Camel Festival - Rajasthan
Festivals hold an unusual lure for the Rajasthanis, and they find any number of reasons to celebrate. While some of these are traditional festivals, there are also a large number that have been recently introduced by the tourism department to showcase the heritage of a region. Chances are, when travelling in the state, you will come across any number of local fairs and festivities in which you can participate. However, some of the larger and more important celebrations are listed below. (This list does not include those festivals that are common to all parts of the country such as Holi, Diwali and Dussehra).
Famous Fairs & Festivals
|Desert Festival||Elephant Festival|
Baneshwar Fair, Dungarpur
A religious fair held in Jab-Feb every year, at the
confluence of the Mahi and Som rivers. The Bhil tribal-community in
Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh assemble at the confluence for
holy dips, to immerse the mortal remains of dead relatives or to offer
prayers at this auspicious spot. The festival is dedicated to Kalki,
the 10th incarnation of Lord. Vishnu. Festivities include magic shows,
acrobatic, dances and songs. A procession carrying a silver image of
Kalki on horse back, is taken around the village.
Time : Jan - Feb
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur
Nagaur hosts one of the largest cattle
fairs in the country in late January or early February. It is a week
long fair organised by the Animal Husbandry Department of the
Government of Rajasthan, which also controls the trading of this huge
cattle market. Thousands of horses, cattle, camels and other livestock
are brought to Nagaur for buying and selling, from places as far away
as Punjab and Haryana. As many as 2,00,000 livestock are brought and
sold by some 80,000 farmers. Once the trading is over for the day, the
evenings are spent in fun and games like tug of war, and camel races.
Folk dances and songs are also performed.
Time : Jan-Feb
Staged a few days before Holi (March) in the Brij area
around Bharatpur, it celebrates the festival of spring with
spontaneous expressions of music and dance.
A gathering of people from Jaipurs
rural packets collects here in almost all forms of transport
laden into tractor trolleys and jeeps at what must be one of
the most colourful events on the Rajasthani fair calendar.
Time: March - April
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur
Gangaur is an 18-day festival celebrated by women all
across Rajasthan. Married women pray for the long lives of their
husbands while unmarried girls pray for a good match. The festival
celebrates the love between Shiva and his consort Gauri or Parvati The
festival commences on Holi. Women gather flowers and draw water from
selected wells while chanting hymns in praise of the goddess. At the
end of 18 days, the festivities culminate with the arrival of Lord
Shiva to escort his wife back home. A grand procession, symbolic of a
marriage procession, carries a beautifully decorated idol of Gauri in
a gold and silver palanquin through the city. The procession includes
elephants, camels, horses, dancers, drummers and joyous children.
Mewar Festival, Udaipur
The Mewar festival at Udaipur is held
in March-April every year and welcomes the spring season. The festival
is dedicated to goddess Gauri (Parvati). A procession carrying the
idols of Gauri and Shiva, is taken around the city to the Gangaur Ghat
at Lake Pichola. The entire city turns in their colourful traditional
costumes. A stately boat procession then starts from the lake. The
occasion is marked by traditional dancing and singing. Boat races are
Time : March - April
Summer Festival, Mount Abu
The summer festival is held in June every year at
Mount Abu, the hill resort in Rajasthan. The three day festivities
include classical and traditional folk dances and music.
Time : June
Teej Fair, Jaipur
Teej is celebrated in the Hindu month of Shravan,
corresponding with July-August every year and marks the advent of the
monsoons, a time of joy and respite in Rajasthan. The festival is
extremely popular with Rajasthani women. It is dedicated to goddess
Parvati, the consort of Shiva. Married women dress up in all their
bridal fineries, they apply henna on their palms and swing on
flower-decorated swings as they sing traditional songs. They pray to
goddess Parvati for the long lives of their husbands.
Time : July - August
The nine days preceding Dussehra are marked by
fasting, and one ritual meal a day. In the case of the martial
Rajputs, a goat is sacrificed as food for consecration, and the
worship of their weapons is obligatory. Usually in September-October,
it is a private celebration with no public fanfare.
Time: Sept - Oct
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur
The Marwar festival at Jodhpur is a two-day festival
held in October every year. It is devoted mainly to traditional dances
and drama from the Marwar region.
Time : October
The sacred site where Kapil Muni is supposed to have
meditated, a fair is held here on the banks of its lakes, and the air
bristles with excitement. Kolayat can be visited from Bikaner.
Time : Oct - Nov
Chandrabhaga Cattle Fair, Jhalarpatan (Jhalwar)
The Chandrabhaga cattle fair is held on the last day
of the Hindu month of Kartik (corresponding with Nov-Dec). People from
all over, come here for livestock trading and to take holy dips in the
river. Chandrabhaga is considered the holiest river in this part of
Time : Nov-Dec
Sitla Mata Fair
A large fair is held to propitiate the goddess of war whose wrath can be the terrible scrouge of smallpox unless appeased by her followers. Consecrated food on this day consists of stale food left out the previous night. The fair is held in and around the temple dedicated to the goddess in Amber, Jaipur.
Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar)
Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, the Urs at Ajmer Sharif is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organised to mark the festivals.