including elephant polo. The caparisoned elephants, their bodies painted with floral decorations by the Mahout, are a sight to behold.
This is a folk festival (March/April) held al Chaksu near Jaipur. Shitala Devi is the the controlling deity of smallpox. Food Prepared on the previous evening is eaten and the prayers offered to assuage the wrath of the fierce goddess. Village festivities herald the occasion.
Idols of Issar and Gangaur, manifestations of of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, are worshiped by women and particularly those unmarried who pray for a consort of the like of Shiva. The procession with Horses, Camels, Elephants & woman carrying images of the divine couple starts from City Palace and passes through the streets of Pink City. It is one of the best festival of the state.
This festival welcomes spring, offering the overview of Rajasthani Culture through songs, dances, processions, devotional music and fireworks displays. The evening are made colourful with Gangaur processions. The grand climax is seen when groups of women dressed in rainbow hues of scarlet, yellow, green and purple carry images to the Gangaur Ghat of Lake Picchola, and a stately boat procession starts on from the Lake Palace. Also held on the occasion of Gangaur in the City of Lakes- Udaipur, the whole city turns out to mark the culmination of the 18 day festival, with a procession of floats on Lake Picchola.
Mount Abu, the venue for the summer festivals / Winter Festivals, is covered with mango groves, beautiful bauhinia trees and thickets of wild berries. Rocks and lakes and the picturesque locations of the Abu, stir with life during the festival. In the pleasant climate, the three day carnival is a feast of folk and classical music and a window to tribal festivities. The tourists have time enjoying and relaxing
This festival of swings marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan(August). The monsoons bring the water to the parched land and the scent of wet earth rises intoxicatingly in the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls sing songs of love and rain. This festival is dedicated to goddess Parvati, commemorating the day when she was united with the Lord Shiva.
Ten days of battle between Lord Rama and King Ravana, are celebrated throughout India, with theatrical enactments of the dramatic encounter. On the vanquished Ravana and his brother Kumbhkarna and Meghnad, made of paper and bamboo and stuffed with fire-crackers, are set alight. The worship of weapons during this festival was essential for the martial Rajput race. In some places a goat is sacrificed in order to propitiate Kali, the goddess of destruction and war.
A festival devoted to mainly to music and dance of the Marwar region. It was originally known as the "Maand festival", a classical style of folk music centered on the romantic lifestyle of the Rajasthan's ruler. Held for two days on full moon-Sharad Purnima, the folk artists bring tom life the myth, legend and folklore of the area. Jodhpur, the capital of former Princely state of Marwar, this annual event attempts to showcase the art & culture of the region.
Easily the most identifiable of Rajasthan's many fairs, Pushkar has come to symbolize the febrile heartbeat of the people of the state. Held in November in Pushkar, the temple town close to Ajmer, where in 8th century temple of Lord Brahma draws the faithful, it is located on the
banks of a lake. Pilgrims bathe at the "Ghats" and pray at the temple, while the actual fair is held in the vast stretching desert around it. Here, traders set camp to strike deals at India's and probably the words largest camel fair, though horses are sold. It is also a time for friends and families to get together, camp in desert entertain each other with folksongs and dances, cook meals over camp fires, and wander through the exuberant melee of people looking for handicrafts, or merely to stand in a queue for giant Marry go round wheel... "Special Tented Camps" are set up on the occasion for visitors but such is the draw of this fair internationally.
In the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) the banks of Chandrabhaga river are transformed into colourful and dazzling cattle fairground. the fair held on the last day of Kartik, attracts thousands of devotees who bath in the holy waters of Chandrawati. On this occasion cattle from distant parts are brought for sale. Even traders from various parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra come here in large numbers.
The Kolayat lake is bordered by about fifty ghats. Devotees believe that they will achieve purification by bathing in the waters at the time of the full moon, in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov). In addition to the worship of the saint Kapil Muni, a great cattle fair also takes place where hundreds of cattle are bought and sold.
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