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Events and Festivals in Rajasthan

Updated on May 27, 2016
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Fesivals and Events in Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a fantastic potpourri of culture, traditions, wildlife, forts, palaces and festivals. It’s no wonder that people from all corner of the world and from all walks of life dream to visit once in their lifetime. Celebrity weddings in palaces and fortresses which have now turned into heritage hotels has even coined a new saying “marriages may be made in heaven but the bills are paid in Rajasthan”. Then there is shopping and wildlife and cultural excursions.

Tour of Rajasthan get more exciting with an array of cultural festivals lined up in various region of Rajasthan. For those looking for cultural interactions and experience Rajasthan’s heritage and tradition in its vibrant colors, a trip scheduled to coincide with festivals and events offer a great window.

Mentioned below are the various upcoming event in different regions of Rajasthan and what is so special about them.

Festivals in Rajasthan
Festivals in Rajasthan

Jaipur Literature Festival

When: 19 – 23 Jan. 2017

Where: Diggi Palace, Jaipur

What is it all about?

Jaipur Lit Fest is the largest free literary festival in the world. Aiming to expand the horizons of literature, the festival sees the gathering of some of the finest writers, academics, thinkers and intellectuals from all walks of life under one roof.

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, Jaipur Literature Festival has hosted some of the best regarded names in literary circles ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners Orhan Pamuk, JM Coetzee, Salman Rushdie , Mohammed Hanif,, Pico Iyer, Vikram Seth Eleanor Catton as well as the likes of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan and Oprah Winfrey.

Jaipur Literature Festival
Jaipur Literature Festival

Bikaner Camel Festival

Event: Bikaner Camel Festival

When: 7 - 8 Jan 2017

Where: Bikaner, Rajasthan

What is it all about?

Organized by Department of Tourism, Art & Culture, Bikaner Camel Festival is an annual affair where the camels also referred to as “the ships of desert” are displayed from across Rajasthan. Various competitions like best decorated camels, fleetest camel, camel with best hair cut etc are organized. Dance performances by renowned performers of Rajasthan’s folk art and dance forms are major highlights on both evening of the event.

Other Things to Do in and Nearby

Visit forts in Bikaner and vicinity which include Junagarh Fort, Laxmi Niwas Palace and Lal Garh Palace. Then there are 27 Jain Temples in Bikaner with Bhandasar being the most beautiful and important Jain Temple. Also visit havelis, various temples, bazaars and Thar Desert for Camel Safari.

Bikaner Camel Festival - Events and Fete in Rajasthan
Bikaner Camel Festival - Events and Fete in Rajasthan

Braj Mahotsav (Holi Festival)

Event: Braj Mahotsav

When: 7 - 8 Mar 2017

Where: Bharatpur

What is it all about?

Held annually before Holi in the Braj region, Braj Mahotsav or the Brij Festival is about celebration of eternal love. The main focus of this festival is Raslila Dance form to celebrate the undying passion, courtship and union of Rahda and Krishna. All the peoplecome together to participate in the Rajasthan Braj Mahotsav and drown in its spirit. Highlight of the festival is the performance of the internationally acclaimed artists of Braj who play music and perform dance dramas enacting the wooing, banter and love of Lord Krishna and Radha. Entire place is decorated with bright colors and people splash colors on each other to drench in the hues of celebration.

Cultural Event at Braj Mahotsav in Bharatpur
Cultural Event at Braj Mahotsav in Bharatpur

Nagaur Festival (Ramdeoji Cattle Fair)

Event: Nagaur Fair

When: 1 - 4 Feb 2017

Where: Nagaur

What is it all about?

The second largest Cattle Fair to be organised in India , Nagaur Fair is an annual 8 days affair held in Jodhpur in month of January-February70,000 bullocks, camels and horses are traded every year at this giant fete. Although Cattle business is at the heart of the fair, tourists and visitors could enjoy various activities at the fair. The major sports held at the fair include tug-of-war, camel races, bullock races and cockfights. While jugglers; puppeteers, storytellers and campfire evenings make it a life time experience.

Nothing beats the silence of the desert sand in the evening when filled with enchanting ambience created by the sufi and folk music and performances by local artists. Accommodation is available not just in Heritage Hotels in Nagaur but also in Bikaner and Jodhpur in the vicinity of the Fair. From budget hotel to luxury hotels and to in demand heritage hotels of Rajasthan, there's accommodation to suit the pocket and needs of different kinds of travelers.

Sufi Performance at Nagaur Festival
Sufi Performance at Nagaur Festival
Nagaur Festival
Nagaur Festival

Desert Festival

Event: Desert Festival

When: 8 - 10 Feb 2017

Where: Jaisalmer

What is it all about?

The stark landscape of the desert kingdom of Jaisalmer resounds with the verve of participants and the tourists who head to the dunes of the Thar Desert for the 3 days fete every winter.

Amidst the golden sands of the Thar Desert, the exotic Desert Festival is celebrated with great zeal by locals and foreigners alike. Performers and artisans from all corners of Rajasthan gather here to showcase their skills and talent.

The festival is an extravagant celebration of the traditions and culture of Rajasthan in a microcosmic level. The three-day Desert Festival in Jaisalmer only showcase Rajasthani folk songs and dance.

The major draws of this event are turban tying, moustache competition, camel polo, camel formation dancing, Camel Tattoo, Tug-of-war, and Maru-Shri (Mr. Desert competition).

The festival concludes with a final musical performance by folk singers under the moonlit sky at the dunes in Sam, just outside Jaisalmer.

Camel are the major draw of any festival in Rajasthan especially if it is a cattle fair like Jaisalmer Festival
Camel are the major draw of any festival in Rajasthan especially if it is a cattle fair like Jaisalmer Festival
performers at Desert Festival Jaisalmer
performers at Desert Festival Jaisalmer

Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF)

When: 13 – 17 Oct 2016

Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

What is it all about?

Jodhpur RIFF is an annual music and art festival which is organized to promote the traditional folk music. It is a not-for-profit partnership project between two of the leading heritage trusts of India: Jaipur Virasat Foundation &: Mehrangarh Museum Trust.

The event is timed to coincide with ‘Sharad Purnima’ which is the brightest full moon night in North India. Jodhpur RIFF provides an open stage not only to the folk artists from India but performers from around the world. Mick Jagger of the renowned The Rolling Stone music band is the international patron of this annual fair.

Jodhpur RIFF is also recognized by UNESCO as a “Peoples’ Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development.”

Jodhpur RIFF, Mehrangarh Fort
Jodhpur RIFF, Mehrangarh Fort

Marwar Festival

When: 15 - 16 Oct 2016 and 04 - 05 Oct 2017

Where: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore, Mehrangarh Fort and Osian.

What is it all about?

Marwar Festival, Jodhpur is unarguably the most popular festival in Jodhpur. Held in the month of Ashwin (September/October) this annual fair is observed for two days in the city and for one night in Osian in the Thar Desert. Marwar Festival commemorates the heroes of Rajasthan and the chivalry of Rajput warrior princes and brave soldiers.

The main attraction of this festival is the folk music centered on the romance and courageous lifestyle of Rajpur warrior princes of Marwar region. The music and dance of the Marwar region is the main theme of this festival.

The folk artists and performers gathered during this festival offer a peek into the days of yore and seeing of the heroic tales of battles fought immortalizing the heroes. Camel tattoo show and polo are also among major draws of the Marwar Festival in Jodhpur.

Marwar Festival, Jodhpur
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur

Pushkar Fair

When: 8 - 4 November 2016 and 28 Oct. - 4 Nov 2017

Where: Pushkar

What is it all about?

The Pushkar Fair or the Pushkar Camel Fair is a five day annual event of camel and livestock held in the holy town of Pushkar during the months of October and November. It is the largest camel fair in the world.

Although originally, this event marked the buying and selling of livestock, over the year, it has become an important tourist attraction in Rajasthan which sees a large presence of tourist from overseas.

Competitions such as the ‘tug of war’ ‘matka phod’, ‘longest mustache’ ‘most beautiful camel’ and ‘bridal competition’ have become the major draws for Pushkar Mela which attracts thousands of tourists from India and foreign countries.

Recently, the festival has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar Club and a team of foreign tourists. Hot air ballooning has also become a major draw in the recent years at Pushkar Fair.

Long Mustache Competition, Pushkar Fair
Long Mustache Competition, Pushkar Fair
Shopping in Pushar Mela
Shopping in Pushar Mela
Local people gathered at Pushkar Mela
Local people gathered at Pushkar Mela

Winter Festival

When: 29 - 30 Dec. 2016 and 29 - 30 Dec. 2017

Where: Mount Abu

What is it all about?

Winter Festival is an annual event held in Mount Abu. It is observed in December for two days in which the rich culture and tradition of Rajasthan is celebrated with great gusto.

Winter Festival in Mout Abu is a combination of cultural events, stunning handicrafts and sumptuous cuisines, set against a scenic backdrop of the lone hill station of Rajasthan. Craftsmen and performers from every corner of Rajasthan gather to showcase their skills during the two day extravaganza. An array of sporting events like kite flying, rowing competitions as well as poetry reading sessions are also among major highlight of this annual festival in Rajasthan.

A grand procession marks the beginning of the festival which culminates at the Nakki Lake with the ‘Deepdaan’ ceremony in the evening. During the ceremony, hundreds of diyas (earthen pot lamps) are set afloat in the water as a form of respect. A stunning display of fireworks marks the end of the Winter Festival in Mount Abu.

More detail about fairs and festivals in Rajasthan could be found here:

Performances, Winter Festival, Mount Abu
Performances, Winter Festival, Mount Abu

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