One of the best parts about being in India is that you never really depend on December to travel or celebrate. India being such a diverse country with so many different cultures, festivals and art forms, we always have a reason to celebrate. And why not? I know I don’t want to feel gloomy when the year ends, I’m already planning an itinerary of things to do and experience in January.
If you’re someone looking at options to start your year on a high note; I’m listing festivals and events organised in different parts of the country to be held in late December 2019 and early January 2020.
1. Rann Utsav
What: Regarded as India’s biggest white desert festival, Rann Utsav depicts the culture and heritage of Kutch.
When: October 28, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Where: Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Dhordo, Gujarat
Why do I attend: Beautiful tent setups, cultural performances, handicrafts, food stalls, music and adventure sports.
2. Jaipur Literature Festival
What: This festival has been gaining popularity over the years. It celebrates the work of writers and literature.
When: January 23, 2020 – January 27, 2020
Where: Diggi Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Why do I attend: To grab the opportunity to meet renowned national and international authors and of course, to experience the Pink City.
3. Chennai Music Festival
What: Also known as the Madras Music Session, this festival is a platform for new artists to showcase their music and dance.
When: December 15, 2019 - January 01, 2020
Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Why do I attend: Meet connoisseurs of Carnatic music and dance from around the world and witness the best of performers at the same time!
4. Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival
What: One of the few open-air Indian dance festivals set in the lap of Mamallapuram in South Chennai, against the backdrop of rock sculptures in the beach town.
When: December 25, 2019 - January 15, 2020
Where: Arjuna's Penance, Mamallapuram, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Why do I attend: Witness over 60 classical and folk dance forms from around the country and explore beautiful heritage sites.
5. Ranthambore Festival
What: A unique cultural celebration bringing together people from all walks of life to encourage action towards conservation.
When: December 27, 2019 - December 29, 2019
Where: Nahargarh Palace, Ranthambore
Why do I attend: Wildlife film festival, food festival, interactive cookout, hot air balloon rides, heritage walk, Indian voice and meditation workshops are part of this celebration.
6. International Kite Festival
What: Witness a vibrant sky full of kites marking the widely celebrated festival of Makar Sankranti. This festival is a host to states and countries from across the globe.
When: January 06, 2020 - January 14, 2020
Where: Sabarmati River Front, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Also, at Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Why do I attend: Witness the extravaganza and explore the markets in Ahmedabad or Jaipur.
7. Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival
What: Hot air ballooning in Pollachi, music concerts and contests for kids for additional family entertainment.
When: January 04, 2020 - January 06, 2020, in Chennai and January 13, 2020 - January 15, 2020, in Pollachi
Where: Sakthi Mills Ground, Pollachi, an hour and a half south of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
Why do I attend: Hot air ballooning! Do you need more reasons?
8. Goa Lokotsav Festival
What: Goa goes beyond just parties and beaches and turns into a platform for diverse folk dances and music of the respective states of India. The Goa Lokotsav Folk Festival is gaining huge popularity with each passing year.
When: January 11, 2020 - January 20, 2020
Why do I attend: Witness the best of cultural performances, handicrafts and meet like-minded people.
9. Araku Balloon Festival
What: One of a kind balloon festival set in the pristine Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh.
When: January 17, 2020 - January 19, 2020
Where: Araku Valley, about three hours from Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.
Why do I attend: Witness participation of 20 teams from over 12 countries. Enjoy para-motoring, music and games. Get first-hand experience of the place by staying in luxury tents.
10. Rajarani Music Festival
What: A renowned Orissa festival known for beautiful music set against the grandeur of the ancient Rajarani temple.
When: January 18, 2020 - January 20, 2020
Where: Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Why do I attend: Heavenly music and a beautiful destination.
11. The Kabir Festival
What: A conclave for poetry, music, stories, films, dance experts and enthusiasts.
When: January 18, 2020 - January 26, 2020
Why do I attend: Meet the experts, like-minded people and experience Mumbai in its winter glory.
12. Kenduli Mela
What: On the occasion of Makar Sankranti in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, Kenduli Mela celebrates the birth of the famous poet, Jaydev Kenduli for three days.
When: January 14, 2020 - January 16, 2020
Where: Kenduli village, Shantiniketan in West Bengal
Why do I attend: A unique opportunity to meet wandering minstrels known as Bauls.
13. India Yoga Festival
What: A celebration of spirituality and all things yoga over four days in the contemporary beach city, Goa.
When: January 27, 2020 - January 31, 2020
Where: Arambol Beach, Goa
Why do I attend: Experience Goa like never before in the lap of Arambol beach through classes, workshops, and kirtans held by well-known yoga instructors and artists from across the country.
14. India Art Fair
What: An annual celebration of modern and contemporary art in Delhi exhibiting tons of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and much more.
When: January 02, 2020 - February 02, 2020
Where: NSIC Exhibition Grounds (Okhla), New Delhi
Why do I attend: Biggest fair of this nature in the world, attracting thousands from across the globe.
15. Kila Raipur Sports Festival
What: Also known as the Rural Olympics of India, this festival is home to rural sports like cart-racing and rope-pulling.
When: January 22, 2020 – January 24, 2020
Where: Kila Raipur (near Ludhiana), in Punjab
Why do I attend: Witness unique sports taking you closer to India’s rural roots.
So which festival are you planning to attend? Share it with your friends, and mark a travel-happy beginning to the year!
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