Summer is quickly approaching, and several of you might have even begun to schedule your next vacation. Summer usually ensures that we travel to the colder climes of the woods, go on treks, or visit beach resorts for a refreshing break. Aside from these obvious choices, there are several ways to enhance your travel experience.
Attending different Indian Cultural festivals throughout the country will offer you a sneak peek into the lives, rituals, and practices of the local citizens, allowing you to see the beauty of the local community and traditions of India.
The list below is organized by month and area to facilitate information access and scheduling.
Indian Cultural Festivals Happening in May 2021 Period
Region: North India
Location: Across Ladakh in the various monasteries
Date: May 26, 2021.
This is a Tibetan religious festival commemorating Lord Buddha’s creation, death, and enlightenment.
Reasons to Visit: This is a vibrant festival held in several monasteries in the country. If you are in Ladakh during this period, make sure to visit some of the monasteries, Shey, Thiksey, Hemis, or others, and participate in the day’s festivities.
Date: May 14 – 16, 2021
A three-day festival commemorating Goddess Hadimba’s birthday.
Reasons to Visit: To experience Manali’s local community and traditions. The Kullu Natti dance show is the focus of the cultural performances. Over the three days of the fair, locals, and worshippers from all over the state attend. The Dhungri Mela attracts visitors for various purposes, including shopping stalls, carnival swings, music, and dancing.
Electric Mahadev Festival
Date: May 14 – 16, 2021
A three-day festival of psychedelic music, sculpture, and activities.
Reasons to Visit: If you like psychedelic and trance music and painting, this is the one for you. Flea markets with multicultural souvenirs spring up. This festival also includes yoga and mediation seminars. The festival’s energy and vibe are similar to that of Tomorrowland in India and must be explored.
Region: South India
Yercaud Summer Festival
Location: Yercaud, Salem district, Tamilnadu
Date: Second week of May. (Exact dates to be announced soon)
A week-long festival was held in Yercaud to encourage tourism.
Reasons to Visit: To enjoy the scenery of this hill station and engage in boat races, flower displays, cultural activities, dog shows, and so on.
Ooty Summer Festival
Location: Ooty, Tamilnadu
Date: Second week of May. (Exact dates to be announced soon)
What: A five-day festival held to encourage tourism in Ooty.
Reasons to Visit: Ooty, one of India’s most stunning and famous hill stations, requires no introduction. The Flower Shoes, Vegetables, and Fruits show at the Ooty Summer Festival highlight the botanical extravaganza of this renowned hill station.
Region: East India
Location: Mokokchung District of Nagaland
Date: First week of May (Exact dates not yet finalized)
Nagaland’s Ao tribe celebrates the harvest festival exclusively.
Reasons to Visit: For the Ao tribe of Nagaland, this festival signals the end of the planting season. People rejoice by making merry and exchanging stuff. To commemorate the day, dance and music performances are performed. Sangpagtu, the key gathering, is one in which the locals dress up in their finest and sing and dance around a bonfire.
Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti or Rabindra Jayanti
Location: Shantiniketan, West Bengal
Date: May 9, 2021
A cultural celebration of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s life and works on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
Reasons to Visit: If you’ve always wanted to visit the birthplace of India’s first Nobel Laureate and Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore, now may be the moment. The Vishwabharati University campus comes alive with many cultural and entertainment activities, including music, dance, drama, and poetry centered on the poet’s life and works. And now is an excellent time to go to the weekend tribal haat at Shonajhuri, near Shantiniketan, to learn about indigenous people’s tribal life and customs.
International Flower Festival
Location: Governor’s Residence of Gangtok
Date: Normally held from May 1 – 31. Dates for 2021 are not yet announced.
A flower display and festival were organized to raise consciousness regarding Sikkim’s rich natural heritage.
Reasons to Visit: A spectacular presentation of the region’s floral and botanical beauty. Gladioli, flowers, orchids, alpine plants, vines, creepers, climbers, and ferns are among the unique plants on view. Many delicacies produced from these plants, such as jams and jellies, are also available for purchase.
Region: Western India
Mount Abu Summer Festival
Location: Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Date: May 14 – 16, 2021
What: An event showcasing Mount Abu as a tourist destination
Reasons to Visit: The only hill station in Rajasthan, this summer festival marks the end of the tourism season. Ballad singing and folk dance performances are held. Other events like a boat race on Nakki lake, a music show, etc., are also organized.
Indian Cultural Festivals Happening in June 2021 Period
Location: Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh
Date: June 7 – 8, 2021
Lamayuru monastery’s annual festival in Ladakh.
Reasons to Visit: The masked monk dance, ceremonies, musical events, and other activities are among the highlights of the two-day festival. This Buddhist festival is held to honor Padmasambhava and Yama. A dance drama is performed to educate the audience on mythological stories.
Sindhu Darshan Festival
Location: Sindhu Ghat, Leh, Ladakh
Date: June 12 -14, 2021
A three-day festival was held in Ladakh on the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) river.
Reasons to Visit: The Sindhu river, according to the locals, is the primary explanation for the region’s peace. This is a three-day festival with several folk culture events, Buddhist rites, and other activities. The soldiers of the country are honored and cared for at this celebration.
Hemis Gompa Festival
Location: Hemis Monastery of Ladakh
Date: June 20-21, 2021
This festival commemorates Guru Padmasambhava’s emergence as a Boddhisatva.
Reasons to Visit: This is one of Ladakh’s most well-known gatherings, also known as the Hemis Tsechu. The monk dance of the monastery is the festival’s symbolic celebration. Aside from that, the festival includes other dance styles, processions, ceremonies, and public exhibitions of the monastery’s heritage objects.
Shimla Summer Festival
Location: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Date: June 2 – 7, 2021 (Most likely)
A festival to celebrate Shimla’s beauty and to respect nature.
Reasons to Visit: This festival usually lasts five days. There are various cultural displays and attractions available, including dog shows, traditional performances, musical competitions, handicraft workshops, food festivals, adventure activities, flower shows, and much more. This festival is also the region’s harvest festival. It is held on Shimla’s The Ridge, where there are various stalls and exhibition houses.
Location: Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayagraj, Rishikesh, and Garhmukteshwar
Date: June 20, 2021
A festival honoring the Ganges River.
Reasons to Visit: This day commemorates the incident in which Goddess Ganges descended to earth to cultivate it. At this festival, bathing in the Ganges is deemed very holy. This is also an excellent opportunity to see the pomp and grandeur of the Ganga aartis, as well as life along India’s most holy canal.
Champakulam Boat Race
Location: Champakulam, Alappuzha District, Kerala
Date: June 26, 2021
This is the season’s first boat race in Kerala’s backwaters.
Reasons to Visit: It takes place on the Pamba River in Champakulam, as the name suggests. The key feature of this race is the launching ceremony, a parade in which water floats, parasol sails, and other vessels will be left to run as performers dance, sing, and conduct other events on the boats. Following the parade, the first boat race in Kerala starts.
Location: Kottiyoor Temple, Kerala
Date: May 25 – June 20, 2021
A 28-day long temple festival is celebrated in Ikkare Kottiyoor and Akkare Kottiyoor temples.
Reasons to Visit: This is a 28-days long temple festival located on either side of the banks of the Bavali River. The Akkare temple is open only during this festival. This festival is celebrated with numerous rituals, celebrations, and events. Fairs are conducted during the special days of the festival.
Location: Kollam district of Kerala
Date: June 15 – 16, 2021
This is a mock battle festival that recreates the historical conflict that occurred during medieval times between the Ambalapuzha and Kayamkulam regions.
Reasons to Visit: The festival occurs in a flooded area, where locals engage in a mock battle with sticks and other medieval arm replicas. Throughout the concert, you will even hear ritual war music in the air.
Sao Joao Festival
Date: June 24, 2021
The festival of St. John the Baptist is celebrated today.
Reasons to Visit: This is an entertaining feast with unusual events such as men diving into wells to retrieve beer bottles. Aside from that, there are other events such as dance and music concerts, boat races, etc. Often mass prayers are held, during which citizens pray for a peaceful and prosperous monsoon season. This festival is known as the Village Festival of Music and Dance in several Goan villages.
Indian Cultural Festivals Happening in July 2021 Period
Phyang Tsedup Festival
Location: Phyang Monastery, Ladakh
Date: July 7 – 8, 2021
The Phyang Monastery’s festival commemorating the triumph of good over bad.
Reasons to Visit: The festival commemorates Lord Buddha’s teachings by mask dances and dramas, known as “Chams.” During the festival, the triumph of good over evil is celebrated, and the festival concludes on the second day with the defeat of the Storma. The first day’s ceremonial sacrifices are burned in a bonfire on the second day of the celebration, followed by a procession.
Ladakh Polo Festival
Location: Chushot, Tehsil Leh, Ladakh
Date: July 11 -17, 2021
A week-long polo tournament hosted by the Indus Chushot Polo Club and the Government Tourism Department.
Reasons to Visit: A Baltistan princess established this festival in the 1400s. This game was created to preserve Ladakh’s history. Aside from football, there is a folk dance and instrumental music to appreciate. Tourists will participate in archery competitions, traditional feasts, handicraft exhibitions, and other activities. There are various stalls where you can purchase things such as Pashmina shawls, pattu silk, Thangka painting, prayer wheels, and other items. This is often an excellent time to observe citizens dressed in their native clothing.
Takthok Tsechu Festival
Location: Takthok Monastery, Ladakh
Date: July 19 – 20, 2021
A festival held at Takthok Monastery.
Reasons to Visit: The monastery was founded in the mid-16th century. It is reported to be located on a mountainside near a cave where Padmasambhava meditated in the eighth century. A significant number of visitors and residents join the Takthot Tsechu Festival ceremony. The monks conduct the masked Cham dances, and the ceremonies last two days.
Location: Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
Date: July 1 – 7, 2021
A week-long festival and fair held in Chamba.
Reasons to Visit: People take a holy dip in the water and participate in a ceremony where the temple’s significant deities are carried on a palanquin and submerged in the river for a sacred dip. The fair, which lasts seven days, is the greatest of all. Along with the numerous swings, the fair sells handicrafts and other local products.
Location: Njangattiri Bhagavathi temple, Palakkad, Kerala
Date: July 23, 2021
The customary elephant feeding rituals
Reasons to Visit: The temple elephants take part in holy ceremonies, processions, and festivals. This day is dedicated to honoring the land’s elephants. Temple elephants are brought into the temple grounds and fed sugarcane, jaggery, coconut, and other local delicacies. People congregate around the elephant to watch it feed and to pray to it.
Date: July 14, 2021
Festival to Celebrate the National Day of France
Reasons to Visit: Pondicherry has been celebrated for over 400 years, ever since it was a French colony. This holiday is marked by a procession, public feasts, and fireworks. A military parade in the French theme is also held, with the French national flag flying alongside the Indian Tricolor.
Location: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
Date: July 4 – 5, 2021
Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh tribal festival.
Reasons to Visit: An agricultural festival that involves rituals in which people appeal to the gods to preserve their crops. Local native dance and music events are performed during the festival. A Mr. Dree competition is also held, in which tribe men demonstrate their courage, endurance, agility, and intellect.
Location: Meghalaya – Jaintia hills and Jowai
Date: July 11, 2021
A tribal festival held in Meghalaya to ward off plaque-causing evil spirits.
Reasons to Visit: Behdien means to drive out, and khlam means to plague. This is a festival held to ward off the evil forces that trigger cholera. This festival also signals the close of the planting season.
The three-day festival involves a chariot procession (‘Rot’), in which tall bamboo buildings decorated with paper are paraded and submerged in a holy lake. The villagers then engage in a Dad-Lawakor, a soccer game played with a wooden ball. It is broadly assumed that the winner of the match would reap a bountiful crop.
So, with a plethora of options to choose from, here is an opportunity to make your summer holidays way more exciting and experiential than you otherwise would. Let us know if we missed any festivals we would love to include them in the above list.
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With this, I will end this post here by just wishing you good health and lots of wishes to travel around the world. Good Luck. Keep Traveling.