Rajasthan boasts of its rich heritage, culture, and scenic splendors. And the same is reflected in sparkling lakes & dessert, vibrant markets, and mesmerising palaces & forts of Rajasthan. Undeniably, equally popular are the numerous colorful and traditional festivals of Rajasthan. Some reflect ethnicity, some heritage, and some are purely cultural events.
While some festivals are traditional & religious, others are purely cultural fairs. So, before you start planning a holiday in Rajasthan, we bring to you a quick list of the colorful fairs and festivals of Rajasthan.
One of the most popular festivals of Rajasthan, Teej is celebrated with absolute grandeur, traditional songs & dance, fair, and worship of Goddess Teej. There is a grand procession in which the golden palanquin of Goddess Teej is taken across the city with decorated elephants, horses, & camels.
Key attractions: Ghewar (Teej-special sweet), Malpua, and womenfolk dressed in green traditional dresses, bangles, and mehendi
Date for Teej 2017: 24th August
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2. International Kite Festival
Where: Jaipur and Jodhpur
One of the most vibrant and popular festivals of Rajasthan, The International Kite Festival is celebrated around Makar Sankranti every year. Locals, as well as tourists, fly kites of various shapes & colours and relish local delicacies and sweets available everywhere.
Key attractions: Kite War, fireworks, illuminated kites, and sweets like Ghevar, Til-paati, Gajak, & kheer
Dates for International Kite Festival 2017: 13th January – 14th January
3. Jaipur Literature Festival
This is aptly illustrated as the greatest literary show on Earth, showcasing works of amateur as well as most reputed writers. From Nobel Laureates & Man Booker Prize Winners to budding writers, every literature enthusiast visits Diggi Palace for this literature fiesta. This is one of the most famous festivals of Rajasthan and offers a lovely scope for spectators from Rajasthan and other parts of the world to gain knowledge from and share ideas with contemporary legendary stalwarts.
Key attractions: Book releases, seminars, debates, chat shows, and poetry sessions
Dates for JLF 2017: 19th January – 23rd January
Suggested Read: 15 Charming Places To Visit In January In India
4. Elephant Fair
Elephant Fair, held every year at Jaipur Polo Ground on the day of Holi, is one of the most famous traditional festivals of Rajasthan. Elephants are decorated with colorful jhools (saddle cloth) & heavy jewelry and presented for races, shows, & competitions. Female elephants are even made to wear anklets.
Key attractions: Polo Match and Tug of War between elephants
Date for Elephant Fair 2017: 13th March
5. Winter Festival
Where: Mount Abu
The Winter Festival brings together artisans and artists from different corners of the state to showcase various forms of art, handicrafts, food, and culture. Among the most famous fairs and festivals of Rajasthan, the festival also includes stunning fireworks and poetry sessions.
Key attractions: Deep Daan and kite flying & rowing competitions
Dates for Winter Festival 2016: 29th December – 30th December
Suggested Read: 15 Winter Festivals In India You Must Attend
6. Summer Festival
Where: Mount Abu
The Summer Festival starts on the day of Buddha Poornima and rejoices Rajasthani folk culture & traditions for three days. Along with cultural concerts, the festival also organises horse racing, skating races, tug of war, boating races in Nakki Lake, and live band shows.
Key attractions: Sham-e-Qawwali, Gair, Ghoomar, and Daph
Dates for Summer Festival 2017: 9th May – 10th May
Suggested Read: 10 Beautiful Lakes In Rajasthan You Must Visit On Your Next Trip
7. Brij Holi
Celebrated few days before Holi, this special Brij Holi is celebrated with worship of Lord Krishna, dance, music, and splashing of colors. This is one of the most famous fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. Local people take a dip in the ghats of Banganga River before offering prayer to the Radha Krishna Temple.
Key attractions: Enactment of Raslila
Dates for Brij Holi 2017: 7th March – 8th March
8. Urs Festival
The Urs festival is celebrated at the holy tomb of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, memorializing his emblematic unification with Allah (God). Observed every year from 1st to 6th day of Rajab (7th Islamic month), this is one of the religious festivals of Rajasthan and attracts followers from all over the world. Here, the tomb is cleaned with rosewater & draped with an embroidered silk cloth. This is followed by prayers and offerings.
Key attractions: Sajjada Nashin white flag hoisting, Qawwalis, and Mehfil sessions
Date for Urs 2017: 2017 dates are yet to be declared
9. Pushkar Camel Fair
This is one of the most traditional festivals in Rajasthan, where thousands and thousands of camels gather for trading. This one of its kind carnival is celebrated with music, dance and magic shows, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides.
Key attractions: Parade & beauty contests of well-decorated camels, hot-air balloon ride, moustache competition, and handicraft bazaar
Dates for Pushkar Camel Fair 2016: 2nd November – 11th November
Suggested Read: 9 Scintillating Places To Visit In Pushkar
10. Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
The Jodhpur RIFF is an annual festival that has been organized in Jodhpur since 2007. It aims to promote traditional folk music and arts. It is held every year on the Sharad Purnima – the brightest full moon of the year – at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.
Key attractions: Folk music & dance, jazz night, early morning ragas, and various interactive sessions
Dates for Shree Festival 2016: 13th October – 17th October
11. Kolayat Fair
Where: Kolayat, Bikaner
Popularly known as the Kapil Muni Fair, this mesmerising carnival is one of the most popular festivals in Rajasthan. During this event, all the 52 ghats are beautifully decorated. People offer sweetmeats, milk pudding, and sugar drops to the idols of the deity. Devotees also take dip in the holy Kolayat Lake.
Key attractions: Floating of oil lamps by the believers and cattle trading
Dates for Kolayat Fair 2016: 12th November – 14th November
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12. Mewar Festival
To celebrate the onset of spring, Mewar Festival is organised in Udaipur with grandeur and splendour. This is the world’s 2nd Living Heritage Festival and one of the most popular fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. It is celebrated with folk music, dance, food, and festivities.
Key attractions: Musical shows, classical dance, seminars on preservation of city monuments, sumptuous food stalls by professional chefs, and marvellous firework display
Dates for Mewar Festival 2017: 29th March – 31st March
13. Kumbhalgarh Festival
Where: Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur
Kumbhalgarh Festival is known for its vibrant musical shows, extravagant dance recitals by local artists, and spectacular firework displays. Held with the Kumbhalgarh Fort in the backdrop, this cultural feast is a paradise for art and culture enthusiasts.
Key attractions: Mehendi and turban tying contests
Dates for Kumbhalgarh Festival 2017: Not yet declared
14. Bundi Festival
Bundi Utsav is a 3-day-long cultural extravaganza. The marvellous carnival organized by RTDC includes a majestic procession. Ethnic sports, folk dance performances, cultural events, and competitions are the primary highlights of the festival.
Key attractions: Competitions of bridal makeup, mustache, turban tying, kabaddi, horse riding, and camel race
Dates for Bundi Festival 2016: 17th November – 19th November
15. Matsya Festival
Matsya is one of the most popular festivals of Rajasthan. This two-day festival celebrated in the month of November in Alwar is attended by plenty of natives and foreign tourists.
Key attractions: Hot air ballooning, parasailing, zorbing, yoga, and stunning adventure-filled army exhibition
Date for Matsya Festival 2016: 25th November
16. Desert Festival
Desert Festival is a cultural carnival celebrated amid the sand dunes of the expansive Thar Desert. The Rajasthani folk culture is showcased through dance, music, gymnastic, camel polo, camel races, and other thrilling sports.
Key attractions: Gigs by a local nomadic group, rally from Jaisalmer Fort to Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium, Gair & Fire Dance, Tug of War, Turban tying, and other contests
Dates for Desert Festival 2017: 8th February – 10th February
17. Nagaur Cattle Fair
As the name suggests, this annual fair is meant primarily for cattle trading. Almost 70,000 bullocks, camels, and horses are traded. The cattle are extravagantly adorned and their owners dress up with multicolored turbans and long moustaches. Along with animals, spices are traded. Jugglers, puppeteers, and storytellers are also seen here.
Key attractions: Mirchi Bazaar (largest red chilli market of India) and sale of wooden items, iron crafts, and camel leather accessories
Dates for Cattle Fair 2017: 1st February – 4th February
18. Baneshwar Festival
Baneshwar Festival is one of the popular tribal and cultural festivals of Rajasthan. Organised in the Baneshwar temple of Dungarpur, the festival is of most significance to the Bhills tribe. The tribe comes here all the way from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh to take a holy dip at the convergence of Mahi and Som River.
Key attractions: Animal shows and puppet dance
Dates for Baneshwar Festival 2017: 7th February – 10th February
19. Chandrabhaga Fair
This religious cum cattle fair pulls travelers, cattle herders, pilgrims, and explorers from all over the country to assemble on the banks of river Chandrabhaga for a holy dip and prayer. However, for most locals, it holds a greater significance for cattle trading.
Key attractions: Deep Daan, Shobha yatra, cattle fair & trading, and various competitions
Dates for Chandrabhaga Fair 2016: 12th November – 14th November
20. Kota Adventure Festival
Kota is a heaven for adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. People visit this festival to rejoice a wide range of thrilling adventure sports and also take part in rural expeditions by the banks of River Chambal.
Key attractions: Parasailing, rafting, windsurfing, water skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, trekking, gliding, and fishing
Dates for Kota Adventure Festival 2016: 1st October – 28th October
Now that you know the dates and celebration rituals of the festivals in Rajasthan for this and the coming year, which ones would you be attending?
Further Read: 16 Famous Festivals Of India
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